Ask Amy: My Son Won’t Send Graduation Gift Thank You Notes



dear Amy: My son has just graduated from university and is alone. His mom and I threw him a graduation party. He received gifts from people present at the party and he thanked those people in person, but he sent no acknowledgment to his family and friends who sent him a gift.

Several family members contacted me to ask if he had received their gift, which was very embarrassing. As a kid, we made sure he always wrote thank you notes. It troubles us that he doesn’t see the need to do so now that he is “an adult”.

I told him that was basic etiquette and that even an email or text was better than nothing. He agreed with me — but still didn’t do anything! I don’t know – is there anything more I can do or say to make him forget the penny?

Disappointed: A difficult aspect of parenting young adults is facing the reality of their flaws and failures. As a parent, you’ve probably encouraged your son to think about the consequences of his behavior. He probably paid attention to you when you warned him about drunk driving or the dangers of credit card debt.

You taught him (made him) write thank you notes for gifts (a particularly incisive lesson from a dad, who will sometimes leave that task to someone else), but I wonder if the lesson could be effective if you said, “Son, here’s a pro tip: if you want people to be kind and generous to you in the future, you need to express your gratitude. If you don’t, they’ll think you’re A jerk. There are other great gift-receiving moments for you. Keep that in mind.”

He may not care right now if family members think he’s a jerk, but you raised him right, so he’ll eventually care.

Thank you notes are great — and always appropriate. Well-crafted texts/emails are enough (especially when they include a photo) – but honestly, I think a phone call is a joy. And doing it late is much better than not doing it at all.

Unlike when he was a kid, you can’t make him do the right thing. He will have to find out for himself.

dear Amy: Our eldest daughter is in her forties. She has been going through a difficult period since her teenage years. Nothing horrible (no drugs), just an inability to focus on adjusting to the realities of life. Although she is a very bright girl, it took her 10 years to finally finish college.

She was able to get a great job in a metropolitan area with an IT company where she worked for eight years. Then after a few months of complaining, she left to move to another city. In desperation, she got a job delivering pizza just so she could pay rent. Very quickly, we saw the possibility of her ending up on the streets.

My husband and I bought an affordable townhouse for us and provided him with housing and a small monthly allowance. The only requirement is that she continue to work and pay the HOA fees. Fast forward a few years, two new jobs later, and a boyfriend living with her who has health issues that prevent her from working.

He is good for her and good for her. He does a great job of managing home repairs and providing comfort and companionship. We don’t mind making sure she’s safe and secure, but we’d really like her boyfriend to make a monetary contribution to their lives. How can we approach this with her?

Concerned: You have voluntarily and generously put in place a situation that seems feasible and stable for all parties. Unless your daughter isn’t asking you anymore (or paying her share), why should her partner’s contribution matter?

If you want to adjust the amount of your own contribution, you can review this budget with her, but you must trust her to manage her finances.

dear Amy: I believe you performed a public service with your response to “feel cheatedwho had paid a plumber online before meeting him in person or checking his credentials or reputation.

No one should pay for home service until they have read and signed a contract.

Grateful: “Feeling Duped” performed public service by telling his story. I was happy to help.

©2022 by Amy Dickinson distributed by Tribune Content Agency


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