Annie’s Mailbox: Brother is a picky eater, won’t clean |

Annie’s Mailbox: Brother is a picky eater, won’t clean

Dear Annie: Because of the struggling economy, my mom needed to take a full-time position. I now have the responsibility of taking care of my younger brother, who is almost 12 years old. That means that I cook our meals, wash the dishes and do housekeeping. Although I enjoy cooking, it can be tiring to decide what to eat every day, clean up after and make sure Mom doesn’t have work to do when she comes home late at night.

Here’s the real problem. My brother doesn’t acknowledge the effort I put into taking care of him. He is an extremely picky eater, and sometimes I have to cook two meals because he won’t eat what I originally made. He also never cleans up after himself, so I have double the work that I wish I had. He never washes a dish or does anything to make my job easier. And he never says so much as “thank you” for the hard work I put into making sure he is happy.

I once didn’t make dinner for him, hoping it would make him less picky, but he just found something else to eat. I don’t think it’s fair that I do all this work on his behalf and he sits around and watches television. I feel so unappreciated. What can I do?

– Sister of an Ingrate

Dear Sister: You are to be commended for taking on the responsibility of running the house and caring for your brother. But you don’t have to cater to his every whim, nor should he be exempt from household duties. Talk to your mother and ask her to assign chores for him, including cleaning up his own dishes. Do not make extra meals for him. Either he eats what you prepare or he feeds himself. He won’t starve.

It would be nice if he appreciated your efforts, but 12-year-old boys aren’t always conscious of such things. We can guarantee, however, that when he is older, he will look back on these times and think you were the best sister in the universe.

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