Parenting--Toddlers/Infants/Pre-Schoolers/Sharing a home; rules, etc

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Question
My 21 year old daughter and my 7 month old grandson live with me. She is a single mom and her soon to be ex husband does not come around or offer financial support. She receives about 500 per month in public assistance, pays me 150 per month for rent and utilities, and pays for her own cell phone. She gets WIC but can't get food stamps until she turns 21 next month. She has a car for which she pays 50 per month for insurance and pays for the gas, but doesn't have a driver license. She has friends with licenses who sometimes drive the car to take her places and I use it when I drive her to her appts, etc. She has a boyfriend who once stayed 2 weeks. At that time I asked her to limit evening and overnight guests to a few nights a week. As it turned out, he stays Saturday through Tuesday, 4 nights,  and sometimes brings a guest who stays over a night or more when he's here. I'm spending a fortune on groceries, toilet paper, shampoo, laundry detergent, etc., and my utility bills have increased. When my grandson was born my daughter was lonesome and depressed over her sudden single parent status and sometimes asked if she could have visitors. Those visitors sometimes slept over. I told her, "It's your house too, you don't have to ask permission." I now regret telling her that. With her limited income, and the fact that her boyfriend doesn't have a job and lives with his mom, it looks like her living here isn't going to change any time soon. I don't want to create an unpleasant living environment, causing her to leave, but I want my house back and am not in the financial position to support her boyfriend and his friends. What is reasonable in terms of house quests in our situation?

Answer
Hello Barb,

 I appreciate your difficult situation and applaud your desire to help your daughter and grandson. But what is reasonable depends on what you feel.

Obviously, you are feeling uncomfortable with the situation at present as you feel like your daughter and her friends have taken advantage of you. It is reasonable to want to be comfortable in your own home. Therefore, you need to have a conversation with your daughter.

You can tell her that you are feeling like your home is no longer your own and that you want some changes. Then, tell her exactly what you want changed (for example, no one of her friends can stay over night). You don't have to be unpleasant, but you should be direct and clear about your desires and the new rules. And you can give her the reasons for the change in rules.

If you have any questions about my  suggestions, please get back to me .

Best,

James Windell

Parenting--Toddlers/Infants/Pre-Schoolers

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James Windell

Expertise

I can answer questions related to normal child development, disturbed behavior and how to provide appropriate guidance and discipline.

Experience

I've been a clinical psychologist in a juvenile court, worked in school settings, been a child psychotherapist in a private psychiatric clinic and consulted with schools, courts, hospitals and daycare centers.

Organizations
American Psychological Association
Michigan Psychological Association

Publications
I have been a columnist with the Oakland Press (Oakland County, MI) for 21 years writing a weekly column called Coping With Kids, which is also published weekly in the Staten Island Advance. I have been a mental health columnist with the Detroit Free Press and a columnist for Working Mother Magazine. In addition, I have published articles in professional journals. I have published 16 books, among them are "8 Weeks to a Well-Behaved Child" (IDG Books), "Discipline: A Sourcebook of 50 Failsafe Techniques for Parents" (IDG Books); "Children Who Say No When You Want Them to Say Yes" (IDG Books), "What You Need to Know About Ritalin" (Bantam Books) "6 Steps to an Emotionally Intelligent Teenagers" (John Wiley & Sons), "The Fatherstyle Advantage" (Stewart, Tabori & Chang) and "Defusing High Conflict Divorce" (Impact Publishers). My latest parenting book (2012) is "The Everything Child Psychology and Development Book." Articles about my work with parents has appeared in the New York Times, the Chicago Sun Times, the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press. My website at Jimwindell.com includes more information about me, my books and includes many columns I've written.

Education/Credentials
B.A. in Psychology from Wayne State University
M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Oakland University

Awards and Honors
Best Educational Program by Juvenile and Family Court Judges Association (National award for the development of a parent training program for parents of delinquent teenagers. Beth Clark Service Award from the Michigan Psychological Association.

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