How Much Leeway Should be Given to Adult Daughter Living at Home?

| 12/30/2010 | Comments (5)

Dear Ms. HeartBeat:
I have a 25 yr old daughter with a 2 yr old child and her boyfriend living with me and my husband (her stepfather). I allowed her boyfriend to live here as well because I thought they wanted to be a family and I did not want to break up their little family.

My daughter is a college grad working on her Masters. The boyfriend works sporadically – lazy but with a good heart. They do pay rent… I think she pays more than he but that is not the point.

She is seeing other men. She claims the boyfriend is aware (they decided to share in raising their child without no commitment to each other). She comes and goes at all hours of the night. She does not leave the baby on me though, the father watches the child for the most part when she not here.

My husband is very upset about this and questions her constantly about who she is talking to on the phone or who she is going out to see. He has caught her in little lies and has brought it to my attention. I don’t want to be all up in her business, but because of crazy people murdering and hurting women and children, I too want to know who her friends are and who she is out with. My husband feels like he has a right to know what is going on in his house and this is causing some friction between us as well.

My daughter told me that his questioning her makes her feel uncomfortable because it is way out of line. She thinks he is acting more like a boyfriend instead of a father. I disagree.

The problem is I have grown very attached to my grandson, and do not want her to leave out of anger and take him with her, which is exactly what she threatens me with. We both like her boyfriend/baby daddy who lives here, but if she goes he will have to go too. My husband thinks that what she is doing is immoral and I need to put my foot down.

I thought I already raised my daughter. I try to offer her advice, but most times she doesn’t want to hear it. I don’t want to be involved in her personal/sex life like that. She has already removed me as a friend on Facebook, which is how I first found out she was seeing other men.

My daughter told me I am acting like a dumb white woman with my head buried under the sand because he is trying to act like her man instead of a father.

I have no problem whatsoever telling my husband off if I think he is wrong. He can be nosy as all hell at times, even with me sometimes. I have caught him eavesdropping and I make his life hell for a minute until he chills out.

My question to Ms. Cooper is this, how much leeway should you give a grown child living in your house? Specifically, with a mother and daughter living together, how do we maintain a good relationship?

I had a great relationship with my daughter during her childhood. It got a little rough for part of her teen years and then when she went away to college, graduated and got her first job we became almost as close as girlfriends. I am sick that she thinks I am no longer in her corner and told me that I am a nosy old woman with no life. What to do?

I was a single mom for a number of years before I met my husband. We have been together for over 20 years and I pride myself on never ever putting a man before my children. Never thought I would be in this situation to have to make a choice.

Confused Mom

Dear Confused Mom:
Let me explain this to you honey, because you are on the wrong page in the wrong book here. I’ll do it point by point to make it easier to follow.

1. Your daughter is a grown woman, not a child. You are under no obligation to coddle her and should not, in any way support this quest she is on to be the biggest fool possible. You and your husband need to come to an agreement on the rules that she must adhere to while she is living in your home. Such rules must include not ripping and running the streets at all times of night. She has a baby which means she has adult responsibilities that she needs to be taking care of. Flip flopping and fucking all over creation is what she should have done BEFORE she decided to have a child and become someone’s mother, not after.

2. Tell her flatly that if she didn’t want to be a responsible parent she should have not been fucking, or she should have handled the pregnancy by getting an abortion. Tell her she can leave with her brat at any time, but that she better watch her step.  Let her know that if she does anything now or in the future that puts that baby at risk or is deemed to be breaking the laws of proper care for a minor child – using drugs, driving drunk, neglecting him in any form – you will call Child Protective Services and report her ass promptly. Do not mince words here. You have every right to tell her that, and you need to do it immediately with a whole bunch of attitude. Stand toe to toe with her and lay down the law Mom!

3. She is so disrespectful! It’s amazing you haven’t busted her in the mouth. You’re doing her a favor and allowing her to live in YOUR house, and she talks to you like you have a tail? No matter how much rent she is paying, it is nothing compared to how much she would be paying living on her own. Instead of name calling and having a fonky attitude, she needs to be showing appreciation and gratitude. You must tell her ass that immediately. I wish my daughter would tell me I was talking like an old white woman, too nosey, or threaten me with leaving with a grandchild. After I knocked her teeth out, I would go into the room and start throwing her shit out the window so she could leave FASTER. And that is the problem here; your daughter is behaving towards you exactly as the men I described in my recent article on emotional abuse. She found your emotional hot button and is mashing it to her heart’s content, manipulating you to give her what she wants. Tell her that if she speaks to you in such a manner ever again she will need to pack and leave immediately because she will not be spending another night under your roof. Let her know that you would not tolerate being talked to by any other adult female in such a manner, and you are not going to tolerate the bullshit from her either.

4. Unless you have real reasons to suspect that your daughter is hinting around that your husband sexually abused her at some point with this “he’s acting like a boyfriend” crap, then understand that she is merely being more manipulative and controlling. Your husband has acted as her father for more than 20 years, and has every right to put her in check and question her behavior and choices, just like he would a child that has his DNA. He sounds worried about the choices she is making, as she has exhibited a pattern of making poor decisions time after time. He has every right to ask her who she is talking to and where she is going! His job is to protect his wife, home and property. Your daughter must not be allowed to bring miscellaneous stray people into your home, and really, they shouldn’t even know where you live. Again, she is being a disrespectful, selfish, ungrateful brat. As the man of the house, he and you will decide what appropriate behavior is for any guests or temporary residents, and those guests or temporary residents need to adhere to those rules or get the fuck out. You are not there to make her life “comfortable,” you are merely providing her with assistance on a temporary basis. She is supposed to be getting her shit together so she can move out, get on and live her life.

5. Lastly, get out of that mindset of priding yourself on never putting a man before your child. You don’t have any children… you have an adult daughter that has a college degree and a family of her own. You have a husband that is going to be with you into your old age while your adult daughter is off doing whatever the hell she is doing with whomever the hell she is doing it with. Don’t get it twisted honey! Your allegiance must be with your husband. You are done raising your child, she’s an adult now. Your husband should come first in this scenario, not your grown ass, spoiled ass daughter. Remember, she is putting herself first in every instance – even before the needs of her toddler child, and she’s apparently been doing so for quite awhile. Don’t fall into the trap of codependency worrying more about someone else’s feelings and comfort than you do your own.

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Veteran social researcher, relationship advice columnist, author and radio host. Author of hundreds of articles on American and black culture, gender issues, singles, dating and relationships. Author of "Sucka Free Love!" , "The 24 Types of Suckas to Avoid," "The Black Church - Where Women Pray and Men Pray," and "Why Vegan is the New Black" all available on Amazon.Com. Her unique voice and insightful commentary have delighted fans and riled haters for 20 years. Read her stuff on SurvivingDating.Com and AskHeartBeat.Com.

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Comments (5)

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  1. wjg says:

    You were right on about the daughter. The problem is the baby. If the daughter leaves, so does the baby. You haven’t begun worrying! Expecially if she leaves, dumps the boyfriend and starts bringing a new boyfriend in every weekend. You will find that you will put up with a lot to keep her there and make sure that child is safe.

  2. SilentBro says:

    Excellent solution (5 points) and reading the response from Carolin (Confused Mom) seems there will be some definite positive changes. Its good that others can learn from this situation.

  3. grace says:

    i heard that! i think you covered everything and very well i might add.

    • Carolin says:

      Wow !!! You said it all and then some. How is it that you are so on target, even knowing that my daughter has a habit of making poor choices?

      I read the comments on FB, some of them were way off target- there are no drugs involved. My daughter does not smoke and seldom drink alchol.

      I do have to fess up and agree with the comments of her being spoiled. I never intentionally spoiled her. I was an unmarried teen when I had my first child, by the time I had this daughter I was so caught up with guilt and sorrow about my poor choice of men. I guess I tried in all the wrong ways to make it up them. I know you not suppose to have favorites but this particular child looks just like me and has a gentle easygoing nature- up to a certain point, just like me.

      We will sit down and have a heartfelt talk with her and if she dont want to play by our rules she can move on.

      I am happy to see women like yourself reaching out to the young teen girls helping instill esteem and self love so they will not fall for the games these no good men play. We pay a heavy price with our daughters when we have little to no esteem in our youth and we are their role models too.

      Thank you Deborrah for your words of wisdom and encouragement concerning this situation. I needed to hear this. I have been pitying and spoiling my children for way too long.

      I am glad you posted my situation-I know I am not the only one with disrespectful children. I had to laugh at some of the comments- one had the audacity to say she would never raise a daughter so disrespectful.

      No one in their right mind would purposely raise such a child.To be fair to my daughter she has a lot of redeeming qualities too. I now see that she suffers from low self esteem and knows how to push my emotional button and plays into my guilt so I can join her in her misery.

      No more fear, no more doubt and no more guilt is going to be my mantra. I know it wont be easy but I will try to make something good come out of this situation with my daughter for all of us involved.

      I just wished I knew what I now know when I was daughter’s age. I could have guided her to be a stronger women- maybe…..

      • Raz says:

        Carolin “I had to laugh at some of the comments- one had the audacity to say she would never raise a daughter so disrespectful.No one in their right mind would purposely raise such a child.”

        It doesn’t take ‘audacity or ‘right mind’ to make a statement like that. Just consistent parenting and discipline. Discipline means ‘to teach’. Far too many parents don’t teach their kids boundaries, respect. They over indulge them from birth (just as you’ve said you’ve done with your child) and before they know it, they have raised up a tyrant in their own home.

        From birth a baby knows how to manipulate and control their parents way before they’ve developed speech communication. Too many parents have kids and don’t read parenting books. There are some very good books out there. Whoever said they would never raise a child like that knows what they want and what they are willing to do in order to avoid raising a spoiled brat of a kid who will grow into a spoiled brat of an adult.

        Just like someone can say, they would never get caught up in drugs, or say they will go to college and achieve a degree. It doesn’t take audacity, or ‘right mindedness’. Just know how, and a willingness to do what it takes to get the job and goals done.

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