Help a mom: Live-in boyfriend dragging down daughter

A mom has left us a call for help on the AJC Momania Facebook page, and I wanted to try to get suggestions for her.

Many of you have “adult” children and know how hard it is to intervene and help as they get older. I am certain this mother is not the first one to face these issues.

Here is what she wrote on the Facebook page:

“Here’s my situation. My daughter who is 19 1/2 is living with me. It’s been two years. Anyway she has her boyfriend living here also. He is a nice guy but does not do anything. It’s been 3 months. I’m so proud of her. She works and goes to school but her choice in this guy is crazy. I have not been the best mom and she tells me that. I can’t see why she does not see all the fights are about this boy. It’s not about her. I want them to move out but they just don’t listen to my rules. I think (I know he is doing illegal stuff to get money. The nice place we have is falling apart. I Feel guilty because I am a drug addict trying to stay clean. I feel guilty because she feels so bad. I think it would be better if we part ways. She is always welcome back, but she has to follow my rules. Why can’t I do it? Should I seek professional help? Please help falling apart.”

I think there are many common issues here that other families have probably dealt with:

– The lazy boyfriend/son-in-law – How do you convince your daughter she deserves more than he is offering her? How do you convince him to work and share the financial weight and home responsibilities?

– The adult kids not living by the parent’s rules – how do you make them follow the rules of the house? What leverage do you have?

– How do you even get them to leave? You don’t want to call the cops on your own children. Move their stuff out and change locks while they are away?

– How do you love and support your adult child while you don’t agree with their decisions?

– How do you teach them from your mistakes? The mom writes that she is former drug addict and doesn’t want her daughter or herself to be in that type of environment.

What is your advice for this mom? You are welcome to respond here or on the Facebook page. If you need help with an issue at home, please feel to email me at ajcmomania@gmail.com or leave us a note on Facebook.

38 comments Add your comment

catlady

January 18th, 2012
7:10 am

The BEST thing mom can do is either let them take the apartment, or she takes it and they move out. Daughter will learn quickest and most thoroughly if SHE experiences the results of her “adult” decision. Mom needs to let daughter be an “adult” with its full meaning. And mom needs to get a life of her own in terms of providing for herself.

catlady

January 18th, 2012
7:11 am

There ARE ways this mom can take charge IF she wants to!

Augusta

January 18th, 2012
8:05 am

I’d cut them off, no more financial help until he gets his lazy butt up and finds a job. I don’t care if he’s flipping burgers at McDonalds, at least he has something comeing in. Until then, he needs to leave. It’s the Mom’s apartment, it’s her rules.

Apparently, the daughter walks all over the guilty mom. Mom feels bad for not being around, and daughter plays it. And it’s working. Daughter is winning, Mom is miserable. Daughter apparently has no respect for mom, boyfriend or herself. All three of them need to grow up!!!

Where are the parents of the boy? Why isn’t he living with them?

I think there’s more to this story than we are being told.

☺☻Have A Smile!

January 18th, 2012
8:29 am

There ARE ways this mom can take charge IF she wants to!

THIS!

She’s enabling it. And “guilt” should be reserved for people actually doing something wrong. She should, however, feel guilty about letting her daughter and the bum take over the place.

PS: He’s a “shack-up honey”, not a son-in-law. When they’re married, he can be called a son-in-law (among other things, ha ha).

mystery poster

January 18th, 2012
8:38 am

Sounds like mom would benefit from some AlAnon meetings.

mystery poster

January 18th, 2012
8:42 am

Re: “How do you convince your daughter she deserves more than he is offering her?”

Short answer: you can’t. When I was 16, I was dating a boy in the above category. Every day my parents sang the same song. Of course, when you’re 16 you want nothing more than to prove your parents wrong even though they were 100% correct. I stayed with him for 4 years, probably 3 and a half longer than I would have if left to figure things out on my own.

Fast forward 20 years, my mom was in the same boat after my father died, dating a loser. I bit my tongue and said nothing bad about him at all. She figured it out.

It’s a very difficult thing to do, but sometimes you have to trust that your child will figure things out. Even if she doesn’t, you don’t get to pick someone’s else’s SO.

My suggestion: make sure your daughter knows about birth control and that she doesn’t plan to bring any kids into the mix.

motherjanegoose

January 18th, 2012
8:47 am

Not trying to be snarky but I do not allow a live in, under any circumstances. If you choose to have a live in, you can live with that person on your own as this is an adult decision and you can then be an adult. Our two have worked since they were 14 and get frustrated with those who are not making a contribution. Job loss is certainly one thing but nothing in sight is another and illegal is knocking it out of my ball park…NO WAY.

FYI…our son lived with us for a month last summer…between apartments. I told him that I would prefer him to be home at midnight, OR to call with a time stamp OR he could stay out all night at someone else’s house …that would be fine. I know that was probably ridiculous for a 24 year old but he respects my husband and myself and does not give us much grief. He knows where the line is and typically does not cross it. He would rather live out on his own and THAT IS FINE but we are here when he needs us. He did spend some nights out all night ( at friend’s houses) and I was fine with it…I do not want to wake up at 2:00 a.m. and wonder if he is coming home…especially if I have to go to work. I will be worrying about nothing but nonetheless worrying. As adults, we do not do that to each other…it is disrespectful IMHO.

I will say that I think it will be very hard to establish ‘MEAN MOM/DAD ‘ rules if you have not had this track record. It has been going on here for years and so just the status quo ( sp?).

motherjanegoose

January 18th, 2012
8:48 am

comment gone…not reposting

Jeff

January 18th, 2012
8:49 am

I’ve never mentioned this before because it doesn’t matter, but I’m a recovering alcoholic. It’s relative to this story because, number one – the mother at some point has to clean herself up.

#2 – the daughter is making her own choices. At some point you have to look at her as the one making the decision about staying with the guy. There’s a chance the daughter is using as well (illegal stuff supplied by the boyfriend).

#3 – you will always love your child no matter what and will run to rescue them, even if it means crying to put out the fire. It’s what we do as parents that give a crap.

Augusta

January 18th, 2012
8:52 am

Jeff – congratulations on your recovery!!!!

Old Man

January 18th, 2012
9:06 am

It all goes back to instilling an achievement mentality in kids when they are younger. Good friend has 3 kids (East Cobb – Walton) who through a series of really unfortunate life experiences wound up beyond spoiling and into enabling, particularly relating to high school grades. He tried to reel them back in, but there is really nothing you can do. If they are truants, its the parent that gets in trouble. Even DFACS enables the kid instead of the parent. As they reached 18, they were given a simple choice, school, job, or military. Faced with that, and the loss of their cushy middle class lifestyle, they slowly (very slowly) changed their ways. The parent has to make a simple choice that they can not enable any more, no matter how much short term pain it causes. I even told him to expect the youngest to get pregnant as an attempt to reassert her leverage over him.

Jeff

January 18th, 2012
9:08 am

Augusta – thank you, but it’s a non issue for me. I’ve long since moved on to another part of my life. It’s like not eating broccoli when you hate broccoli and you make bad decisions when you eat it. Pretty simple decision and the “craving” has long since passed. I neither regret nor deny that part of my life, but it’s as insignificant now as a past girlfriend. Having been around addicts, I’m familiars with how their brain works at times, and I feel for this mom. I’m not sure she is at a place where she can mentally handle all the issues on her plate. It’s not that she doesn’t love her daughter, but if she’s dead, she CAN’T love her daughter. My father allowed me to fail some could later succeed. It was painful for him, but he did it. I’m better off now than if he continued to rescue me. My answer isn’t the only answer for this mom, but it’s just a suggestion from my experience.

The mom...

January 18th, 2012
9:12 am

…may be “so proud” of her daughter yet she obviously is not “proud” of herself if she continues to let the daughter dump on her like this – as others have already so eloquently said, she needs to kick them out and let them make “adult” decisions on their own, along with making “adult” rent payments, food on the table payments, and other associated payments.

The mom can continue to support the daughter’s educational pursuits monetarily, but the allowance of the deadbeat boyfriend under her roof is WAY OFF target. I know the mom is afraid the daughter will stop going to college if she is forced to move out, but this is a “grown up” decision that the daughter must make –

It is called “tough love”, and yes, it is tough on everybody…

i LOVE...

January 18th, 2012
9:14 am

mom needs to grow a pair. if they cannot follow the rules, get them out of the house. give them a time period for boyfriend to either get a job or move out; and tell them that the police will be called once that period is over and stipulations are not met. our whole “babying” culture is not doing anyone any favors.

Augusta

January 18th, 2012
9:19 am

I really don’t think the police should get involved. It drives me crazy when people use to police for domestic issues such as this. There are more important things the police need to focus on, not some entitled, slacker 19 year old.

I agree with iLOVE. Give them a period to get their act together and get out. tell them they have 3 months. That’s plenty of time to pound the pavement looking for employment, and looking for another place to stay. Why don’t they go mooch off the boy’s parents for awhile? Or maybe his parents got tired of him and kicked him out.

It’s such a shame the our youth don’t have the same get up and go as we do. I’ve never NOT worked. I’ve always been proud of the work I have done, and appreciate my employer, and I love my current job, been here almost 20 years.

But you know, my boss gets made when people don’t come to work. He says “Doesn’t anyone want to work”. My answer to him is NO, I don’t want to work, but I have to. Given the choice, I’d rather be at home…….one day I’d love to work from home….

Jeff

January 18th, 2012
9:21 am

Btw, you get your education if you WANT to. I got my MBA on the weekends while traveling during the week. It took 6 years, but I got it. The daughter will too if she really wants to. But, sadly, I suspect she’s using some kind of illegal substance. It doesn’t make her Satan because I’m certainly no saint.

Max

January 18th, 2012
9:29 am

She needs to tell her daughter that either the boyfriend leaves or they both will have to leave. By him doing something illegal she could lose her place and may be charged with being in with him on the illegal activity if he is caught.

Sometimes in order to have peace, we must make some difficult decisions.

JOD

January 18th, 2012
9:44 am

There’s so much messed up here that it’s hard to know where to start. First and foremost, the mom needs to act like one. Just because she had issues in the past doesn’t mean she can’t assert herself now and in the future, but she needs to work on herself first instead of letting guilt dictate what happens.

There is no way I would let some teenage boy live with me (and vice versa if I had a son), especially if he doesn’t go to school or work. Daughters may not listen to what you say, but you can still communicate the message with actions. The mom says she wants them to move out, but has she TOLD them?

As for dealing with adult children, I would argue that neither of these teens is an adult, so they shouldn’t be dealt with as such. The mom needs to take control of these children, or she’ll continue to get walked all over.

@Jeff – Wow, amazing insight!

ATL06

January 18th, 2012
11:07 am

Why did she allow him to move in with them in the first place? She never should have allowed that. If they wanted to live together they should have gotten their own place.

jmb

January 18th, 2012
11:21 am

I have grown girls so I can relate to the mom somewhat. My oldest daughter (now 20) dated the same guy since 14. When she was 18 she asked for him to sleep over because we were having a firework show and she didn’t want him to drive late. For his safety only, I agreed that he could have one of the guest rooms downstairs for that one night. Well, all went good with that night but I guess she took it as her ticket to invite him whenever she wanted after I had agreed to the first time. I firmly said NO to anymore and stressed that my mother never allowed it nor would I. It turned into a huge argument and she ended up leaving that night to go to her dads. Moral is, had I never allowed it once, there would have not been a problem later. Everything turned out great with her though. She works two jobs and leaving for the military in March. She married the young man and he is now in Afganistan working on his career. I’m very proud of them both.

Now for the younger daughter. She’s 17 and unfortunately, we just found out she’s pregnant. She dropped out of school months ago, has no drivers license and of course no job. The father is in the same boat and has a less than desireable family so to speak. It’s looking as though it’s going to be up to us to get her through this pregnancy and help raise the child. He also lives 50 miles away. Well she made her first DR appt. the other day and he’s having a problem getting transportation to go with her. She asked if he could sleep in the guest room and go the next day with her. I quickly thought back to what happened with the first daughter and told her NO. Under no circumstance will another young man sleep over until they are married. It didn’t turn into a huge argument this time since I had never allowed it to begin with. The mother has already made the mistake of letting him in so not sure what to do at this point but whatever it is, she needs to act on it quickly. Time will only make it harder on everyone.

Robert

January 18th, 2012
11:43 am

” How do you even get them to leave?”

Simple…take all their things (clothes, tv, playstation, etc.) and put them in the trash can or take them to his mothers house. Call a locksmith and change the locks on all your doors. If you still have problems call the police. If the police do not respond call the fire department. Why would a mother let her 19 yr old daughter bring her boyfriend to her house to livein the first place. Parents stop trying to be friends with your children and be a parent not a sucker.

Scooby

January 18th, 2012
11:46 am

Depending on how long the boyfriend has been living there, it’s very long, but I forget exactly how long, according to the Fulton County Sheriff’s office, he has every right to be there and has to be legally evicted if you want him to leave and he doesn’t want to. I know this for a fact as we went through the same thing with our son’s girlfriend. We were shocked that we couldn’t just throw her out.

Scooby

January 18th, 2012
11:46 am

I mean’t it’s NOT very long. Something like 6 months.

Augusta

January 18th, 2012
11:59 am

Unless his name is on the lease, mortgage, whatever, I have every right to kick him to the curb.

Unless he is contributing to the household, either monetarily or doing chores, I have the right to kick him to the curb. Just because some loser has crashed on my couch, it does NOT make them a roommate and he has NO rights in that apartment.

I’d find some rather large men, and escort this piece of work out of MY home!!!!! If daughter gets mad, to bad….she can go with him. Period. End of discussion.

Sometimes we have to make hard decisions, which hurt the ones we love. It’s called LIFE!

Augusta

January 18th, 2012
12:57 pm

AND if I may add, if the boy is doing illegal drugs, then I DEFINATELY have every right to keep that crap out of my home!!!

Lori

January 18th, 2012
1:03 pm

If she’s a recovering drug addict, then she needs to get rid of the stress. She should have them move out. And possible see professional help to continue staying clean.

Me

January 18th, 2012
1:13 pm

@Scooby — Not sure of all the issues as it relates to your situation but my sister, who lives in Fulton County, had a live-in boyfriend who, basically, refused to leave after their “break-up”. He had been living in my sister’s apartment for almost 3 years. Lease was in my sister’s name alone as were all of the utilities. When he refused to leave, we went over and, of course, he told us to get lost. So we called Fulton County Police who arrived and escorted him off the property never to return. Now, maybe it’s possible that, had he fought it, the courts would have allowed him to return but, in this case, I think he knew better…
As it relates to “Help a Mom”, I think she already knows what “has” to be done – it’s a matter of doing so and, perhaps, doing so in the manner best possible. In any event, this is a situation where she needs to do what’s best for her first and do it soon. Sure, it isn’t going to be easy or painless but the benefits greatly outweigh the risks.

JOD

January 18th, 2012
1:19 pm

Another thought: Apparently the daughter is very aware of the mistakes mom has made. Has the mom talked to her daughter about not just her concerns, but how she is dealing with her own mistakes and how she wants to help her daughter avoid going through that same thing? At 19, the daugher may appreciate the direct dialog (in addition to tough love as needed!).

Scooby

January 18th, 2012
1:35 pm

She was living in OUR house, the house that my husband and I have a mortgage on. There was no renting going on. Because we allowed her to live there for however long (and it wasn’t long) we were told by the Fulton County Sheriff that came to our house that she had every right to be there unless we legally evicted her. She left on her own, but could have come back if she wanted. I think that is a different deal than if there is a lease in effect.

jarvis

January 18th, 2012
1:47 pm

@MJG, at 24 there was a ten percent chance I hadn’t gone out yet at midnight.
That was a bit much to ask of a grown man.

K's mom

January 18th, 2012
2:38 pm

I do not think MJG’s rules are unreasonable if she and her husband are still paying for their son’s schooling and if he is staying at their house. My parents had similar rules, theirs was stay out as long as you like, but please let us know at what time to begin worrying and looking for you in a ditch (while I was in college for which they paid about 85%!)

I was 34 1/2 when I married and I never had an overnight “guest” in my parent’s home because that was their rule. Now they started from birth setting reasonable boundaries as I have done with my son so that hopefully we do not get into these types of situations.

I will say that if the person questioning what to do has never parented her 19 1/2 yo and is looking to do so now the barn door may be closing after the horse is out. It sounds to me like the daughter views the mom more as a roommate than a parent and that is something that has to be addressed.

DB

January 18th, 2012
2:58 pm

Well, well, well . . . this is a bit of a mess, isn’t it? To answer your questions:

– The lazy boyfriend/son-in-law – How do you convince your daughter she deserves more than he is offering her?

You don’t. You NEVER run the boyfriend down, it just throws them that much closer together — them against the world, so to speak. You will never convince a girl that the guy she is dating is not worthy of her. That’s something she has to figure out on her own.

How do you convince him to work and share the financial weight and home responsibilities?

You set the expectations up at the very beginning, with consequences if they aren’t met. Say, “Let’s try this for a month and see how it works (i.e., paying rent, etc.) If you can’t keep up your end, you need to move somewhere else.” You can’t make someone work, and you can’t give someone a sense of responsibility. His parents have already screwed that up, and the poster has already enabled the situation by allowing him to live in her home without responsibilities. Unless the mom goes in with a sense of renewed purpose, confidence and determination and makes it clear that there will be changes or they need to find another place to live.

– The adult kids not living by the parent’s rules – how do you make them follow the rules of the house? What leverage do you have?

Your levereage: “Darling, I love you so much, but you need to find somewhere else to live.” At the daughter’s age, she is living there by the kindness of her mother. Respect it, or leave.

– How do you even get them to leave? You don’t want to call the cops on your own children. Move their stuff out and change locks while they are away?

You give them a deadline — perhaps March 1st, in this case. Give them quiet reminders — ask them how the apartment hunting is going, etc. — and week before, if they still don’t have anything, tell them that painters are coming in on March 2nd to repaint and all their stuff has to be out by then. The other option is that in the six weeks between now and March 1st, they may have cleaned up their act and may ask, contritely, if they may stay. I’d think about it until Feburary 29th. :-)

– How do you love and support your adult child while you don’t agree with their decisions?

Their decisions, their consequences. Parents tend to take on far too much responsibility for their children’s decisions. As parents, we’ve made mistakes along the way. It’s time for your children to learn from their mistakes. That does not mean you stop loving them — but their decisions stop short of your own values, i.e., if you are not comfortable with a boyfriend sleeping over, you don’t capitulate to save an argument. If the daughter is 19 years old, the mother should have learned to be immune to whining by now. :-) Big saying in our home: “My house, my rules. If you want to make the rules, buy the house.” Respect runs both ways — you are asked to respect their decisions, but at the same time, they must be ready to deal with the consequences of their decisions, and respect you enough to not expect you to give in just because they want it.

– How do you teach them from your mistakes? The mom writes that she is former drug addict and doesn’t want her daughter or herself to be in that type of environment.

You don’t teach. Kids learn from example. Some see parents who smoke, and vow never to touch a filthy cigarette. Others see it and think it’s grown-up. It’s fair to have candid talks with the now-adult daughter about your regrets regarding drug use, your struggles, etc. However, unless the mother has enough respect for herself to make it clear that drugs on the premises are forbidden, to the point of making it clear that the police WILL be called if drugs are found, there’s no motivation for the kids to learn.

Frankly, the daughter sounds like a pill-and-a-half, and still bitter that the mother’s drug use has damaged their family. She is using the mother’s guilt for her drug use and throwing it in her mom’s face every time the mother tries to exert her authority. Mom needs to grow a pair — maybe counseling/role playing/or just a strong pep talk is needed, in order to give her the confidence to tell her daughter that she is through apologizing for the past. I heard a GREAT statement yesterday: “You only get one apology. It will be sincere. And then I’m done apologizing.” This woman sounds like she’s been apologizing for years. It needs to stop. Another close second: You NEVER apologize for being right.

mystery poster

January 18th, 2012
3:04 pm

@DB
Well said, you got it exactly right.

JOD

January 18th, 2012
4:04 pm

@DB re: one apology – I love this and will use it :o)

K's mom

January 18th, 2012
5:08 pm

@ DB…I LOVE “You NEVER apologize for being right.” Too many parents apologize to kids to parenting and that is why most kids are a mess these days!

catlady

January 18th, 2012
6:20 pm

I have a good friend whose daughter is 25. She is an “adult” but her parents, who have no extra money, give her money for gas and food to “go” to college. Now, she has been a student for 6 years but refuses to account to her parents for how many credits she has accumulated. In fact, I don’t think she has attended much at all. It’s pretty clear she has lost HOPE, and she refuses to take out any loans (if she could even get them now; I doubt she has made enough progress to get financial aid.) Yet my friend, who cannot pay his own bills, continues to dig a deeper hole. Now he is proposing to get some kind of a loan (perhaps a title loan) on his 10 year old car to send her to a vo-tech school. I have counseled him for years that if he helps her he must demand accountability for the money, just like all adults have to account for their behaviors. Yet, he “can’t”. He is too busy feeling sorry for her to encourage her to tell the truth and be an adult.

The case Theresa has shown us sounds a lot like this.

As a teacher, I see far, far too many “parents” feeling sorry, or feeling guilty, or being sorry and not parenting their kids. Then, when consequences catch up, it is always someone else’s fault.

Parenting and discipline means teaching your kid. It means preparing them for the real world.

JATL

January 18th, 2012
10:11 pm

She needs to make a house rule -if you live there, you have to work and contribute to rent, utilities, food, etc. I never would have allowed this situation in the first place, but since she has, that would pretty much solve the problem. She’s not running him down or issuing wild ultimatums -just asking what anyone else either of them lived with would ask. If he refuses to get a job, then they/he have to find their own place. No ifs, ands or buts! If the daughter is so love struck and stupid that she’ll support his sorry a**, then it will most likely wind up being a valuable learning experience for her. All I can say is there is NO WAY some girlfriend/boyfriend of my child would stay in this home and do nothing at age 19!

catlady

January 19th, 2012
6:56 am

There is the opportunity for great learning here for all three of them, IF mom sticks to her guns.