A few months ago, my thirty-two-year-old son came home to live with me. He’s a project manager for a construction company. His wife had kicked him out after a five-year marriage. They have a three-year-old daughter. I feel sorry for my son because his wife has given him so few rights around their daughter — visits that take place at my house every other weekend. On the other hand, I have to say the boy is sloppy and useless around the house. He pays a very minimal rent ($400 a month) and does precious little to help with chores, just goes to work, comes home, mostly stays in his room. It’s not that I expect him to be social, but some courtesy would be nice. Sometimes he goes out at night and if I ask him where, he gets snappish and tells me it’s none of my business. Two times now he’s brought a woman back to the house and sneaked her into his room, thinking I wouldn’t know because I go to bed early. But, of course I can tell from the footsteps, laughter, low voices. The whole thing makes me uncomfortable and I’m not sure what to do. I like having my son here and want him to stay, but I also don’t want strangers in the house. What do you advise?
Problems with Adult Son
I understand your concerns about strangers in the house. Have you spoken to your son about this? Set up guidelines about permissible behavior and habits? For instance, you might not want smoking or pets in the house. You might not want parties. You might have rules about cooking or what goes in the fridge. Or agreements about heating, A/C, or whether it’s ok for your son to repaint his room. I hope you see where I’m going with this. If you’re uncomfortable with your son bringing women home, then you should discuss it with him. Where he goes at night, however, is none of your business. He’s thirty-two-years-old and it’s time to treat him as an adult. If he’s an immature slob with a failed marriage, you might ask yourself why that is. In my opinion, a grown individual, especially one who pays rent, should be free to invite friends to visit him in his room whenever he likes. The caveat could be no loud noise or music after a certain hour. Beyond that, even though it’s your house, as long as your son is courteous and respects your rules, you really have no say.
I wish you the best,
REACTIONS TO WORRIED ABOUT CORONA
I’d never forgo a family wedding for a reason like that! And I’d never give in to my wife’s irrational fears. People fly on planes all winter long without getting ill. You’ve got to put your foot down somewhere, that’s my opinion.
Ed C., San Antonio, TX
I totally agree with your wife. We have a pandemic flu circulating the globe. Not a good time to fly.
Nancy K., Austin, TX
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Disclaimer: CD Knowles is not a doctor or psychotherapist. Any opinions expressed on Knowles Knows are just that — opinions.