How long is TOO long?

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-08-2012
How long is TOO long?
Wed, 11-28-2012 - 10:36pm

My story in a nutshell:

Our oldest moved back home with her two children. It was supposed to be only for a month while she got on her feet - but it has now been 5 months. She has income but rarely helps with groceries, and has pretty much stopped taking care of her dogs or even cleaning up after them.

She comes and goes when she pleases and expects us to babysit. We know if we finally tell her we have had enough of her selfish behavior and her attitude she will leave and punish us by not letting us see our grandchildren.

We feel no matter what we do, we will lose.

Thanks for any advice.


iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Wed, 11-28-2012 - 11:01pm

I think if you start off by saying "we've had enough of your selfish behavior & attitude" then she will get defensive & things will go downhill from there.  But it doesn't mean that you can't have a discussion.  It's still your house and she should abide by your rules.  You could tell her when you are available to babysit.  Also I guess you would have the option to tell her that either she buys groceries or she has to pay rent of a certain amount--last option is to tell her that she has a time limit to move out.  I know it must be a difficult situation.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-22-2004
Wed, 11-28-2012 - 11:03pm

Sorry to be this straight, but your daughter has become a teenager again. I think she should take care of her kids, and she should ask if you want to babysit, because it is not your duty to do that. Start asking when she would be leaving. You have been more than generous giving here a place to live. I think you need to set some boundaries. Mention an amount of money you know she can give to buy groceries or ask her to buy the needed groceries for her kids. Tell her that you can babysit 3 or 4 times a month (or the amount you want without being resentful) but not more, and ask her to take care of her dogs.

Don´t be afaid, life needs corageous people. If she doesn´t accept the rules and boundaries, well the door is wide opened. It is a shame that now grownup kids punish grandparents with their grandkids. You should put your pocker face, and don´t show you are intimidated with not being able to see your grandkids.

Besides loving your grandkids, you need to love yourself. Don´t let her take any advantage of you, because you are not doing her or you anyfavor.

Just my sense of it!

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-05-2012
Thu, 11-29-2012 - 1:12am

Your situation sounds a lot like mine. What is it with kids moving back home now a days?

How about you introduce yours to mine and they get get a place together?

I also agree that they become kids/teens again when they move home and forget that we raised them and set them on for their own lives.

There is a ray of sunshine for ours, she has a couple of job interviews and I know she wants to be back on her own.


iVillage Member
Registered: 09-16-2002
Thu, 11-29-2012 - 10:49am

How do you know that your daughter not allow you to see your grandkids if you ask her to find somewhere else to live, or at least contribute to the household and care for her pets?  Has she done this before or are you just imagining her doing this?  If you don't do anything, then she'll probably live there until she finds someone else (the father of her next kid(s)) to mooch off.   Seems like you've been lax in the parenting department as well, you don't owe anything to your daughter, you have been generous in opening your home up to her and her children, but she's taking advantage of that.  Seems like this has probably been a pattern (and you've allowed it), so why should she do anything different than what she has been if you haven't set any ground rules? 

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

.  -Albert Einstein

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-16-2002
Thu, 11-29-2012 - 10:57am

Additionally, the way your daughter is treating you is how your grandchildren will treat you because they will see it as being okay unless you speak up.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

.  -Albert Einstein

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-08-2012
Thu, 11-29-2012 - 7:18pm

@Musiclover - thanks for responding and yes it is a difficult situation. I would try to get her to pay rent, but I know she will blow up by saying none of her other siblings who moved back had to pay rent. Though we have told her that they did contribute, be it by buying groceries or helping around the house.

Thanks Sonyserg. We have mentioned it to her and she just gets mad and goes to her room.

@MoCyn lol they would probably not survive living together if they are so much alike!

@Itchick - I know because, yes she did this before when she lived with us and only had one of her girls, while her fiancee was away in the Marines. It was about a year before we put that behind us. There won't be a father of her next kids, as she is not planning on having any. We are rather proud of her for sticking with her fiancee for 12 years even though he stepped out on her a few times and left her to marry the bartender he got pregnant. He is an ex marine and a police officer. She is not ready to jump into a relationship with anyone at this time and is very picky about who she dates. Just to clear things up she isn't a moocher, she has her own income, just doesn't want to share it if she feels she doesn't have to, so selfish is what she is actually and spoilt. Our grandchildren actually do treat us with respect as she won't allow it any different. So you can see she has good points, but also flaws....but then most kids do.

It is hard to find time to sit down and talk to her as we both work crazy hours and our free time is spent with our kids or family gatherings and we are both tired a lot of the time. We are just waiting out the storm I guess and I needed to vent.

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Fri, 11-30-2012 - 12:50pm

You probably have to start by practicing tough love, establishing some boundaries. Either little by little or all at once depending on your tolerance for upset. Make it a priority to find time to sit down with her to have this talk, cancel a family gathering if necessary. If she tries to escape to her room insist that she come back and talk it through like an adult. You didn't mention her age but I'm guessing that she's around 30 so not an immature young adult.

You could start with the dogs. Establish the house rules about their care (provided by her) and if she doesn't follow through then they have to go. Yes its very sad to give away a beloved pet but if its not being cared for then how loved is it really?

Like others said she is acting like a teenager, using tried and true teen tactics to get their parents off their backs. Holing up in their room, passive-agressively just not doing what they are supposed to, deflecting blame, blowing up/having tantrums/making threats, watching to see how much they can get away with. Would you have allowed her current behavior when she was 15? If not then why allow it now? This behavior is working fine for her so why will she want to change anything unless you force it? I understand that you feel that there is a threat of not seeing the grandchildren if you "cross" her. You may have to call her bluff. If she's going to use her kids as pawns then you need to accept that there is always the chance that she will keep them from you, at any time or for any reason, and decide if you will live the next 10+ years with her calling the shots; or if you will stand up to her knowing that you may be denied access to your grandkids for awhile.

"We are rather proud of her for sticking with her fiancee for 12 years even though he stepped out on her a few times and left her to marry the bartender he got pregnant."

That comment really got my attention. Please explain to me what there is to be proud about in this situation? Truly, I don't understand. I don't see how its a good thing to stay with somebody who treats her so poorly, even impregnating and marrying another woman. By staying involved/renewing the involvement wasn't she just enabling him to continue to treat her poorly and reinforcing that such treatment was acceptable? Then that leads into your current situation. By accepting her behavior you are enabling her and reinforcing that its okay to treat you and your home like that. 

Waiting out a storm is one thing but unless you have a solid reason to think that the situation will change soon on its own, you'd better venture into the storm and demand some changes or else in 6 months you will be venting about the same problems and be more angry and resentful, and still lose the grandkids. Hopefully by now she either recognizes that she needs your help with her kids or she recognizes that it would hurt them too, and she won't resort to such action. There's only one way to find out.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-12-2011
Fri, 11-30-2012 - 6:13pm

I'll give you an example of my sister. Her daughter moved into one of my sister's rental properties when she moved back to town after having been evicted from their apt. My sister was just about to re-rent her vacant when her daughter asked if she could stay there for 6 months until they got jobs and got on their feet. It is now 12 years later and her daugher is still in her property. My answer to how long is too long is...only you can determine how long is too long.  My niece also trys to play the keep the grandkids away card when my sister demands she pay her rent . But my niece always comes crawling back because she always needs my sister to babysit or a loan or something. So the reality is usually they don't stay away for long because they are too needy and need the parents. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2004
Tue, 12-18-2012 - 10:02am

I'm truly confused...I know I'm not privy to the whole story, but you said a couple of things that have me scratching my head! 

You stated:  We are rather proud of her for sticking with her fiancee for 12 years even though he stepped out on her a few times and left her to marry the bartender he got pregnant.

I'm having a VERY hard time undestanding why you are proud of her for sticking with a man who cheated on her, got another woman pregnant and married her?  If he's married to someone else, with a child, how the heck can he be your daughter's fiance?  I'd be ashamed of my daughter if she put up with a guy like that!   Is there something wrong with her that you feel she deserves the shallow end of the gene pool with regards to mates? 

You also stated:  She "is very picky about who she dates"  

Apparently not if she stuck with a cheater for 12 years!  

Third, you said:  I would try to get her to pay rent, but I know she will blow up.

My thought is...AND...???  So what if she blows up?  Will the world come to an end?  Will the sky fall?  It's very convenient for her to have you so afraid of expecting her to behave like an adult that ou won't have a conversation with her about your expectations because she'll "blow up".  She sounds like she's got mom-manipulation down to an art form.  I recommend you see a counselor to help you develop realistic boundaries and expectations and how to implement them.  Otherwise, you're going to be very unhappy and living under a whole lot of stress for a very long time, walking on eggshells to avoid a blow up.

And finally, you stated:  There won't be a father of her next kids, as she is not planning on having any.

Come on now, know very well that such well-laid plans can change on a dime when the next guy says "but I love you, honey and together we'll make such beautiful babies!" 

I have grown children and there have been times I've wanted to throttle them.  I have bent over backwards at times to the point of being a doormat.  BUT, I have learned that my being a doormat doesn't make my children stronger or wiser or more responsible.  When I STOPPED being a doormat, stopped making excuses for bad decisions and started recognizing I had a right (and responsibility) to not put up with misbehavior, my children DID grow up, became responsible and now show me a great deal of respect.  AND, they chose to leave bad situations and start making better decisions because it made THEIR lives better.  Molly-coddling and being afraid of their next blow up or their never speaking to us again is NOT good parenting!  I tell you to toughen up and stop being a push-over because I've been there/done that and I know you don't really want things like they are.  Good luck!


This whole thing sounds VERY dysfunctional and about way more than whether she pays her way or not.  I must be missing something in your story.