Life Advice



Ask Amy: A demanding gram wants to lay down the law

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: When our son visits us with his teenage daughter, she totally trashes her room during her stay.

As the grandmother and host, can I demand that she keep her room in some semblance of order?

– Demanding Gram

Dear Gram: It’s your home, and you can issue demands with abandon.

But your son should work with his daughter to teach her how to be a better guest.

For now, I suggest that you approach this more like a grandmother and less like a drill sergeant.


First, this caveat. I don’t know if you have raised any daughters, but teenage girls are notoriously messy. (I’m having flashbacks just thinking about it.) Some tolerance and grandmotherly indulgence is called for.

Handle this with clarity and humor. Tell the teen, “This is your room while you’re here, and I want you to feel cozy, comfortable and at home. But it’s my room the rest of the time, so can you do me a favor and keep it tidier? I love looking in and seeing you in this space. But I don’t want my head to explode. Imagine the mess!” Ask her to follow one or two easy-to-follow rules, such as “no food in your room,” or “no wet towels on the floor.”

Make sure there are some photos of her in the room. This (and other decorative touches) might inspire her to respect the space a little more.

You could also teach her some basic life skills while she is with you. If she is with you for more than a week, ask her to help you to change her bed, launder the linens, and remake it.


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