Life Advice


Health & Spirit

Daughter and son-in-law refuse to fly the coop

Carolyn Hax on

Dear Carolyn:

I allowed my daughter and her now-husband to continue to live with me after they got married a few months ago, in hopes that they would fly the coop soon so I can finally have an empty nest. They are both 21. They both work retail and go to school. I know they would very much like to live on their own but rents here in the Bay Area are insane. They cannot afford to even rent a studio on their salary. I don't want to be their financial support system just to get them out, but I don't see any other solutions.

If they would just respect me and my home I wouldn't feel this way, but they are total slobs and refuse to clean up after themselves. I'm tired of coming home to my house smelling like weed. My complaining does no good. They just don't care how I feel and they know it would not be easy for me to throw them out legally. I'm frustrated and don't know what to do.

-- A Seriously Exhausted Momma Bird

So Bay Area rents mean it would be easier for them to stop smoking weed in Mommy's house than it would be for them to find shelter when you evict them.

This is the salient point here, the one that gives you much more leverage than you think you have.

Your point about the legal hurdle also isn't as germane as you think it is.

It is interesting, I'll give it that; obviously the process is complicated emotionally, but I hadn't known the practical terms of throwing out an adult child could involve more than changing the locks.

Still -- that's only if said child chooses to make it so, right, by fighting you on a request that she move out? And isn't that a much bigger problem than their mess? That your daughter would take you to court to defend her right to treat you like dirt?

Let's have a collective "wow" for that, whether she's actually capable of it or you just believe she is.


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