Teens do best with rules in which they have input
My daughter, 18, and son, 13, have lived in my partner’s home with us for two years (third relationship for both).
We all mostly get along. His children, ages 23 and 21, live with their mother. My children show respect to my partner and vice versa. Their father is active in their lives, so there’s no need for a second “Dad.”
He’s says it’s “our” home — not overly warm and fuzzy, but he tries.
About house rules: We’re both in our 50s, and own our own catering business, so constantly cleaning, cooking, etc. When we get home, we want a clean house.
My daughter constantly leaves her shoes at the front door (instead of downstairs), leaves her dishes on the counter and her camera all over.
She says our rules are dumb, that we sometimes leave things out when we come home after an 18-hour day, so she can do it, too.
I say these are our rules and you follow them regardless of what we do. Am I doing the right thing by telling her that? Am I doing the wrong thing by sometimes leaving things out? Which Rules Are Right?
You’ve brought your children through several dramatic changes. Two years is still early for major transitions like sharing a new home with your partner.
Teenagers do best with rules in which they have some input.
Shoes cluttering the front entrance are an annoyance but there are some (not total) solutions. Offer suggestions (e.g. a shoe rack) and ask what she thinks can work.
Discuss the plates: Can she put her cleared dishes in the sink leaving the counter clean, and wash them later? Can you set the example by not leaving things out?
End the standoff of “my rules, or . . .” Or what? Are you trying to push her out? (That may be the message she’s getting or fears.) Recently, on the one-year anniversary of my mother-in-law’s death, my father-in-law travelled with a lady while all the family paid their respects at the mausoleum.
He’s since moved into a shared home with this woman.
We recently received a text inviting his grown children to their new home, and saying her grown children would be present.
We politely declined. My husband told his father that he’d prefer visiting him and his new girlfriend without her grown children around.
My husband later said he’d visit, if his other siblings joined.
However, his older brother is distanced from their father, for having missed the grandson’s two birthdays and not visited the new baby. My late mother-in-law had kept him in touch with everyone.
My father-in-law only moved in with this lady because he won’t cook, clean or pay bills on his own. He would have found someone eventually, but the way he’s handled this situation is appalling. My husband says he wouldn’t care if his father “just went away.”
I feel badly that he could miss out on a relationship with his father, but he’s not making it easy. What’s My Role?
Learn from your late mother-inlaw: Don’t perform your husband’s responsibilities for him.
It’s his father and he needs to decide what he can and cannot handle in this new situation.
You can still be a compassionate partner. Talking things out together can help him clear his mind.
Has he ever had a meaningful relationship with his father? What does he want his own role model to be regarding father-child relationships?
Listen. Don’t solve.
For kids, two years is still early for major transitions like sharing a new home with your partner
Tip of the day When the family situation changes dramatically, make sure “house rules” are workable, and not threats. Read Ellie Monday to Saturday. Email email@example.com or visit her website, ellieadvice.com. Follow @ellieadvice.