Dear Abby: Grandson living rent-free pushes grandparents' buttons
Dear Abby

Dear Abby: Grandson living rent-free pushes grandparents' buttons


DEAR ABBY: Our 24-year-old grandson "Raffy," a college grad from a respected technical institution, couldn't find a job for a year after graduation. He has been living with us for more than six months without paying rent because we wanted to help him get on his feet. Currently, his only responsibility is helping somewhat after dinner. He now has a good job.

I should mention that Raffy tends to be narcissistic. He frequently wears his baseball hat to meals, even though I have asked him not to. He can also be difficult to deal with, attacking me when there's a difference of opinion or if he's angry about something.

We live in a three-bedroom condo. What rules are legitimate for me to require? Can I ask him to keep his room straight and take his hat off at meals or when going out for dinner? How much room and board should we ask for?

We have frequent guests -- family, our friends, his friends -- because we live close to the beach in Florida. Space gets to be a big issue, and he refuses to allow visiting cousins to sleep in his room, even though there are two double beds. I welcome your input, Abby. -- OUT OF CONTROL IN FLORIDA

DEAR OUT OF CONTROL: You seem to have forgotten that the condo Raffy lives in belongs to you. Because it is your home, and he has been living rent-free, you should be making the rules. It's time to sit him down and tell him together that if he wants to continue living there, he will:

1. Keep his room neat at all times.

2. Remove his hat during the meals he shares with you.

3. Allow the visiting cousins to use the extra bed in "his" room -- which is really your guest room.

4. I hesitate to suggest you ask him for money because if you turn the arrangement into a business deal, you may lose leverage. But I do think you should set a deadline for your gainfully employed (but difficult) grandson to leave. With the money he has been socking away on rent, he should be able to accumulate enough to afford a place of his own.

DEAR ABBY: As kids, we were taught not to kiss on the mouth (unless a spouse or romantic partner). We never kissed our children on the mouth and felt disgusted when we witnessed it.

We see it happen all the time now, especially on TV. It never happened in the '50s and '60s. Is my family wrong? -- HOLDING BACK IN HAMILTON, OHIO

DEAR HOLDING BACK: It's a matter of personal preference and upbringing. Giving a family member a peck on the lips is neither right nor wrong, and I have certainly never considered a parent or sibling showing affection in this way to be shocking or disgusting. Readers, what do you think?


Be the first to know

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

DEAR ABBY: I have never been in love before, and I have just learned the man I'm seeing is a former felon. It was nothing having to do with sexual violence or killing anyone. I'm afraid if my family finds out, they will judge him. He works seven days a week and lives in a shelter because most places don't want to rent to felons. He treats me good and takes me out for dinners.

DEAR ABBY: I've got a new one for you. My beautiful 16-year-old daughter was interested in a boy her age from school. He was interested in her, too. He told her he wanted to date her, but that he is "polyamorous" and would be dating many girls simultaneously. She told him he's too young to know what he is yet, and he was just using it as an excuse to date multiple girls, and she wasn't interested.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have an elderly (90-plus) aunt who lives with her son in a town about four hours away. She corresponds by letter with us regularly, and we always write back. However, it has become apparent that she's not receiving our letters because she doesn't make any comments on any of the things we write to tell her about. We suspect that her son is withholding her mail because we have written to him in the past to express our displeasure about how he treats his mother's emotional and safety needs.

DEAR ABBY: I paid $5,000 for a seven-day cruise with my grandkids. All I asked was for them to pack a carry-on and a backpack. My granddaughter and son are having a problem with it. I tried explaining that I'm handicapped and do not want to check a large bag for her because it's a convenience issue. There's laundry service onboard the ship..

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alerts

Breaking News