minoanmiss: Theran girl gathering saffron (Saffron-Gatherer)
[personal profile] minoanmiss
My mother recently remarried, and her new husband has a young daughter. My stepsister spends most of her time with her mother, but she spends some weekends and holidays with her dad and my mom. My mother was a decent parent (I’m 22), but she has always been self-involved and insensitive. Whenever I spend time with her and my stepsister, I notice my mom acting in ways that were hurtful to me as a child. I feel I have some responsibility to protect this kid, but when I broach the topic, my mother gets very upset. Should I back off and commiserate with my stepsister when she’s old enough? Or is there a way to talk about this to my mom that will let me help the child in a more immediate way? Name Withheld


Have you made it clear that what you are saying is based in your own experience? If you’ve already done so and she hasn’t changed her behavior, I’m not sure it’s worth insisting. Take consolation in the fact that your stepsister spends less time with your mother than you did (and has her own mother as well), and that you’ll be around to talk it through with her later.
cereta: Claudia Donovan in goggles (Claudia)
[personal profile] cereta
DEAR ABBY: At 26, I am about to move in with my girlfriend, "Candace." I love her so much, and I'm confident she's the one I want to marry. Candace has her 4-year-old daughter, "Michelle," with her most of the time we are together.

I'm confident that moving in together is the right decision, but living with Michelle makes me nervous. Although Michelle is smart and well-behaved, like most kids, she can be bratty and demand a lot of attention from Candace and me.

Candace has the utmost patience with Michelle, and I trust her ability as a parent. What I'm worried about is my own level of patience. I don't want kids anytime soon, and I get annoyed with Michelle a little too easily. What steps can I take to assure longevity in this relationship? -- YOUNG STEPPARENT

DEAR YOUNG STEPPARENT: Feeling as you do, I am not at all sure you should move in together. I'm surprised that a man who doesn't want kids anytime soon is so eager to enter into a living situation where that very thing is guaranteed. Before changing your living arrangements, consider signing up for parenting classes. They may not only give you insight into what to expect, but also how to handle situations that may arise.
amadi: A bouquet of dark purple roses (Default)
[personal profile] amadi
Dear Amy: My wife's daughter (age 26) has lived with us for the past five years. She pays rent of $400, including everything. Her boyfriend of three years also lives with his parents, but he pays them no rent. They party every weekend, and then she stays the weekend at her boyfriend's parents house.

I added tougher rules at our house in hopes they would get a place of their own. It hasn't happened. We don't allow him to spend the night here and we insist that when we go to bed, he must go home. He bought her a "promise ring," I believe to keep her from nagging about their next step.

I love my stepdaughter, but as a parent I feel we need to give her a bigger push to move out and become self-sufficient. She talks about staying here until her school loan is paid off, but at the rate she's paying, it would be a decade before that happens.

I seriously believe her boyfriend has no intention of ever moving from his parents' house. It seems so strange to me that they don't seem to want a place of their own. I try and encourage our daughter to save money so that they could buy a house, but each time I bring it up, she gets defensive.

Any suggestions?

— Frustrated in Portland, OR

Dear Frustrated: The last thing you should do is encourage your stepdaughter to cohabit with her boyfriend. Nor should you point her/them toward buying a house. Her boyfriend sounds completely dependent on his parents, and you can assume that he will remain so.

These two are not candidates for cohabitation or homeownership.

The way to put the squeeze on your renter is to gradually increase her rent until she is paying roughly market value. Then it will be obvious that she can afford to live elsewhere. You can discuss this with her as a family, helping her to set goals and a timeline, and then you should start the clock running. Depending on where you live, she might be able to afford to rent a room in a group house. This would be a good option for her; it would get her further out in the world and might provide an incentive to work more, party less and get on with her (own) life. I assume she would prefer this to you and her mother controlling her romantic choices in your home.

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