Most of us would do whatever it takes to help out our family, especially when it comes to our children and grandchildren, but what happens when your adult children take advantage of your well-meaning offer and you find yourself feeling “trapped” in your own home.
One grandmother found herself in a tough situation after inviting her daughter, and young granddaughter, to live with her after a series of failed relationships left the mother of one struggling to get by on her single low income.
But now, the worried gran is regretting her decision and while she admits she would never turn her eight-year-old grandchild out, she does wish she could tell her daughter, 36, to “paddle her own canoe”.
“I am approaching retirement age, but feel I can’t actually retire, as it will mean selling my house and finding something smaller that I could afford,” the woman wrote to The Denver Post’s Ask Amy advice column.
“While I would be OK with telling my daughter that she needs to paddle her own canoe, I’m reluctant to abandon my granddaughter,” she added. “I’ve suggested, begged and hinted that my daughter get some counselling.”
The concerned gran also added that her daughter drinks heavily and relies on her to provide free childcare, while paying very little attention to her own daughter.
Adding that she often struggles to meet the monthly rent due to the low wage she earns through running her own business.
She wrote: “My daughter has a small business which brings in barely enough income for her to survive; it would be difficult if not nearly impossible, for her to get her own place.
“My daughter seems to get involved in one bad relationship after another, pays minimal attention to her child, drinks excessively, relies on me for childcare, rarely helps around the house and frequently cannot give me the agreed-upon rent of US$300 (AU$413) a month.”
Replying to the frank letter, agony aunt Amy Dickinson advised the worried gran to “force” her daughter towards change, starting with her alcohol consumption.
“You cannot even begin to get out from under this until you get some professional and therapeutic coaching about how to stop enabling your daughter without abandoning your granddaughter,” the reply reads.
“Suggestions, hints and begging are not going to cut it. You have to create and maintain enough pressure and workable consequences to try to force your daughter toward change.
“You also need to fully absorb the very real possibility that your daughter will not change. Will you try to force her out of your home? This might be a challenge, certainly if she refuses to go.”
She also suggested attending some support groups for friends and family members, either with her daughter on on her own.