Dear Grandparenting: I don’t have to tell you how expensive decent housing has become. Two of my grown children moved back in after the housing bubble burst in 2008. This old house has five bedrooms so that was no problem.
But then my grown grandchildren decided they couldn’t afford to rent anymore and needed a place to stay. So guess what? Their parents, who happen live under my roof, talked me into letting my 19-year-old granddaughter and my 27-year-old grandson move in next.
At the time, I figured it was temporary and I had two spare bedrooms besides. That was 16 months ago and they are still here. Worst of all, nobody is very happy about the situation, least of all me.
My grandchildren are getting on my nerves. They live rent-free and don’t pitch in without being asked. They are either too loud or too secretive. I already fixed up my guest bathroom for their parents that the grandchildren use now. Everyone drops hints we need another bathroom. Guess who pays?
It’s not just grandchildren but their boyfriends and girlfriends and other noisy friends. We’re all so cozy that I found what looks like a sex toy in the laundry basket. Life is more stressful and more expensive. I didn’t sign up to run a commune. I feel stuck and I am starting to resent it. Can you blame me? Jay, Spring Ridge, PA
Dear Jay: For the first time in more than a dozen decades, young adult grandchildren are more likely to be living at home than with a romantic partner.
Not that long ago they headed for the exits around the end of their teenage years, but economic uncertainties, student debt and the trend toward delayed marriage have driven adult children back home at record numbers.
That’s stressful enough for parents, but exerts greater pressure on grandparents whose abode serves as home to extended family. Accommodating different intergenerational wants and needs is an ongoing issue.
Like many grandparents, your generosity became your predicament. It comes down to how grandchildren live when they live at home. The least your grandchildren should expect is to show you something, starting with assuming their share of household chores and demonstrating they are making headway toward becoming independent adults. Otherwise, you may find yourself subsidizing their continued arrested development.
GRAND REMARK OF THE WEEK
Pat Anderson, of Sidney, reports that her grandchildren “have my number.”
They “know the two magic words to get whatever they want,” says Pam. “All they have to say is ‘Please’ and ‘Grandma’ and their wish is my command.”
Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.