Dear reality chick, my daughter is frequently bugging me about her boyfriend staying over. They are both now 16 and have left school and have been going out since they were 13. However I am now a bit uncertain about the boyfriend as he is showing signs of being jealous, his behaviour is controlling, plus he is eating us out of house and home and making no financial or domestic contribution. He really is free loading.
If I try to broach this subject with my daughter she just gets stroppy so I think this sleeping over is just asking way to much and its really starting to get me down. Help! Suzie
Maybe if your daughter’s guy was Boyfriend of the Year material, you’d give her a bit more leeway on the sleepovers, but given he’s using your home like a hotel, it’s time to set boundaries. She’s still your daughter, living under your roof and that should mean living by your rules, regardless of how long they’ve been dating – or how entitled he feels to raid the pantry whenever he gets peckish.
Short of padlocking the kitchen, your best option is to hit the guy where it hurts – in the hip pocket. You say they’ve both left school. Are they working? If so, it’s time to ask your daughter to pay board, and her boyfriend to pay a contribution towards meals. It doesn’t have to be a huge amount – you can negotiate according to what they can afford – but I’d make that essential. Tell them times are tight and everyone has to contribute. Handing over a slice of their income will help you out and give them a bit of insight into what it’ll be like when they have to pay their own rent and bills. You might want to sweeten the deal by agreeing to sleepovers a certain number of nights per week, but that’s up to you. As for domestic contributions, set up a roster and tell them their ‘contributions’ will rise if jobs aren’t done.
Now, to the issue of the boyfriend being jealous and controlling. I’d think carefully before approaching your daughter with your concerns. You may hope for a rational discussion, but it’ll more likely spiral into a screaming, door-slamming hissy fit. Frustrating as it is playing the waiting game, all you can hope for is that their relationship will run its course, she’ll eventually ‘outgrow’ him, or she’ll realise she doesn’t want to be with someone who tries to control her. As her mum, make it clear you love her and you’re there for her anytime she wants to talk.
Love, reality chick