Q. My 22-year-old daughter has moved back home after graduating from college. She has a job. Recently she let me know that I am not being respectful to her.
Every weekend she takes off for parts unknown (to me), with people also largely unknown (to me).
I text her in the morning and evening, just to check in.
She is highly offended by this, calling me intrusive. She says I am not treating her like an adult.
She has said that until she can move out, I am forbidden to ask her where she’s going and who she is with.
I get it, Amy. I need to stay in my lane. This is an adjustment for me as well.
I recently retired after more than 30 years of teaching. I too am trying to adjust to my new normal.
I do not want to chase her away, and I will not pay rent on an apartment for her.
My husband avoids conflict and supports our daughter’s side.
I’m asking for some advice on how to save our relationship before it is ruined.
A. You might be acting like a slightly overprotective parent, but your daughter is acting like a typical adolescent.
You should stop walking on eggshells. The two of you should communicate about your mutual expectations. Your daughter wants to be treated like an adult, so she should start behaving like one.
In my household, if one of our young adults is living with us (there are five and they have each landed at home for varied durations), they know they are expected to provide a basic outline of where they are (for instance, in town, versus at Lollapalooza — and a time frame of when they will be home. This is mainly for security reasons (for assurances they are safe), but it is also simply polite to let the homeowner know what time someone might be entering the house.
No, you should not demand or even expect your daughter to tell you who she is with. Nor should you expect her to report her precise movements.
Most importantly, she should respond promptly when you text or call. If she has been out for the night and you text her in the morning to say, “I’m just checking in — are you good?” She should answer you politely.
Your daughter should understand that you worry when you don’t know where she is, or when you haven’t heard from her. And if she doesn’t like the reasonable terms and expectations of living at home, then she has an adult option: Move out. This might be best for both of you.
Q. I’ve been married to my husband for a year. We’ve recently had a baby.
Our son is now 5 months old, and my husband’s parents haven’t bothered to come see him.
This really bothers me, but every time I speak up and ask my husband about it, he says he doesn’t care and that it doesn’t bother him.
They live less than 30 minutes away.
What are your thoughts on this?
A. Now that your son is entering the truly adorable stage of babyhood, it is natural for you to want to show him off and share him with family members.
The fact that your husband claims that this doesn’t bother him is a clue to the relationship he has with his folks. Perhaps he doesn’t have enough of a relationship with them to feel comfortable involving or expecting them to be active grandparents. He might actually feel that it would be best to maintain a distance from them.
I agree with you that your in-laws’ lack of enthusiasm is unfortunate, but you could also try to start the ball rolling by being more proactive.
Are they waiting for an invitation to meet their grandchild?
Understand this: No matter what is causing this disinterest on their part, it reveals a lack of generosity and graciousness toward you, and a sad shortage of enthusiasm toward your child. Don’t set yourself up to expect much different from them as your child grows.
Q. You were much too hard on “Wrinkle Free and Upset,” the aging woman who had spent thousands on plastic surgery to look younger, but who still felt judged by men.
Instead of criticizing her, why didn’t you call out our ageist and sexist society?
A. I felt this woman was actually contributing to our ageist society by refusing to own her age proudly.