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I am the step parent of a 22 year old young lady, we will call Denise. I have known her since she was 1 year old. Her mother and I have been together for 21 years. She has an 18 month old little girl and she is not married. When she got pregnant, she got her own apartment, just next door to her mother and I. The father of the baby is not in the picture. Denise is a hard worker and does not party. I have grown close with her baby. She calls me Grandpa. Because Denise has to work many hours, in order to pay for her rent, her Mother and I are practically raising the baby. Anyway, we think Denise needs to spend more time with the baby and we also need a break. We are thinking about letting her move back in with us. Do you think that would be a good idea. I would charge her rent so that she continues to learn to be a responsible person. And I told her there would be rules. There is just something that scares me about letting that happen. Her mother and I have been doing very well and are happy with our Independence since she has moved out. Thank you.


Mark Viator Replied: While this situation could have some potential for trouble, this could also be a "win/win" situation. It sounds like Denise is trying to make an honest effort to be independent as well as juggle being a single parent. Since this is the case, I think that offering to her a chance to get established, as well as spend more quality time with her child is appropriate. I do think you are on the right track with setting some ground rules. First, you and your wife should discuss what these rules should be. Since you are enjoying your indpendence now, discuss between yourselves how much you are willing to give up. Make a list of these rules, and then discuss them with Denise. Be flexible, but be firm. Also, set a time frame for her living with you. Let her know that this is not "forever." Set a goal for her to be able to move back out within a reasonable time frame. Stick to the rules and to the time frame. Also, this may be the opportunity for Denise to seek some ways to better her situation. Perhaps, she could use this time to further her education, so she could get a better job. I think that you and your wife should feel good about doing this. Not only is it helping your daughter, but also giving your granddaughter a chance to have a better mom. Good Luck.
Posted On 2007-11-05 09:42:54
Jim Taylor, Ph.D. Replied: There is no clear-cut right or wrong answer to your question. Let me start by saying that I respect the love and support you're providing to your stepdaughter and her child. It is admirable and says a great deal about your values and your priorities. Whatever decision you make should be well thought out and take into consideration everyone involved. You should also take into account not only the present situation, but also its ramifications for the future. You and your wife should have serious discussions about how inviting your stepdaughter back into your home will affect your lives and relationship. There must be consensus between you and your wife and no possibility of remorse or resentment. In addition to the rent she would pay you and the rules that you would establish, there must be an expected "move-out" date and, more importantly, a plan for how your stepdaughter will support her child independently in the future. For example, should she continue her education so she can get a better-paying job. Without such expectations and planning, you run the risk of her being unable to improve her lot in life and end up having her stay indefinitely--a burden that I'm sure you don't want to have to carry.. There's no doubt that your heart is in the right place, but you don't want to go down a road that has no exits.
Posted On 2007-10-02 17:31:11
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