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Berkeley Parents Network > Advice > Teens, Preteens, & Young Adults > Boyfriend/Girlfriend Moving In
My son's girlfriend has moved in recently due to living circumstances outside her control. They are both nearly 18ys-my son graduated this year and she dropped out. I suspect she has a lot of issues due to a chaotic childhood though she is sweet. My issue is she talks a lot about getting her GED or going to the J.C. or getting a job but she isn't actually doing anything (my son is working). She stays up late on the computer and sleeps until 2 or 3pm. My husband and I want to lay down some rules but we don't know how to go about it- she is neither family nor guest and so we feel awkward laying down rules. Any advice? concerned mom
It is very complicated, to be parenting someone who is having a relationship with your own child. But I think if I had it to do over, I would have regarded her as a child rather than a boarder right from the start. Best of luck to you in figuring it out. Been there
Having reasonable structure will make everyone happier and healthier in the long run even if there is a transition period in the short run.
Make a list of what you would like to see changing and then rewrite it the next day and prioritize what is most important. 1, 2, 3, 4 Have a short family meeting when everyone is there - no longer than 30 minutes and find out what they need and get some commitments - make a wall chart. Don't stress if you don't have 100% some improvement is better than none. People may do the tasks and not update the chart, in my mind that is OK too, the chart is a tool not the final result.
If it is more about behaviors and keeping schedules that can be listed too.
You may need to reach and get to know this girl - or second woman of the house. That may be hard to swallow but there it is.
Rewards are a lot better than harsh words or fits. Compliments, thank yous, special weekend family breakfasts, or a homemade desserts are great. If you want more help with chores, you may need to widen your standards, or be willing to be a patient teacher. I have not found two people in my experience who do household tasks exactly the same. If her life was chaotic as you say this may be a very new experience for her, almost anything you say or do about it may be a source for embarrassment that you are not intending. So proceed with sensitivity but do proceed. Best wishes.
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