DEAR ABBY: Our 24-year-old grandson “Raffy,” a college grad from a respected technical institution, couldn’t find a job for a year after graduation. He has been living with us for more than six months without paying rent because we wanted to help him get on his feet. Currently, his only responsibility is helping somewhat after dinner. He now has a good job.
I should mention that Raffy tends to be narcissistic. He frequently wears his baseball hat to meals, even though I have asked him not to. He can also be difficult to deal with, attacking me when there’s a difference of opinion or if he’s angry about something.
We live in a three-bedroom condo. What rules are legitimate for me to require? Can I ask him to keep his room straight and take his hat off at meals or when going out for dinner? How much room and board should we ask for?
We have frequent guests — family, our friends, his friends — because we live close to the beach in Florida. Space gets to be a big issue, and he refuses to allow visiting cousins to sleep in his room, even though there are two double beds. I welcome your input, Abby.
— OUT OF CONTROL
DEAR OUT OF CONTROL: You seem to have forgotten that the condo Raffy lives in belongs to you. Because it is your home, and he has been living rent-free, you should be making the rules.
It’s time to sit him down and tell him together that if he wants to continue living there, he will:
1. Keep his room neat at all times.
2. Remove his hat during the meals he shares with you.
3. Allow the visiting cousins to use the extra bed in “his” room — which is really your guest room.
4. I hesitate to suggest you ask him for money because if you turn the arrangement into a business deal, you may lose leverage.
But I do think you should set a deadline for your gainfully employed (but difficult) grandson to leave. With the money he has been socking away on rent, he should be able to accumulate enough to afford a place of his own.
DEAR ABBY:As kids, we were taught not to kiss on the mouth (unless a spouse or romantic partner). We never kissed our children on the mouth and felt disgusted when we witnessed it.
We see it happen all the time now, especially on TV. It never happened in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Is my family wrong?
— HOLDING BACK IN HAMILTON, OHIO
DEAR HOLDING BACK: It’s a matter of personal preference and upbringing. Giving a family member a peck on the lips is neither right nor wrong, and I have certainly never considered a parent or sibling showing affection in this way to be shocking or disgusting. Readers, what do you think?
DEAR ABBY is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.