Dear Dr. Archer,
I have three daughters, one married and two with children. I have been divorced for about 10 years and raised them on my own. The problem is I live with one of my daughters, her baby and her baby daddy. I live there so one of my daughters and her baby could move in with her twin -- she was getting evicted and needed a place to go.
My problem is that they are always arguing and this has caused much tension in the family. The one with the baby is always yelling and throwing things; her married twin seems to take the brunt of things, and now she and her husband are expecting.
Can you please offer some advice on how to cope with our current living situation so everyone can get along? I'm worried about another baby being brought into this situation, and I'm not financially stable enough to move them to separate places.
I had to uproot my life in order to help everyone, and it seems to have backfired. Please help me, because I don't know what to do.
First, let's correct your statement. I realize you're doing what you think is best for your daughters, but you chose to uproot your life to help everyone. If your daughters are old enough to decide to bring children into the world, then they should be old enough to take care of themselves and their problems.
That said, multiple families are moving into single family homes at an alarming rate due to the uncertainty of the economy and loss of jobs. Children aren't leaving home and grandparents are taking care of their grandchildren.
OK, my advice: If your daughters, their children and their significant others want to live with you, then rules need to be established and agreed to by all. Someone can't follow the rules? Fine, she's free to leave.
There are impressionable little children present, and one on the way, amongst much arguing. This is no way to live, Dawn, and you know it. This could be such a great opportunity for everyone to work together and bond; it could actually make everyone closer, but everyone has to work towards that goal. Read more in Why Doesn't My Sister Like Me?
Make it clear that everyone must contribute to the betterment of the home, everyone must get along and everyone must be respectful of others -- or they'll have to find another place to live.
Plain and simple, Dawn, if they want to be treated like adults, they must act like adults, and it sounds like they're all acting like children. Start implementing The Family Dinner each evening, and remember, this is a time for everyone to catch up with each other in a friendly way. No arguing! You want a nice meal, not indigestion.
If they still can't get along and you find yourself in this hornet's nest of arguing and yelling, I suggest you find your own place again and take care of YOU. Yes, I know that sounds selfish, but you say yourself that what you are doing now is not working.
There is only so much you can do here and if no one else is on board then it’s time to go. You can still help out from a distance if you wish. I truly wish you much luck.