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Who should set boundaries with adult kids

Brentwood's picture

After my husband and I married we moved to a new home. I did not want to live in the home where he raised his now adult children ( 29 yr old and 35 yr old).; my husband agreed that this was the best plan as well. They ruled the roost in the home they grew up in  ( even after moving out)and I naively thought that  this would not be repeated in our new home.
When they come to our home  it is not uncommon for them to invite friends over to socialize  with without ever asking if that is ok with us. Today this happened again- they visited for a few hours , enjoyed snacks and drinks we provided , were not interested in me trying to join the conversation ( I attempted!). After they finally left I told my husband that I don't like that they continue to invite friends to our home without asking if it's ok. My husband said he has no problem with it and if I don't like it I need to tell his daughters.  I think he should do it not me- I think me saying anything will backfire.


caninelover's picture

But if he doesn't you should and he should back you up WHEN they run and complain to him.

It's your house, not a bar to meet up with their friends.

Rags's picture

and who does not want the  manipulative Skidult behavioral bullshit.

I agree with both you and DH.  He needs to do it, and if he does not, you need to do it.  It would of course be better if you were side by side providing the message together.  If we are visiting my parents and one of our friends wants to visit, you can be damned sure that I ask first and ask at least a day in advance.  We never do this with my DW's or our friends in her home town when we are visiting her family.  In fact, we do not stay with them. We stay in a hotel and if we are hosting we rent a large conference room.  My DW would be mortified for friends to see how my IL's live.

Rumplestiltskin's picture

I agree that it should come from your husband. Having you say it sets you up to be the bad guy. If they get mad at him, he will always be their dad and they will get over it. If they get mad at you, if could drag on and poor (timid or lazy?) DH will be "stuck in the middle!" So it doesn't bother him? Well, it bothers you, and it's your home too. So, if he is too afraid or doesn't want to be bothered with it, you should say something. 

Winterglow's picture

Next time they turn up at the door, tell them that you're not holding open house today and to call before they come over next time to check it's convenient. Then shut the door. If they have a key, change the locks. It's one thing them coming to visit, it's quite another bringing a squad with them to take over the house. This is your home, take it back!

hereiam's picture

Why did your husband agree that moving from the home they grew up in was the best plan, if he was just going to let them continue to rule the roost in the new home, and not set any boundaries?

I guess if he won't do it, you will have to. Let's face it, even if he said something to them, he's going to throw you under the bus and you will be the bad guy.

The fact that he doesn't mind that they are so disrespectful just shows that he raised them that way.

shamds's picture

A right to privacy away from strangers. Never are skids allowed to have friends sleep over. 
my husband wants us and our kids to relax and be comfortable, if skids invite friends for sleepovers expectations is i cater to them (not my bloody job!!) so only once did ss have a college friend come over to "study" which involved them sitting at the sofa looking on their phones web surfing and playing games all friggin day long. 

Stepdrama2020's picture

Your DH is a COWARD. Period.

Sounds like he wants you to be known as the bad guy. He knows they ignore you, as you said they dont converse with you. He knows they dont respect you. He is the good guy to them, but he isnt to you.

Yes he should tell them as he knows they dont like you. BUT he wont, gotta stay in the skids good graces. Thats far more important than staying in yours.

Does he just sit there and watch them be rude to you. ? 



Hesitant to try's picture

DH should do it! But if he won't, I think you should do it yourself AND THEN remind DH what being a good husband looks like. He should prioritize your happiness. If this is important to you, he should take care of it or do it with you as a couple. Does he generally disregard what's important to you? 

CLove's picture

Have your back in all things, especially this.

DH: "children of mine, I need to let you know that if youd like to visit with us, you will need to schedule the day ahead of time, and also, please do not bring extra folks, this is our time to hang out together. Also I noticed that you ignored my wife Brentwood last time, and you will need to show her more respect the next time."

If they have keys, re do the locks. 

It is always on the bio parent to create and enforce boundaries with the skids.

If your DH doesnt do this, well, you need to be prepared to rain holy heck on his head and then do this yourself. Be the Queen of your hive!

Brentwood's picture

Thank you very much for your comments  and suggestions -and  I have a strategy that I will confidently implement in advance of the next skid visit based on what I have learned from everyone who responded !


Brentwood's picture

Well the adult skid visit didn't happen until this month  May 2023. In advance of the visit I said to  DH that his 30 year old daughter was welcome but he needed to tell her no friends coming and going while she is here without checking with us first. This is not her house she is a guest.
day one  she arrives and a friend of hers arrives unannounced. Husband says nothing. There was mention between stepdaughter to friend that she should come hang out any time. After the friend left I took the lead and said to step daughter - your friend isn't coming back again tonight right - we need our privacy . Well I don't know who looked more shocked my husband or my step daughter ! Anyways I decided today that why should I do anything for  someone who doesn't have the courtesy to ask if I mind if a friend stops by to visit in my home. So today I let my husband cook the meals and pick up after adult step daughter.  She asked DH where to put her dirty towels and I heard him say "ask me ". When she came to ask me I said it's really up to her Dad as he will be doing the wash for he towels and bed linens when she leaves . I doubt anything will change when she visits next- Should I stand my ground or book a trip away. I feel like I am giving in if I Leave but maybe it is best if I am not here when she is here 

Rumplestiltskin's picture

Your DH is pathetic. You did the right thing. Up to you of you want to leave, but i think that will set the precedent that your house is the "no questions asked" hangout place. My SO's family has been in the habit of just coming in (don't even knock) to his house too. They would also send their kids to SO's house to live for a year or so if the kids and parents didn't get along and they would just party there. SO was the "cool dad/uncle", and he didn't care what went on in his house. He enjoyed the chaos. I am not that way and i told him that. When we move in together, it will be in a new place with new boundaries. I realize that is somewhat of an incompatibility, but if a guy wants to have the hangout house he should stay single or marry a party chick (like the "cool moms" in high school who would drink and with the kids - fun place to visit and party but i wouldn't want to live there.)

Brentwood's picture

thank you for your validation that I did the right thing. The more I think about - now that I have once attempted to set a boundary I think I am better off to remind my husband that I will do it again in the future - going somewhere when she is here next probably isn't a wise move on my part.My husband definitely wants to be the "cool Dad " too !

Winterglow's picture

You should definitely not leave your home when these ignorant, disrespectful people come over. You need to be there to remind them that you are the queen of this particular castle. 

You absolutely should keep giving the message that this is your home, not theirs, and that they will call and ask if they can come over first. If they refuse to do this and just turn up at your door, do not be afraid to tell them that now is not a convenient time and to call first next time. Tell them as often as you need to that their friends are not welcome to come and "hang out" in your home, that it is not a flop house nor a meetup bar and that if they really want to spend time with these friends, they can do it in the comfort of their own homes.

Remind your husband periodically that "a happy wife means a happy life" and that he's married to you, not his kids. Your happiness and comfort should be at the top of his list of priorities, not being the Cool Dad.

Please tell me that these people don't have a key to your home?

Brentwood's picture

Thank you .They don't have keys to our home.  New twist is dh is very angry  that I don't like the friends coming over and that I hate his daughters because I don't like their friends coming and going. He actually said he would rather tell them they are no longer welcome  to stay because of my request for setting the boundary instead of just supporting me and communicating this one boundary to them. He said I am insecure and not understanding because I have no children of my own so have no clue ( said to someone who grew up in a step family herself )

BobbyDazzler's picture

your DH doesn't respect your wishes at all.  That's a whole other problem. It's easy to see why this adult kids are as rude as they are.

Winterglow's picture

He's being ridiculous. You are not insecure and the one who is not being understanding is him. I have two daughters and, trust me, I wouls not be happy if they came traipsing in with friends in tow whenever they felt like it. However, they ask if they want to invite friends and do not stomp on family boundaries. 

His reaction that he'd rathertell them not to come back because you expect them to ASK when they want to come over is puerile to say the least.

hereiam's picture

New twist is dh is very angry  that I don't like the friends coming over and that I hate his daughters because I don't like their friends coming and going.

This is so ridiculous. Who just invites friends over to a home that is not theirs? She does not live there and does not have free reign over your home. What doesn't your husband understand about that?

He is more concerned about being the cool dad to his adult daughter than he is about his wife's comfort and boundaries in her own home.

Now, my husband would not mind my SD bringing a friend over unannounced, HOWEVER, he knows that I would have a problem with it, therefore, it would not be okay.

Rumplestiltskin's picture

I really hate the old "you don't have kids so you don't understand" bullshite. I would counter that with "you don't have stepkids so you don't understand, either!" Even the most indulgent parent would struggle more with someone else's kids. I struggle with SO's kids, and he struggles with mine. With your own kids, you've (hopefully at least) raised them with your values and to have behaviors that you can tolerate. Plus they are your kids and you usually want to see them. That's just how it is. Part of being a decent partner (and all around decent human) is trying to see things from another's point of view and make compromises. Some parents think that by virtue of having bred, their needs and wants are more important than their partner's. ETA having your home open all the time, no questions asked, to the friends of adult kids is just plain ridiculous! 

Cover1W's picture

I've used the response of:

I may not have kids but I'm human being!

That shut him up and he's never said it again.

Shieldmaiden's picture

Ugh! i hate that too, when parents say "Oh, you don't have kids so you don't understand." 

I like to say "Well I have cats that are better behaved than your child, so I guess I must be doing something right."


Winterglow's picture

Umm,no, he's the one who doesn't understand...  basic courtesy. He's the one who doesn't understand that this is your home, his daughters have their own. 

Why don't they hang out with their friends in their own homes?

Brentwood's picture

I don't get it  either - especially since the friend who visited this time lives close by . 

ndc's picture

Ah, the old "you don't have kids so you don't know/ understand/have any say" response from the Divorced Dad Playbook.  Plus a sprinkling of "you hate my kids."  I don't know how they all spout the same stuff - it's like they take a course or something.  I'd probably tell him that it would be unfortunate that he'd choose to not have his daughters over at all rather than impose one simple boundary that allows you to be comfortable in your own home,  but if he chooses to throw out the baby with the bathwater that's up to him.  I'm sure he's just saying that to get you to back down, so call his bluff.  That's probably in the playbook too.

Brentwood's picture

If he says they don't want to stay with us because of this boundary - I am perfectly ok with this and am prepared to say that is certainly their prerogative - they have plenty of friends and relatives that they could stay with instead !

Lillywy00's picture

You DH is being very unhusband-like here. 

You're not obligated to entertain any guests in your home if you don't want to. His kids are included in that. 

None of those kids pay any bills in the house I assume? 

Brentwood's picture

They have plenty of other friends and other relatives they could stay with if they wanted to - but I am not sure they would be waited on as they are by their father at our house , I let DH do all the work picking up after then and waiting on them when they are here - 

BobbyDazzler's picture

If they don't like, they can get out of the house.  If your DH doesn't like it, remind him he is married to YOU, not his children. You DH needs to respect you as well as your incredibly rude stepkids. 

Noway2b1's picture

Keep reiterating your boundaries. It took five, yes five years for my DH and his kids to get it. My DH always had an open door policy which I began gently closing from the time we got engaged. Kids would drop in unannounced all the time, raid his fridge, do laundry, and even invite their friends over to visit and do the same. The youngest (38) has stayed with us for months at a time, especially around the holidays. We moved into our new home and a week and a half later here he comes to do some projects for us. There was no start or end time specified. He was here nearly five months for a few days worth of work. Finally I spoke to DH and asked "So what are YSS plans? Do we have a lodger? Will he pay rent? How much longer will he stay?" DH spoke to him without me there so I really have no idea what the actual conversation was but to his credit YSS apologized to me for overstaying and then high tailed it to his sisters for the next three months, then two months with friends out of the country then back to us from Thanksgiving-mid January. DH didn't bat an eye. This was so normal for him. To DHs credit any time I brought up my concerns such as yss invited other siblings over at 10pm one Sunday night to enjoy our new hot tub with him. I overheard the conversation and wasn't sure it was an immediate invite, so when someone came knocking and DH asked who the heck is that at this hour? I told him who I suspected it was. He met them at the door before yss and told his own kids it was to late and that he has work in the morning so maybe another time. I think they were all so shocked that Another time never happened lol. DH like yours would have had no problem with it were it not for me. 

I persisted in pointing out that it was not healthy for our relationship with them to not respect our home and relationship with each other and them. It's still ongoing but the entitlement has become less and less over the years, but I also have a very good man who listens to my perspective on these things and puts our marriage first. On the plus side he sees my own adult children who do none of those impositions upon us. Yet have a great relationship with both of us.  So it does make a striking contrast. The first time one of his daughters came and did wash while we planned a leisurely morning I told him if he wants Saturday morning cuddling to continue in the future he needed to have a talk with her about texting or calling first, it's not crazy to want that privacy and respect for your relationship. Funny enough she NEVER did wash at his home again, I don't know if it offended her to have to ask or not but whatever princess. This was NOT the family home either but those things helped me begin to set the boundaries before we bought our home together.

Edit to add: I have as many bio kids as DH and none of them act like this or like DHs having kids or not has zero relevance to the fact that they raised entitled human beings, 

Brentwood's picture

I will definitely keep reiterating my boundaries. I appreciate everyone's feedback and  the feedback will help me when I need to do this the next time as I know it will  always need to be me doing so vs DH

Lillywy00's picture

Both of y'all tell them. Ideally he should. 

If he's too scared (and why is he scared of his own kids?) then unfortunately you will have too. 

Id send those ingrate kids AND their friends invoices (treat my home like a hotel or a virtual office lounge you get charged like one) for their mini bar snacks and their lounge space. 

Girl it's YOUR house don't let those kids and their friends run you around. 

Survivingstephell's picture

It generally said that when it comes to setting/disciplining skids, if the bio won't do it, that leaves it to me and if you don't like the way I do it, then you do it.  

That comes into play here.  DH refused to say no so you did it.  You need to make it clear who his wife is, that his marriage is his main priority and that grown a$$ skids are no longer a responsibility ( like they were as kids).  Adult offsprings get treated like all the other adults in your circle.   Sounds like DH is hanging on to his father role to kids and hasn't made the leap to them being adults.   Things change , they are supposed to change.  

OP you are not wrong. Stand up for this.  

Brentwood's picture

Thank you for validating  - he definitely has a hard time treating them as adults- he isn't doing them any favor but not doing so

Kloewent's picture

What is going on at your house that is so inticing? Do you have a pool? I could see one of my grown sons bringing a friend that I knew, someone that they grew up with that is visiting, but they would call first to make sure it was ok with us. What exactly do they do when they are there? At the very least I would make sure there is nothing to eat or drink available. You could also start cleaning wherever they are, vacuum, move the couch cushions, spray furniture polish around, bring a basket of underwear to fold. Sorry, it is your only time for cleaning! 

CLove's picture

Like you must have this AMAZING home on the beach or lakefront with pool and jacuzzi...a LEGENDARY home.

Otherwise WTF?

Brentwood's picture

We don't have a pool  or lake location .I offered no food or drink . This time it was to borrow  exercise clothes / get changed into a borrowed outfit then back later to change again !  ( the friend lives  only 20 minutes away ) .  That you for your ideas - I was thinking the next time I will start mopping the floors at the door entrance !