Our Parents Live With Us

My husband and I bought a very large home 12 years ago because we believed that our parents would some day come to live with us. based on our siblings challenges we were correct. My mother in law moved in 3 years ago and my father last August. We were fully prepared to care for the parents we knew. However the parents we knew did not move in. Some control freak parents moved in. We spend most of our time jumping to thier whims, explaining our actions, (ie, why we decided to raise chickens), and trying to keep everyone happy in the house. We understood their health care needs and have met and exceeded them with no issues. The issues are on the daily things, what they will eat, or won't eat....even if they ate it a month ago.... explaining why we need a nap, why we did not mow the yard yesterday, why we do not want to go to Walmart every day of the week. It takes its toll. Most days I am greeted by a list in the morning rather than a "good morning". Our parents are making us frustrated. Any ideas that can help us calm them down? I do not work outside of the home but my husband works a 12 hour shift 3 days one week and 4 days the next. He drives 2 hours to his job each way, making each working day a minimum of 16 hours, without the shower and shave time. I know he is exhausted, and our parents should too, but enough is never enough. We love them both and want the best for them, but they do not understand that we are in our mid 50's and do not have the energy to just "jump to" whenever they deem.
chzbabe chzbabe 51-55 19 Responses Feb 2, 2012

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Hmmm. If you can't work away for some days also, then maybe just smile and continue doing what you need to do without paying much attention.

An option is to give them a long list of what you would like them to do for you, and tell them you have too many other things to get to it yourself.

Useful stories

I agree with marty39, your parents need to change. The problem that must be resolved is how to broach the subject in a kind way. Kind or not, you are the masters of the household now, not your parents. So, start acting like the managers and owners. Let them know that they are welcome in your house, but there are rules, just like there were when you lived in their houses. You didn't get to question how your parents spent their time and now they do not get to question you on such issues.

The psychological babel is..."set boundaries."

I have found older people are great from a distance most have to much idle time on their hands and where I live we moved into a gated community full of them they are each others throats all the time , lawsuits , threats , Police at board meetings .

They sued a 90 years man where I live lost and now owe 300,000 to him and the worst part the crazy old lady who did this wants to everyone here to pay 300.00 a month in association fees to make up for her mistake.

It was 300.00 every 4 months , they fight all the time here over nothing , they are crazy as **** house rats.

listen to me grandma and grandpa are not as nice as you think I live in the middle of it and I can tell you don't say any different I have 10 years with these old crazy coots and they have done things like.

Called the Police on a my 5 pound he got loose 1 time and they went nuts.

Sprayed my kids with hose when they went on the sidewalk to ride their bikes.

Sued us when I was in the Hospital as we were late on our fee.

Siued a 90 years man for a screen door that he had the right to have up .

I was raised to respect my elders and be very kind to them alot of them hated their working lives and resent anyone that works from home I work on the Internet .

listen to me avoid them its not worth the time or effort they want to run your life and everyone elses as Bush did , we have more cameras up then the CIA and we live in a town with NO Crime.


You didn't mention the age of your parents or their current health concerns. Is it possible that dementia is an issue? I lost my Mother to Alzheimers three years ago and miss her every day, but the constant explanations and repeating do wear on the caregiver. If that is not part of the problem then you may want to look for some Senior Centers where they can get involved and take day trips with a group of people their age. Most of the Senior Centers I am aware of have shuttle services and will pick up their members. Prayers for you!

Since learning of my brain cancer it has been very difficult for me, mom supposedly moved in to make sure that I'd be okay but causes many problems for me. Mom thinks that it's her house and can rearrange things, goes off on tirades over petty things, has my sisters family [who truly loves me and cares about my health] not wanting to come by and visit. Mom has a huge room, personal bath and a garage space where she resides but won't go back home, I am at wits end and have told her to go back home but it hasn't did me an ounce of good.

I work every day and there is no reason for mom to stay at my house. I NEED NO NURSING CARE OR ANY ASSISTANCE! Mom is too stubborn and will not listen to the subtle hints or even the ones that I scream at her. If only she cared this much when I was a child!!!!!!!

I have an idea!

"Fix them up" and send them out on a date. MAYBE, before long, they'll be leaving on their honeymoon and then ... moving on!

'Just a thought,

Curt Erler

I have an idea!

"Fix them up" and send them out on a date. MAYBE, before long, they'll be leaving on their honeymoon and then ... moving on!

'Just a thought,

Curt Erler

This is why my husband and I are beginning to think along the lines of senior citizen housing, e.g. assistant living, apartments within the complex for healthy and spry seniors or whatever our health and stamina dictates. Our relationship with our adult children is wonderful. We brought them into the world and reared them with the idea of doing well with their lives and whomever they choose as a partner. Their love and caring for us are appreciated but we want to live out the rest of lives with dignity and grace. So as baby boomers, we are now working on a plan that will preclude moving in with any of our adult children. The holiday gatherings and whenever we feel the need to be together are more than enough for us. As it stands now ,they call frequently and ask for advice at times and their conversations by phone or see you later hugs after visits always end in "Love You". We want to keep it that way. ^◡^

Sounds like Co-Dependency, where BOTH opposising parties are feeding a 'viciuos circle' of 'bad vibes'. If this is left too long (& gets deeply entrenched) ALL parties must get Counselling or have the 'invaders' removed (if they didn't find a way to sieze your property). Unfortunately, this is not usually covered by any plans. I've had plenty of those kind of 'situations'. You invite someone over & say "make themselves at home" and VIOLA! they become tyrants & you can't do anything right.

To avoid this, I suggest just having a 'trial period' (put in writing) of a week or two (if fairly familiar) or alternate 'a few days IN & a few days OUT' until some amiabilty is reached (or NOT! and say 'It's not working' and enable an exit plan).

DO NOT attempt, if you're don't have CLEAR TITLE of your living space. Many landlords (& especially strata councels) have many (hidden? read the Agreement) restrictions on sub-letting &/or (legal) mechanisms that could threaten your tenancy if you're caught 'doing a favor'.

NOTE, this is from my LIFE Experience, but it looks like I've picked up a "Battle Degree" on Psychology along the way. I am an AMATEUR & offering this 'advice' for FREE. If (in ANY) you're Unsure, have a talk with someone who's qualified. The above statement is for my protection (until I can get credentials & Proper Training so I can make a Living with this 'Talent').

Some sort of (reputable) Priest/Advisor would be a good start. They often do so for free, but offering a modest donation or support would be taken as a token of appreciation would convey that they're not just being "used". They've be down some of the same roads I have in that respect (especially as marriage counsellors if they can wed people).

Most folks (including your ancestors) have had 'terrible' upbringings and the British Notion of "keeping a stiff upper" will just keep the 'demons of trauma' "brewing" until they spring out at the worst moment and wreak havok.

It's best to address PTSD issues as soon as they become apparant, rather than Hoping (wishful thinking & denial) 'they will vanish on their own'.

This is where using both Spiritual (12-Steps & Recovery e.g.) AND some (Psychological) counselling Together has (for ME at least) a chance of Good Progress, while just using ONE frequently found lacking. This is called TRANS-PERSONAL Therapy (Google or Wiki if in doubt, not MY word[s]) and I've found ("the SUM exceeds the PARTS") this Strategy to be PHENOMENAL.

Your parents have lost a significant amount of control of their own lives by surrendering their space and privacy to live with someone else (you). Thee losses are as real as experiencing the loss of someone due to a death and must be grieved as such. It is likely their social supports, activities and friends have all changed too and may not have been replaced by new ones... meaning you carry that emotional and social role for them as well.

Helping the elders in your home find new friends and activities may help a lot. Inviting them to take some of the responsibility of keeping things going as members of a household (chores?) is not unwarranted and can help them find meaning and experience being valued as contributors rather than as burdens.

Their lives have changed by this cooperative living model as much as yours. I suggest consulting with a good pastor or counselor who understands family systems and the issues of aging. You might also check with a social worker at your county office for the aging for suggestions. They might have some social outlets for your folks and a support group for you too.

This is a good answer or way at looking at things. I think if at all possible more friends or activities are not only very important to them, but will give YOU some relief. Good luck!

It is your house and out of the decency to your parents you have allowed them to live with you and your husband. What you need to say to them in a firm but kind way is that this is your place and that you will attempt to accomodate them as much as possible but there are also matters that they should be made aware of such as that you have your own lives to lead and are not there at their beck and call and if they don't like it then perhaps they should consider living somewhere else. A wake up call like this won't do any harm and should make them realise that you and your husband should not be taken for granted and instead should be appreciated for the kindness and consideration that is being shown to them. I very much doubt if they did decide to move out that they would have the same kind of life style that they have at the moment.

I’m with you. My wife and I sold everything, moved to another state, bought a larger house, move my in-laws into the house; quit my career, and started a new business from scratch, so I can work from home. I am in the same boat with you, and at times it drives me crazy, too.

The common theme in all the comments above is that we want to change the other person, but can't.

CHERCON wanted to change her mom, but can't. So, she moved her out.

IWGOOGLE wanted to change her daughter-in-law, but failed; so she feared for her son's life.

If you were able to change your parents, you won't be reaching out on this forum, right?

Yes, in an ideal world, everyone is willing to compromise (whether by plead or by force); but we don't live in that ideal world. No one can change another person. We can only change ourselves. Your parents will not change, until and unless they WANT to change.

The two extreme positions are: 1--let them do whatever they want and you just keep suffering through; or 2--move them out, so you don't need to deal with them. I am assuming you don't want either. So we want to live somewhere in between.

At this time, since your past attempts to convince your parents to change have not work. You have to change yourselves.

1--Attitude change: just because they give you a to do list every morning, and they WANT you to complete them; you don't have to do it. This has nothing to do with them. It is about your desire to complete the tasks. Of course, I don't know your motivations (it can be that you want to please them, or just to shut them up, etc...), but no matter what your motivations are, you feel COMPELLED to do them. So, first thing you need to do is to change your attitude. You have to decide for YOURSELF (not for them) as to what you will do and not do.

1a--when your parents see the changes of your behavior and attitude, they will FIGHT it. You will be tempted to explain to them, to CONVINCE them as to why you do what you do. However, again, this desire to convince them is not their issue. It is YOUR issue. Push this to the extreme. If after all your convincing and they don't agree, are you going to behave the same way? If your behavior is INDEPENDENT of your parents' liking, then why are you spending extra time and energy to get them to agree with you?

2--Get out of the house: you need to have some consistent time away from the house. You need some "ME" time. Start a small business on the side, pick up a new hobby, etc... Go to and find something you like, that has regular meetings. Let’s say your group meets every 1st Wed of the month @ 11am, then set every Wed of that same time as your “get out of the house” time. You go to the Meetup once a month, but the other 3 weeks, you grab a book, go to Starbucks, library, whatever…

You can volunteer your time. This may sound like more work, but you are serving someone else, and you will get more satisfactions.

Try to get your parents to volunteer their time or join groups (ie church). This will give them something to do and off your back.

Case in point: my in-laws go to a church senior’s group twice month. I drive them to church, but purposefully NOT join the meeting. I bring my laptop and go to a quiet room. So, a 2 hour meeting for them also means a 2 hours of “me” time.

Also, at the end of the meeting, I would help the group clean up the room, move chairs back, etc… Now, you may get some praises from the other members, but it is not important. The other members may sing your praises to your parents, but again, unimportant. It MAY change your parents’ attitude, but those are all secondary. The primary thing is about you having your own time.

I know I am being harsh, and I can go on and on… but I hope this will get you started in creating an enjoyable living “space and time” for yourself.

This is the thing, as chercon has advised: you must, for the sake of your own lives as well as the parents' lives, starting setting boundaries and saying "no" as you must.

You can say "no" firmly and kindly, and set boundaries with good intent.

You might want to sit down with the parents and have a frank discussion. They need to see your side of life soon. That means you will have to tell them about your side of life, because they're obviously unable to see it for themselves.

You must be assertive with them. Yes, they're family, but that doesn't mean they have the right to chew up the well-being of their children's lives. Perhaps you can look at them as human beings first, and family second. Tell them you love them while you explain to them that you need to set limits. Even love has its limits. When, through love accompanied with guilt, you allow someone to walk all over you, love will die. And that's a loss for everyone.


Gosh! Oh so familiar,my hubby an i brought a large home at the beginning of our marriage thinking his mom and possibly 1 or 2 of his 5 childre,n would come with age,no such thing happened instead she came and went not wanting to leave beloved hometown,the children made babies an lives of their own in the pacific the end he turned out to be the senior tyrant,the house was left behind now its nurses in and bedridden duties.Nothing turned out as it was supposed to,an my man is now my child.

Yes because we no nothing what is going to happened tomorrow,only Lord know better:-)

I know how it is, but you must remember the elder frustration is out of lack of control, it say in the bible a man is once an adult and twice a child, they see themselves loosing control of an adult life they once knew so you are dealing with adult children, and it's hard but you must lay down some rules just as you would with your own children, they may not like it at first but they will get used to, believe no elder wants to feel like someone threw them away in an old folks home. we must honor our mother and father, yes even when they get old, I do not agree with the person who put their family in a senior home, she failed fo realize the cycles of life and she also with be a senior one day

very true God bless you ,But this attitude is in west not in east .

my son has had colon cancer, he was 38 at the time and they got him better. but my daughter in law doesn't cook and they live on frozen pizza and takeaways. my son works all the hours god sends for a family of four sons.

She doesn't work and tidies up, ans spends her leisure looking for holidays which she loves for 'the food you get when you are abroad'

bowel cancer is related to diet and as for 15 years she's avoided cooking and plies coke, white bread and cheap ready made meals, she is killing my son. everything i send in order to help him, ; organic food , vitamins nutritional books, she intercepts and send s back. teach you children who not to marry. if he doesn't get decent nutrition he will die and the children will be fatherless. I would die myself for my son.

so you are not only daughter in laws, you will have them yourself one day and your darling children might suffer the abuse of a greedy stuck up wife. who is too cool to cook. i want my son to live. linda

Your son is 38. I would tell him your concerns because you love and want the best life for him but butt out with expressing your opinions of his wife, and butt out of the marriage. He is old enough to take responsibility for his own health for the sake of himself and his children...if he doesn't care, well maybe that is selfish and irresponsible of him too

There is obviously more going on, but let's not add our own issues shall we? She didn't say she hated her daughter-in-law, just that she's terrified and she feels the DIL isn't trying. Maybe the two of them should have a conversation, in addition to one with her son. Take the emotion out of it first though please, because you're not just worried for your son, your worried for his family--which SHE is a part of.

lwgoogle is English ur first language? no offense, but I had a hard time connecting the thought process, seemed more like sound bites...

You are an adult. It sounds to me like you've allowed them to treat you like a child. My mother moved in with us (husband and two kids), it lasted two very very long years until I moved her into a senior complex this past January. I was not spending the rest of my life explaining my actions and those of the rest of my family so a senior tyrant could be happy. Everyone needs their own life and she was trying to run our house the way she wanted it, I'm in my late 40's and have run my own home since I was 20, I want to be happy, not miserable every day.

I would start by saying "No" to any ridiculous demands, set certain days of the week to be "Walmart day" and others to be whatever day they need stuff to do and find a polite way of saying "None of your business" to questions about your lifestyle. I would also find out what senior activities are in your area and find a way to get them involved, people who have nothing to do get bored.

People only do to you what you let them. If you don't like it CHANGE IT.

Chercon is right, you are adults and your parents HAVE to accept it. I would tell them that, they are living in YOUR House, your household, not theirs, they have to go by your rules.

My guess is that your parents haven't changed, you have. They're still bringing up their children. Their old habits clicked in when they moved into the same household again. I don't know what to say after that, because as our children changed, my wife and I also changed. As they grew up, we let them grow up, we tried to help them grow up. Your parents have to understand that while you're still their children, you're not children any more, and the relationship must change.