DEAR ABBY: My 21-year-old son, "Evan," recently moved out to be with his girlfriend. They live in a small apartment and cannot afford a lot beyond the basics, including internet. They spend every moment at my house when they are not working. They use our internet, eat our food and drink our beverages. I know this may sound terrible, but I want my freedom!
I don't feel I should be obligated to give them free food and internet every day, considering that they show up with new phones and new speakers in their cars. When I try to discuss it with them, they accuse me of being "mean." They don't comprehend why I feel taken advantage of.
If they would come to visit with me instead of just hanging around, I'd welcome it. But neither of them hardly speaks to me while they're here. How do I approach this without making Evan and his girlfriend feel completely unwelcome? -- MOM NEEDING SPACE IN TEXAS
DEAR MOM: Set some boundaries by telling Evan and his girlfriend a version of what you have written to me. Explain that they're welcome to come over once a week or twice a month -- provided they act like good guests while they're there. Then describe for them what that means, including staying off the internet and leaving their new cellphones in the car.
And while you're at it, don't forget to mention that gracious guests occasionally invite their hostess OUT for a bite. That's not being "mean"; it's explaining the facts of life they seem to have missed while becoming the adults they are.