DEAR HARRIETTE: My son’s girlfriend is getting way too comfortable at our house. I like to make everyone feel warm and welcome in my home, but she has definitely crossed the line. She’ll come over when he isn’t even home from work yet and will watch TV loudly in the living room, help herself to whatever is in the fridge and talk on the phone.
She’s a very sweet girl, and I love having her over, but I think that boundaries need to be established at some point. I’ve asked my son to talk to her about it. While he claims that he will, I know that conversation may never happen because he isn’t confrontational. I don’t want to create hostility by confronting her myself; my son may never forgive me if I make her upset. How do I approach the situation and still maintain peace? -- Knock First
DEAR KNOCK FIRST: Talk to your son again. Express to him what you want the boundaries to be. Be crystal clear so that he understands what your expectations are. For example, if you do not want her to come over before he gets home from work, make that a rule. Go through your list of pet peeves, and make it clear to your son that they have to be addressed. Ask him if he intends to talk to her. Give him a deadline.
If he misses it, tell him that you will talk to her. There is nothing wrong with you establishing the ground rules in your own house. Even if your son does get upset, he will get over it. You can kindly and clearly set the rules and let her know what they are. Talking on the phone and disrupting the household is certainly an issue. You have every right to ask her to speak more quietly. If she can’t do that, she can use her phone outside. Really.