Problems with my boyfriend and his parents

Marina Trbus

Marina Trbus

psychology professor

I am 19 years old and have a 14-month-old son. When I got pregnant, my boyfriend and I decided to live together but we did not get married. We have been living with his parents for a year and a half and everything would be fine if they did not interfere constantly, which is why we are arguing. I once wanted to leave but I do not know where to go and my relationship with my boyfriend is great as long as they are not close. I also worry because they interfere in our son’s upbringing, they constantly complain when I do something, they allow him everything and now he does not listen to anything anymore. Sometimes it is terribly difficult for me and I do not know how to take a stand, and I realize that this situation is not good for my son. What to do? How do I protect my son, without the situation being unbearable for me anymore? Please help.

Dear, I hear two things from your question; one is the need to be independent in your relationship and in the upbringing of your child. On the other hand, the help of your partner’s parents is welcome, both with the housing solution and with the help with the child. I suggest three very specific things. The first is to sit down with your partner and write down on a paper all the pros and cons of living with your parents, as well as on your own, without the parents. Put together in detail how much money you would need to live with your parents, how much to live independently, who would take care of your son, how much food, utilities, electricity would cost you. Also, make sure to plan for childcare when you live with the parents, i.e. when you start living independently that you and your partner can go out for coffee or a date with friends. Only then make a decision and plan when and under what conditions you will opt for living independently. 

Second, take the opportunity while living with your partner’s parents and while they look after your child, enrol in a course / evening school to gain additional knowledge and thus find easier employment that will speed up your ability to live independently. There you will also move among new people, have the opportunity to hear and learn something new and you will certainly feel more satisfied. 

Third, you should see what is the reason why your partner’s parents need to impose themselves so much. Do they think that you and your partner are too young to take care of your child, are they just worrying too much, or is it something else. Anyway, I suggest you to make a clear arrangement with them, over a cup of coffee and a pleasant conversation, and find common ground regarding what and how you want their help to look like. For example, you can arrange for you to be alone with your child in the morning, after breakfast for a certain period of time, and ask for them to respect that, and that after lunch, grandparents can play the child and take care of him. You use this time for yourself, your partner or for the additional education, I mentioned previously.