Miss Manners: My kids and grandkid live with me but don’t help out

Dear Miss Manners: My husband and I are both going to be 68 this year, and we live on a fixed income that barely covers expenses. We were lucky enough to inherit our home, which had been paid for in full beforehand. Still, with taxes, home upkeep, utilities, food, transportation costs, pet expenses and what little entertainment we can afford, we just scrape by.

My problem is that I have a son, a daughter and a grandson — all adults — living under my roof, as they had absolutely nowhere else to go. They are not contributing any money and are not keeping their areas clean and tidy.

They cook and eat in my home. Please help me with how to get them motivated to clean up after themselves and contribute to our little community.

It should not matter, but if you have disclosed the fact that the house is paid for, your family might be under the false impression that your expenses are nominal. Or if they are in the throes of a difficult time, they may be reverting back to their childish ways.

You can have compassion while also creating ground rules: “We are happy to have you here, but you must treat our house with respect, especially if this is going to be a long-term situation. Cleaning up after yourself is required, and contributions to meals are appreciated.”

As for motivation? If they are unwilling to comply, Miss Manners suggests you gently start assisting them with other housing options.

Dear Miss Manners: At the wedding reception of a good friend’s daughter, my husband and I encountered a rather bizarre event: A young lady was making her way around the dining tables selling raffle tickets at $5 each.

If you were the winner, you received tickets to a heavy-metal rock concert. The profit from the raffle was going to be given to the newly married couple to help with their honeymoon expenses.

There were eight guests seated at our table. When she asked if we were interested in buying a ticket, everyone turned her down. The ticket-seller actually got snippy with us before finally moving on.

Frankly, all of us were appalled. Most of the guests gave four to five hours of their day to celebrate with the newlyweds — more for those who traveled a long distance, plus additional expenses if they stayed overnight. You also give a nice gift, and you are still given the shakedown for a raffle ticket to fund the honeymoon!

When my husband and I married, we paid for our honeymoon without help from anyone else. Furthermore, this wedding’s size could have been pared down to save money, or the couple could take a honeymoon later, when their finances allowed it.

No need to feel bad that the raffle-seller got snippy. Perhaps it will prompt her to report back to the bridal couple that their plan was a bust. Then they will all realize how rude and presumptuous it was and apologize to the guests.

Nah. They will probably just start a GoFundMe instead.

So yes, to your larger point, guest extortion is appalling and Miss Manners is getting tired of pointing this out. Especially as it only seems to inspire further creativity in how they go about doing it.

New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday on You can send questions to Miss Manners at her website, You can also follow her @RealMissManners.

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