Dear Miss Q,
When I was on vacation for a week in July, I gave my spare key to my apartment to my mom so she could take care of my cat and check on things. When I returned, I felt that it may be smart for her to keep it in case there was an emergency. Now when she comes over she has been using it to let herself in. I told her that the key is to be used for emergencies, but she hasn't stopped. The other day she let herself in while I was taking a shower, and it scared the wits out of me when I got out of the shower and heard someone in my apartment! When I told her again the key was only for emergencies, she said she thought it was one because I didn't answer the door. I don't know how to stop all this without offending or hurting her. My boyfriend suggests that I ask her to give the key back and that I change the locks on the off chance that she doesn't. I would prefer not to do that since I figure it would be disrespectful. What's your suggestion?
Miserable in Indiana
Dear Miserable in IN,
By the impression of what you have shared, it is clear that you have tried to define a limit with your mom. Have you given her particular precedents of what may constitute an emergency? Does she know how long to wait for you to answer the door before she comes in? Does she realize that you would value a call or text from her before she comes over so you will expect her? Ensure that she sees every one of these things, and you ought to be unmistakable about your desires and wants.
In the event that you have went over every one of these things with her and she has not changed her conduct, that is another issue. Does your mom commonly understand your sentiments and respect your desires? Does she see how much her behavior irritates you? Did she see how alarmed you were after you were out of the shower? Communicate how this influences you by saying something like this: "Mom, I truly value your paying special mind to me and being worried about me. I felt terrified to death, however, when you let yourself in while I was in the shower since I thought a prowler was in the apartment. I do wish for you to call me before you come over so feeling that scared doesn't happen again." (This is a case of emphatic correspondence or assertive communication and it isn't ill bred to speak with a parent this way.) If your mom keeps on ignoring your desires and keeps on abusing the use of your key, you certainly can ask her to return the key. In any case, I don't suggest that you change the bolt in the event that she declines to give the key back. Changing the bolt would be unsafe to the relationship since it would be detached forceful, in spite of the adoration for Christ, and would demonstrate shame to your parent. and it isn't ill bred to utilize decisive correspondence with a parent.) If your mom keeps on ignoring your desires and keeps on using your key improperly, you have the privilege to advise her to restore the key. In any case, I don't suggest that you change the locks in the event that she declines to give the key back. Changing the bolt is passive aggressive and would not be conducive to the relationship. Do not feel afraid to be kind, yet, direct with her on what your needs and wants are.
Thank you for writing to me and good luck!