My thirty-one-year-old daughter lives with me and has an eight-month-old baby girl. The father of the baby lives in a dream world, is violent, and has addictions. My daughter has become emotionally dependent on him….

I am anxious because I don’t know when he might suddenly turn violent, hitting her and humiliating her with ugly words. I have had to learn to stay away from the situation because every time I say anything about it, she angrily tells me that it is her life and that I shouldn’t butt in.

The baby’s father doesn’t help with her expenses but insists on seeing her. How should I handle this situation?

Dear Friend,

We congratulate you for your wisdom! It is very wise to notice and care about how your words affect another person, especially a daughter that you love. Unfortunately, many mothers of adult children say whatever comes into their heads, even when it would be wise to remain quiet. You are not one of those women.

There are several factors that make your situation difficult. Normally we would tell any mother to understand that her daughter is an independent adult and should make her own decisions. But your daughter is not independent at all, for she is living with you and most likely depending on you for at least part of her own support as well as the support of her child.

You have every right to ask your daughter to move out of your house, and every right to stop supporting her and your granddaughter. However, we know that you probably won’t do those things because you love them and want to be near them. Also, you may be afraid for their safety if they were to live with the baby’s father.

In many cases, unwise parents push their adult children toward unhealthy choices. The parents are trying to do the right thing for the right reasons, but their words and actions do more harm than good. It is normally in the adult child’s nature to try and prove that the parents are wrong. So the adult child ends up doing just the opposite of what the parents want.

We recommend that you stop saying anything negative about the baby’s father to your daughter or to anyone else. Don’t give your daughter any advice at all. And when the guy comes to see his daughter, you stay in another part of the house or patio. If you happen to see him, be polite and courteous, but immediately leave the room. Go into another room and turn on the television or music so that you won’t overhear what is being said.

You can’t change your daughter’s opinion, but God can. Every time you are tempted to worry, pray instead. Ask God to reveal the truth to your daughter. Ask Him to give you wisdom in how to deal with every circumstance. Talk to God about your worries and fears. He is the One who can help both you and your daughter.

We wish you well,