Question: Hello Luise: My 28 year-old daughter has moved home, temporarily. She has been so helpful and most of the time even tempered. She does have a short fuse and is often very verbal with her opinions. We have a dog next door that is very old and barks quite a bit. My daughter has the bedroom closest to the noise. We have mentioned the barking to the neighbors and they don’t know what to do. One day, when I was away, my daughter called the police and complained. I was very upset. It does not really bother me enough to call the police. If it did I would talk to my neighbors, seriously, first. They are great neighbors otherwise. We watch each other’s homes, etc. I never heard anything on whether the police ever came or not. My daughter insists that this is unacceptable. I see her point but the dog is old and sometimes in pain. Our neighbors want to keep him through the summer, if possible. I do not know what to say to my daughter. We just got on even ground, relationship wise, and I am half afraid to stand up to her and cause any waves. I do admit when the dog gets to barking that it can be hard to sleep, concentrate or study. Any advice? Dolores
Answer: Dear Dolores: The crux of the problem here is not the barking dog. It is your fear of someone you are offering free board and room to. You are an adult and so is your guest, daughter or not. She has a strong and valid complaint but it is still your house, your neighbor and your decision. How sad that neither of you seems to see that. It looks from here like she has you under her thumb. You indicate that your relationship is improving, yet you are letting her intimidate you. That behavior needs to evolve, for true healing to take place.
If you are afraid to confront her, then go over to your neighbors and find out if the police ever came. Explain to them that you have a grown child with a short fuse living with you, temporarily, that you have little or no control over. Apologize to them while making it plain that you find their dog’s behavior very hard to continue to live so close to. Ask if they can keep their dog inside more of the time and/or put him on the other side of their house when he’s out, to reduce the noise. Is there any way to put your daughter farther away from the noise, maybe in a large, used RV on the other side of your house? If your daughter ever wants to stay with you again, after this visit is over, create some very clearly defined rules beforehand and discuss them with her. Make it clear that any infraction on her part will bring about the immediate end of her stay. She isn’t going to bother to grow up until you do. Blessings, Luise