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My teenager’s boyfriend is eating all our food

TOH SMALL 11Dear Housewife:

Is it wrong to charge your teen for having their boyfriend or girlfriend over 3-4 times a week for dinner?

– My House is Not a Restaurant

Dear My House Is Not a Restaurant:

Wow! I’m glad that my mother-in-law did not share your philosophy when Solomon and I were dating! We would still be paying for all of those meals I enjoyed during our courtship—nearly fourteen years later! Believe it or not, the bigger issue for me regarding your dilemma is the fact that the girlfriend/boyfriend is at your home three to four times a week. Are these two getting married? I do not think that it is emotionally healthy for teens to be in serious romantic relationships. Teen relationships are emotionally and physically charged, yet fleeting. It is the perfect set up for a broken heart or more seriously, health issues such as pregnancy and STD’s. Furthermore, their time is better spent doing their school work and preparing for college and real life. Teenage relationships can lead to displaced priorities. Instead of focusing tomorrow’s test or doing that research paper, they are concerned with, “Why didn’t Boo answer my last 20 texts?” Teens tend to make decisions that have the potential to impact the rest of their lives around a fleeting relationship established before the brain is fully matured! “I’m turning down that full scholarship to Harvard because I don’t want to move away from Boo!” I had to get that off of my chest; now on to the not-so-free meals. I’m all for hospitality, but having an extra mouth to feed is an additional expense; especially if the dinner guest has a healthy appetite! Let your teen know that feeding their love interest has a cost and that it is putting a financial strain on your family. If your teen receives allowance and if it is that important for them to eat together on regular basis, deduct the food cost from the allowance. This will teach responsibility. Another suggestion is to designate one evening during the week for the dinner guest to visit. Bon appétit!

(Featured illustration Jim McHugh. Photo © istock Photo)

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W. Jonathan McCoy

Ahhh, the voice of reason!! Thank you Ms. Jones!!!

Opinionated Housewife, you are full of wisdom as you respond to your readers’ questions. Compliments to the chef if the dinner guest keeps returning. Right, LaVeta.

Ak Hasan

Agreed about early relationship!!! I don’t think any parent wants their child to waste a weekend sitting in the dark listening to Sade ( like some of us grown folks did) when they could be studying and devoting all their brain power to school work or an important test.


Playing devil’s advocate here. Is there something going on at his house that he doesn’t want to be there for? When I was younger (i.e. H.S) I dated a guy who had just lost his mom to breast cancer a few months prior to our meeting. He was a regular at my house and my extended family knew him from holiday dinners, etc. His dad wasn’t in the picture at the time and I was over the moon that he wanted to hang out so much with us/me. FF 25 years later (we are still great friends) and he confessed to me that being at my house gave him a sense of normalcy and family at a time he really needed it. He still calls my mom mom and he came to my dad’s funeral and hung out at the house afterwards years after we were no longer a couple.
Today’s youth has so much going on in their homes that your house may be the one place they feel safe and with a family. You never know.