My parents are very from an Asian culture where family is very important and parents are always meant to be close and respected. That is why when I got married they insisted that my wife and I come live them (they have a large house).

There was some tension between my wife and mom because of which the latter chose to go and live with my brother (her choice, not ours).

Now it is just my dad who lives with us (although my mom and brother come to visit every other weekend). My dad is very kind and helpful (never argues or finds fault in any way). It has been great having him around because he helps out so much, especially with our kids.

I am now Dad to 3 wonderful girls (6,2,1). But I have been reading some books which stress how important it is for fathers of daughters especially to be strong and independent and have courage and grit. So being a strong man and strong father is the goal that I aspire to for my daughters. But I sometimes wonder if living with my own dad will be a detriment to that.

Because of the fact that he is very helpful, he tries to do the things which I think I should be doing. For example if something is broken in the house, he takes it on himself to fix it. If the babies are cranky, he comes and asks if he can take them of my shoulders.

I myself feel that I have come to rely on him too much, that I don't do things for myself or that I lose my temper too quickly. I wonder what kind of message this is sending for my eldest daughter especially who can understand. About being independent and resourceful and patient.

So I love my dad and I don't want to send him away or move out of his house (because he loves his grandkids so much and would miss them dearly), but at the same time in order to be the strongest father possible for my daughters, should I bite that bullet in order to ensure that I am the only man of the house?

(I know this question might be difficult to answer or be considered opinion based, but whatever you can offer in terms of advice or even thoughts would be much appreciated).

  • I don't have an answer but think that your father helping is not likely to be detrimental in regards to you raising your children. Be the best parent you can be. You are modeling living with family. My only advice is that if and when you make a choice with your partner, make sure that your father goes along with it. You are the parents. That doesn't mean you can't listen to or take his advice!
    – WRX
    Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 15:05
  • Well, a common issue with kids been close to grandparents in Asia culture is that grandparents tend to care less about the kids psychological growth and focus more on the physical growth. I.e. they tend to spoil the kids. But you can solve that by talking and setting up boundaries with your father.
    – Alic
    Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 15:06
  • Your premise is the problem. You don't need to be "the strongest possible father". And accepting help =/= not being 'strong'. You clearly are very insecure about yourself, but banishing your father in law on the grounds that you think he is a rival to you is not going to actually fix that about yourself.
    – swbarnes2
    Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 0:19
  • You think throwing your father out of the house would be a good example for your children? It that how you would want them to treat you when they have families of their own?
    – paparazzo
    Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 18:11
  • 1
    One thing you might consider. As people get older, they start to become insecure about their value. When children are young, parents are required to do everything for them. As children grow older they become more independent. It might be that your father is feeling unnecessary, and his way of changing that is to become more useful. His wife has already told him she would rather be with her son than with him...maybe he is afraid that you will reject him as well. It would be sadly ironic if his attempt to strengthen family bonds instead broke them. Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 21:23

3 Answers 3


We are in a similar situation, and these seem to work for us.

First would be to take initiative and do things yourself on a regular schedule. These should be a mix of everyday things, fun things and learning things. For example, you can decide the following i. Sunday afternoon board games together. ii. Bedtime routine every MWF iii. Take kid to music lessons and get the kid to practice alternate days.

Make sure you do it! It may be tempting to ask the grandparent to take care of the bedtime routine today because you have some works emails to attend to. But let it not slide! Can the work emails wait another half hour? Another thing that helped is signing up for outside activities forced us to move and spend that time with the kid.

Second, as you spend more time with the kid, you'll slowly realize what works for the kid. This will do wonders to your temper. Not being stressed and having good sleep also helps.

Third, it may also be that your father sees that you are not doing things, so he jumps in to fill that gap. (Our parents expressed that.) As you take the lead, your father may take the backseat.


The question has already been answered, but I wanted to say this in hopes that it will be helpful to you. Sending away an aging father who wants to be useful is neither strong nor courageous. It is not strength that makes us irritated, or afraid to be seen as weak.

It might be that he is afraid that he is getting old and is no longer useful. Many parents come to define their relationship with their children according to what they do for them. My own parents, who are in their nineties, raised 6 children and now all of their children are grown up and independent and don't need them any more. It is a great effort for them to do so, but every year they go out of state to Hood River, Washington, where the fruit trees are exceptional, and pick a hundred pounds of apples and pears and plums, and then they bring boxes of them to their adult children. We do not need the fruit, and usually have to share it with neighbors so that it will not go bad, but I always go out of my way to make them feel appreciated when they bring it around. I tell them how the best fruit is in Hood River and I wish I had time to pick it myself.

However, I know if they lived with me they would be wanting to do things all the time to be useful, and I also know it would be irritating. I like to do things my way and I don't like to take help from anyone. But it would be kinder of me to let them feel useful, and to express my gratitude for their help. It would also be a better example of strength.

I have problems with patience as well. But your daughters will learn better things from a parent who shows that they have flaws but they are trying to become better. One of your tasks as a parent is to show your daughters how to behave. If they think the way to behave is to do everything themselves, and to never need any help or have any flaws, you have not done your job correctly. What happens if they need help and cannot ask? What if one of your daughters gets involved with a bad thing, like drugs? She has learned from her father that a strong person does not ask for help. This will lead to disaster and heartbreak for all of you.

I know it is difficult and feels bad to be irritated and angry and lose patience, but if you want to be the best father possible show your daughters how a man acts when he has done wrong. Does he get angry and blame someone else? Or does he admit that he did wrong and say he will try to do better? If you can do that, you will be showing them true courage and strength, and they will come to understand this when they get old enough to understand human nature.

If my own father, who was a very independent, "strong" man who never asked for help and lost his temper frequently, had been the kind of person who taught me that it is okay to be wrong, and to apologize, I would be a stronger person for my own children. I grew up trying to be just like my father. To ask for help is the hardest thing for me. I can work all day, I can make lots of money, I can solve problems and I can figure out the answers. But when I have lost my temper, I am not strong enough to admit it. And I am a weaker person because of that, both as a wife and a mother. I don't feel that I can show weakness to my children, I must be the one in charge, the one who is strong. But I know this is a weakness, not a strength. The advice I give to you is what I wish someone had said to my father. It is more work to let your father be useful (even though it irritates you), but it will be an act of greater strength than to run away from the situation by throwing him out.

Perhaps you could divert him by asking him to do other things. What can he do for you that would be helpful and stress relieving for you? You also might try to sit down with him and talk about how you are feeling. Do not bring up that he might be feeling old or useless, this would be unkind and is an attack on him. The best way to approach a conflict with a loved one is from a position of expressed weakness. Do not say "You irritate me when you..." Instead, "I have been feeling stressed, and part of it is that I feel like I am the man of the house and I should be doing the work, but you do it before I do. Are we competing for the job? I feel like I am losing the battle (say it with a gentle smile, humor is good for this situation)." Try to make him an ally in your household, not a competitor. Set up boundaries and areas of responsibility. Soon enough (I don't know how old you are, probably a lot younger than me) you won't have him any more, and when your daughters marry and you are feeling that they don't need you any more, what do you want them to have learned from you?

And above all, do NOT feel that you are failing your daughters by not being the perfect, strong, independent man always in control. They will get enough of those if they grow up to read romance novels :) A real dad has to be a lot more than that.

Instead, find ways that you can just enjoy being with them. Play games with them. Go to parks, walk the neighborhood and play Pokemon Go, when they bring a problem to you...take the time to just listen. Read to them. It sounds like you are feeling guilt for accepting your father's help, and that is a character flaw that may come from hearing society vilify people who get welfare or who otherwise depend on others for their livelihood. You are not dependent on him. He is dependent on you. Be strong, and let him still be the dad now and then.

  • Such a beautiful answer, thank you! I pray God gives me the strength to take what you have said to heart.
    – AbuMariam
    Commented Feb 9, 2017 at 4:16

For most of recorded history, and in much of the world today, people have lived in extended families with multiple generations under one roof. I won't say that there are no issues, but it is a "normal" family structure that has proven successful.

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