I Need My Grandson’s Help

My dear Sara,

I have been meaning to write to you for some time. My grandson lives with me because his Mom is dead and his Dad is in prison for embezzlement. I have given my grandson driving lessons and he is now able to drive my car. He has taken charge of the keys to the car. This seems to be his key to freedom as he now comes and goes as he pleases. I can’t drive anymore and he was supposed to take me to appointments and such. I am still dependent on friends and cabs. How do I get my grandson to drive me as necessary?

Dear Louise,

Your grandson is taking advantage of the situation. If he won’t give you back the car keys then you need to take more drastic action. Maybe you could have the car towed to a place far enough away that your grandson can’t walk to retrieve it and then negotiate with him on how often he can drive your car and what his duties are to you. You also need to have the keys in your possession so he can’t have use of the car without your permission. If he can’t follow the rules let him know that you will sell the car.

Good luck,


  1. Robin Hubbard says:

    First, you need to have your own keys to the car. One thought is that you can ask one of your friends to switch cars with you so you know it is somewhere safe but out of reach. The first time he walks out and your car that he has keys for is no longer there, it will hit him like a ton of bricks. Also, you need to clearly outline your needs and expectations. So, all appointments are on the refrigerator so he can check it before leaving. Establish that you will need his assistance shopping or errands every week on Monday from 7PM-8PM and Saturday from 9-10:30 AM or whatever. This way, he can’t say you didn’t tell him, he needs to check the schedule. At his age, he is likely more focused on himself than others. He needs to understand that everyone needs to contribute to the running of your household. I have created that with my boyfriend then my sister moved in. And, it has been a fight to have her do SOMETHING to help out. But, she is getting the idea and it helps. Same with your grandson. Explain that you love him and you want him to enjoy his new freedom but there are responsibilities that come with it. Decide on things that are not negotiable. He needs to wash it one a week or every couple of weeks, vacuum it out and pay for his own gas maybe part of the insurance cost. Also, he needs to take into account the things you need his help with by driving you places as needed. And, a couple times a week, you have dinner together or some other activity he would find somewhat enjoyable. But, he needs to step up because you are counting on him and really need his help. Most people respond well when they understand that you are relying on them and need help. Hopefully, he will also. In addition, there will be scheduling conflicts. Sometimes his should take priority over yours and other times, yours over his. Both should give and take. You postpone something so he can go to a school dance and he postpones a date with a girl because you need him to drive you somewhere. And stress that this is how life will work when he is on his own and you are preparing him for that.

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