Dear Blake,

I’m in the process of building my first house down the street from my parents. (The lot was a good deal.) Recently, my mom told me she wants a key so she and Dad can have access to my house in case of severe weather (we live in tornado country). The layout and foundation of my house are sturdier than theirs. When I told her I didn’t want anyone to have a key, she got really offended. It made me feel awful, but this is my first house, and if I have to give a key to someone when I don’t want to, it defeats the purpose of having my own place.

I have been living with my parents to save up, and Mom has used guilt trips against me before. My sister and brother-in-law agree I shouldn’t give in to her. I feel like a horrible daughter for refusing because she’s not the type to snoop, but there have been instances when I’ve been in my room and she has entered without knocking. Should I stick to my guns or am I wrong?

Signed, Salina
From Junction City, Kansas

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Dear Salina,

Congrats on building your first house. As far as your mother is concerned, try to make that bully feel guilty for buying a place that’s so rickety, that the first of the three little pigs would be embarrassed to live there. Anyway, here is my advice in regards to dealing with her. Tell her this,  like the witch in the Wizard of Oz, she can ride a bike into the tornado, wait for it to change into a broom… and then fly to a state that has less weather extremities. Or, you can charge her for the occasional use of the house as if it was a timeshare, and regularly raise the rates. Or this idea. You can stick to your guns… literally, and tell her if she entered your house without your knowledge, because you own a firearm, you have some serious concerns that you might mistake her for a burglar. And lastly, you can give her this reasonable and rational “excuse”. Tell her that in the past, some of your closest friends have stolen from you, now you don’t trust anyone… including family. I hope this helps.