What to do when they're back in your house, with your rules.
Dear Dr. G,
I'm back. Last year I wrote to you about my anxiety about my daughter going off to college. I was afraid that she wouldn't make friends and would get homesick. You were right. She found her way. Now I have a new problem. Not only did she find her way but she found an 18-year-old boyfriend who she met at the college orientation last summer.
Well, this boy is driving quite a long distance to come spend the weekend at our house. My daughter, who is also 18, thinks that her boyfriend should sleep in her room, in her bed and under my roof. My husband and I are not comfortable with this idea. Listen, I know that my daughter is sexually active but I don't need or want to see or hear about it in my house.
What do you think Dr.G.?
A Confused Mom
You are in good and plentiful company. Countless numbers of parents are dealing with this very issue .
You and your husband certainly have a right to your feelings. I don't think that there are too many parents who would be comfortable with the sleeping arrangement that your daughter is proposing. On the other hand, it is excellent that you are aware that your daughter is sexually active and I hope that you continue to talk to her about all things sexual and emotional.It is fine to tell your daughter that these sleeping arrangements will not work for you. She can then decide if she still wants the boyfriend to come visit. Even if you do plump up the pillows in the guest room for the boyfriend-don't be surprised if the teens have a secret tryst in the middle of the night. Control what you can. It is after all your home. And, remember that is okay to say no to your daughter. She will recover and I promise that she will not hate you for life. Good luck and let me know how things go.
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Barbara R. Greenberg, Ph.D. is currently a professional consultant on teen issues at Silver Hill Hospital in New Canaan, CT. She also maintains a private practice in Fairfield County, CT. She served as a clinical administrator on an adolescent inpatient unit at a private psychiatric hospital for 21 years before dedicating herself to private outpatient practice and consultation work.