Child Parent Sex Self-Help Advice

Written by Jane Brooks

Succesfully navigate when your grown up child arrives for the weekend with a date.

In Meet the Parents, Robert De Niro's character subjects his daughter's visiting boyfriend to a lie detector test. "Have you had sexual relations with my daughter?" he asks the stunned suitor while he's wired up to the machine. He then proceeds to inform him that there's to be no hanky panky under his roof.

Advice on Healthy Family Relationships:
Allow everyone an opportunity to express their feelings.
You can negotiate, but the bottom line is that you rule in your home.
Be aware of the messages you may be sending to your younger children about what is and isn't okay.
Respect your partner's feelings.
Express your feelings to your child.
More Advice on Kids and Sex
Find Your Inner Youth 
Although most parents are a bit more tactful, the issue of who-sleeps-where is a hot button for many families. What do you do about sleeping arrangements when junior brings his new love home for the holidays?

At a time when warm feelings abound, the last thing you want is an argument with your offspring. That's why, explains Kalman Heller, Ph.D., a psychologist in private practice with Needham Psychotherapy Associates, good communication is the key to holiday harmony.

Whether "junior" is 18 or 28, it's important to communicate with him. Clarify expectations and don't take anything for granted;  your son and his honey may not even be having sex. On the other hand, college students often feel that previous house rules no longer apply once they've experienced freedom away from home. Your coed may simply assume that he and his girlfriend will be sharing his room.

Talk to your partner. How does each of you feel about your son or daughter cohabiting in your home? Suppose parents feel differently about the matter? Heller would counsel his clients to acquiesce to the parent who feels uncomfortable. It's important to present a united front.

Unnerved simply by the possibility of your child having sex in your home? Be clear about your feelings with your child: "There's no reason why you shouldn't share a room except that we're uncomfortable."

You have the right to expect that your son and his girlfriend, like any houseguest, will respect your values. Don't allow your child to bully or embarrass you into giving in. And if your houseguest is fairly young, you may want to call her parents to talk about their expectations, Heller advises.

However, you should be careful about treating your child in an age-appropriate manner. I was 30 when I visited my future in-laws for the first time. They insisted that their son and I have separate rooms. Considering our age and that he had been married before, it seemed a rather silly request.

When my older son's new girlfriend came to visit following their college graduation, I agreed that there was no point to making them stay in separate rooms, since they had just spent a week together at her apartment.

What most concerned me was the impact on my younger son. But he, at 18, just assumed that they would share a room. In contrast, my aunt, thoroughly modern in every way, expressed dismay that I would permit such goings-on in my home.

"You're not bothered by the thought of them sleeping together in your house?" she asked.

"Okay," I admitted to her, "there is one thing that troubles me."

"What's that?" she responded, a tinge of smugness creeping into her voice.

"My son has someone to sleep with and I don't."

Luckily, my aunt has a great sense of humor.

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