Western Producer October 23, 1997
Q: Our 16 year old granddaughter has visited us many times over the years, staying for a weekend or a week. She has had a steady boyfriend, 3 years old than her for the past while. He brings her out for visits now. She told us that she is sleeping with him, and wants to share the same bedroom in our home. What do we do?
A: You can't control what your granddaughter does when she is not staying at your place, but you have the right to tell her what the ground rules are when she is in your home.
You may not like the fact that she is sexually active at a relatively young age. You have the right to tell her that, not as a lecture, not as an attempt to control her decision, but merely to tell her your feelings about the situation.
You have the right to ask her to respect your feelings about having her being sexually active with her boyfriend under your roof. If she and her boyfriend can't accept that, they had better decide not to spend a weekend with you and just visit for a day.
You can't control her. You can only control your own home and how it is used. If she and her boyfriend choose to go for a drive, park and be sexually intimate in the car, that is their decision, and not your business.
If I were faced with such a situation, I might choose to share with her the various ways or showing emotional caring and concern in a relationship, and tell her I hoped that this was happening in her relationship with her boyfriend.
If you personally believe sex should be delayed until marriage, be honest about your feelings and opinions, but express them as yours, not something you are pressuring her to agree with. She's already made the decision to become sexually active. That can't be reversed. But if she recognizes and understands the other important aspect to a truly caring relationship, she may find herself less exciting or obsessed about the sexual part of it. The more you show respect to her right and responsibility to make her own sexual decisions, the more serious she will likely take them.