How to deal with cohabiting children


#1

I have recently discovered that our daughter is living with her boyfriend (she lives in another city) --I have suspected it for some time. To make it even worse, she is lying about it & covering it up. When she moved out of town a year or so ago, she informed us, because she wanted to be "honest", that they were going to live together. After our distraught response to this, she & her boyfriend agreed not to do it, so as not to risk damaging their relationship with us. Now we have double the damage with immorality AND lying.
I guess my problem is I don't know how to even relate to her now. Do I confront her? Distance myself from her? I am very uncomfortable even being around her knowing what she is doing. I have been driving 1 1/2 hours to see her & have her cut my hair, as that is her profession-- I don't even want to do that anymore.

I am so sad & disturbed by this-- One of our older daughters, also out of town, may be engaging in the same immorality, & there are younger siblings at home that will be influenced by this. I feel overwhelmed by the bad choices my daughters are making.

Has anyone been in this situation & how have you handled it? I love my daughter but cannot condone or respect her choices.


#2

I'm not a parent, I'm only 30 years old, so take what I say with a grain of salt. I don't think you'll like it.

Whenever I hear a parent even consider distancing themselves from their child, I immediately think back to a clip on television I saw one time. The press was interviewing a father whose son had shot up a school, killing 5 people. He said, "He's still my son, I still love him, and I can't separate myself from him."

Your daughter is doing something wrong, but let's get a grip here. If that father said that, and didn't distance himself from his kid, you don't have to either.

What I would do-Tell your daughter you don't approve of what she is doing. You have nothing against the guy, but your not in favor of living together before marriage. Tell her that people who do have a higher rate of divorce. Tell her you won't allow them to "sleep over" in the same bed if they come and visit. Remind her your crushed about the lying thing as well.

Then, go into, "Don't ask, Don't tell mode". You don't ask questions, she won't answer them. If she is lying to you, that's on her conscience, not yours.

All of my advice is null and void if you are financially supporting her. In that case, you every right to ask and pry-it is your money, after all.


#3

I generally concur.

I think you need to sit down calmly with her, have a good cup of tea or coffee, just the two of you, when you don't have to rush or worry about leaving soon. Talk it through properly. Be honest with her about how you feel, and most importantly, why you feel it. Let her explain the same to you. At the end of the day, it seems that you find it immoral, but she doesn't. If you talk with her, and let her explain why she doesn't see it that way, you don't have to agree with it, but it might help you come to terms with it.

It would be sad if you ended up distancing yourself from her over this, but at the same time it doesn't mean you have to agree or like it. If she understands that, and you understand how she feels, you might both be able to find a place where you can live with it and each other, even if you don't agree with each other.


#4

I am assuming she's an adult. If so, she has to live her life as she sees fit and you'll not really, and shouldn't really, have much to say about it.


#5

[quote="Lutheranteach, post:4, topic:206536"]
I am assuming she's an adult. If so, she has to live her life as she sees fit and you'll not really, and shouldn't really, have much to say about it.

[/quote]

No offense but I've seen some really bad advice from you on this and the masturbation thread. You seem to be coming from the Lutheran view that some things aren't sinful or that somehow one should not confront their spouse/child when they are doing something morally, and spiritually harmful to themselves. I'm not Catholic (YET) either but you must understand the Catholic teaching on these issues to appreciate how a Catholic feels and what advice is best for them. Clearly the Lutheran way isn't it...(not to be rude or anything) really... :o

I love my kids and no matter the age or that they move out I'm going to confront them for lying and fornicating. A parent should ALWAYS tell their child what they think on these damning issues. Standing idly by while they lie to me and then fornicate after I raised them that that is sinful they are going to get an earful just as if they say "I'm homosexual" or whatever.

This kid should get the "I will always love you no matter what...but I disapprove and am hurt by your lying and other choices" speech. That's my advice. Is the boyfriend Catholic?


#6

[quote="fannytemper, post:1, topic:206536"]
I have recently discovered that our daughter is living with her boyfriend

[/quote]

If they want to play husband and wife then treat them like husband and wife. End all support.

Now.


#7

Would you distance yourself from your daughter for other sins? What makes this one particular sin worse than any number of others? Why would you want to distance yourself from her over a poor decision made by a young woman? Have you sinned? Did you make any poor choices when you were younger? If they weren't living together but still having sex without you knowing would that make you feel better? She's an adult, she's going to make some choices that aren't the best. Everyone does. You should be honest with her that you disapprove of her decision but I wouldn't disassociate myself from her. The fact that you are even considering it kind of disturbs me to be honest... She lied to you because she was afraid you would cut her off obviously. And reacting that way is just going to turn her off of the faith and of her family.


#8

I'm in pretty much the same situation. But the way I see it in your case is that your daughter knows she has disappointed you and has lied in an effort not to hurt you any more, I know, strange twisted logic:whacky:. She wants to keep her relationship with you and is willing to lie for that to happen. She obviously loves you, but has made her own choices in life.

Defendoroftruth is right.

** "I will always love you no matter what...but I disapprove and am hurt by your lying and other choices"**


#9

[quote="defenderoftruth, post:5, topic:206536"]
This kid should get the "I will always love you no matter what...but I disapprove and am hurt by your lying and other choices" speech.

[/quote]

I agree with this, but if you're going to do that, I think you have to also show respect for your child, especially now that they're an adult, to then listen to how they feel on the subject too.


#10

[quote="MichaelR, post:9, topic:206536"]
I agree with this, but if you're going to do that, I think you have to also show respect for your child, especially now that they're an adult, to then listen to how they feel on the subject too.

[/quote]

Respect? For lying and fornicating after I raised them and the Church teaches it's wrong? Sorry no respect here for that. I'll listen to them but I'll never agree...


#11

Unfortunately, I've been the adult child committing those particular sins. My parents handled it by making it clear initially that they disapproved and not allowing my boyfriend and me to share a bedroom in their home when we visited. It was hard knowing that they disapproved of these and other aspects of my hedonistic lifestyle, but I certainly think it made a difference. After a little more than two years of cohabitation, I ended that relationship and moved out on my own. I very much needed my parents' support (emotional, not financial) at that time, and I was grateful that they hadn't distanced themselves from me. It was the first step in turning back to God and renewing a Christian life. So while this is an awful situation, please don't despair that no good can come of it.

You don't give a lot of details about your daughter's situation, but I would agree with others that you should end any financial support. You might go so far as to decide not to visit their home--rather, meeting them at a restaurant if you're visiting them or having them over to your home. Certainly your younger children should not visit your daughter's home.

You don't say how old the younger children are, but it might be wise to ask your daughter not to advertise to them the fact that she is living with her boyfriend. If they do find out, or are old enough to figure it out, I would make it very clear to them that while you love this daughter very much, she is sinning and you disapprove. If they are old enough, I would start talking with them about how you think healthy Christian relationships should progress from dating to marriage, and why God's plan is better.

The issue of lying needs to be addressed as well. I think it's strange to lie about something like cohabitation because it's not very easy to hide the fact that two people are living together. Anyway, I would certainly tell your daughter that you're hurt that she lied to you, and that you wish she would tell you the truth. While I am not blaming you for her sin, perhaps your reaction when she first told you she was going to live with her boyfriend gave her reason to think her actions would ruin your relationship with her. I would evaluate how you responded initially; perhaps acknowledging that you could have handled things differently might help your relationship with her.

Finally, although I'm sure you are already doing this, don't forget to pray for her and her boyfriend!


#12

[quote="defenderoftruth, post:10, topic:206536"]
Respect? For lying and fornicating after I raised them and the Church teaches it's wrong? Sorry no respect here for that. I'll listen to them but I'll never agree...

[/quote]

You *go *girl.


#13

I pointedly said you didn't have to agree with what they have to say, just listen to try and understand.

Listening and understanding is very different from agreeing.

But a parent should respect their adult children as adults. They are grown up and their own people. And if they now hold different views, that is their right, as a human being with free will. And thank goodness we live in a society with free speech where this is possible.

I said I think parents should show them enough respect to at least listen to why they want to live their life in a way that doesn't agree with the parent's view...and at the end of the day, it is just that, a view....and while you don't have to agree with what they say...it might at least help a parent to understand it, and see they're not doing it out of malice, or hurt, or disrespect to the parent. In fact, it probably has nothing to do with the parent, it's about them.

If you believe you have the right to express your anger/hurt/disappointment to them, then they have an equal right to reply in their own defence. That's why the legal system is as it is.

At the moment, it seems for the OP it feels like a very personal betrayal...by talking to the daughter, it might be shown that it is not intended to be a personal slight against the mother, but is in fact about the daughter.

The very fact that she was covering it up suggests she loves her mother because she didn't want to hurt her. If she was being truly disrespectful and wanting to betray and hurt, she'd have just said 'I'm doing this, and I don't care if it hurts you or what you think because it's my life, and if you don't like it, shove off'.....and some children do do that to their parents, so the fact she hasn't shows she still loves and respects you...and actually that she even cares about the parent's opinion on the matter, but doesn't necessarily agree.


#14

[quote="defenderoftruth, post:5, topic:206536"]
No offense but I've seen some really bad advice from you on this and the masturbation thread. You seem to be coming from the Lutheran view that some things aren't sinful or that somehow one should not confront their spouse/child when they are doing something morally, and spiritually harmful to themselves. I'm not Catholic (YET) either but you must understand the Catholic teaching on these issues to appreciate how a Catholic feels and what advice is best for them. Clearly the Lutheran way isn't it...(not to be rude or anything) really... :o

I love my kids and no matter the age or that they move out I'm going to confront them for lying and fornicating. A parent should ALWAYS tell their child what they think on these damning issues. Standing idly by while they lie to me and then fornicate after I raised them that that is sinful they are going to get an earful just as if they say "I'm homosexual" or whatever.

This kid should get the "I will always love you no matter what...but I disapprove and am hurt by your lying and other choices" speech. That's my advice. Is the boyfriend Catholic?

[/quote]

You're right. I'm not Catholic. Nor, am I giving Lutheran perspective. I'm giving realistic advice. She's had her daughter under her roof for 18-plus years. Do you think her telling her adult daughter that she doesn't like the fact she's living with a boyfriend is going to make much difference? Obviously multiple years of whatever she was taught didn't take or don't matter to her. But, a cup of coffee and a brief lecture is going to set it all right? I don't see it happening. The fact she lied to her mom about it pretty much proves that she doesn't want to discuss it with her and that her mom's opinion and/or advice on the issue isn't wanted. If mom even wants to open that door she's going to have to come wayyyyyyyy around the turn and start with "So how are things with you and ......" I'm not asking mom to like it. I'm not even asking her to accept it. I'm just telling her her daughter's a grown up and is going to make her own choices, not all of which she is going to like. That's what happens when people grow up and start to live their own lives.


#15

Thank you all for your thoughts.

To clarify the matter further:
My daughter is 22 & is supporting herself so that is not an issue. She has also disconnected herself from the Church, & God, for that matter, so any reasons I relay to her on spiritual grounds for our disapproval will most likely be shrugged off. She knows how we feel & what we believe anyway, as we have made it very clear as she was growing up. She also knows that we give marriage preparation talks to Catholic engaged couples (how ironic), that we believe in & support a ministry to propagate Theology of the Body, etc. etc.

One of my dilemmas is also that I have been in psychotherapy for awhile for clinical depression, & I have problems communicating well. That is why the initial confrontation w/ daughter & boyfriend was super emotional. The idea of having a calm conversation with her about this is appealing, but at this time, not realistic. My husband is the more calm one. This whole situation threatens to throw me back into a bad place emotionally.

Also I do not want to just "pretend" that everything is just dandy. A number of our friends are in the same situation, & they all say, "well, what can we do about it--that's just the way it is today" . To say that & act that way would be tantamount to abandoning my principles which I cannot in good conscience do.

This is different in my mind from other sinful behavior because it breaks down the very core of what it means to be a moral person in an immoral world. This prevalent attitude of relative morality in sexual behavior is at the root of the culture of death. What a thing to have to witness your child(ren) engaging in.

And yes the boyfriend is Catholic, but not practicing.

So, I don't know what I will do yet-- I actually need to stand back & give myself a chance to get to a better place emotionally before I do or say anything.


#16

not to respect the sin, but to respect the person committing the sin as a child of God made in HIS image. and she's your kid.

sobriquet has it right. i **was *the adult child *and** my own adult son behaved in this and similar manners. when my conversion happened, my mother was there for me, though i knew all along my choices broke her heart, made her fear for my salvation, caused her to make all kinds of reparation for my sins, galled her AND humilated her.

even still she loved me.

it was harder for me to love HER knowing how deeply my choices were opposed to her deepest beliefs. after only one, clear, loving and then CLOSED conversation, i felt guilt around her. (she told me, worst of all, my choices offended God Who did not create me for sin but for holiness. )

good. my guilt was the beginning of contrition. my contrition was the beginning of my conversion.

so i learned from my mother. she never came to my appartment when i was shacking up. (soon as we broke up and he moved out, mom was there a coupla times a week!) she didnt give me any financial help. (soon as it was over with him, she did offer help and she did bring by groceries.) i was always allowed to visit her home with him, though he hated her badly . (there was once a dust-up about us staying one night at her house but not in the same bed. he was furious. my mother said, "then you are free to not stay here."

i have behaved in all the same ways with my son and have found my mother's example of loving acceptance of ME but clear disavowal of my SIN to be a good guide. i love MY SON. i even grew really appreciate HER, his gal. but their moral choices? no.

that's how my mother was with me when i was deep in sin.

that's how God was with me, too.


#17

Is it still true that statistics show that couples that live together before marriage have a higher incidence of divorce?

Number one reason not to live together.


#18

[quote="Sobriquet, post:11, topic:206536"]
Unfortunately, I've been the adult child committing those particular sins. My parents handled it by making it clear initially that they disapproved and not allowing my boyfriend and me to share a bedroom in their home when we visited. It was hard knowing that they disapproved of these and other aspects of my hedonistic lifestyle, but I certainly think it made a difference. After a little more than two years of cohabitation, I ended that relationship and moved out on my own. I very much needed my parents' support (emotional, not financial) at that time, and I was grateful that they hadn't distanced themselves from me. It was the first step in turning back to God and renewing a Christian life. So while this is an awful situation, please don't despair that no good can come of it.

You don't give a lot of details about your daughter's situation, but I would agree with others that you should end any financial support. You might go so far as to decide not to visit their home--rather, meeting them at a restaurant if you're visiting them or having them over to your home. Certainly your younger children should not visit your daughter's home.

You don't say how old the younger children are, but it might be wise to ask your daughter not to advertise to them the fact that she is living with her boyfriend. If they do find out, or are old enough to figure it out, I would make it very clear to them that while you love this daughter very much, she is sinning and you disapprove. If they are old enough, I would start talking with them about how you think healthy Christian relationships should progress from dating to marriage, and why God's plan is better.

The issue of lying needs to be addressed as well. I think it's strange to lie about something like cohabitation because it's not very easy to hide the fact that two people are living together. Anyway, I would certainly tell your daughter that you're hurt that she lied to you, and that you wish she would tell you the truth. While I am not blaming you for her sin, perhaps your reaction when she first told you she was going to live with her boyfriend gave her reason to think her actions would ruin your relationship with her. I would evaluate how you responded initially; perhaps acknowledging that you could have handled things differently might help your relationship with her.

Finally, although I'm sure you are already doing this, don't forget to pray for her and her boyfriend!

[/quote]

This is good advice. :thumbsup:

lutheranteach, and michaelr sorry your advice imo stinks.


#19

I think what you should do is let your views be known, but don't shove it down her throat. :) She is an adult and is free to make her own choices, immoral or not. Makes sure she known you do not agree, however don't bring it up in every conversation. As for wether to distance yourself or not, I think not. She is still your daughter and I'm sure you love her a lot.

Stand firm in your morals, but don't bring it up unless you must (You may refuse for them to stay at your house, togther, etc)

As well pray for her. You don't need to tell her you are praying, but pray anyways.

Financially... well its up to you (Its your money!) My advice is help her financially with school or something like that but not with their home, food, etc- they share those, so it may be a way to let her know you do not approve of her lifestyle.

I hope it all works out and God Bless.


#20

Kids will be kids, whether they are two or twenty-two. But once they have left the nest, they are on their own.

For any of us, I think, our decisions were different from those our parents would have made for us. It is an entirely good and natural thing that we grow up and lead our own lives.

Don't worry so much. The kids are all right.


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