...when it's your parents, and your roof, and your children too


#1

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?p=2962922#post2962922

I was reading this, and it started me on another train of thought… not wanting to hi-jack amgjmj’s thread, I thought to start one on a similar but different topic…

…if one day, I have my own home, and my mother and a boyfriend of hers come to stay, do I give them seperate rooms? It could be kind’ve awkward telling my own mother that she can’t sleep with her boyfriend in my house…

but I guess it’s like enforcing rules on your parents in other ways, as well… I mean, when my step-grandmother came over to my mother’s house at one point, and my little sister slammed the door upstairs, my mother was on the way up to disciplin my little sister when my step-grandmother pushed my mother out of the way and went up herself. She then spent approx. thirty minutes screaming herself hoarse at the nine-year old little girl, using every swear word in the English language and maybe a few others as well.

my little sister was traumatized, and I was shocked that my mother could allow that to happen. rest assured, if/when I have my own family and little ones, no one - and I mean no one will be allowed to treat them in that way. it’ll be up to whoever I marry and myself to do the disciplining, unless we’re not there and it’s a sitter. but if anyone loses their temper on one of my kids like that, rest assured that I will be there to defend my child!

I wanted to intervene and defend my baby sister, but my mother (who is afraid of my step-grandmother) said not to and so I acquised. I hate to think, though, that I would allow deference for my mother or father to become more important than the mental health of my own children.

if (thank God that I know she wouldn’t) my mother were to behave like that in my household when I am an adult, to push the mother (or father) out of the way and attempt to disciplin the child herself - by screaming at her or in another such totally innapropriate manner - I would feel obligated to intervene, to remind my mother that where my children were concerned - I or whoever I end up married to are the primary providers of discipline, and I would let her know as well that if she ever yells at any of my children like that, with the vulgar language and threats of violence and all, that I would have her leave until I was certain that she could remain calm around small children.

what do you think? where’s the line between respecting your parents, and enforcing your rules under your roof? what if I am on my own, and my mother and her boyfriend come to visit? I would feel too awkward to tell them that they’ll have to sleep in seperate rooms, but I would feel like I was failing to live up to the expectations of my moral values if I didn’t. what would you do? where would your line be between respecting parents and running your home the way you think you should?

Pax Christi,
Esther Rose


#2

I’m totally with you about who is to discipline children. The parents always have first priority, and then anyone they put in charge. And if anyone abuses them that person ought to be told to stay away if s/he can’t control his/her temper or be turned into the police if any threats are carried out.

As to your mother and boyfriend, I assume this is a real situation for you? If so, I’d sit down with my mom and explain nicely and reasonably, without judging her, the rules of your household to her before any overnight visits by her and her boyfriend. If she wouldn’t be willing to abide by your rules in your house, she and her boyfriend ought to find other overnight accommodations.


#3

I would either request that they have separate rooms or find a nearby hotel. My parents know my stand on this, though, because I’ve had to hold both of my siblings to this standard.

I respected my parents’ rules when I was living at their house, and I expect nothing less from them. I wouldn’t consider it disrespecting them in any way (unless I was uncharitable in the way I delivered my request); I would consider it loving them by refusing to encourage immoral behavior.


#4

Well this is one reason why dh and I have the only bed in the house big enough for 2 people. We don’t have a typical guest room. And we certainly don’t have enough space to set up guests in different rooms. But in our basement, we have an area that is comfortable enough to serve as a guest room. In that area, we have 2 twin sized beds (actually, it’s a day bed with another bed that rolls out from under it). This way, married or not, our guests are not sleeping in the same bed. So if you are worried that this may be a problem, when you do get a home, consider arranging your guest facilities so that the only option is a moral one.


#5

**Not to knock your solution but do you really believe that having 2 twin beds in the same room stops immoral behavior or even the appearance of it? Back before I was Catholic and didn’t have the moral standards I hold now, it sure wouldn’t have stopped me:o.

I would set up a non-private area if possible for overnight guests. Maybe in the living room? That serves 2 purposes:

1: discourages any immoral behavior

  1. keeps guests from feeling too comfortable and staying longer, lol

Malia **


#6

True, it’s not the perfect situation. But it’s the best we can do with the situation we have. Most of our visitors are my married in-laws. And Grandma and Grandpa need a comfortable sleeping space, not an air mattress in the living room where they’ll have to turn out the lights when we do, and get up super early with our toddler. And yes of course, twin beds are not going to stop immature adolescents from doing what they want. And I would never let non-adults sleep down there because it is true that I couldn’t physically prevent them from doing what they want. But I do make a distinction between young people who are “in my care” and adults who are merely visitors. So when it comes to reasonably mature adults who are already committing this sin regularly on their own time (and therefore aren’t waiting for the next chance to be alone in my basement), I’m less concerned with actually keeping them from fooling around for one night (which I hope they wouldn’t since they’d have access to each other any other time), and more concerned with finding a solution that doesn’t scream impropriety to my childlren. And while I know that it may be imprudent for people of the opposite sexes to sleep near each other (particularly when they don’t normally have this access), this is not something that our young children understand or care about. They just know that husbands and wives sleep in the same bed and other people don’t. When they get older, if we need to move one of the beds to another room in our basement to be sure the kids aren’t scandalized (if we have unmarried visitors) we’ll do that. But even then, the idea is to proclaim what our values are, not to actually police or shaperone our adult guests.

Anyhoo, this is working for us, but the main point of my other post was not that you do exactly what I’m doing, but that having the physical arrangements be less conducive to a couple’s sleeping space might be easier than having to explain to your guests why they can’t use that perfectly good queen sized bed that’s in your guest room.


#7

When that situation came up – widowed fil wanted to bring gf to visit – we sat him down (figuratively, on the phone), and asked if that was the kind of example he wanted to give his granddaughter. He and gf decided to stay in a motel nearby. (whew!) they broke up shortly thereafter (double whew!)


#8

Although I agree with the last paragraph, I personally wouldn’t consider an arrangement like that to solve the problem, even partially. For one I don’t agree that young children may not understand or care that a bf and gf and sleeping over in the same room. Also, part of the reason I wouldn’t allow it is to let the other people know that I don’t agree with unmarried couples sleeping together in condition that would be conducive to inappropriate behavior, even if I don’t expect them to participate in this behavior at my home. Allowing them to sleep in the same room doesn’t set an example for my kids and doesn’t send the couple the right message either, IMHO. I got in trouble with family once because I didn’t let a bf and gf sleep alone in 2 different rooms (each alone) at my home because it was on the other side of my house (plus my daughter was sleeping in the room in between and I didn’t feel comfortable having the bf sleeping alone close to my daughter’s room, but even if she would have been in my room, I still didn’t think it was a good idea to have an unmarried couple sleeping in close quarters alone on the other side of the house).
Anyways, regarding the mother and boyfriend situation, I would kindly and lovingly let her know that you want to set an example for your kids hence you have strict rules on not allowing unmarried couples sleep together at your home, hence you would not be able to let her stay at your home sleeping in the same room as her bf.


#9

thank you to all who have replied so far. just to clarify, I am just-turned twenty, (currently living in res where it’s not a problem yet), discerning, and learning about my faith.

I was just wondering - what if, when I do end up with my own place, with or without children in it should I or how do I enforce morality within that home, and what can one enforce when one does have children as far as their parenting rights verses the right of the grandparents to be respected and honoured by their children.

it’s not just about setting an example for kids (which I don’t have any yet, not being yet married myself)… it’s also about setting an example - and being consistent - for my family and friends…

plus, from what I understand, I am expected to enforce morality in my own home whenever I end up owning one (I do intend to, unless I end up entering a convent in which point I wouldn’t need to worry about it)… and I want to meet the requirements of all the morals I have embraced in embracing the Catholic faith - while keeping peace in my family.

so, going from there…

Pax Christi,
Esther Rose


#10

I have been faced with such situations in the past. I have never lied to anyone about who and what I am, and I always ask people to please treat my beliefs with the same respect that they ask of me regarding their beliefs.

The question is this - are you really talking about keeping peace in the family or are you looking for a way to avoid having people know who you are? Are you afraid they will not love you enough to respect you?

These were my fears…that if I let people know who I am and what I am then I will be left alone.

The truth is I have only one member of the family who no longer speaks to me becaue of my stand on moral issues. He is in my prayers every day and I know, deep in my heart, that he rejects me because he is not ok with strong people…in other words, he’s a bit of a bully. For that reason, it is not much of a hardship to no longer have him in my life.


#11

Well, keeping peace in your family is not something you can do by yourself. True, in your own home you have the right (and responsibility) to expect certain behavior. If your adult guests refuse to respect the rules of your home, they do not need to be in your home. Depending on the personality of the person in question (as well as the grace of God), this may or may not be compatiple with “peace in your family.” Remember that Jesus himself said that he was not here to bring peace but the sword, and that father would turn against son (etc.) in order to follow him. Some people will react to your “house rules” with respect, and others will be angry, defensive, and hostile. You can’t control that. All you can do is be sure that you explain yourself in a non-judgemental way, and be sure to show those people that you love them.


#12

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