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KEEP DAUGHTER'S CONFIDENCE

Dear Ann Landers: Two weeks ago, I walked in on my 17-year-old daughter having sex with her boyfriend, "Justin." They both will be 18 in two months. They are good kids and plan to go to college together next year. I knew it would be pointless to lecture them, because as you so wisely said in your column a while back, once teenagers begin to have sex, it's almost impossible to get them to stop.

I took my daughter to the gynecologist and had her put on birth control pills. I also discussed with her the importance of safe and responsible sex. My daughter was grateful that I was not judgmental or angry.

Here's the problem. I frequently speak to Justin's parents, and they have let me know they don't want their son to become sexually active until he is married. I am convinced if they knew what was going on, they would demand that Justin stop seeing my daughter, or they might insist the two of them get married right away. Neither solution seems "sensible" to me.

Justin's parents question me often about where the kids have been and what I think they might be up to. I am having a very difficult time keeping my mouth shut. Should I tell his parents they are having sex? I would appreciate your input.

-- Up Against It in Iowa
Dear Iowa: The answer is a solid, unequivocal no. Under no circumstances should you tell Justin's parents what you know about the couple's activities. It would not help the situation. In fact, it might make things worse. Also, your daughter and Justin would never forgive you for betraying their confidence -- and I wouldn't blame them. This is not your story to tell.

Whether or not you approve of what is going on, these kids are almost 18 and no longer under your control. If your daughter and Justin are going to the same college, they may one day marry, and their current sexual intimacy will not be an issue. Keep your oar out of their water and hope for the best.

Make up with in-law

Dear Ann Landers: My two young children and I spend a week at the beach every summer. When we went last month, I invited my mother-in-law to join us. I'm sorry to say, that was a big mistake. I shared a room with her and wasn't able to get a decent night's sleep. The woman snores like a moose.

When I mentioned this to her the next day, she became furious and said I was lying. My daughter said, "No, Grandma, you were really snoring -- loud." My mother-in-law then became very angry and said I had exaggerated her snoring to humiliate her. She called me some nasty names and stormed out of the room.

When we returned from vacation, I mentioned the incident to my husband. He had a long talk with his mother, and now she is angry with both of us. I am upset that she was so disrespectful to me, especially in front of my children, and haven't spoken to her since. She has made no attempt to contact me. What should I do?

-- Needing Advice in the Empire State
Dear Needing Advice: Clean up this mess before it assumes monumental proportions beyond fixing. Apologize for "exaggerating," even if the words stick in your throat. Remember, this is your husband's mother, and you should do this for him. And for heaven's sake, don't share sleeping quarters with her in the future. No matter how much money you save, it won't be worth it.

Problems? Dump on Ann. Write her at The Buffalo News, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y. 14240.

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