DEAR HARRIETTE: My daughter is a sophomore in college. She has had a boyfriend for the past two years. He sounds like a nice young man. My daughter has asked if she can bring him home for Thanksgiving. I like the idea, as it will give us a chance to meet him and get to know him. My concern is the ground rules.
Call my husband and me old-fashioned, but we do not believe my daughter should sleep in the same room as her boyfriend until they are married, no matter what they do when they are on their own. I don’t want to discourage her from inviting her boyfriend to visit, but I do need to make sure she is willing to follow the rules. At the same time, I don’t want her to think I am treating her like a baby. What should I say? -- Old School, Baltimore
DEAR OLD SCHOOL: Do not feel embarrassed about wanting to enforce your house rules. You have every right to expect your daughter to remember how you taught her to behave and to adhere to those expectations. Call her and tell her how excited you and your husband are for her and her boyfriend to visit. Give her a sense of any scheduled activities that you would like for them to attend. Then tell her where she will sleep and where her boyfriend will sleep. If she tries to resist, remind her that you and your husband do not condone sleeping together before marriage.
Be practical as well. Your daughter may not be as traditional in her values as you are. Whenever you can, have her tell you about her relationship, what she values and what she hopes for with this young man. When they are with you, be supportive and attentive. You don’t have to relax your rules, but you do need to listen carefully in order to best guide your daughter through this time of exploration and growing maturity.