Dear Straight Talk: My daughter is a junior in college. She'll be coming home shortly with her boyfriend who we have not yet met. They do not live together but I'm pretty sure they spend the night with each other frequently. I would like to know what other parents do when their (older) kids visit and bring a significant other. It wouldn't bother me if they shared a bedroom, but I know it would her father. I don't want them to cut their visit short over this. Is it realistic to expect him to use the guest room? Also, any tips on how to get her father to approve? I would love to have them stay here for the summer and look for work locally. -- Thank you from Woodland, Calif.
Liva, 21: If her father isn't comfortable with them sharing a room, then they shouldn't. Hopefully your daughter can understand and respect that. I've not (yet) brought a boy home with me from college. But my older sister did. He was meant to stay in the guest room, but I know for a fact that he didn't because my sister and I have adjoining rooms. Whatever rules you lay down may or may not be abided by. Now when my sister and her boyfriend come home, it's acceptable for them to share a room since they live together. However, with extended family, he still stays in a separate room as our grandparents aren't comfortable with an unmarried couple sharing a room -- even knowing that they live together.
Katelyn, 16: It's your house, your rules. If it is OK to share a bedroom, let them. However, if your husband doesn't approve, respect his wishes and ask your daughter's significant other to use the guest room -- or register a hotel room for them. Don't be pressured into something just because it might "drive them away."
Lennon, 24: My dad (as a single parent), never had a problem letting my girlfriend sleep with me in my room, even as a senior in high school. Your daughter and her boyfriend are going to want to sleep together. She's what, 21? Living on her own in college? Best thing you can be now is a friend.
Rachel, 19: Some grown friends' parents let their significant other stay the night and others don't. Start by having a realistic conversation with your husband. Often fathers like to believe their daughter is the next Virgin Mary. But if you all meet each other and he likes your daughter's boyfriend, it's possible he could shift.
Dear Woodland: There is no right or wrong. But I don't recommend talking your husband into anything. A father (or stepfather) needs to come to peace with his daughter's "liberation" on his own schedule. This is purely emotional for him and if he goes against his emotions in order to please you, it can easily backfire -- often in the lovely couple's presence. Giving the decision to him is also your best bet for warming him up as he will have nothing to polarize against.
Whatever you decide, establish the rule before they arrive. You don't want to greet the couple emerging tangle-haired from her bedroom. Speak separately with daughter and husband to determine their hopes and expectations. If they conflict, give your husband preference and play diplomat with daughter. It is totally realistic for her boyfriend to use the guest room. They are very likely expecting it and you won't lose your daughter over it. The worst that will happen is they won't stay long before making other accommodations. But if the relationship is serious, they'll be back. To all daughters, sons, or potential daughters and sons-in-law: if you are allowed to stay the night together with your significant other when you go home, be respectful. No noises may emanate from your room and no skimpy sleepwear, or lack thereof, may be worn outside the closed bedroom door. These things may not seem like flaunting to you, but I guarantee it will come across as such to parents and/or stepparents.
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