Shameless Sleepovers

12 Sep

Dear LetterBalm: I live with my widowed daughter and help raise her two children, who are terrific kids. My grandson is 5 and his sister is 8. My daughter is a wonderful mother, and she works hard to give all of us a good home. There is one thing that troubles me, though. My daughter has had a few boyfriends. She allows these men to sleep in her bedroom overnight and allows her kids to be in the bed with them sometimes. I don’t think this is good for the children, but I haven’t said anything because I live in my daughter’s home, and I don’t want to make her angry. What can I say to her?

–Concerned Grandpa

Oh, this is not good. Granddad, what are you waiting for? You and your daughter represent the moral authority in your home. Ms. L.B. says you are assuredly sharing the parenting of your grandchildren, and you are expected to lead by example, even if your daughter doesn’t. You must advocate for your grandchildren. This means you have a calm, frank sit-down with your daughter when the kids (and the current boyfriend) are out of the house:

Delilah, we need to have a serious talk. I’ve said nothing until now, but I must for the sake of Laurie and Jake. You opened your home to me, a home you make for all of us. Please listen when I tell you that it isn’t good for children to have different men in their lives passing through their home. It could be dangerous for all of us. More importantly, it isn’t good for them to be sharing a bed with you and these men. You’ve seen how Jake gets attached to your boyfriends and how he and his sister get upset and ask all kinds of questions when they don’t come back again. I’m not a psychologist, but even I know this is confusing and damaging to them. It teaches them that they can’t rely on people to stay in their lives, and, from what the kids say to me, they are blaming themselves. I’ve found information for parenting classes at the local community college. You and I need to go together to find the tools to handle this. If I can’t reach you, maybe someone impartial can help. You’re a wonderful mother in all other ways, and you know how much I love you all. But I am very, very worried – I think, for good reason.


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