Times have changed; social mores too. But there still remains this issue: Your grown child comes home for the holidays (or just for a weekend visit) with a friend--as in boyfriend or girlfriend. They are a couple. At least they are in their eyes. Do you let them pile into your child's old bedroom together or do you provide separate sleeping quarters?
For parents of college-age children it may be a bigger issue than for those with older, single children. But not necessarily. I've read some "Ask Amy" letters where grandparents don't want their grandchildren "shacking up" with their lovers under their roof--even when the grandchild in question is in her 30s. That said, the younger the child, the trickier the issue--even though we all assume that in this day and age, our adult children are sleeping with someone they consider a boyfriend or girlfriend. It's mainly a question of what goes on under your roof and what you find morally objectionable.
A mother posed the bedroom question to Social Q's. Her daughter, a freshman in college, was coming home for a visit with her first boyfriend. The home did not have a guest room--or any spare room. "I'm thrilled she wants to visit (and bring him)," the single mother writes, "but I don't know what the sleeping arrangements should be. Should I put him on the [living room] couch, or look the other way and let him stay with her?"
When my children were that age, I had the luxury of a guest room. I suggested luggage and other accouterments be dumped in that room, closed my door and paid no attention to final sleeping arrangements. Nor did I offer any suggestions as to my preferences. But this mother had a space problem. And Philip Galanes, who writes the Social Q's column for the New York Times, came up with his usual brilliant answer. I offer it to those who are struggling with this age-old problem:
"Once the baby birds have flown the coop, there are only two ways to lure them back: by making their visits congenial or by canceling their MasterCards. Opt for the former, Mother Dear.
"It doesn’t sound as if you have a moral objection to lodging the lovebirds together. If you do, simply disregard the balance of this answer and make up the living room sofa. Eighteen-year-old backs can handle much worse.
"But if it’s propriety you’re concerned about (or parental duty), you’ll fare better by phoning your daughter than gnashing your teeth with me. Say: “Honey, I’m trying to work out where Tom should sleep. What would make you most comfortable?”