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Wedding Woes

You did the right thing. She won't be mad forever.

Dear Prudence,

My 17-year-old daughter was invited by her boyfriend’s mom to go for parents weekend at her 18-year-old boyfriend’s college five hours away. She was told that it would be just the two of them and that they’d share a hotel room. However, when they picked her up, her boyfriend’s stepdad was in the car too. During the drive over, it became clear that she was to be sharing the hotel room with both the mom and the stepdad. She was uncomfortable with this but did not want to rock the boat. My husband and I felt the sleeping arrangements were completely inappropriate and booked a room for our daughter for the first night. We weren’t able to get a room for the second night, however, because everything was booked, so the stepfather stayed in his stepson’s dorm. Now my daughter is spitting mad at us. It has caused a real rift in our relationship. Did we do the wrong thing? We don’t know the family that well and just feel that a teenage girl shouldn’t be tricked into sharing a hotel room with a grown man. And how do we heal the relationship with our daughter?

—Teenage Daughter Is Mad

Re: You did the right thing. She won't be mad forever.

  • I would have done the exact same thing and I think Varuna is right that parents should just emphasize that this wasn't an inconvenience or a fuss, it was supportive and removing the daughter from a situation that she found uncomfortable. 

    I do think it was totally inappropriate on the BF's family's part to book the sleeping arrangements that way if they were going to invite the GF.  
    short+sassy
  • I think this is a little interesting.   Hopefully in the future there are bigger discussions about how your minor child is sleeping.    Some things stick out:

    -Did the LW talk to the mom of the boyfriend when this happened?  Was anything addressed at the time?
    -Why does the LW feel that this is so inappropriate?  I am assuming that they wouldn't be sharing a bed.

    There seems to be some perceived ill-intent and pearl clutching here.   In the future I'd hope that the parent of the girlfriend talks to the parents of the boyfriend so there's no confusion about the arrangements.   A lot can be avoided if there was a conversation guardian to guardian. 
    short+sassy
  • banana468 said:
    I think this is a little interesting.   Hopefully in the future there are bigger discussions about how your minor child is sleeping.    Some things stick out:

    -Did the LW talk to the mom of the boyfriend when this happened?  Was anything addressed at the time?
    -Why does the LW feel that this is so inappropriate?  I am assuming that they wouldn't be sharing a bed.

    There seems to be some perceived ill-intent and pearl clutching here.   In the future I'd hope that the parent of the girlfriend talks to the parents of the boyfriend so there's no confusion about the arrangements.   A lot can be avoided if there was a conversation guardian to guardian. 
    This is where I am.  I don't see the sleeping arrangements as being crazy bad, so I can understand where it just may not have occurred to the b/f's parents to discuss it ahead of time.  Though, yes!, they should have.  Because it's also understandable that people can be uncomfortable sharing a hotel room with others they don't know well.  I think that's true for any age!

    However, there is a tone to the letter that I'm not a fan of.  As if the situation was so "outrageous" and "suspicious".  Gasp, the evil things this stepfather could have done to their daughter.  No, LW, you're being overly dramatic on that.  "Tricked" (eyeroll).

    But the bottom line is, if the daughter felt uncomfortable, she felt uncomfortable.  And the parents absolutely did the right and responsible thing to find a way to keep their daughter feeling safe and comfortable.  And the b/f's parents also did the right thing, after making the gaffe of not mentioning the sleeping arrangements ahead of time...though I'm surprised neither the daughter and/or her parents did either.  His parents knew either the parents or the girl or both were uncomfortable.  And graciously made alternative arrangements also.

    As for the rift, 17-year-olds are not the most rational creatures out there.  I'm sure it will heal with time.  And, in the meantime, they should keep reiterating that they were trying to support and help her in a situation she had said made her uncomfortable.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    ei34
  • I feel like a lot of this could have preventable with a conversation.
    Like did LW not talk to the parents beforehand? I feel like I personally would - where are you staying? Do you know the room number in case we need to reach you and child's cell is silent? What are sleeping arrangements? {ie; does room have 2 beds? 1 bed and pull out couch?}
  • I'm just not seeing the benefit of the doubt to the boyfriend's parents on this one. LW clearly says that they told the daughter it would be just her and boyfriend's mom. Maybe "trick" is a bit much, but I don't think it's outside the realm of normal that a 17 year old girl would not want to share a hotel room with a grown man, even with another woman there. At the least, it was irresponsible of them to not offer a heads up when plans changed. 

    Still, mom did the right thing. Sadly, we live in a world where young women are put in uncomfortable positions and then mocked for saying something far too often. It's a good lesson for her to learn that 1) it's ok to be uncomfortable and be vocal about it and 2) when it's hard, your mom has your back and will be your bad guy. I'm sure daughter got some flack about it and is embarrassed for admitting her discomfort, but she'll get over it. 
    This 100%.
  • I'm just not seeing the benefit of the doubt to the boyfriend's parents on this one. LW clearly says that they told the daughter it would be just her and boyfriend's mom. Maybe "trick" is a bit much, but I don't think it's outside the realm of normal that a 17 year old girl would not want to share a hotel room with a grown man, even with another woman there. At the least, it was irresponsible of them to not offer a heads up when plans changed. 

    Still, mom did the right thing. Sadly, we live in a world where young women are put in uncomfortable positions and then mocked for saying something far too often. It's a good lesson for her to learn that 1) it's ok to be uncomfortable and be vocal about it and 2) when it's hard, your mom has your back and will be your bad guy. I'm sure daughter got some flack about it and is embarrassed for admitting her discomfort, but she'll get over it. 
    I agree it sounds like a bait and switch.   My point about handling it as a grown up is also to say that the plans should be communicated as adults and therefore changes in the plans can also be handled as adults rather than from adult to child. 

    Then the LW could have talked to the mom (even if it was at the hotel) to say, "It sounds like this isn't what we talked about.   I think it's going to be best for DD to have a place of her own that's separate. "  

    Because by handling this as a mother-to-mother situation then it's the grown ups assessing this rather than having the daughter speaking up for herself but feeling stuck in the middle.  
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    banana468 said:
    I'm just not seeing the benefit of the doubt to the boyfriend's parents on this one. LW clearly says that they told the daughter it would be just her and boyfriend's mom. Maybe "trick" is a bit much, but I don't think it's outside the realm of normal that a 17 year old girl would not want to share a hotel room with a grown man, even with another woman there. At the least, it was irresponsible of them to not offer a heads up when plans changed. 

    Still, mom did the right thing. Sadly, we live in a world where young women are put in uncomfortable positions and then mocked for saying something far too often. It's a good lesson for her to learn that 1) it's ok to be uncomfortable and be vocal about it and 2) when it's hard, your mom has your back and will be your bad guy. I'm sure daughter got some flack about it and is embarrassed for admitting her discomfort, but she'll get over it. 
    I agree it sounds like a bait and switch.   My point about handling it as a grown up is also to say that the plans should be communicated as adults and therefore changes in the plans can also be handled as adults rather than from adult to child. 

    Then the LW could have talked to the mom (even if it was at the hotel) to say, "It sounds like this isn't what we talked about.   I think it's going to be best for DD to have a place of her own that's separate. "  

    Because by handling this as a mother-to-mother situation then it's the grown ups assessing this rather than having the daughter speaking up for herself but feeling stuck in the middle.  
    Fine, but that's still on the boyfriend's parents. They literally said nothing until they showed up to pick her up. Even if this had been discussed parent-parent, it doesn't sound like they would have given any advance warning of the addition of the step-dad. 
    charlotte989875
  • banana468 said:
    I'm just not seeing the benefit of the doubt to the boyfriend's parents on this one. LW clearly says that they told the daughter it would be just her and boyfriend's mom. Maybe "trick" is a bit much, but I don't think it's outside the realm of normal that a 17 year old girl would not want to share a hotel room with a grown man, even with another woman there. At the least, it was irresponsible of them to not offer a heads up when plans changed. 

    Still, mom did the right thing. Sadly, we live in a world where young women are put in uncomfortable positions and then mocked for saying something far too often. It's a good lesson for her to learn that 1) it's ok to be uncomfortable and be vocal about it and 2) when it's hard, your mom has your back and will be your bad guy. I'm sure daughter got some flack about it and is embarrassed for admitting her discomfort, but she'll get over it. 
    I agree it sounds like a bait and switch.   My point about handling it as a grown up is also to say that the plans should be communicated as adults and therefore changes in the plans can also be handled as adults rather than from adult to child. 

    Then the LW could have talked to the mom (even if it was at the hotel) to say, "It sounds like this isn't what we talked about.   I think it's going to be best for DD to have a place of her own that's separate. "  

    Because by handling this as a mother-to-mother situation then it's the grown ups assessing this rather than having the daughter speaking up for herself but feeling stuck in the middle.  
    Fine, but that's still on the boyfriend's parents. They literally said nothing until they showed up to pick her up. Even if this had been discussed parent-parent, it doesn't sound like they would have given any advance warning of the addition of the step-dad. 
    Agreed.    The proposal of keeping it between parents also makes the discussion between parents rather than having it turn into an unequal balance of power where the daughter feels caught having limited recourse.




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