Should we let our teens make love under our roof?: Taken between the fear of losing their complicity and the embarrassment of finding themselves confronted with the sexuality of their adolescent, parents find it difficult to position themselves clearly. Some ways to help them make an informed decision.
Should we let our teens make love under our roof: How to decide?
“Can Marine Sleep?” Asked me the other day Louis, my 17-year-old son, who became a man without my realizing it. Discomfort. His girlfriend is charming, they seem very in love, but do I want to imagine them frolicking a couple of steps from my room and crossing it in my bathroom? Since then, Marie, 45, is lost in a thousand and one dithering. In the face of their child’s desire to make love under their roof, today’s parents, more accomplices with their teenagers than they used to be, probably also more sexually freed than their own parents, Have difficulty deciding. One way or the other.
Major psychological challenges
It must be said that most teenagers consider their room as a studio: they find it natural and comfortable to live there their intimate life, parallel to their family life. It is therefore without question that they ask their parents. However, if their demand is direct, their unconscious motives may be more complicated than it seems. According to Daniel Crum, psychologist and author Isabelle Gravel of Good use conflicts (Milan), “learning to love is something a little scary for the young. By asking the question, they unconsciously ask their parents for permission to lead a love life and validate their choice. Those who impose their little friend do it too but in the mode of provocation. These beginnings of dialogue must not be allowed to pass, for adolescents need to be enlightened, with delicacy, with respect for their intimacy and choice “.
To express the desire to live one’s love life in the family home can also translate an anguish of separation. It is the firm conviction of the psychologist Béatrice Copper-Royer, author of first love, First Loves (Albin Michel): “Sexuality marks the entrance into adulthood, she recalls. It is a crucial, irremediable step towards separation, which the young apprehend. Making love in her child’s room is reassuring, it is to be great while being small. “This means that responding favorably to this demand for security does not encourage their independence.
“Sexuality is not given, a child psychiatrist Marcel Rufo ensures, author of Everything You should never know about sexuality to your kids (LGF, The Pocket Book). It is a conquest that is plucked away and belongs to individual freedom. How could she conquer herself under the parental roof? It is also a private construction, which involves many steps before the act. Today’s parents, believing themselves to be modern, lack decency and behave like cave dwellers! Eight years later, 26-year-old Annick remembers with embarrassment the condoms slipped by the mother of her boyfriend of the time among the Haribo candy on her bedside table.
The courage to say no
The embarrassment may also be on the side of the parents. When they have, for example, the feeling of prematurely formalizing a “baby couple”. Or when a simple “Sleep Good” from the lovers reminds them that they are not going to sleep, precisely. But it is useless to lie: proximity places the fathers and mothers in a position of voyeurs, more or less willing. “I have always forbidden my children to sleep as a couple at home,” says Frédérique, 51. Love is something intimate, secret, that does not expose itself, still less in family. When I was their age, I managed to do it in secret from my parents, when they went out in the evening or left on weekends. ”
This principle is unanimously shared by the psys: between the sexuality of the teenagers and that of their parents, the border must remain watertight. Everyone must ignore what is happening in the next room. “We do not have to worry about the sexual life of our children beyond the recommendations of use – contraception, AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases … – and a reminder of the importance of love,” insists Daniel Coum.
The general rule, from an anthropological and non-moral point of view, is that it unfolds outside the family. If many people are aware that sheltering their teens’ loves is not as simple as it sounds, most of them are struggling to ask a clear and unclear. For fear of conflict, to pain their child, not to be loved by him, to look old-fashioned …
How to pass a refusal at best? “The simplest way, advises child psychiatrist Daniel Marcelli, author of So’s the adolescence (Bayard). Explaining that you are at home and that this situation puts you at ease: it is not their sexuality that is condemned, but the fact that it is expressed near you. What is important is doing things the way we feel them. Why force ourselves if it bores us, why refuse if it does not bother us? ”
A conditional yes
Some reluctantly accept these young loves. “Sexuality is a natural, healthy pleasure, why deprive my daughter of it? Surprised Veronique, 52 years old. It does not matter whether it is expressed here or elsewhere. Moreover, I love as much as she makes love in good conditions. ” Good conditions, “it is also under the parental roof if it is considered normal to receive boyfriends of her child, says psychologist Maryse Vaillant, author of Adolescence daily (Pocket, Evolution). “If the house is large, the walls are thick, and everyone’s privacy is preserved, why prohibit it? Just set a few limits so as not to get invaded: once in a while, not every day! This is what Marion, 43, and Thomas, 51, have finally accepted the summer, in the large house they rent in Provence. “We are three couples with children. Our son and his girlfriend are “drowned in the mass” … However, in Paris, no question, they manage! ”
“No case is similar to another, relativizes the psychiatrist and psychotherapist couple Serge Hefez. Some adolescents serenely live their sexuality at home, because the generational limits are clearly laid and the psychic walls thick enough. Others appreciate, in the long term, that their parents do not keep them dependent. The latter must not go against their values and convictions; they must not force themselves to continue being loved. What the young enjoy most about them are authenticity and coherence. Even if this should cause conflicts, criticisms, and gnashing of teeth. Nothing finally forbids to leave on weekends from time to time and to entrust the house to the lovebirds, freed then of the tutelary parental weight. What Daniel Marcelli equates with “well-tempered social hypocrisy.”
Mathias, 17: “Their refusal me very disappointed.”
“I have been out with my girlfriend for eight months, my parents appreciate it very much. I truly believed that they no longer regarded me as a baby. Three months ago, I asked my mother if Lea could sleep at home. She replied, “No way!” In a shocked tone, and she explained to herself that it was embarrassing, that things should not be rushed. I replied that she still considered me a kid, she denied it. However, I am sure she does not want to see me grow up. I did not invite Lea to the house, so, at least, things are clear. This story created a certain cold. I feel like I have had some illusions about their cool, super understanding when in reality they are a bit rigid. ”
Pascale, 46: “A way for my mother to control my life.”
“I always brought my boyfriends home. At the time, I thought it was great, my friends envious me. Later, I realized that it was a way for my mother to control my emotional life. To get in, even: once, I found her taking tea with a boyfriend with whom I had broken! In reality, she could not position herself as a parent. Still, she still can not … When I ask my son’s girlfriend to sleep in the guest room (no matter what they do in my absence!), My mother calls mother. However, for me, a couple is not built under the gaze of parents. “