Dear Ms. Vicki,
My husband has been on active duty in the Army for 25 years. We sent our daughter to college in Georgia because we plan to retire there.
Her first year in college was fine. Her second year was filled with ups and downs, and she failed two classes.
At that time, I was busy with my husband being deployed, taking care of her younger siblings and also trying to help with my elderly parents. It was a very stressful time, and I believe my daughter took advantage of the free time she had without her parents to watch over her.
When she was home this summer, she left her email open on my desktop computer and I found out she is no longer a virgin.
I have since discovered that my daughter has a Twitter account, and the pictures she has posted are disgusting. She is dancing close to other girls like they are in a lesbian relationship, and she is sandwiched in between two other boys on the dance floor. She is dressed in very revealing clothing.
Why should we continue to pay to send her to college when she obviously wants to party, drink alcohol and have sex? I cannot support her behavior, but she is telling me I am wrong for snooping in her emails because it's her business.
I'm wondering if I even raised this child. She is someone I don't even know anymore, and I don't know what to do. Should we ask her to come home or refuse to pay for her tuition and other expenses?
-- Devastated by My Daughter's Bad Behavior
I'm wondering where we can draw the line regarding the behavior we expect from our adult children, and if it's conceivable for a parent to expect anything from an adult child that they are unwilling to do.
I will be the first one to admit that we live in a hook-up culture. Everything is done in an instant, even hooking up for sex because it's so noncommittal and random.
I know this is scary to hear. When parents are faced with what we don't want to hear about our children's behavior, we cannot become punitive and berating. Instead, we still have to show love and compassion to our children.
What would be beneficial is for you to talk with your daughter about protecting herself from an unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. It also sounds like she is attending campus parties and socializing off campus. She should be aware of as many safety precautions as possible.
Trust me, we can tell our children how we feel, but this is an entirely different generation. My sons don't always do as I ask them to do. I didn't always do what my mother expected from me, either.
These days I say to myself, "Vicki, do you want to be right, or do you want to have a relationship with your sons?"
You may not accept your daughter's behavior, and that's your right. But she is "out there." You need to have some conversations about her behavior and explore ways to keep her safe. Let me know what you decide to do and how it goes.
-- Ms. Vicki