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Carolyn Hax: Snooping mom seeks help for college-age daughter

Washington Post

Dear Carolyn: I am concerned about one of our children, a college student. We tried to raise her with good values and a moral code. We always strongly discouraged heavy drinking and casual sex; she is also aware of the dangers to both. I’ve learned now, however, that she enjoys going out drinking most weekends, uses bad language in social media and has no problem with “hooking up,” though it doesn’t appear she’s done it often.

She is outgoing, impulsive and curious by nature, but also quite sensitive. I did read some rather X-rated text threads she had this year, though I feel guilty that I invaded her privacy. I cannot mention I read these because she’d be angry and turn that into an argument.

How do I deal with my depression and concern about this? How can we attempt to help our daughter live a healthier, safer lifestyle, put more value on sexual intimacy and true relationships, and maintain a good reputation?

She views any comments I make as just her old, out-of-date parent making judgments. We have a very good relationship otherwise, and she is a loving, thoughtful, successful girl.

– Sad and Concerned

Stop snooping, and don’t follow her on social media if you can’t handle it.

You cannot “attempt to help” someone who has neither asked for help nor shown signs of needing intervention. All you’re describing is a daughter making choices you hoped she wouldn’t – and it’s hard not to say, “Welcome to parenthood.”

Cutting off the TMI supply is a step. Next: not judging her.

As long as she remains a successful, loving, outgoing person who maintains a good relationship with her parents, you don’t need to know what she does with her body or weekends. At her age, did you want your parents that deep into your business? Having electronic access doesn’t mean you should use it.

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