Subject: How to deal with an awkward moment: My daughter walked in on me?
Question: I have to deal with my daughter, really talk to her, after she walked in on me having sex almost two weeks ago.
I'm a single mom 40's and live with my daughter and we are very close. I am into alternative lifestyle which I love and she is aware of it and supports me. I was with a couple in our apartment in my room around 2 am we went into the living room to take a break and have more to drink and smoke. Unfortunately one thing led to another in the living room, we were noisy and my daughter walked in on us. She said she is ok with it ..but I don't know how to talk to her about it. I'm actually embarrassed. Any advise on this matter is much appreciated. Thanks
ANSWER: Dear Cindy,
First of all you do not mention how old your daughter is and this is critical to how I respond to age appropriate behavior.
I think your embarrassment is warranted. When we become parents we modify our behavior around our children because they are more vulnerable. They are more vulnerable because they are developing socially, cognitively and emotionally.
First I would deal with your embarrassment. While you have the right to live your life however you choose exposing her to your alternative lifestyle is something she has no control over. How can she grow up and choose (I am making an assumption here she is in her teen years) for herself how she wants to live her life without a solid base at home.
I don't think she is harmed by the experience however she is bound to know the difference between how you are living and how other children's parents are living. What affects children is a feeling of alienation, isolation and shame over circumstances they have no control over choosing and their belief that this somehow makes them different or strange. Teens are especially vulnerable because they are developing and feeling different is part of the separation process.
Do process your embarrassment by owning your responsibility in not keeping her safe from developmentally inappropriate situations. Then own it when you talk to her. Children are very forgiving. Apologize to her and tell her you know your adult behavior is not something she needs to be concerned about. That you as her mother have a responsibility to keep her safe and allow her to grow and mature naturally without unduly exposing her to anything more adult.
In other words, talk responsibly, honestly and appropriately with her. Then allow her to respond. I don't think any teen would be okay walking in on their parent having sex under any circumstances. So when she says it is okay. Tell her you know any teen would be uncomfortable with their parent having sex as they do not see their parents as sexual beings until much later, (some adult children still can conceive their parents were sexual).
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Thank you for your answer, very honest and true. I left out details it my first time writing for advise so please forgive me did not want to upset your readers. "Sam" my daughter will be 17 next month Feb. It's just her and me in a small apt in Toronto. Her father has not been around for over 10 years. Just her and me we're very close. I am not a STAR mother but I love her to death and open about everything. We do drink together and do weed. She has know about my lifestyle for about three years now ...thinks its very cool and even helps me out with internet dating sights to find new people. She is sexualy active and has expermented on her own.
What I didn't add or mention is "Sam" after she walked in on the 3 of us just casualy asked if it was ok if she watched. My couple, in their early 30's had no issue, she actual know them for almost 2 years. I didnt have any problem with it at the moment. It was only after they left that I felt I had crossed the line, embarrased -emotional and that I had really F***ed up. I'm upset just putting this into words.
My question I guess... I cant talk to her about "US" me and her our relationship am I still a Mother to her or just a best friend. We both do not regret what happened. She has no problem talking about the sex part obsessivly... I just can't talk to her about us?
I need you to hear me clearly. This is not about JUDGING you.
I disagree with parents who drink and smoke weed with their children. As Parents we are responsible for keeping our children safe. There are LAWS against allowing children under the legal drinking age to drink and I am sure you can guess about the weed. These laws were put into effect to protect children from the EFFECTS of substances upon their developing brain! A child's brain is not finished developing until they are approximately 25!
You are her MOTHER not her bestfriend. She has friends, hopefully, who play the role of a friends. Your job is to be her MOTHER.
I am glad you wrote because I think your inability to talk to her about sex is also that part of you that loves her so much. I think the boundaries between the two of you are terribly blurred. Your talking to her about sex was never suppose to be about your sex life. It was suppose to be about answering her questions about sex, her own body and development.
Please do seek some one on one counseling. She has missed out on so much as a child because the two of you have been "friends." She will need some assistance with her self concept and nurturing as she completes her growth into adulthood.
M Kay Keller