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Hi Gramps.

Here’s my problem. In addition to a 17 year old son I have an adult son and an adult stepson who are working full time also living at home. They are saving money for college. A few nights ago I found them upstairs watching R rated movies and my 17 year old son was in the bedroom with them watching as well. I have been very clear over the years that R rated movies are not O.K. and have arranged that they cannot rent them on my account if they are R rated. The boys apparently bought a bunch of R rated DVD’s and they watch them up there all the time. My ex-husband took them all to a gun and knife show last Sunday. So there’s that too that I am disappointed in.

Here’s my question: What do I do about the R rated movies? Yesterday I went up to their room and took all the DVD’s and VHS’ that were R rated. I was going to send them to my ex husband as he lets them watch R rated movies over there. I didn’t buy those R rated movies so I didn’t feel like I could destroy them. I talked to my ex-husband and he insisted I would make things worse by going in their room and removing them and it would alienate them further. He suggested I put the R rated back and verbally insist they remove them from my house. I asked him what I should do if they don’t and he didn’t have an answer. So I put the R rated movies back and left a nice note on their door telling them that I know it is hard to be a young man living at home but we have made it comfortable for them here and they have a responsibility to respect us and live the standards here…..and remove the R rated movies. I found the note torn up on the floor this morning. I haven’t seen them as they leave for work early and last night were out watching Lord of the Rings until rather late. So I need to know what to do now. What would you do with this R rated dilemma?


Dear Kathleen,

Having R rated movies in the home presents a tough problem. In the first place, there’s not a lot that you can do. Your boys are now adults and responsible for their own decisions. Parental control changes to parental advise when the children leave home to start to school. When the children leave school they begin to live independent lives (although they may live at home). The parent’s role here changes from that of an advisor to that of a consultant. Consultants don’t offer advise unless they are asked for it. Otherwise it’s called interference.

But you are also an adult, responsible for your own decisions. If I were you, I believe that I would not be afraid to confront them directly with the problem of watching R rated movies, and having them in your home against your wishes. To leave a note on the door about the R rated movies when you are both living in the same house sends the message that a) watching R rated movies is not all that important, and b) you are afraid of them or afraid of their anticipated response. It’s very easy just to tear up the R rated movie note and be done with it. You must make a personal confrontation.

You could review with your sons your standards and the rules in your home respecting R rated movies. You might sit down with them one evening and bring the matter up for discussion. You might tell them that you realize that they are adults and will make their own decisions, and that you respect their right to do so. However, you could also tell them that this is your home and you are the responsible party here. You might say, “In my home there are certain standards that will be upheld. Among those standards are strict rules of morality including such things as watching R rated movies. I will tolerate no R-rated movies or any other immoral activity in my home. I love you boys, and want the best for you. But having in my home R-rated movies and watching them is unacceptable. If you choose to keep watching that stuff, then move out! You’re welcome here, but those R rated movies are not. End of discussion.”


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