EWTN Catholic Q&A
Over-protective mother?
Question from Kathy on 11-07-2013:

A few days ago, my 18-year-old used a word for a private area of a woman's body (not in a dirty way) when she was around me, and I was horrified. I immediately asked her where on earth she had heard that word. Am I being too protective? She insists that she has a right to use that word about her own body. I think she is wrong. I am her mother and I decide how much she learns. Personally, I do not think she is ready to know anything about love, sex, etc.

Answer by Catholic Answers on 11-07-2013:


Your daughter is 18-years-old. She is a legal adult. She is old enough to be discerning whether or not she is called to marriage. I edited out the word that offended you, but I can tell you that it is the biological term for that area of a woman's body. An 18-year-old is certainly old enough to know that word and use it in appropriate contexts.

That said, use of the word isn't a matter of personal "rights." Your daughter, no matter how old she is, has an obligation to respect your preference that she not use the word in your presence (whether or not your preference is entirely reasonable or just). Let her know that you would prefer that she only use that word when speaking to her doctor about reproductive health issues. But keep in mind that this means that your scrupulosity over hearing this word will mean that you will be making clear to your daughter that you are not a safe person for her to share concerns about medical problems she may be experiencing.

Michelle Arnold
Catholic Answers