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Different parents have very different ideas about opposite-sex sleepovers. Some are fine with it, while others are adamantly against it.
Is your daughter asking to have a sleepover with her boyfriend?
Has that left you scratching your head, wondering if it’s okay? You’re not alone.
Should Parents Allow Boyfriends to Sleepover?
Parents should not allow boyfriends to sleepover. Though your daughter might not understand, especially if she has friends whose parents allow these sleepovers, you should stand firm in your stance that your choice is to teach her about personal boundaries.
A young person doesn’t always have the skills or maturity to say no.
Boyfriend Sleepovers: A Bad Idea
One of my favorite words is “why.”
I think we should all ask ourselves and each other why we make choices, why we think the way we do, and why we are who we are.
This philosophical question is detested by some but adored by others. Why tells us who we are, who we can become, and who we want to be.
Every time you make a decision in your child’s life, you need to be prepared to answer when she asks why.
Why should you not allow your daughter’s boyfriend to sleepover?
Simply put, a sleepover between a boyfriend and girlfriend usually involves sexual activity.
If your daughter is not yet an adult, it is very likely that she is not mentally ready for a sexual relationship.
The average age that people begin having sexual relationships in the United States is between 18 and 19 years old.
Does that age surprise you?
Though there are a few outlying studies that show a much younger age, those that are deemed most reliable have learned that young people tend to wait until they feel they are ready in order to have deeply physical relationships.
This is a positive thing, considering the brain doesn’t fully mature until the mid- to late-20s.
Allowing your daughter to spend the night with her boyfriend puts pressure on both of them to take the relationship further than they may be prepared to do.
It also gives them permission to have an adult relationship when they are still children.
When your daughter asks you why her boyfriend cannot spend the night, explain to her that you feel she is not old enough yet to take part in those kinds of sexual acts.
She may counter with some arguments you won’t like or don’t anticipate.
“Don’t You Trust Me?”
Trust, but verify. It may no longer be popular in politics or foreign relations, but it does still apply to parenting.
You trust your children, but you still need to follow up to ensure they are making good choices.
That’s what parenting is.
Tell your child that while yes, you do trust her, you also know how difficult it is to set boundaries.
Sometimes, in the heat of the moment, people make decisions that normally wouldn’t.
By not allowing her boyfriend to sleep over, you are helping her to avoid a difficult and potentially unhealthy situation.
“He Doesn’t Have to Spend the Night for Us to Have Sex!”
Your daughter might remind you that sexual activity can happen anywhere and at any time.
This is obviously a true statement.
However, research shows that most sexual activity takes place between the hours of 11 PM and 1 AM.
If anything, your daughter’s argument that she can have sex with her boyfriend at any time might be a good chance for you to re-evaluate her curfew.
Tell your daughter that you are aware that the mechanics of sexual activity are not limited to bedrooms and overnights.
Those are just two factors that make sexual touching more likely.
Remind her that just because car accidents take place when people are sober doesn’t mean that drunk driving should be made the norm.
It is important for parents to try to protect their children. Sometimes, they are being protected from their own bad judgment.
“My Friend’s Parents Let Her Boyfriend Spend the Night.”
One of the most unfortunate statements your child can make is a comparison between you and another set of parents.
There are a lot of ways you can combat this argument.
I tend to say something along the lines of, “Is your friend jealous that you have parents who actually care about you?”
Yes, it is a judgmental statement against other parents.
I own that.
It is also my way of telling my kids that other parents’ rules don’t apply in our home.
Perhaps a better approach is to respond calmly and without my trademark snark.
Tell your child that what happens in another family’s home is not your business.
Your job is not to parent your child’s friends.
Your job is to be the best parent you can be to your daughter. Sometimes, that means you have to make unpopular choices.
Talking About Sex With Teens
There are those who believe children should not be given sex education.
I want to firmly state that I think those people are not living in the real world.
Educating teens about the consequences of sex in no way makes them more promiscuous.
In fact, the opposite is generally true.
It is the same premise as educating kids about poison.
They know they should call poison control if they accidentally swallow bleach, but that doesn’t mean they are snacking on laundry detergent.
Well, at least most of them aren’t.
It would be irrational to believe that education works for everyone. However, the kids who don’t listen and don’t learn are the minority.
Give your children guidance, trust them to make good decisions but don’t give them additional ammunition to make bad choices.
They have enough pressure from outside sources without getting mixed messages from their parents.
When It’s Okay to Let a Boyfriend Sleep Over
There may be times when it is okay to have a boyfriend sleep over. These occasions are rare, but they do exist.
For example, you might allow your adult daughter to have overnight guests.
If your child is out of high school and still living at home, you can make some allowances for boyfriend sleepovers if you wish.
My son’s friends often have co-ed slumber parties, which usually include boyfriends and girlfriends.
These slumber parties are fully chaperoned by adults.
While I don’t necessarily love this idea, I do think it can be a reasonable choice with proper adult supervision.
Another reason may be the safety of the boyfriend.
Sadly, more than 7 million kids under the age of 18 live in homes where they are mistreated.
You may develop your own relationship with your daughter’s boyfriend and find that you want to give him a safe haven.
Allowing him to sleep over may help more than it hurts.
I recommend putting a rule in place that your daughter and her boyfriend may not share the same bedroom while he is spending the night.
Inviting your daughter’s boyfriend over for a sleep over is rarely a good idea. Would you let your daughter’s boyfriend spend the night?
Why or why not? Tell us in the comments!