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I have a fifteen year old daughter who has different friends (female)
stay overnight on occcasion. They sleep in the same bed. So, we have
been having a discussion about whether this is appropriate or not. In
my experience growing up it was always okay for girls to share a bed,
but not for boys (it was a long time ago).
Do people feel this is appropriate or inappropriate? Any feedback would
be greatly appreciated.
I know many groups of girls of all ages all the way thru 18
who have slumber parties and sleep in the same beds.
My 18 year old niece has grown up with all her girlfriends.
They have sleepovers and watch videos and giggle and talk.
They sleep together, they lay all over each other (kind of
like puppies). They're all very bonded and close but I
don't think there is anything sexual going on (nor does her
When I was a teen I also slept with my girlfriends. I had
one friend I occasionally ''experimented'' with...truthfully
I think this is natural curiousity esp. at that age...by
the way we are both straight and happily married to men.
When we had family get togethers all the girl cousins slept
in the same rooms, beds, etc.
I have 2 boys, 11 and 15. When their friends sleep over
they all sleep separate but next to each other on the floor.
HOpe this helps.
A friend of mine discovered that her daughter's all girls
slumber parties were in fact make out parties! She was/is
supportive of her daughter being a lesbian BUT WAS NOT OKAY
with sex between teenagers happening on her watch. So, she
cancelled any more parties. Just something to be on the
My daughter is a senior at BHS. The bed in her room is a family heirloom four
poster double bed. She and her friends share the bed when they sleep over.
There's never been any reason to think that anyone has been sexual. They all
seem fine with it and there's never been any discussion about it. I've never
had any inklings that my daughter or her friends might be lesbians. So I'd
say it's just a normal thing to do
fine with me
My 15 year old daughter does this too, and I think it is
I also grew-up sleeping with my friends in the same bed (still do when there's
no place else) and that's how it's also been for my daughter, who's now a
teenager. If they are comfortable with it then why question it? If it's a matter
of sex and you are wondering if they are lovers? Then you should talk to your
daughter about it and discuss the same things you would if she had a
boyfriend. Is she okay with the level of intimacy, is she ready for whatever
may come up, does she feel comfortable saying ''no, not yet'', etc. And you
might think about how you feel about them fooling around in your house. My
mother let my boyfriends sleep over, it would be hard for me to say no to my
daughter if she was in a mutually respectful and intimate relationship with
someone I liked and trusted. That's not to say it wouldn't be a little
uncomfortable. So, okay, if none of that was happening and it was just a
friend sleeping over, I think it's fine and perfectly appropriate!
my son has had several sleepovers with a friend of his (pretty much his only
friend) over the past few years, however, after recent events we have decided
this is not a good idea. we told my son that he was getting too old for
sleepover, but the real reason is that it seems that this other boy, whom he
wants to have a sleep over with, doesn't appear to be the best influence. he
has mentioned things about friends of his that show a lap in judgement on
his part by associating with them; sneaky behavior that appears that they are
up to no good. along with the simple fact, which i realize is my own person
bias, that this kid is not motivated to excel in school (which is not good for
my son who is struggling academically) and at almost 15 has no interest in
hanging out with friends his own age and seems a bit immature. my son,
unfortunately, is pretty passive and would just follow the crowd or likely do
whatever this kid wants.
for the most part i am guessing they are just being juvenile boys and staying
up too late playing video games, but this kids' parents work late and are not
home for much of the night, and again, i don't like the sneaky attitudes. and,
i don't like not knowing what they are doing or what is going on.
so, my dilemma. i have told my son ''no more sleepovers, you're too old'' and
then in a tired moment, said something to the effect that maybe only at our
house. he has now called me a liar and said that i first said it was he was too
old, and now it's for a different reason. i am curious, do other parents allow
their 13-15 yr. old boys have sleep overs? for some reason it seem different
to me for girls, and i am probably wrong, but would like to get feedback. i
know that i can't choose my kids' friends, but would like to curb the time that
my son is spending with someone who doesn't seem to be a positive
-argh. the teenage years!
I'm not sure how common our experience has been with overnights for our
now 16 year old son, but for him overnights came to mean a chance to stay
out all night, drink and do drugs with his friends. He has been sober for
year (and also now has a girlfriend) so the issue of sleepovers rarely
anymore. It sounds as though you have a strong sense that something isn't
right about the boy your son wants to have sleepovers with-I would go with
your intuition and explain to your son that though it may not seem
reasonable to him you reserve the right to make decisions concerning his
well-being. Sometimes a strong sense of discomfort without any hard
evidence is all we have to go on when we make decisions for our teens. I
wish we had trusted our intuition earlier on
Yes, we allow our 13 year old son to both host and attend
sleepovers. Our 15 year old daughter, too. I think you are
right that sleepovers are more popular among girls, but the
basic principles behind allowing them or not is the same.
I think you would do best to come clean about your real
motivation, without necessarily targeting that one friend
too heavily. My kids have heard several times in recent
months something from me like, ''I'm alarmed at what I've
been reading in the papers about teen parties. From now
on, ...'' They don't love it but they cope, I think because
they respect it underneath.
So say, no being at someone's house when their parent's
aren't home (this is our rule.) And then step up to the
plate and let this kid come over to your house once in a
while and monitor them. Say no 2/3 of the time they ask for
your own reasons (I'm too tired tonight, I need to do X)
and let him come 1/3 of the time. That way you are not
branding the friend as trouble and making him more
desirable or bringing out the loyalty, but hopefully
limited time will make the friendship dwindle
My son is 18. He had sleepovers with friends throughout
his high school years. It was fine with me as long as they
were kids I knew, and the parent was there, or if they were
at my house. I'm not sure that sleepovers are your real
concern -- sounds like the real worry is that his friend is
a negative influence. Have you tried talking to him about
the behaviors or attitudes that you see in his friend, and
telling your son what you find worrisome or unacceptable?
Maybe he would respond better if you tell him straight out
what you're worried about. One of my son's friends had
some problems. This friend had a tendency to be
disrespectful to his parents (but never to me), got poor
grades, and occasionally broke rules but received little or
no punishment. My son knew that we liked the friend, but
we also were clear that we didn't like the disrespect/bad
grades/rulebreaking and wouldn't accept it from our son, or
from anyone in our house. My son still remained loyal to
his friend but never exhibited any of the problem behaviors
we saw in his friend, and I'm proud of him for both keeping
the friend and keeping his own head straight. So, I'd
recommend being honest with your son, and don't forget to
really listen to what your son has to say about his friend
and himself. Good luck to you
my 16 yr old son still spends the night with friends - often
and happily. I had a similar situation with my younger son
- 14 - 2 kids who made bad decisions together and weren't
working up to their potential. I told them both what I
thought about their decisions and that they could not hang
out until at least my sons grades improved. Which happened
for both of them! After that, they had very clear
expectations when at our house.......clean up, checking in
the cell phones , no late nights only home when adults
there.......I can say that they have really changed and
become 2 kids i enjoy being around. I think the other
parents were happy that i set the limits and confronted
their stupid, immature decision making- do i trust them
entirely? no, but more now and they are acting more
mature......all part of growing up..... DO tell them of
your concerns, don't fib or lie and say he's too old for
sleepovers. Do not let them be home w/o parental supervision.
mom of boys
I need your input! My 17 year old (male) is constantly
having friends sleep over..usually one or two at a
time..and he sleeps over too. I wasn't uncomfortable with
this until he turned 16 and grades drops, money was taken
from my purse and when I confronted him on liquior I found
in his backback.
Now's he's 17, missing school, looking like he's an gorilla
with hair and beard everywhere and he has absolutely not
interest in anything. I know he's bright but lazy. From the
outside everything now is suspicious about ''any'' of his
behavoirs. But my main concern for this email is a 17 year
old sleep overs? Input?
Both of my older sons do/did the sleepover thing. My
oldest, now a freshman in college, had ocassional sleepovers
and it was generally a practical thing (staying out too late
to drive home with a provisional license). My high school
freshman constantly has friends sleep over or he sleeps at
their homes. I think it's because teen boys are most awake
and social at night so that's when they want to hang out
with their friends. There's no harm so long as they're at
somebody's house and the parents are okay with it (that's
the rule, parents must speak to parents to make sure there
is adult supervision and that the sleepover is okay). That
said, neither of my sons' grades were effected, there was no
problem behavior associated with having friends over, but
I'm careful and keep all alcohol out of reach just in case
(why give them temptation?). So I guess it depends on the
kid, but the key for me is that parents need to know where
their kids are and who's in charge.
Of the issues you mentioned, sleepovers are the least urgent,
although with your son they require vigilance on your part. I would
take a different tack -- how nice that he still wants to bring his
friends into your house! How much safer is he there than
A separate issue is the behaviors, and I would take the position
that a) he has responsibility for his friends' actions while they are
at your house, and b) if you can't trust him, you certainly can't trust
him with a friend.
I don't think kids are ever too old for sleepovers, but I do think that
you have the right to expect ANY kid, at ANY age, to follow the
rules of your house, and (like many restaurants say) ''You have the
right to refuse service to anyone.''
Three 17 year olds here, tonight....
I think all things depend upon the teen and their situation.
You have mentioned many things:
alcohol in his back pack
negative behavioral patterns/ changes in behavior
These may need your primary attention, focusing on the 'sleep over' and
whether other teens do this at this age or not, does not appear to be a main
As long as your son lives in your house, he needs to abide by your rules. As
long as he is a minor you bear legal responsibility for him. What are your
rules? Do you have clear rules? Do you enforce them? How do you enforce
them? Does your son recognize and comply with them? What are his values?
Your rules need to be on target and reasonable, but they do not necessarily
need to be what other people do. They need to work for you both and
support your mutual goals, and hopefully not be neglectful or abusive.
In our house if our daughter's grades slip or she misses school even due to
illness, her weekend privileges are restricted until the grades go back up
she has not missed any school or been late for several weeks. No energy for
school, no energy for extra-curricular. While you are in school your main
is your school work. However we reward her in many ways when she is able to
stay with her commitments - especially verbally.
For the last few years since she is growing up - if she protests - I ask her
she were in her parents' place what would she do to make sure her teenager
made her commitments. Sometimes she agrees with us and sometimes she
comes up with a better idea. If we all agree then we do that. Otherwise we
stay with the parents' program.
Try to stay consistent, talk with your son, seek counseling, write things
between you for clarity. Guidance or career counseling might be helpful to
help your son sort out what he wants to do in life and what he needs to do
now to achieve that. Sounds like his life goals need some attention. He
need a constructive hobby or a part-time job to provide more structure and
maybe explore who he is and what he wants to do.
If alcohol or substance abuse is in the immediate family - he needs specific
treatment evaluation and help as soon as possible or if you suspect the
drinking is something that has been going on for some time. You might want
to seek professional advice on this topic right now. Alcohol in a backpack
sounds like he may be drinking every day. Whoever is buying it for him or
giving it to him is violating the law and can be prosecuted.
Please get some help about the real problems in your life. It is out there.
wishes and sincere hope that you find what you need.
Our 14 year old daughter has asked us if she can attend a sleepover at a
friend's house that would be co-ed. The breakdown would be slightly
more boys than girls (sounded like around 10-12 people). We have said
probably not, but that we are willing to consider the possibility if she
gets us more information. She insists that everyone else is in this
group of friends is allowed to do this. A few of them are 10th or 11th
graders, but most are also 9th graders. She also says that none of them
are paired off into couples. We know that she is not. I guess my real
question is, have any (or would any) of you let a 14 year old attend a
Hmmm. Don't think I would; but I am conservative in this
regard. There'll be plenty of opportunity for co-ed sleepovers when
they're in college. Also, whenever I hear the phrase "everyone else's
parent says it's okay," I immediately go to the phone and start
calling all of these free-wheeling parents; usually I hear a rather
I think that unless your goal is to encourage sexual experimentation, it is
not a good idea to permit your child to go to a co-ed sleepover. No matter
how trustworthy your particular child is, it is too tantalizing for many (if
not most) teenagers, with raging hormones, to spend the night together. My
experience raising 3 children (two of whom are now adults), and working as a
nurse with adolescents for over 20 years
leaves me 100% convinced of this.
As to the age old complaint "everyone else can go" I have always responded
with something along the lines of "I am not their mother. Doing what I can to
help keep you safe is enough work for me."
Good luck. Lori
No. -- Barbara
To the parent asking about co-ed sleepovers for her 14 year old.
I have not allowed my daughters to go to co-ed sleepovers (15 and 17).
It is against my better judgement, I don't think kids need that level
of intimacy at that age, I think it puts a pressure on kids to be
"comfortable" when they may not. I also feel kids ask to do things,
not because they want to do it but because of peer pressure and they
welcome being told "no" from time to time---even if it doesn't appear
so. I am fairly sure that all the other girls are not allowed ( I
also don't care if ALL the others get to do so, I feel as a parent it
is my responsibility to respond to what is best for my child and not
what the group does; and thus teach my child to make independent
decisions about this, drinking, drugs, sex, etc).
Anyway, just my thoughts...
I think that allowing your child to go to a Co-ed sleepover is asking for
trouble, especially when there are older kids, ie sophmores and juniors(or
older). There is no supervision that goes on in the middle of the night
and who knows what can happen or what kind of a situation your child may be
put in. I have 3 girls (18,16 and 11) and I don't think this kind of party
is common. If it were, I still wouldn't let them go. The only time I think
this might be acceptable is after a prom.----Christine Carr
No way! I really believe you're asking for trouble if you allow your
14-year old daughter to attend a co-ed sleepover. First of all, every
teenager from the beginning of time has always insisted to their parents
that "everyone else is . . . allowed to do this." Don't be swayed. I
feel there are certain times when you have to be unequivocal in your
decisions. Also, parents need to restrain their children's plunge into
becoming an adult-child, one that acts and looks like she or he is 18, but
is really 14. My advice -- tell her that you don't approve of co-ed
sleepovers with such a mixed group, too many boys and too many 10th and
11th graders, and don't even ask for more information. From past
experience with my child, I know there are quite a few 10th and 11th
graders who drink heavily and more often than not they're boys at that age,
and the temptation is too great for a young 14-year old to not want to act
older and be cooler than she really has to be. Don't put her in that
situation -- she's too young now, but she can show her maturity in the
meantime by taking no from you with reasonable calm. She can just tell her
friends that her parents are really strict and won't allow it. At least,
she gave it a good try. By allowing this much freedom now, you'll open
Pandora's box. A sliding scale of strictness works -- at 14, you're much
more restrictive and if your child shows maturity (gets relatively good
grades, tells you the who/what/when/where/why of a situation, checks in
with you when you ask, has a reasonable curfew and sticks to it), each year
you can allow her more freedom. You know your daughter best, so you have
to set the parameters that will keep her reasonably reined in, yet make her
happy that she'a making progress as a person and as a teenager.
We were fortunate enough to host a New Year's, co-ed, overnight party for
our 14 year old daughter this year. It was wonderful. I think it can be a
fine event with some advance planning, a nice group of kids, and
responsible, but relaxed host parents.
We set up a bunch of rules with our daughter, beforehand. There were a
dozen guests, max. No uninvited extra friends allowed. Everyone brought
sleeping bags. There was to be a girls' sleeping room, and a boy's sleeping
room. No one could hang out outside the house, in front. We packed up all
alcoholic beverages in the house and took them to the garage. I talked with
most of the parents of the guests, when they called.
When the kids came over, I taught those who were interested how to make
vegetarian sushi rolls. Then pizza arrived. The kids milled around the
whole night between our daughter's room, and our open plan, living room /
kitchen. We rented several DVD's, and one guest brought more. These
continuously in the living room. (Our younger child slept over at his
friend's house.) We provided a bunch of disposable cameras for the kids to
play with. My husband and I even got to go out to a friend's house for
dinner, because one of our neighbors, for whom my daughter babysits, came
over to babysit the party for us from 8 till midnight!
We adults hung out mostly in a front room that serves as my office, with all
doors in the house left open. Occaisionally we joined the kids in one room
or the other, watching the movie, or hanging out, but we tried to be very
low impact, and give them some privacy.
The only tough part was that hardly anyone got any sleep at all, it being
New Year's Eve. Things finally got quiet between 7 and 9 a.m. (My husband
slept from 2 a.m. till 7. I took the 7 to 9 shift, and dozed lightly
between 4 and 7!) And then there were doughnuts and cereal for breakfast.
One of the guests brought fruit. Everyone helped with clean up at midnight
and at 9. Parents came to pick their kids up around 10 or 11 a.m.
This was a very well-behaved bunch of kids, most of whom go to school
together, and live scattered around the Bay Area, which is part of what made
it work out. I was delighted that my daughter felt comfortable enough about
us, and her friends, to have them all over for the night. It was fun to
hang out and get to know them.
Oh, and that "girls'-room-and-boys'-rooms-for-sleeping" concept? Forget it.
In the event, it didn't really happen that way. By 7 a.m. they just fell
wherever they were, as the photos from the instant camera attest, some in
armchairs with coats over their heads, three sprawled across a made bed, one
on the couch, another on the carpet, etc, except for that photographer....
Perhaps you might like to call the hosting parents, and see how that
conversation feels to you?
I was a little amazed at the overwhelming, vehemently negative
attitude of PoT parents in the 02/21/02 newsletter, regarding
overnight events for teens. We took a small group of teens to a cabin
in Yosemite, for a few days of snowboarding, X-country skiing and a
spot of downhill. We send our daughter out with Cal Adventures and
other co-ed, teen adventure camping trips in the summer. Overnight
doesnt have to mean neglect, sex, drugs, and deviance! Of course, it
does make sense to find out what you are signing up for, and to take
sensible precautions against unsupervised mishaps. The kids will have
to learn how to make their own decisions about difficult issues,
sooner or later, one just doesn't want these to be in a context where
the consequences of a mistake will be dire.
My daughter (now 17) was not invited to such a sleepover but had she asked
to go to one I would have said definitely "no"! I can think of no
reason for boys and girls of high school age to spend the night
together. We can be assured they will not be supervised by adults for
all that time, if at all. If only one or two kids at such an event get
involved in drinking, drugs or sex that's too many from my
perspective. It may be that some kids at such a party don't get into any
trouble, but why should they be placed in a position to witness the
wanderings of others? Will teens complain that parents are old-fashioned
and they're the *only parents* who said "no"? Yes. Let them complain
and let them feel boundaries being enforced.
Just a P.S. in response to Anon who was amazed at the overwhelmingly
negative response to co-ed sleepovers. It's not that overnights are about
"neglect, sex, drugs and deviance" -- the sex, drugs and rock 'n roll image
that still emanates from MTV and brainwashes teenagers and adults alike.
The question is: Are you comfortable with your 14-year old daughter making
a decision like this sooner or later? The issue is not about co-ed
sleepovers that are organized (Cal Adventures has you sign authorization
and release forms, taking responsibility for your child), or
parent-supervised (like an excursion to Yosemite). The specifics of this
situation speak to whether you're willing to let your 14-year old daughter
make her own decision in a context where the facts presented are that there
are 10-12 kids, mixed in age from 14 to 17, and mixed in gender (with the
given that being a teenager is risky business). Most parents appear not to
be. I fully agree that teens will have to learn to make their own
decisions about difficult issues sooner or later, and how do you know
whether the context will have dire consequences or not, when the element of
risk is always there. I've read statistics that show the teenage years are
those years where the highest percentage of risk-taking (and fatalities)
occurs from infancy to adulthood. Makes you wonder how you made it this
far alive, with or without suffering the severe trauma of being a teenager.
For what it's worth, the middle school and high school youth of our church
have co-ed sleepovers all the time. They're like a bunch of puppies in a
pile and all good friends. We have noticed when we get together with
churches that have strictly segregated their kids there is a very different
feeling - the sexual energy is rampant and the adults have to patrol all
night to keep the kids apart. I can't say which is cause and which is
effect, but I do know that having all the kids sleeping together, such
sleep as there is, has never been a problem. The same could be said for my
14 year old daughter's class camping trips.
We have a 15-year old son whose most important friends and companions at
school are three girls his age. We don't really have a problem with
that, although we would like to see him also forge friendships with
males. Over the summer he was invited to a mixed overnight cast party
(different kids), which we felt somewhat uncomfortable with but allowed
him to attend. We have now been approached about another "sleepover"
party (our son and three 14 to 15-year-old girls) at the house of one of
the girls to celebrate his birthday. We have said an emphatic "no" this
time, responding to a gut feeling that it is just not appropriate
although he has come up with some pretty logical pro arguments. Just
curious what other parents of teens think about this situation.
My son spends a lot of time with girls. He has a few guy friends, but
the majority of his socializing is with one or more of the girls he is
friends with. He has gone away (with the family) to the vacation home
of one girl, has been the only boy at a 10 girl sleepover birthday
party, etc. I've met other boys who find groups of girls to be
preferable to hanging out with other guys. My son thinks most guys
speak badly of girls, talk too much about sex and are a bit too macho
for him. [not going to get too much argument from me on these points]
We recently had a large group here (2 guys, 7 girls) and I briefly
overheard them all talking quite frankly about their lives and their
concerns about sex and drugs and friendships. It was pretty innocent.
I'd listen closely to how your son speaks about these all girl
situations and what they do when they hang out together. Find out why
he likes these girls. It may be more valuable/innocent than you'd
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