Sleepovers

Category: Weekly Columns

What really happens at a girl sleepover

When I was a kid, I did “sleepovers” at my friend’s houses. By the time I was double-digit age, it was no longer “cool” and it stopped. Today’s kids start sleepovers early and, apparently, they never end. Today, there are sleepovers of groups of high-schoolers, and sleepovers of boy/girl couples IN one of their parents’ homes. HELLO?

Dog and Cat sleepover

The “cool” factor and being “too old” for a (group) sleepover apparently is not present at all today. Of course being able to “sleepover” with a boy or girlfriend with the full consent of both parents is irresistible and completely encouraged and condoned in some quarters. Boy, I was born in the wrong time!

What is this teaching our teenagers? I fully support the idea of sleepovers for younger kids, but our teens? And, a young couple sleeping together with full approval of both sets of parents is okay?

Sleepover teen drunk

I have a good single-dad friend (divorced) who was put in the awkward position of saying a resounding NO to his teenage daughter’s desire to go cross-country and spend a weekend with a new “boy” friend at his parent’s home with their approval. My friend’s ex was just fine with it so my friend was put in the “bad guy” role. Thankfully, he stood his ground and, as I said to him, did the right thing which will be recognized by his daughter in due time.

His ex has often puts him in the “bad guy” role. This is a very familiar situation to many divorced couples. This ongoing notion that being our kid(s) best friend is a good thing is ridiculous. Our job is to be their BEST PARENT. Their so-called “best friends” will come and go.

Sleepover prank

Taking the right stand is simply harder. And, given how many times in our teens’ lives we must take the “right stand” it gets tiresome and sometimes they just wear us down. Add to the mix an ex that isn’t on the same page and you’ve got a recipe for disaster!

Sleepovers. What do they do all night in these group sleepovers? My 17-year-old son is very active in “drama” and his casts often do sleepovers in groups. According to him, there are no “couples” and they enjoy listening to musical theatre and/or watching movies/television. I believe him. I just find it hard to believe.

Tweens being sexy at sleepover

On the boy/girl boyfriend/girlfriend front, I suppose the parental thinking is if it’s going to happen anyway, why not have in happen on our turf, under our control. I think that’s abdicating the job of being mom and/or dad. It’s easy just as it’s “easy” to say “Yes” rather than “No” to many of things our teens ask.

What about consequences? When is the last time you held firm on a (punitive) consequence? I plead guilty to recently “folding” when I was so sure I’d be steadfast on a consequence. My son made a great case for not being grounded, even though he acknowledged he violated the reason to be grounded. I thought I made a great decision in relaxing that consequence by substituting a mutually agreed-upon different one.

Hmmm, is that like a criminal negotiating with the judge a different (prison) sentence? Time off to go visit the old folks home? Wear a tech device and travel the world? “I trust you.” Oy vey. Did I really do that?

Girls Sleepovers

My older son never did many sleepovers. When he had his first girlfriend, she just came over and hung out at our house. One evening, my wife passed his room. He had left the door ajar and she couldn’t help but notice what was going on. She rushed and got me. Being the mature man/dad that I was, I quietly pumped my fist and said to myself, “That’s my BOY!”

Our biggest concern, seriously, was that she was underage, as was he, and that her mom needed to be aware and cool with the consequences of her daughter being sexual. We were close with both the mom and my son’s girlfriend so reaching out to the mom was easy. She was so nonchalant about it that we were stunned. I’m sure sleepovers would have been just fine with her.

I must admit that I’m somewhat undecided on this issue though I’d probably err to the side of no sleepovers at a certain (older) age under most circumstances. Perhaps, for a special occasion, a group sleepover with real parental supervision would be fine.

What do you think?

  • David W.

    I was not aware that boy-girl sleepovers were so common. I wonder if that is more a feature of Southern California life. I will have to ask some of my friends with teenage kids what the deal is in North Carolina.

    I don’t remember outgrowing sleepovers. They were never boy-girl affairs. After a certain age, though, a sleepover for me was simply “crashing” at the home of a friend I had been hanging out or socializing with that evening, or vice versa at my house. This was done in the name of fatigue. I’d wake up my parents with a phone call at midnight or thereabouts and say, “I’m staying over at so-and-so’s house, see you in the morning.”

    I remember one time between I think it was the summer between my freshman and sophomore years in college, when a friend of mine came into town (L.A.) from Northern California with a female friend of his. They really were just friends, someone else was her boyfriend. All three of us stayed at my parents’ house, Gary and I in my old bedroom, and his friend on a rollaway bed in the den, several rooms away and just on the other side of the wall from where my parents slept.

    The next summer, I went out with a young woman I had met earlier that summer. She drove to my parents’ house, where I was staying and we went to dinner and a movie or whatever we did. Back at my parents’ place at about midnight, her car wouldn’t start.

    My mother heard us when we were sitting in the kitchen discussing what to do. Mom said that the young woman, whose name was Rose, should just stay at the house overnight and deal with it all tomorrow. My mother herself called Rose’s parents to tell them that their daughter wouldn’t be coming home until the next day, but that everything was OK, Rose would be put up in the den. The unspoken assurance was that I would keep to my own space, which I did in fact do, I was such a nice young lad.

    I seem to recall that the next day, Rose’s dad drove to the house and handled the whole car problem, arranging for towing and so on.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      @disqus_dU5ulU60s7:disqus – there’s something quaint about your stories here, David – thanks for sharing! Good points.

  • BrandiJeter

    I’m with you, Bruce. I just can’t see it happening. Of course, it’s different for boys than it is for girls (not sure why, but it is). There’s no way my daughter’s boyfriend would be allowed to sleepover. She goes to Catholic school, so it’s not likely to come up, but if it does, the answer is NO!