Sleepover privileges for my 15 y/o and her bf?

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-13-2014
Sleepover privileges for my 15 y/o and her bf?
34
Sun, 07-13-2014 - 2:36am

Not sure how to start this. Basically we need advice about our 15 year old daughter, and when it's appropriate to let her boyfriend sleep over, and how much freedom we should give them. And if we can go on another short trip and leave them alone.

For background, they have been having sex for some time, but we are okay with it. They've been together for more than 8 months, and it's serious. Her boyfriend who is 17 is a great guy, he treats her like a princess, and we like him a lot.

Their relationship was very emotionally intense from the beginning, they were inseparable and obsessed with each other. So eventually we realized sex was probably inevitable. It was hard to absorb at first but we are okay with it. We put her on the pill a couple years ago for cramps, and never took her off it. They don't use condoms, which she admitted to me, but she takes her pill religiously and makes a point of it. In general we feel they're being safe, and we know they will do it, and we feel safer if she's at home.

So in early June we decided to go on a weekend trip and leave her home, and we allowed him to stay over. We are considering doing this one or two more times this summer, but we wonder if we're giving them too much freedom.

For the record the chance of them having a party is very slim. He doesn't use drugs or smoke or even drink, which my daughter asked him when they were just friends, because she's not interested in them either. We are enormously grateful for that. And we trust her with him. It seems rare to find a 17 year old guy who's not interested in drinking, but frankly he seems more interested in her than anything else.

When we did this in June, it went fine. When we got back, they had done all the chores we asked, the house was so clean, they both seemed grateful. My daughter was beaming for days. I know she wants us to do it again and I sense her getting antsy about it although she's too shy to ask. What's confusing is that we want to, but we always thought we would be more protective of her than this.

We also have a feeling that if this becomes a thing, when the school year starts she will want more sleepovers. And what happens if we go down that road? He already spends a lot of time at our house, if he stays overnight regularly I don't know if that's appropriate.

Are we being smart about this? Should we let them have a couple more weekends this summer? I also wonder if this is something we should keep private from family or friends, or if there's no shame in it. It's hard to see this from the outside.

Sorry for the long post. It's a little overwhelming because they're already planning their future, like going to the same college together (his idea). We want to support their relationship, that's honestly our instinct, but are we being good parents too?

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Registered: 07-13-2014
Sun, 07-13-2014 - 6:08pm

Jlsjjsmom - 

To answer your question things presumably started after school before we were home, they did not sneak away. We wouldn't allow her at his house without supervision but we did let them come to our house after school, as he started giving her rides to and from school. In retrospect that was a bit of a stretch in terms of freedom, but thankfully things turned out fine. And he is allowed over during the day this summer, although it's not every day.

Allowing them to "play house" as you put it is not the point of us going away for a weekend, the point is having a nice weekend vacation with my husband during the summer.

Elc11 - 

She is our only child, so siblings are not a concern. We did not tell her grandparents about the sleepover part and they don't know she's sexually active, they haven't asked, although I think many people think they are at this point. Family etc. have not been too nosy about what privileges we give them.

I was looking for outside perspectives, and thinking about what privileges they will have in the future. I'm leaning towards one or two more trips this summer, I think it will be okay. I'm actually not sure when the regular sleepover issue will even come up, I can't see my daughter explicitly asking for that anytime soon. Anyway you are probably right that I was also kind of seeking validation.

Avatar for sabrtooth
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Registered: 12-03-1999
Sun, 07-13-2014 - 7:17pm

"...We wouldn't allow her at his house without supervision but we did let them come to our house after school..... thankfully things turned out fine. And he is allowed over during the day this summer, although it's not every day."  So you don't want her at HIS house without supervision, but it's OK to be unsupervised at YOUR house???  And everything turned out fine--that is, if you define your 15 year old having sex in your house as fine.  And you are fine with them having sex, just as long as you are not there while it happens.

Sounds schizophrenic to me.

I was going to respond to Turtle before about sleepovers as opposed to invitations to have sex in my house.  We allowed our girls to have co-ed sleepovers in Jr & Sr year, after formal dances, and after parties -WITHOUT ALCOHOL- in bad weather.  In these cases, the girls slept on one floor, and the boys on another.  As did dh & I.  Our various dogs were also free in the house, to raise an alarm if someone began wandering.  None of these kids would have been allowed to stay at our house if we were NOT as strict.  Their parents were on the same page as we were.

Let me also add, the point of NOT allowing your 15yo, or 16yo, or 17yo to have sex in your house, or anyone else's house, is to make it DIFFICULT for them to have sex.  Hopefully, if it is difficult enough, and the sanctions are tough enough, and the kid is ambitious, involved, and busy with life and not boys enough, she will choose to defer having sex untill she is mature enough to handle the consequenses.  One of those consequenses, for our daughters, was having to deal with HPV, and several surgeries for cervical dysplasia, at the ages of 20, and 25, aquired after having only ONE partner, & being in a committed relationship. 

Turtle had also mentioned, in a response to a different post, that if conversations about dealing with the consequenses of sex, and about the effect it could have on your plans, ambitions, and future economic status, had begun around the time a kid is first hitting double digits, and continued with regularity and with more sophistication as the child aged, then the chances are the parent would NOT be posting here.  They would either have no problems, or both they and their kids would be well prepared for whatever problem might arise.  I totally agree.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2009

I would say no and not because of the sex. You are letting them "play house" and that will only  result in  your daughter "growing up" much too fast, before she is ready to take on the responsibilities of adulthood for herself.  Your daughter is ONLY 15. She is a child. It really doesn't matter how much she cares about this boy. They are still children. So, your daughter was beaming and they did all the chores you requested. It is fun to play house when you are 15. Let's see how much fun that is when she has to pay the bills, clean the house and change diapers.

They may not be into drugs or into alcohol (that should be a given) and they may seem to really care about each other. That is all well and good but they are not self-supporting young adults. They are children. What is the hurry?  Why are you encouraging your daughter to not have a normal teenhood, take her time and have those important experiences that allow growth, to understand her own sexuality, and to learn about herself.  The teen years are a very important time for young women when they develop the skill sets that they will need to become independant, strong SELF-SUPPORTING (both emotionally and financially) women. By the way, your DD, if she gets to college, should go to one that suits HER and study what she wants to study and not one that her b/f wants to go to or study.

My kids did not have "sleep overs" when they were teens. No drugs,no alcohol and no late nights parties and no SO in high school; my two developed strong relationships with a group of friends like themselves that help them grow into the independent, thoughtful young adults. They have  learnt to stand on their own two feet and didn't play at being adults when they were not adults.

You have already allowed them to play house. Why would you even ask the question?

Avatar for sabrtooth
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Registered: 12-03-1999
Sun, 07-13-2014 - 7:52pm

Turtle, if your dd had not had sex till this point, you might want to question her on why she's changed her mind.  Especially with a boy she is breaking up with.  Is it a goodby present??   I understand that she still likes him, but if she is admitting the possibility of other relationships at college, then possibly she is more conflicted, and feeling more pressured than she admits.  Maybe, tacitly, she would be grateful if her PARENTS were the ones to put the brakes on the relationship, rather than her having to be the one to say a difficult NO.  She wouldn't be the first kid who was happy to say, "Ya know I would, but my parents would KILL ME" about something that secretly made them uncomfortable.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

Turtle, I see this as a different type of situation entirely.  The difference between a 15 & 17 yr old in maturity is large and you weren't having them sleeping in the same bed and there was a specific reason for him sleeping over.  You also weren't leaving them alone in the house.  

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

I had a standard rule that no one of the opposite sex was allowed to be at our house when no adults were home & vice versa.  When my DD was in high school, I allowed her girlfriends to come over during the day.  Of course having a nosy little brother around helped.  By the time DS was a teenager, DD was off to college and he had to stay home alone during the day sometimes cause I'm a single parent and I have to work full time.  A couple of years ago he told me he was gay, but when he was younger, he was interested in girls.  We had numerous talks, as some of the others alluded to, about the dangers of having sex at a young age like the fact that as a boy he would have no say in whether the girl decided to keep a baby, he would be stuck paying child support etc.  Now I'm not 100% certain that it kept him from having sex with his then GF (who we never liked and was a real drama queen--now they are not even friends) but I wouldn't make it easy for him.  I also don't understand why you would let the boy come over your house when you were not home--that's just making things too easy for them.  And I know it may sound hypocritical, and maybe I can't explain it too well, that even if you know your teenager is probably having sex and you are doing the responsible thing by getting them birth control (because having teenage parents would be even worse) I think that parents can and should still say that we aren't going to make it easy for you by letting you sleep together in our house.  I think the guilt that they are doing something parents aren't approving of might make them think twice about what they are doing.  If you are allowing these weekend sleepovers then why not let him sleep over every night?  I mean really what's the difference (unless you can come up with another reason like she is not doing her HW)?  If you condone them having sex, why not just let them start living together now?  Where are you drawing the line?

I have no doubt that your DD's feelings are intense and sincere.  I won't say that teenagers can never be in love.  I do have some friends who started dating in high school and are still married almost 40 yrs later so it's possible.  But I think it's rare--most high school couples do not make it last.  Is this boy planning to go to college?  Is he going to restrict himself to going to a local college so they can be together?  I know there are some small towns maybe where kids still get married very young (Kimmy's kids being the big exception among the regulars here and definitely not criticizing their family life since they have a lot of parental support) but would you be ok with her saying that when she's 18 she's going to get married?  My standard speech to my kids was that they are going to college, get a job where they can support themselves, get married and then have kids, which of course doesn't always work out the way you want, but at least it was presented as desirable, even though my son thought that most people have babies and then decide to get married--watching too much TV!

The part about the nice weekend with the hubby make me want to smack my head in amazement.  I'm turning 57 and the youngest is going to college in the fall and it's like Yay, freedom (finally) for me--although I will definitely miss him.  This will be the first time in 25 yrs that I can (generally) do what I want w/o thinking about kids.  When I was married, we only went somewhere if grandparents could watch the then little kids.  After I got divorced, I went on some vacations but only if my ex was taking care of the kids.  As I said, this summer was about the first time that I stayed away overnight and left DS home alone and only because I know he is very responsible.  I would not have left a 15 yr old home alone (or w/ BF).  Most of the time I just took my kids with me on vacations.

When you are saying "what privileges will they have in the future?" well she is already doing things that most kids aren't doing until they are in their 20's--as far as actually staying with a BF alone for a weekend, so really what does she have to look forward to if she's already getting adult privileges now?  I think I'd be kind of worried.  Oh and I have to say that I'm probably one of the less strict parents as far as not being that shocked or upset that my DD was having a relationship and was s/a --in college!

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2000
Sun, 07-13-2014 - 9:42pm

Oh and one more thing - you mentioned a couple times how 'intense' they are... What first love at age 14-16 isn't intense?? After 8 months I'm sure your dd is convinced that she is totally in love and there will be no one else for her! That being said - we all have different parenting ways. My boys are 24 and 27 and we didn't allow co-ed sleepovers for their various high school girl friends. Younger ds was married for a short period and we didn't even allow them to sleep together in our home when they came to visit until after the wedding. Even though they lived together and she was pregnant..  And the marriage at age 19 lasted about 9 months. I certainly wouldn't be in too much of a hurry to push them into an adult relationship. 

Pam
Avatar for sabrtooth
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Registered: 12-03-1999
Sun, 07-13-2014 - 10:32pm

<<<...we didn't even allow them to sleep together in our home when they came to visit until after the wedding...>>>   LOL!!  Pam, I was uncomfortable having my 22yo dd sleeping with her husband here, AFTER they were married.  And my dd agreed!  She said she could not fathom having sex in her childhood bedroom, with her Daddy and Mommy down the hall.  He agreed to sleep downstairs untill his Dad finished cleaning the junk out of HIS childhood bedroom, and then he went to stay with them.

And your point about "isn't EVERY teen love intense?" is spot on.  Heck, teen emotions about EVERTHING --their cars, their clothes, their hair, their friends, the schools they want to attend-- is "intense" and over the top.   And all too often, just as fleeting.

Avatar for turtletime
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Registered: 05-13-1998
Mon, 07-14-2014 - 12:15am

No, he's just sleeping over at the house and not in her room. I think it's been 4 times he's stayed over, New Years, 4th of July, her prom as it was in our area and included bowling after-prom until midnight (he lives almost an hour away from us,) once before a camping trip... he went on the trip with us but stayed in his own tent while D staying in our family tent. DD has not asked for him to stay in her room and honestly, I don't believe they are having sex. At least they weren't 2 months ago when DD brought up their mutual concerns about going in that direction knowing she'd be leaving soon as well as her personal feelings about not being ready. They are pretty serious kids that both stress a lot about making all the "right" decisions in life. I don't stress about them ever being alone in a house but honestly, it doesn't happen because they are so stupid busy and their hours together are not hours for which people are gone. When DH and I go away, the kids go to a family members home or my 28-year-old niece stays with them.

I know that it's a bit different but I also have friends who would slap me for even allowing the boy to be over after night fall. I know teen sleep-overs where sex is involved is more common in Norway and such and it seems to work for them.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-08-2009
Mon, 07-14-2014 - 12:50am

OK Emily, gentle hugs to you. 

You’ll notice that I am the QUEEN of long posts.  LOL

As Lincoln said in the movie after a long discussion with his party members, “Like the preacher says, I suppose I could write shorter sermons, if I wasn’t so lazy.”  This comment from a man known for short and precise use of words.  I ani’t no Lincoln.

It’s normal and OK to be conflicted and defensive. 

Nobody can make “decisions” for you and yours. Nobody can determine what is “appropriate” for you and yours.  Nobody can determine if you are being “smart’ about this.  Nobody can determine how much “freedom” is too much.   Everybody is entitled to their opinions though.   Don’t take offence when others take a different view.  Also, nobody else knows the individual dynamics of your family and the situation in this teen romance. 

What works for one teen or family may be a disaster for a different teen or family to follow.  BE VERY CAREFUL WITH THINKING THAT OUR SITUATION IS DUPLICATABLE OR SHOULD OR CAN BE REPEATED.  IT IS ABSOLUTELY AN OUTLIER. 

If you read the previous thread of posts, NEW HERE AND HAVE A QUESTION, as I suggested earlier, you will understand that hubby and I found ourselves in a similar situation when our daughters and our SILs were 15 and 16, so I won’t repeat the background information here. 

I did not take your post as a “troll alert” situation, but recently we have had a few such postings, some of which were so off the wall that they were pulled and disposed of by the staff of ivillage.  My understanding of a troll is someone who posts a question so beyond the norm or disgusting that it is not worth answering.  A 15, nearing 16, girl having sex with a BF 17 is not out of the bounds of normal teen behavior and concerns for the parents.

I looked up the age of consent chart, and the leeway given here in Texas. If I understood correctly, the age of consent is 17, with 14 being the minimum age of the victim and being non prosecutable if the older person is within three years of the age of the victim that is 14 or over. Therein is the reason that adults in their thirties can’t legally have sex with boys or girls 16 and under, Warren Jeffs discussed below, etcetera. Texas also requires the doctors, hospitals, clinics, etcetera to report all females under 14 that are pregnant to child protective services, or whatever it is called nowadays, because of twenty and thirty plus year old men fathering children with thirteen, fourteen, fifteen and sixteen year old girls.  That was the case against the fundamentalist Mormon group here in Texas a few years ago.  Warren Jeffs is serving time in a Texas prison for having sex with underage girls, not for having multiple wives or girlfriends or having babies with multiple women over the age of consent or what many would consider to be odd religious beliefs. (Warren this ain’t Utah or Colorado.  This is Texas and you’re in a heap of trouble here pal with life plus 20 years—enjoy your stay in Texas.)   (Warren and his group should not be equated or confused with the Church of Latter Day Saints out of Salt Lake City.) 

I noticed that in some of the states the age of consent and the minimum age are the same age and it was Georgia a few years ago that sent some poor boy 17 and a few days off to prison for having sex with a girl a few days shy of 16 at a party where “friends” videoed it.  This seems a little ridiculous to me.   (As a side note, never let your crimes be videoed.)  (I noticed that Musiclover’s Massachusetts is one of those double 16 states also.)

My parents left my very responsible 18 year old sister in charge of me when I was 15 for a couple of nights one time.  We lived next door to our “third pair of grandparents”—a childless older couple who were listed on my parents will if they died before we reached majority.  They were “We’ll tell your mama if we see anything” type people.  I never sat in a car to make out with a boy on our street.

Our kids would want to go with us and do on every vacation.   Would we have left them at home at 16 and 17?   Probably not as back then they kind of moved between our home and the guy’s home and they would have stayed in those homes while we were gone, but as I said we never did.

These are a few observations for your consideration:

Turtletime (in her post above and in her post on the second page of the thread titled NEW HERE AND HAVE A QUESTION) gave a very concise version of the thinking process that hubby and I, and the parents of both of the guys, faced when we discovered that the couples were having sex. It is not the type of issue that parental arguments with teens are likely to prevail in. 

(Since both the guys have siblings six and ten years older than them, their parents had had many rough edges knocked off by the older children.)

By the time that this discovery of sexual activity was made when I came home from work early one afternoon, roughly 30 months after they went to their first junior high Halloween dance together, the couples had merged large parts of their individual lives.  (And a valid point can be made that they had merged way too much for their ages.) 

At first it was just four 7th and 8th graders hanging around together at school activities, movies, amusement parks, the mall, etcetera, but soon became two couples hanging together on separate dates to those places at the same time. The couples individually and as a group merged finances, budgets, (younger couple--weight loss at a fitness center), their mowing business, the girl’s desire to be cheerleaders, education objectives, career objectives, and yeah hearts—joined at hips, wallets, hearts and minds. 

The younger two had skipped out of gifted and talented classes to start high school with the older two.  By the time I came home from work early and made the discovery, the four of them had each accumulated nearly thirty semester units of college credit in a “duel credit” program at the local community college.

(Taking “duel credit” classes is something that your daughter may want to consider in order to catch up with her guy.)

Turtletime noted the harsh feelings between parents and teens on this subject in her posting on the previous thread and I don’t want to put words or thoughts that may not be where she was going with that line of thinking.  For us, letting the sex continue in the privacy of their rooms at home with the knowledge of the parents (consent and approval would be appropriate wording also), took a lot of the hostilities off the table and allowed the six parents to have some influence with the teens.  And it kept this from becoming a couple vs. the parents battle with the couples determined to beat the parents, even at the cost of screwing up their lives in the process.  If it was doomed to fall apart, we did not want it to be kept going in order for them to prove us parents wrong.

When you take hostel arguments off the table, we found that you’re able to have open conversations on most everything. Including the task of building a relationship  that goes the distance to “till death do us part.”

The parents and our teen couples have spent time making things work, rather than battling each other.  Not trying to diminish the importance of the issue, but sex is just one part of a teen’s development and preparation for life.

(One of the things that hubby and I made very clear to the girls was, this was a one guy accommodation, not a pass to having serial monogamy with subsequent love interests. If that had been the result, they would have had to do “it” in the bushes of a park three blocks west of our home or between the tombstones two blocks east of our home or wherever, but no longer at home.)

The subject of a possible pregnancy should not be minimized as not being likely to occur because she is on the pill.   The pill is very subject to failure for a variety of reasons discussed in the previous thread.  I think I said the guys don’t like to wear condoms.  That is also true for the girls, and as Sabrtooth and others pointed out the lack of condoms and spermicide increases the chances of pregnancy occurring when they hiccup on proper pill use. 

Even if the pill were always for every woman 99.7% effective, what if your daughter were to be among that .3% failure group?  Therefore, it is important to discuss what happens if or when your daughter is in a family way.  Young man, are you here for the long haul of just having fun with our daughter?  Will you be a father and a daddy, or the guy who ran away?  I saw a very on point bumper sticker a few months ago that read, “Real men stick around and change diapers!  BE ONE!”  Sonny are you a real man? These questions are also appropriate for your daughter to be asked and answered.

I believe it was the late Beatle John Lennon who said something along the lines of, “Life is what happens to you, while you’re planning the future.” For several of us ladies and our kids, an unplanned pregnancy was part of what happened while we were making other plans.  If it happens, YOU’LL LOVE BEING A GRANDMOTHER!!!!!  ABSOLUTELY THE BEST GIG IN TOWN!!!!

(We have always made it clear to the couples that hubby and I are grandparents, never parents of our grandkids (with the exception that they were killed). And that is our position. When the pregnancy occurred they had to make adjustment and shift form day classes to evening classes.  In a strange way, I think they actually benefited from all the adjustments required)  

Both of our SILs have alcoholism issues in their family that they were not interested in repeating in their lives so it was never an issue with the couples.  Youngest SILs grandfather, father, older brother are all members in good standing with AA.  Butch has even attended a few meetings with his brother and dad and said as he introduced himself something like, “Hi, my name is Butch, alcoholism runs in my family, but I have never taken that first drink.”  “Welcome Butch and stay that way!”

A similar thinking process occurred when the discussion of marriage came up.  The older couple was nearing 18 and could do it.  The younger couple could and would follow the next year when they reached 18.  Hubby and I wanted this to be a decision of all the parents and I think the other parents did too.  None of the six parents was interested in booting them out, or cutting off funding for their education.  They were on track to graduate from high school that spring with nearly eighty semester units of “duel credit” college work. (Let me interject this here, this is possible for lots of high school kids, ours just happened to take more advantage of the opportunity than anyone else ever had. They went this route rather than AP, etcetera.)

(None of the six parents chew tobacco or have green tooth decay (not that there is anything wrong with such), and all six have bachelor’s degrees, with three of the other four parents having post grad degrees.)

During one of the six parent discussions, where each parent was free to voice their thoughts, concerns, and fears without reproach, the father of our youngest future SIL observed that this was in actuality a formalizing of what existed in reality in their hearts--and not likely to change before a wedding anytime in the next five year. A later wedding will not isolate them from all the hazards of these teen romances.  I guess that was the tipping point that brought all six parents to common ground because within a few days the six parents were considering possibilities and making plans for a double wedding, which came to fruition in a destination wedding trip to Hawaii four years ago last March.     

Things look good, but that is always subject to change, and yes all six parents do worry about the out years.  As Turtletime alluded to, worry is a big part of being a parent.  A while back I asked my mother when she stopped worrying about me and my siblings, to which she answered, “I haven’t stopped yet, Kimmy.  I’ll let you know when I do.”

You mentioned that the your daughter and the BF are planning their future together.  I would hope so as when you start having sex you should and are planning your future.  If you’re not making plans together that is an indication that you’re just having fun and “screwing around”—crude but also true.

To me, the fact that the boy wants your daughter and him to go to the same college is an indication that he is NOT just having fun (and screwing around). 

We’re the less financially well off parents. Local state university and living at home were what we planned for.  The other parents are more affluent. They could and did send their older kids off to very expensive universities. Even before the baby situation, the guys were on board with local state university.  Younger couple could probably qualify for a much higher ranked law school, but early on they opted for going to local state law school because as I alluded to above, they are a team of four as well as two separate couples.  THAT IS THEM.

To me, a large part of life is about making compromises and adjustments to circumstances as they unfold.  And yeah if you go down one rode, you don’t go down a lot of other roads, and that’s life.

What we discovered was that once you cross over into sex happening at home, it quickly becomes regular overnighting.  Besides the sex, they like the closeness. We also found it deepened their bonds, which may or may not be the case for other couples.  They also learned the lessons of snoring, blanket hogging, sharing a bed, cuddling, personal hygiene, putting the toilet seat lid down, etcetera.  You learn a lot about a person you sleep (snoring sleep) with.

KEEP THIS IN MIND:  A tremendous risk in all this is a misalignment in the relationship that terminates the relationship and one or both of the teens is left much traumatized.  They have invested large portions of their heart in this and it’s difficult to get those parts back, if not impossible. This can even be worse than a divorce.

As for what you tell family and friends?  The answer is NOTHING!  This includes the neighbors and friends at school. It’s nobody’s business other than the couple and their parents. School kids and neighbors like to gossip, so why open yourself up for such when it is not necessary?       

Turtletime also made a valid point about being comfortable in the home.  For some parents, the teen having sex in the home is disrespectfully uncomfortable for the parent.  We never viewed it that way, but if that is an issue for a parent, it seems reasonable to me that the teen should respect the parent’s feelings and that the sex should occur elsewhere.

I hope this ramble is of some value to you.