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?

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-13-2014
Mon, 07-14-2014 - 2:37am

There’s so much to respond to and I don’t think I could ever get to all of it, but I want to say thank you all for the feedback, especially Kimmybabe. You’ve given me a lot to think about.

Kimmybabe, to your thoughts on avoiding a hostile environment, I totally agree. We are very close to our daughter and I value her coming to us about sensitive topics which she has always done. We have only given her freedoms because she has earned our trust. Admittedly we have been more focused on her avoiding drugs and alcohol, because of things we have seen that is our greatest fear. Since she has been such a good kid all around we want to encourage that and don't mind giving her some freedoms. I can tell you if she ever got into drugs she would instantly lose a whole lot of priveleges. Thankfully I don’t see that happening though.

And yes I believe her boyfriend is here to stay. He is clearly hopelessly in love with her but it goes beyond that. I see him constantly thinking of ways to make her happy or to have fun together, or to do something sweet for her. He is devoted to her beyond description. And yes he is already thinking years into the future. I probably don’t even need to say how my daughter feels.

Avatar for turtletime
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-13-1998
Mon, 07-14-2014 - 1:44pm

Just a word of caution about getting close to the boy or seeing him as "the one." Too many parents I've watched fall apart when their children's relationship fails. The prior post noting that what you are seeing is not unusual in teen relationships is correct. They can be really sweet and intense and seem like the "real thing" and the are... but not necessarily the "real thing" that lasts. They are children and they are still growing and changing. This relationship, even with sex and sleep-overs, is part of her "childhood" and at some point, she may want to leave her childhood behind. Right now they are in a relationship without the stresses of rent, food, college, career choices, ect. What happens when he goes to a college that doesn't have a good program for her? Will she still follow him there? Because he's older, he probably has more of the power in the relationship. If he's a good guy, then this might not be an issue but what happens when she grows into a woman and the dynamics change... and she's not interested in being the "princess" anymore? Real life, big decisions, that can change things. Do some early relationships make the long haul? Sure. Maybe your DD and her boyfriend will be that case but a good chance it won't. I dated my high school boyfriend all through college. We lived together. He's a wonderful person. In the end, we wanted different things and I know it broke all the families hearts at the time. My DD and her boyfriend, sweet as all get out... childhood friends that fell in love in adolescence... but they both recognize that they aren't done growing up yet. My point is, I can see you are looking at this relationship as being her last and why you are more open to leaving them together for weekends and such. I just wanted to suggest putting some distance between you and the boy. Make sure your DD knows you are invested in HER, not in THEM. You make already be making that distinction but I thought it worth mentioning as I'm often surprised when I see mom's later fighting their daughter's over ditching a boy the family thought was "the one."

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Mon, 07-14-2014 - 2:39pm

Lets be honest about Kimmy's kids. 

They are not self supporting, and are certainly not supporting their children.  None of the 4 is working anywhere near full time.  With no insurance of their own, the married "adults" did not pay for their own healthcare, nor that of their children.  However, someone paid for 3 pregnancies, 3 hospital deliveries, and three sets of on-going pediatric care.   I doubt the couple with children was able to purchase 3 sets of baby furniture, 3 car seats, or a minivan to transport all those kids.    Neither of the couples is taking care of a whole house, buying all the food (for a family of FIVE, in one case)  and cooking for a family, caring for children, going to work, going to school, all on a daily basis, while also figuring out how to pay all the normal bills associated with life as married "adults".  They do not have any of the stressors most young families have, or even most young college kids living on their own, so it is really pointless to say these kids' marriages have "survived" for 5 years.

And altho Kimmy says the boys' families are much wealthier than her family, it is HER family that is cramming 4 adults and 3 children into an already small house, and supporting them on an already mediocre income.

Is this really the life you want your daughter to experience?  Joined at the hip to one boy, living the life HE decides?  Pregnant at 17-18?  Living with her husband in her childhood bedroom while you support them?  

Or do you want her to live life to it's fullest?  Get involved in many things in hs?  Go to a college that excites her, taking classes that open her eyes and her mind, get a job, travel on her own, find a career, learn to spread her wings and make HERSELF happy without needing or wanting a man to do it for her? 

Avatar for turtletime
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-13-1998
Mon, 07-14-2014 - 4:19pm
Sabr, I didn't say she HAS changed her mind. My educated guess is no but I'm also not going to make niave claims that I KNOW everything she does or wants to do. I only said that 2 months ago it was a "no" for very good reasons but we haven't talked about it since then and things can always change.
Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Mon, 07-14-2014 - 5:03pm

Your dd sounds like a smart young lady, and it seems like the lines of communication are open.  In addition, you have NOT accommodated opportunities for, as we old Catholics call it, "the near occasion of sin".  Your kids' "sleepovers" are harmless, well supervised, and granted for logical & safety reasons.  You are not giving them license. 

And your previous post about not getting too close to the boy is spot on.  My dh once remarked that our girls changed bf's as often as they changed their clothes.  And as they grew older, the qualities they looked for in a partner, changed.  One dd told me she told her dh, "I wouldn't have looked twice at you in HS."

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-13-2014
Mon, 07-14-2014 - 5:33pm

Okay to answer some of that…

About us getting to close to him, I understand and those are good points. However we have never pushed her towards him. We always thought he was an excellent choice and we love him to death, but she’s never needed any encouragement because you can multiply that by a hundred. And no we would never pressure her to stay in a relationship, that sounds horrible.

Sabrtooth to your point, yes they are very attached but they are also separate people. At first it was a little crazy, in that phase of wanting to be together 24/7, but after that they resumed spending more time with friends and separate activities. She’s not going to lose her identity. In their time together, she’s continued to grow into the lovely person she is. She’s always been true to herself and we’re proud of her.

As for college, we are obviously going to make sure she goes to a college that suits her. He does not control her like you’re suggesting, it’s a very equal relationship. He wants to do 1 year at a nearby community because that will be her senior year, clearly he is fine with accomodating her. I’ve no doubt he’d do anything to make it work. It shouldn’t be a problem anyway, since they’re interested in similar things.

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Mon, 07-14-2014 - 6:22pm

Emily, not that you would pressure your dd into staying with a bf when she wanted to break up, but often our kids feel bad about disappointing us or not meeting what they think are our expectations. Sometimes they might delay a break up for the sake of family members. I can still remember, at 18, feeling bad for my mother when I broke up with a bf that she really liked; and my dd (at 25) kind of apologized to us after breaking up with one of her bf's since she knew he was the only one that we had ever liked!

And it also raises a thorny question of whether you can or should continue a relationship with a young man you may know well, have watched grow up, and think of almost like family. Would it be awkward or disloyal to your kid to remain friendly with her ex? (which of course could depend on why they broke up) The issue does come up.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-08-2009
Tue, 07-15-2014 - 12:45am

We live in the city where nine year old Amber Hagerman was taken and was found stabbed to death in a ditch four days later.  Her killer has never been found.  The “Amber alert” is named after her.  Therein is the reason that hubby and I were glad to have the guys working alongside our daughters in the mowing business and walking as a group with other teens down to Six Flags and the water park and as a pack down at the mall and movies.  This is also the reason that the mothers of Elizabeth Smart, Kaycee Dugard, and the three Ohio girls proclaimed things like, “I’m the luckiest person alive today!”

Turtletime made a good point about not getting to emotionally invested with the BF because your daughter has to live with him “till death do us part,” not you and hubby.  (Says the woman who is invested in both our daughters and our SILs.)

Emily, your spot on about the drug issue.  I’ll take a pregnant daughter every day and five times on Sunday over a drug problem and we have cousins with kids our kid’s age in the extended family that has that issue.  

I like the idea of him attending community college and would encourage you and your daughter to explore her taking some “duel credit” classes over there also. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-08-2009

Sabrtooth’s observations/questions are both reasonable and valid and part of understanding what works with our situation is a complete picture of the financing and budgeting.  So here goes:

As a joke, I’m tempted to say we do it with welfare, but we don’t.  (But, believe me doing so would not be beneath our daughters dignity to do for financial gain.  They got the nicknames Thelma and Louise for good reasons.) 

Hubby and I together earn around what Malcolm Gladwell discusses around page 48 in his recent book, David and Goliath, as the point where “diminishing marginal returns” sets in on the happiness that money can buy--$75,000, which is rich to many people. The theory is that more money does not necessarily bring happiness and at some point more money makes people less happy. Texas is a relatively low cost of living area, so I assume cities like New York, Boston, San Francisco, etcetera, that have higher costs of living, would require more than $75,000. 

Hubby and I also had the good fortune of buying our modest three bedroom, two bath, two car garage, 1,500 sq. ft. home before the great run up in prices and the collapse of the housing market, but our area did not collapse like Nevada, Arizona, and Florida.  We also benefited from the dropping interest rates. 

I have no clue what the other parents earn, but they earn enough to go beyond where they are able to use the exemptions and above the cap on SS taxes when 2.9 Medicare tax continues on forever, and are the target of increased income taxes on the rich.

(As a side point, Butch’s dad has told the couples that they will probably pay 35% to 40% federal taxes on all earned income most of their lives with tax increases kicking in when the Social Security tax cap ends which will probably be uncapped as Social Security goes broke.  Tax the rich!!!!  And at some point Social Security may be means tested to exclude the rich from receiving benefits.)

The parents of both SILs contribute $600 per month and paid for the BS degree of their son.  Hubby and I contribute $600 per month to each couple, which is about what we would be spending if they lived at home and were single.  We also pay $250 per month to each couple to pay off student debt for each of our daughters BS degrees. Law school is on their dime and debt.

We also put $300 per month into the common grocery account, with each of the couples putting in $300 of their money to make a total of $900 for groceries and they do all the grocery shopping, cooking, housekeeping, laundry, lawn care, and that is why I say we live with our daughters and SILs.  I think we may be cheating them.  Seriously!!!!  Go into the market place and find any person who will do all this for $1,200 per month.  Hubby and I know a good deal when we see it.

If hubby and I lived here alone, we would still be paying the mortgage, taxes, utilities, and other expenses of the house. 

Hubby and I view the SILs living with us as a great deal. We kidnapped them from their parents and their parents still pay for their upkeep (or child support).  LOL  Seriously, they live with us because it takes a group effort to take care of the little brothers, allow each couple to go to work two days a week, do group study, etcetera.

It’s not four extra adults, but rather two extra adults, along with the brothers.  With the conversion of the garage into two bedrooms it’s not all that crowded.  It would be a bit crowded if older daughter had not had fertility issues. 

The couples earn $15 per hour which translates into a gross income for each couple of $24,000 per year, plus health insurance, which paid for grandson #2 and #3.   The work they do now is real work that uses their education and counts towards the experience requirements for a CPA license.

Butch’s dad paid for grandson #1 because once they married they lost coverage under the parents policies and the pregnancy was a preexisting condition.  (When his dad was taking this on, he laughed and said something along the lines of, “Believe me, Butch is one cheap kid to care for.  This is nothing compared to what the other two have extracted in tuition and upkeep. And if Butch’s mom hadn’t refused to move east away from this neighborhood because of Butch, we would be several hundred thousand dollars upside down in that new house.”)   

Prior to January 2013, they worked for $12.50 per hour plus insurance as “grand flunkies” which meant they ran copiers, mailroom, file room, reception desk, client escorts, lunch pick-ups, cleaning up messes and spills, spot vacuuming when necessary, cleaning and setting up conference rooms with beverages, snacks, and sandwiches when appropriate, etcetera, in a suit with a smile and silence.

They had earned around $13 per hour mowing lawns back in the day with no insurance benefits though.    

Youngest couple gets about $5,000 per year in earned income tax credit, which I guess could be said to be a form of welfare.

Yes Butch’s dad helped them get the flunky jobs (also known as “so you knocked-up your GF jobs” around the office), but they performed to expectations and were given the opportunity to move up into serious paralegal jobs where they can use their education and learn.  There are other students working there part time in paralegal jobs. 

The paycheck earnings after taxes goes into paying the cost of law school and they will have about $50,000 each in student debt when the graduate.  I suppose that if they put all there law school costs on debt and the parents did not contribute anything, they would be more self-supporting, but this is not something that any of the parents wish to do.   

Spending twenty hours per week working and commuting to work, plus fifty hours per week attending classes, commuting to classes, and studying is not a life of leisure.  It gets to be a bit of a grind, I think.

One crib, Butch’s twin beds from his childhood, three car seats from Costco, cloths from the thrift store, new shoes, socks and underwear, with them washing their own diapers, and babies, like parakeets, don’t cost much to feed. 

The “minivan” is a 1996 Suburban that was oldest SILs car during HS—the prom limo.  Two years ago the team purchased a used 2011 Focus for traveling 50 miles east to work every day and 30 miles west to evening classes. They save enough in gas and repair costs to make it a viable investment. Gas went from 20 cents a mile to 10 cents per mile.

It’s actually worse than living in her childhood room for our youngest daughter as she and her family is living in the garage.   LOL

It works for us and we feel blessed.  

Many parents are not able to do this for their kids and hubby and I do feel fortunate to be able to do it.

Avatar for suzyk2118
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-1997
Tue, 07-15-2014 - 9:40am

(wow - your part time rates in TX are sure a lot better than here in MO; ds has a degree and is making $12/hour; before the degree it was $9/hr at one of the better paying places; 7.25-8/hr for lifeguarding before that)