Overnight With a Girlfriend

Our 17-year-old son has been invited by his girlfriend to spend the weekend when she goes to see her Dad over Labor Day. His Dad and I aren't entirely comfortable with this, but we're wondering if we're just being stuffy. What are your thoughts?

--A Parent Soup member

Many parents are faced with this quandary. Why is that? Today's teens live in a world where vacations are commonplace. The world has gotten smaller and more affluent. Families regularly go on vacation. Many parents have summer homes or time-shares. Students go on class trips that seem extravagant by the standards that governed our own youth. Spring Break has become on institution for high school and college students coast-to-coast. In light of these changes, more and more adolescents invite both friends and boyfriends/girlfriends for overnight visits. To say "no" outright seems unfair to a teen. Before you make your decision, consider these factors:

Do you trust the parents, in this case the father? Talk to him and be sure there will be adequate supervision. Can you afford the expenses involved? Is your child trustworthy and responsible? We can't make this decision, but we can help you evaluate the pros and the cons.

If your main worry is about sexual opportunity, then it's time to discuss this issue with your son. Our book, Parenting 911 has an excellent section on this as does The Roller-Coaster Years: Raising Your Child Through the Maddening Yet Magical Middle School Years. Where sex is concerned, where there is a lusty "will", there is always a "way" and that pertains to the home ground as well as to any vacation spot.

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