Parenting teenagers is tough. This becomes especially tough when they start wanting to go to parties and even worse, start dating. As they begin to explore the world of romantic relationships, we all know that inevitably they will have sex. For many parents, this is a hard pill to swallow. In most North American homes, teenagers having sex is a discussion parents shy away from, and they certainly don’t allow it in their home. What if, however, by not allowing our teens to have sex under our roof, we’re putting them in harms way? This parent says that her high school boyfriend’s parents allowing her to sleep over saved her, and maybe it could save your child, too.
“My Highschool Boyfriend’s Parents Allowing Me To Sleepover Saved Me”
Danielle Campoamor had a different high school dating experience than most teenagers. Why? Because her high school boyfriend’s parents allowed her to sleepover at their house, in her boyfriend’s room. Sometimes, for multiple days at a time. The thing is, these nights weren’t just because the couple wanted to be together, but often they were out of necessity. Danielle’s home life wasn’t great at the time, and sometimes she just couldn’t be in her own home. (1)
“The nights I spent with them were often out of necessity — I’d quickly throw a few clothes and a toothbrush into my school backpack, send a string of manic texts, then show up at their front door frantic and overwhelmed.” she explained.
Danielle says that sometimes she and her boyfriend did have sex when she was sleeping over. Now, she says they were always respectful about it. His parents told them “Be respectful enough to pretend we’re too dumb to know what you two are doing.”. His parents supported them and always made sure there was contraception available. His mom also had many conversations about safe sex, teen pregnancy, and knowing her own worth. She spoke to Danielle about these things outside of her relationship with her son, because she wanted to empower Danielle for her whole life.
Danielle also says that there were rules. She was allowed to stay for as long as she needed, but not forever. When she felt she was safe to do so, she would go back to her own home. When she was there, she had chores to do and of course, had to keep showers and bathroom time within reason.
Should You Allow Your Teens To Have Sleepovers With Their Partners?
Danielle says that her high school boyfriend’s parents saved her. They also taught her highly valuable lessons about relationships, sex, and self-worth. The education that his parents gave her about sex wasn’t based on shame. Rather, it was an open conversation that meant she entered into adulthood empowered to be sexually fulfilled all the while being safe.
If you’re a parent reading this and freaking out internally, the first thing I will say is: Your house, your rules. You don’t have to allow your teen to have sleepovers of this kind in your home if you don’t want to. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be having meaningful conversations about sex, safety, and relationships with your teenagers. Having open conversations about this removes the taboo from the subject. This means that your teens will feel comfortable talking to you and asking questions, rather than learning about the birds and the bees from peers, pop culture, porn, and worse – trial and error. (2)
Read: Teens Walk Out To Protest School’s Sexist Dress Code: ‘Am I A Distraction?’
The Pros For Allowing Teenage Sleepovers
Here’s the facts: Likely, especially if your teenager has a girlfriend or boyfriend, they are going to have sex. Chances are, they already have. I know, it’s hard to think about, but it’s the truth. As a parent, what would you prefer: Having your teen sneaking around, saying they’re sleeping over at a friend’s house when they’re not, and taking risks? Risks don’t just include where they’re having sex, but also how. They are less likely to use protection and are at a higher risk for pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
Or, would you rather know where your teen is, and with who? Would you rather be able to have open conversations about safe sex and knowing your value, as Danielle had with her boyfriend’s parents? Your teen is automatically safer when they don’t have to lie and sneak around.
“I didn’t want my kid to be having sex in cars [or] up against alley walls,” said one mom when her daughter had her first boyfriend and wanted to talk to the doctor about her birth control options. “It didn’t seem right to give her relationship guidance but expect her and her partner to conduct the most private part of their relationship-building in the woods.” (3)
For this reason, like many others, she decided to allow her daughter to have her boyfriend stay over.
“My wife and I don’t want to see it, hear it or smell it, but yes, [he] may have sex in our home,” Says another father about his teenage son having sex in their home. “I don’t want there to be one excuse about not having a condom and I don’t want him to be at someone else’s house and have the parents flip their shit. I want my son to know sex is about communication, respect, being smart and safe.”
The fact of the matter is that the United States has one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Along with that is a culture of poor sexual education and awkwardness around discussing sex among families. In the Netherlands, however, where most teens are allowed to have teenage romantic sleepovers with serious partners, they boast the lowest rates of the aforementioned statistics. This is because meaningful conversations about sex, relationships, and safety are discussed openly in the home.
Read: My father trafficked me throughout my entire childhood. It looked nothing like people think
You Don’t Have To Allow It
All of this said, as I already mentioned you don’t have to allow your teen to have sex in your home. For example, another now-adult talked about how both her parents and her high school boyfriend’s parents allowed sleepovers. Her parents allowed them to have sex, again, respectfully. Her boyfriend’s parents, however, requested that they abstain. The couple respected the boundaries and rules set out by each set of parents. She said because of the support they received from their parents, they were much less risky with their sexual behavior than their friends were. (4)
If you decide to allow it, you set the rules. You can say serious partners only, aka your house can’t become a revolving door of different partners. You can allow sleepovers but not sex or set rules about being respectful like Danielle’s boyfriend’s parents did. Or, you can say no to all of it. When you do, however, you need to use this opportunity to listen discuss sex with your teen.
When I say discuss, I don’t just mean talk to them but talk with them. Let them talk, ask questions, and express their desires. Discuss contraception and the reasons behind it. Talk about self-worth and knowing your value. Discuss consent with both boys and girls. Finally, be prepared to explain why you aren’t prepared to allow partner sleepovers.
When you have open conversations about sex with your teenagers, you empower them for a safe, healthy, and fulfilling future. You teach them to respect themselves and give them a more balanced idea of relationships and sex. Don’t shy away from this topic – you could potentially save your child’s life, or someone else’s.
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- “My high school boyfriend’s parents let me stay over. It saved me.” Today. Danielle Campoamor. December 10, 2021.
- “Would YOU let your teenage daughter sleep with a boyfriend in your home?” Daily Mail. Helen Caroll. June 22, 2012.
- “Hey Dad: Can My Boyfriend Sleep Over?” Parent Map. Nancy Schatz Alton. November 29, 2016.
- “The Big Debate: The Boyfriend/Girlfriend Sleepover.” Araglegal