Teens and sleepovers with BF/GF

I'm wondering about other families' rules on letting your teen's girlfriend/boyfriend spend the night? Do you have a "you must have been dating for at least XX months" rule before allowing it? Or do you allow even brand new relationships (less than two weeks) to spend the night? Or never? We want to give our teen a safe space to enjoy their relationships on every level, but also want to help them know how to set and hold good boundaries. We have good and open communication with our teen. 

In case it isn't clear, these would be sleepovers with the presumption (but not requirement!) that the teens would be sexually active in our home. Thank you. 

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No sleepovers at all no matter how long my teen has been in a relationship until they are over 18. There are just too many potential disasters in terms of misunderstandings, bad break-ups, the other parents not being told the whole truth, etc. Things can go terribly irrevocably wrong before the legal age of consent.

After 18, bringing a BF/GF home from college for example, is an entirely different matter. No casual hook-ups allowed, but an actual partner is okay.

We allowed sleepovers in the same room after our teen had been dating her boyfriend for about a year. They were 17 at the time and they stayed together for 3 years. Before that the boyfriend slept on our couch and sometimes our teen would sleep on the couch with him too. 

This is a question we have very recently had to deal with. For our 19 year old who is still living at home, we have an agreement of once per week. They had to let us know at least 24 hours in advance. And we also said that they had to have been dating for at least four months.

so far, it’s worked out OK. We have also had the conversation about birth control and the importance of protection for both parties. We have a good relationship and this has worked for us. It was really challenging to figure this out, and there’s no right way. But we found that it helps us get to know their partner and for them to be safe.

I hope this helps. We’ve also found that having these conversations over a favorite breakfast place or coffee somewhere outside of the house tends to take down the stress level. Good luck.

I was only comfortable with "after age 18" for my 3 kids. With my first kid it first came up when he wanted to bring college GF home for a visit. I reasoned they were already sleeping together at school. I offered her a separate room if she wanted it. I didn't want her to feel that sex was expected. With the third kid, it came up in his senior year of high school. I said no, not till 18. But we had a don't-ask-don't-tell policy for daytime visits - bedroom door could be closed and I wouldn't interfere. 

By the way the mom of my son's high school GF invited my son over for an overnight stay more than once. We two moms talked about this ahead of time and she assured me it was just an innocent sleepover - she said they just wanted to snuggle, that they are very chaste and they are not having sex, parents will be at home, etc. This turned out to be false, as my son told me after the fact. My son seemed to be not 100% on board with what the GF wanted but he couldn't articulate it. He seem relieved to have my rule as an excuse.

In retrospect none of my kids had serious relationships prior to 18, so this was not a difficult decision for me. I think that a sexual relationship can be complicated for many teens, and they don't always understand what they're in the middle of. I worry especially for teen girls, who may have a romantic vision of adult love but who stand to lose the most.  I believe my kids had a pretty skewed idea of relationships in general, just because of the message they were bombarded with in music videos, computer games, and access to internet porn. If they had been in committed relationships in high school, I might have made a different decision. I do believe it's possible for teens to have loving, mature relationships. My oldest is now in his 30's and he does have a couple of friends who found their one true love in their late teens, and are still together. But this was not my experience with my own kids.  

Our daughter had only a few intimate relationships towards the end of her high school years, so we allowed her to have these sleep overs. It felt important not to make this one of the battles. I preferred to make hard drugs or unhealthy behavior be what we would draw the line with. We also felt she had a certain maturity about it. And when I stepped back and put it into perspective I felt like it was not something that was dangerous or harmful. I think it also helped her feel like we trusted her to make the right choices. I would go with your gut on this one. 

If teens want to be sexually active, they will be regardless of whether you allow them to do so in your home or not.   My feeling was that it was better to offer a safe space.   When my son was 16, he and his girlfriend wanted to spend the night but not have sex.   I spoke w/ her mother on the phone and we were on the same page about it which was lucky.  She got birth control because condoms with 2 teen virgins would not be smart.   They were in a loving relationship for quite awhile.  But we also had to discuss pregnancy and abortion in case something happened.  I think that frank discussions are important about birth control and a possible pregnancy.  I also approach sex as a natural, beautiful and fun experience if done with respect.   Not sure how I would have felt if there were a bunch of hook-ups.   

We allowed our son to have his girlfriend sleep over in spring of his senior year of high school as long as her parents were comfortable with it. We made sure he was using condoms. I actually thought it would be helpful for him to be able to discuss this stuff with us before he went off to college. If kids are having sex I would rather them do it someplace where condoms are easily accessible and not in some odd outdoor place where they were less likely to be prepared. As a parent it does feel awkward at first when your kid is having sex in your house but you get over it quickly.

We let our 17-year old HS senior have his GF stay overnight after about 3 months, but they had already gone on a weekend overnight with a group of friends (unsupervised) to our vacation house by that time. This was during COVID and they had all lost their senior year, so it seemed like the least we could do given that it was a very responsible group of kids, and given that our son and his GF were very committed. No regrets at all, it felt good to support their relationship. 

Separately, our 15-year old daughter is not yet interested in romantic/sexual relationships, so her coed group of friends (3 boys, 3 girls) have sleepovers all the time. I was trepidatious at first, but all of the parents monitor and we're all sure there's no sexual activity (or interest). So that's also something I wouldn't have considered once upon a time, but am glad the kids are still able to be kids without a lot of assumptions about sex getting in the way.

I posted something about this for a similar inquiry a while ago, but I don't see it in the archives. I don't object to teens having safe, consensual sex (and always kept condoms in the bathroom cupboard for them). I did object to having romantic partner spend the night because that suggests a certain kind of relationship that I felt was too serious. My teen daughter objected, but she is a young adult now and recently told me she is glad we had that rule bc her high school relationship was already pretty intense, and it helped to have boundaries!