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The Great Sleep-over Debate

Andrea Ramsay Speers - Tuesday, May 28, 2013

When I was a teenager, sleep-overs were an integral part of my social life.  And, to be honest, they were pretty harmless.  No boys, no drugs, no sneaking out...the average sleep-over with my friends consisted of lots of junk food, staying up late, and watching a Val Kilmer movie. 

But I'm running into more and more parents now who are hesitant to let their kids sleep over at friends' houses.  They worry what is going on over there, they worry that the parents won't actually be home, and -- even worse -- they worry that their kids aren't actually where they say they are.  The sleep-over experiences of some parents were more...illicit than mine were, and now that these people have teenagers themselves, they haven't forgotten the things their own parents never knew about their social activities.

So how does a parent ensure that their teenagers' sleep-overs are more PCP (pop, chips, and parents) and less COPS?

Of course, there's no way to guarantee anything when it comes to people with their own cell phones and a budding sense of independence and autonomy.  But the best safeguard you have is to get to know the parents of your teen's friends.  Don't be afraid to get in touch and confirm that parents will be in attendance for the whole night/there will be no drinking/there will be no co-ed sleep-overs, or wherever you draw the limit.  It sends an important message to your kids about how involved you insist on being in their lives.  And it also gives them a built-in excuse to avoid mayhem that they may, in truth, not be that comfortable with: "Sorry, guys, I wish I could go, but my mom will check up on me and she'll freak if she finds out I'm not where I said I'd be."

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Andrea Ramsay Speers • Psychotherapist & Parent Coach • Oakville Family Institute • 175 Glenashton Dr., Oakville ON • Tel.: 905-491-6949

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