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Teen Sleepovers

Risky Business: Why Coed Teen Sleepovers Aren't Worth It

I can mark my children's stages in life by their birthday parties. When they were little, there was the themed Thomas the Tank Engine bash, and then came Chuck E. Cheese. That was followed by my daughter's tween spa night.

But the most memorable party was the post-homecoming gathering. My 14-year-old son and an entourage of boys and girl dates for the dance arrived at my house, armed with pillows and toting carry-on luggage.

Keep reading.

My son, who was ushering the teens (earlier described as "a few football players crashing on the couch") past me and into the basement like a fleet of midshipmen, called back to me: "No worries mom, their parents said it's cool to sleep over."


Call me Tiger Mom, but I promptly put the kibosh on the sleepover, instructing the partygoers to have their parents pick them up at midnight.

Maybe it was the Dr. Phil episode where McGraw screams at parents of teens to rip the door off the bedroom when coeds are hanging out in the room. Or it could have been nightmare memories of my daughter's same-sex slumber party, held during her freshman year in high school. I said goodnight to the girls watching movies with popcorn and Cokes, and woke up with one puking all over my hallway. They'd spiked the drinks with rum.

Many parents maintain that if you set rules; forbid alcohol and sex; take away keys, purses, and water bottles; and stay up all night doing random patrols with a flashlight, nothing will go wrong. But I don't care if the kids are straight-A students who are headed for the Peace Corps, we all need to remind ourselves that they are teenagers and they do what teenagers do best: test the water.

I worry about the alcohol consumption and the liability issues. But more significantly, I am concerned about the message it sends to my daughter if I condone a group of 16-year-old boys sleeping in my basement with her and her friends. What's next? Private sleepovers with a boyfriend in her room?

Dr. Phil, I'm heeding your warning.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

Image Source: Shutterstock
WilmaSue WilmaSue 4 years
I a shocked too - who lets their teens have coed sleepovers????? NOT ME thats for sure and I never abide to a policy of "letting my kids do what they want" just because they are not having sex says who?- that is scary. Grow a pair people and be parents its our job to mentor them its our job to teach them how to be good people and its our job to be role models it is NOT our job to be their buddies - their besties - or lay down and be their carpet or doormat. Thats why we have shows now 16 & pregnant and the Secret Life - awful. I love my kids too much to give up and "let them to what they want" I agree with this mom she is liable and responsible I would not want all those kids in my house either.
AbbyBrood AbbyBrood 5 years
Wow. First let me say that I can not believe some of the comments on here. Sure, some teens will find a way to drink, have sex, ect. no matter what we do. But as parents we should not be giving them just one more opportunity for temptation. They have enough opportunities as it is. Second, when I think coed slumber party I think everybody together. Like in this article, everybody was headed downstairs to sleep. So in my opinion the people who claim to have hosted a coed slumber party but kept the boys and girls seperate actually had two different sleepovers. A girls one and a boys one. And if that works for them, great. But an actual coed party with everyone mixed for the night? No way. No matter how good or moral our kids are we are their parents and should not be ok with putting them in that kind of situation. And third, just a little thing to consider. By allowing your teenager to have and/or attend coed sleepovers you are opening them up to false accusations and the rumor mill. I know from first had experience. You don't want you son accused of doing something to a girl. Or your daughter known as being easy. Spreads like wildfire, true or not.
cait93888 cait93888 5 years
come on let them do what they want as long as there not having sex and stufff YOLO
KellyORourke KellyORourke 5 years
I had a friend who was allowed co ed sleep overs it nevbothered her parents til her sister got pregnant. My 14 year old sister now thinks she should be allowed to have her boyfriend stay over and sleep in her room. He's 17. My mother thinks not. It's bad enough that he's nearly 17, he's not sleeping anywhere near her daughter. And I sure as hell wasn't allowed to have boys stay over. The first time I did I was nearly 18 and my boyfriend was the same age. My mother's theory? When you're 18 you can make your own mistakes and pay for them... until then my rules.
TaraAnadell TaraAnadell 5 years
Kudos for strong morals! Very refreshing. Shame on the parent who hasn't managed to instill a good portion of their own morals in their child after more than a decade in which to do so. People may say 'teenagers will be teenagers'. True, but those with certain morals will stick by those morals. Teenagers without certain morals will do whatever else it is that feels right to them.
LeslieParrack LeslieParrack 6 years
When I was in High School, I had a friend who was very open with her mom, and was allowed to have boys sleep over whenever she wanted...Surprisingly enough while the rest of friends were having sex in high school she was not(at one point we have 4 friends pregnant at the same time, due within a wk of each other)...It all depends on how open you are with the kids...If you forbid things to happen they will most likely happen, out of spite.....I had 7 or 8 friends have kids as teens, one was only 13..1 got pregnant twice in high school(lost one, had one)....The bottom line is things will happen weather its at a coed sleepover where the parents know, on a date, at a football game or other activity....If you are open with kids and talk to them about what can happen and how to be responsible these things are less likely to happen!
HelenRycraft HelenRycraft 6 years
I have read all the posts and cant believe the attitude shown towards the teenagers. If their lives are so tightly controlled its no wonder you fear that they would throw caution to the winds at the slightest bit of freedom. If you know the friends properly you will know the prankster that goes too far, the boy who likes to believe the are Don Juan, the girl who looks for comfort in the wrong way - and they can be controlled - mostly in my house by their peers who also know their issues. Taking away purses? forbidding sex? what planet are we on? if you need to go to these extremes I believe you have failed to raise the teen to take responsibility eg for guests in their house, and /or you are showing them that this is the 'normal' behaviour you expect from them if not told- how disapointing for them is that? Im a great believer in the self fulfilling prophesy and by treating them as sex crazed alcoholics you dont have much room to build trust..
AmyPickinpaugh AmyPickinpaugh 6 years
I remember growing up, a friend of mine from HS hosted a co ed sleepover. Of couse I was not allowed to go. I had very strict parents (even though I was trustworthy) and was not allowed to do much of anything to be honest. I never understood why. Now that I am a mother and have a teenager I can see why some might be alarmed. My daughter has had boys spend the night before. One of my best friends and her son and daughter would drive an hour and a half to come see us (and us to their house sometimes). In order to spend more time together we just stayed the night. Our children (boy and girl) were boyfriend and girlfriend at the time too. Neither one of them ever tried to sneak into the room after everyone had gone to sleep. We had even left them at home alone (well, with other siblings) a few times to be able to go out to dinner as couples. I trust my daughter and she trusted her son. We had THAT talk with them and they knew the consequences. Another time, my friends son was in town and he had one of his friends spend the night at my house too. I think it all depends on the situation and if the kids are trustworthy. I am a pretty good judge of character and there are some girlfriends of my daughters who would never allow to spend the night if there were a boy in the house too. My daughters best guy friend (no they are not dating) spent the night with us three nights ago in order to be able to leave early and go to an amusement park with us. He slept on the couch all night. His parents said it was okay because she trusts HIM and us. I wouldn't be so quick to judge everyone before you get the facts. You have to know your kids. I am VERY up front and honest with my children about real world issues and dealing with sexuality. The more honest you are with your children about life, (share with them some of the dumb things you have done and what you have learned from those experiences) the better of they are and they will not be led blindly by outside influences. I tried it my parents I am going to take what I thought they did right and a little of what I think is right and come up with my own ideas for raising the children that God has entrusted to me. I don't need anybody's approval in the raising of my children and I don't expect anyone or everyone to agree with me either. That is the beauty of parenting my own children. :)
AmyPadgett96573 AmyPadgett96573 6 years
Thank God for all of you and your stand-up morals! I am one of the few parents in my small town that thinks this is a bad idea. Glad to know there are some other parents who agree.
CoMMember13631016987183 CoMMember13631016987183 6 years
I have a 15 yr old stepson and live with his father. He wants one of his best friends to stay over and we do see that it is a strange situation since that did not happen in our day. However, I feel it is ok since they will be sleeping on different floors (her in the basement and stepson upstairs - FYI, you have to go outside to get to the basement). They will be monitored by his father and I by making unsceduled trips to his room in the basement. I think trust should be given because it is happening more and more and we trust our son. He is against alcohol and drugs, though he admits some of his friends use it. I feel lucky that he can speak to us about this stuff. I had the sex talk with him already. She hates the same, due to her family life and I don't mind being a good role model for her. I am not trying to "make friends" with the kids and they know this because of the restrictions we give. I think it depends on how mature the kids are and if we know where they stand. Keeping an open mind and being open to any questions or talk from the kids is the best way to know if they are ready for something like this.
DeniseWaggoner90437 DeniseWaggoner90437 6 years
I have a 15 year old boy and a 13 year old girl. Just letting them have friends over is a nightmare. Never had this problem with my 2 older girls when they had friends over.
TanyaPearcy TanyaPearcy 6 years
Yea, i would NEVER allow a co ed sleep over, don't care the age. Don't mind co ed b-day parties, but the opposite sex has to go home at a certain time. Sounds like another case of parents wanting to be their child's friend instead of parent. What is wrong with these parents.
TerraDaniels32049 TerraDaniels32049 6 years
My husband and I did host a coed sleepover and had no issues at all. The girls slept downstairs in the livingroom and the boys slept in my daughter's empty bedroom while she was downstairs. Everyone went to "bed" when we did and because our bedroom is between the stairs and my daughters room-my husband put the "fear of dad" into the boys. Now, these were all kids we knew, we knew their parents also and they were always hanging out at our home. They knew our rules and expectations and adhered to them. I understand that a coed party isn't for everyone to take on, however it worked for us and I was proud of all the kids for the repect they gave us.
CindyMadsen CindyMadsen 6 years
My husband and I have four children, ages 11-24. I agree that unsupervised sleepovers are just opening the door for trouble big time. However, over the years we have hosted coed sleepovers. Not once did we have any trouble. We had the boys sleep in the basement and the girls in our daughter's room or the living room upstairs. We kept the door to our bedroom, which was at the the top of the basement stairs, open and checked on the kids throughout the night. No one was allowed to stay over without their parent's permission (we spoke to the parents in person). No alcohol was allowed. I think the outcome depends on the type of kids your child is friends with (we made sure we knew them and their families) and how much responsibility the parents hosting the sleepover are willing to take on. You have to be involved in the activities of the night and you have to be willing to keep an eye on things throughout the night. Too many parents today don't care to be involved with their children and their friends. That is where the real problems begin. By the way, our oldest is now married and doing well as a responsible adult.
bernadettebrown76374 bernadettebrown76374 6 years
to many parents want to b their childens friends, they are not your friends they are your children! Dont let them do stupid things because you want to be the cool parent. Part of parenting is having strong rules and sticking to them, your children will thankyou one day for guiding them and givig them boundries, that the will pass on to their own children
MuchimbaSikumbaDils MuchimbaSikumbaDils 6 years
Fantastic, teenage sleep overs are difficult enough even for same sex group later alone coed groups. A worthwhile message particularly for any first time teenage parents... will share with others.
WendyManess WendyManess 6 years
OMG! I can not imagine a co-ed sleep over. My boyfriend was occasionally allowed to stay at our house IN my brother's room with parents strongly on patrol but never one on one and never a mixed slumber party!
jamiebrown54844 jamiebrown54844 6 years
I would just bet that the parents of the other kids did not know that there was a coed slumber party going on... Truth be told, the girls probably told their parents they were staying at a girlfriends house and the boys parents probably assumed there would only be boys at the sleepover... I love and trust my daughter, but teens are teens and given too much freedom they can make mistakes... they are only human and young ones at that. They do not need to be given more opportunities to make these big, life-changing mistakes than they already make for themselves as it is. I agree 100% that you did the right thing!
MarcieThompson MarcieThompson 6 years
Where are the parents of the other kids? Are they really ok with their daughters staying with your son and his friends?
RobinBullisTiegs RobinBullisTiegs 6 years
I agree 100% with not allowing it. I feel parents have let to much happen. Taking their childrens girlfriends/boyfriends on vacation with them and such. Sleep overs are not for co-eds. Good job to parents who put their foot down and say no even if the kids get mad. They showed they can not be trusted by the puking and spilling of the rum/cokes. Drinking age is 21, not 16. Way to stand up mom!
Flis Flis 6 years
I've never hosted a teen co-ed slumber party, and with a 19 and 16 year old, I can't see it happening. My eldest has been to one, however, with mixed results. One father turned up and took his drunk son away screaming about what a bad scene the party was with "bad kids" attending but it turned that his kid was the sole kid who turned up to the party with a bottle and was the only one who drank it. The other kids just hoped he'd sleep it off. It all depends on the kids and it takes just one or two bad apples ...
KathyMeisner89508 KathyMeisner89508 6 years
Thank goodness there are still parents who care and are decent! The parents that allow this kind of activity to occur are asking for major trouble! Yes, it's ashame that a post had to be done about this subject, but thank you to you parents for re-assuring a parent that they made the right call! Us parents have to stick together and bring morals back to the forefront of society.
TrishOBrien41677 TrishOBrien41677 6 years
BarbChahley BarbChahley 6 years
Having coed sleepovers is asking for trouble. It breaks down barriers that used to be saved for marriage.
KatRomanishan KatRomanishan 6 years
Who in thier right mind would ALLOW co-ed teen slumber parties. I wouldnt allow a co-ed slumber party for 7 yr olds, let alone teenagers. You would be welcoming disaster. To me it is scary that an article needed to be written warning parents against allowing it when to me it seems common sense that you wouldnt allow your teenager to attend let alone HAVE a co-ed slumber party. COuld you imagine if one of the girls got pregnant in your basement while you peacefully yet niavely slept upstairs in your bed. I think Alcohol is the least of your worries in that situation.
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