Sleepover House Rules


A boy stayed over last night. That’s right, a boy.


Although Miss16 has been quite at pains to explain this boy is not a boyfriend yet I think, from what I’ve seen of the two of them together, I would much rather if she told me he was.


Watching young people grow from child to adult is both a wonder and a trial. You hope you’ve taught them well and they’ve listened to the bits you especially wanted them to listen too, and realized much of the rest was meant tongue in cheek and wasn’t to be taken seriously. Then you let them go.


We have rules, of course, regarding friends of the opposite sex staying over. She’s 16 – 17 in a few weeks – so we try to be realistic, like we were with her older brother. Different beds (she has a bunk bed so effectively she’s in the tower, he’s in the dungeon) and no closed doors.


The door was shut for a minute last night when we were out and Grandma was here looking after the kids for us.


It’s only because there’s glare on the telly,” Miss16 told Grandma.


“Well, move the telly,” Grandma told them, and firmly opened the door. Grandma knows the rules, but nice try guys.


Actually they’d have had to be pretty determined to get anywhere last night anyway, even after Grandma went home – I slept in the lounge room because I snore when I drink too much and Tracey was working today, so they had my head lying down on the lounge two meters from their bedroom. And I was awake until 3 watching a Queen special and waiting for the room to stop spinning.


Growing up, both our older kids have told us about friends and parties and the things that go on. Sometimes I wonder we’re too strict. Mostly I don’t. I think it’s a balance – trying to give them freedom while still guiding them.


Myself, I hated being a teenager in lust. For a start I was fine talking to girls so long as I didn’t actually fancy them – then I was as useless as a fork with soup. Last thing any teenager needs is a side dish of guilt to go with their raging hormones.


As far as sex is concerned, because let’s face it, when they have friends of the opposite sex sleep over that is the only thing you’re concerned about, we have some rules. Or guidelines. No, guidelines sounds too iffy, they’re rules.


These are our rules regarding fooling around and sex:


1. Take your time. Don’t rush the bases. Once you hit second base it’s hard to go back to first.

2. When the time comes, it’s your decision. Don’t have sex for the wrong reasons. Wrong reasons include, but are not limited to: to impress friends: because he wants to: because you feel pressured. After that, it’s up to you.

3. Relationships are about people, not sex. Sex is just a bit of fun. And it is fun: great fun. But if it’s just about sex, then it’s not a great relationship.

4. Protection is not optional.We’re not buying her a double bed or anything and we hope she waits until she’s a bit older before she hits a home run (not a rule maybe, but we like to put it out there, and if said while uttering the rules it carries more weight – we hope).


Okay, who knows. She might end up with a string of boyfriends before settling down at 35. Or she might marry the first guy she sleeps with. Hell, she may decide to wait until she’s married. It’s been done before you know.


At the end of the day, it’s up to her, not us. And anyway I trust her to make the right decisions. And if you think the tone of that last line is a little desperately hopeful, well welcome to parenthood.


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