When do you know when your kid is old enough to have sex and wants to have someone sleep over at your house?
This question is perplexing many of my friends at the moment, the ones with teens around 15, 16, 17.
As with most parenting dilemmas, I had to figure this one out on my own a few years earlier than my friends because their kids are mostly younger than my eldest. I’m not sure if I got it right or wrong. But I’m happy with my decision and I’m happy to share how I came to making it.
My son had his first serious girlfriend at age 16 and she was a year older than him. It was a lovely relationship and lasted almost a year. The first time he asked if she could stay over, they had already been together a few months. I said sure and then I made her sleep on the couch in another room.
I have no idea what happened after I went to bed but I can guess because I’ve been 16.
Luca rolled his eyes at the fact he even had to go through the motions of separate rooms. He thought it was ridiculous. But I was adamant.
Until I wasn’t.
You can follow Luca on Facebook, here.
I thought a lot about it. And eventually I realised I was being silly. I was also being a hypocrite.
Before I did a backflip and allowed her to sleep in his room, I reflected on my beliefs:
- that sex is a healthy part of a good relationship
- that sex is better and safer when it's indoors and in private rather than in a park, at a party or in someone's car
- I want my children to experience and enjoy their sexuality in a loving, committed relationship at an appropriate age
I also reminded myself that my son and his girlfriend were both over the legal age of consent. The law says they are old enough to have sex.
So what was my problem here?
Sure, my parents didn't allow sleepovers before I was 18 but that didn't stop me having sex or even slow me down (you can read about that here). And just because I had certain rules growing up, being a parent is about making your own.
So that's how I came to allow my son's girlfriend to stay overnight in his room. With the door closed.
Here are some of the things you might be wondering at this point: