Co-ed slumber parties are all the rage. These all night teenage gatherings are typically hosted by trusting parents. They used to be reserved for after prom nights and other special occasions, but now they’re happening all the time, to keep kids in a controlled environment so no one has to drive home or be picked up in the middle of the night.
Weston mom, Linda Feldman says prom night was a big night for co-ed overnights when her two sons were in high school. “We knew the family, we knew she would be there. There would be no alcohol,” Feldman says.
EXCERPT FROM SARA'S BLOG:
But there's a new trend in slumber partying that makes me a little uncomfortable. Co-ed slumber parties. Not with 5 year olds, 8 year olds or 10 year olds... but with teenagers!
I'm talking about a big group of teens who get together on the weekends...typically in their parents basement and "play ping pong" all night.
But while many of these parties are, in large part, filled with good old-fashioned fun and games, like ping pong, pool, and a movie, many teens I talked to say they are anything but innocent.
One teen, who didn’t want to be identified, told us the number one rule, no alcohol allowed, is often broken, “you have to figure out how you’re going to get it, where you’re going to store it, and how you’re going to get it inside without your parents seeing,” the teen said. “So usually plan a few days in advance to get it down there before the actual event,” he says.
Parenting expert and author Lynne Griffin is not a fan of the co-ed slumber party. She says, don’t do it. Whether your kids are good, straight-A students, or not, remember they are teenagers.
Not only does Griffin worry about alcohol consumption, she worries about sex. By hosting these co-ed parties, she says, parents are creating a social situation that is ripe for testing the waters. “Why would we expect them to experiment? All we have to do is look back when we were teens and when no one was looking, and you have access to alcohol, or a girl you like and everybody is sort of egging you on. Wouldn’t that be nice if that were a relationship for you, then the temptation is awfully hard for someone to contend with,” Griffin says.
This woman knows all too well what can go wrong when kids are left alone to party all night. She hosted three sleepovers for about 20 kids. Her intentions were for the best. Letting them spend the night so other parents didn’t have to hop in a car at 1A.M. to pick their kids up. On each occasion, she says she set strict rules, and on each occasion, they were broken.
“No alcohol, no water bottles, no purses,” the woman says. “If anyone wanted to sleep, the girls were two floors above the boys,” she says. As a mom, she says she stayed up all night, randomly checking on the group, “it was too stressful for me, the liability issue, we didn’t condone alcohol in our house, and decided after a few times that is was coming in even with our best intentions.” She went on to say “It was just not worth is, I feel like you give them an inch, and they take a mile.”
So are co-ed slumber parties an unnecessary risk? Lynne Griffin thinks so, and suggests you talk to your kids about alternative plans.
“What is going to purposely happen between 2am and 6am that could potentially be anything but a recipe for disaster? You know, as a parent, you’re not going to stay up until 2 and 6, watching what people are doing, you just know you’re not. You’re not going to be popping in there at 3 and saying, ‘hey everybody’, so what’s the benefit? Ask yourself, as a parent, what does that 4 to 5 hours do for you and your teens? It really doesn’t do much,” Griffin says.
Try telling that to Linda Feldman, who, like a growing number of parents, didn’t seem to worry about her sons’ overnight parties, “I mean, if the parents are going to be there, I don’t think it’s that bad,” Felman says. So whether you agree or disagree with these sleepovers, if your kids get an invite, our expert says, to be prepared, and think carefully about the rules you want in place so that you’re not losing sleep over your decision.