Tag Archive for: Saying no to our teens

Are You Ready to Allow Your Daughter to Sleep Over at Her Boyfriend’s House?

Camping couple hugging and enjoying the sunset

Sleepovers were fond memories when my kids were in elementary school.  Typically a best buddy would show up, they’d play some games, watch a movie, and camp out on the family room floor.   Harmless for the most part.

By junior high and high school, that phase of life seemed to be a thing of the past for our family.  I’m guessing I was lucky on that front.  At some point along the way my kids seemed to recognize that they needed sleep and the best buddy would be available the next day.

It wasn’t until my kids were in college that there seemed to be a radical twist to the whole sleepover thing.  Maybe it was when my college freshman started sharing co-ed dorm stories that I saw what was really happening in the young adult world.

I remember my son telling me about getting out of the shower in the men’s restroom that was down the hall from his dorm room.  Stepping out on the wet tile floor as he began to dry himself off, he spotted them–two girls who were primping in front of the mirror.  Yes! In the men’s restroom on the men’s floor.  Embarrassed and shocked beyond belief, he quickly wrapped himself in a towel and headed down the hallway.  

“Mom, it’s just what I deal with on a regular basis.  You learn to live with it.  It’s just part of life.  Guys and girls don’t share dorm rooms 24/7 but, Mom, they are sharing dorm rooms.”


And that’s how our kids become numb to all the morals we’ve tried to teach them while in our home.  They start seeing the immorality in the world as “normal”.

It wasn’t long until I started hearing moms of college students, church moms even, saying things like, “Yeah, my daughter just stayed at her boyfriend’s last night.  It was late and she didn’t want to come home because she was concerned the roads were slick.”  

“His parents don’t mind?” I asked one woman.

“Oh, he has his own place.  I know it was alright.  I’m sure nothing went on.  I trust them.”


Another mom told me how her daughter was going to visit her boyfriend who had just gotten a job out of state.  Yes, a long weekend alone in his apartment, together.  

“I trust her.  After all, she’s an adult.  It’s not like I can stop her,” mom responded.  

Truth be told, she’s right.

And typically what happens with the college crowd, starts happening with the high school kids eventually.

Eventually has arrived.

High School co-ed sleepovers are now the new rage.  Parents are starting to get the full-court press from their kids to sleep over at the boyfriend or girlfriend’s house.  After all, what’s the big deal?

“You trust me, don’t you, Mom?  What’s going to happen?  His parents will be home.”

And parents are caving to the requests.  

While these requests might seem preposterous to us as parents, know that our kids are making choices on how they will view the world.  Our response is not only important in setting the morality standard for when they leave for college as adults, but is also important in how they will lead the next generation.

If you haven’t gotten the request yet, this is your opportunity.  Start the conversation!  

Here are some pre-parenting ideas:

  1. Bring up the subject.  In today’s media culture your kids will hear about this if they haven’t already.  Ask them what they think about it.  Find out if they know kids that are having co-ed sleepovers.
  2. Listen. Let them talk without passing judgment.  Words like “Hmm…and wow…and really…” should keep them talking.
  3. Ask them to look at it through the lense of scripture with you.   
  4. Let them know why as a parent you would have to say ‘no’ to such a request without emotion.
  5. Talk about sexual temptation.

As parents, we can’t be afraid to say “no” when morality issues are at stake.  Just because their friends are doing it, just because we trust our kids, and just because we want our kids to like us is not an excuse.

Kids need limits and boundaries to establish healthy patterns in life.  They need parents who build relationship in such a way that we can influence the next generation to stop and consider good from evil.

Roman 12:1-2

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is you spiritual service of worship.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Dare you to boldly start the dialogue before you get hit with the request.  Help your kids stay focused on scripture’s view of good versus the world’s view by talking about it now so you can influence your kids early.

“Let go…and let God”,



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Saying ‘No’ to Your Kids — 3 Things to Consider

vintage word NO on a rusty red metallic surface

Saying ‘No’ to our kids is part of parenting–for most of us, it comes with the job description on a daily basis.

‘No’, I’m not buying you a cell phone.  You are only 11!

‘No’, I’m not taking you to your friend’s house right now.  You haven’t finished your homework.

‘No’, you can’t go to the mall with Sara even if she did get her license today.

‘No’, you can’t go sleep over at a friend’s house when I haven’t met the friend or the parents.

And typically, the tween or teen stomps off letting you know that they wish they had been born into another family where the mom is much more ‘cool’ than you.  “You never listen to me.  You’re ruining my life.” And, of course, they can’t wait until they are old enough to move out!  The door slams, we start questioning our judgment in the situation, thinking am I being that unreasonable?, and the relationship is severed in a way that we begin to wonder if things will ever be the same or possibly wishing they were old enough to move out.

Sound familiar?

So what are some things that could possibly change the outcome?

  1. Before saying ‘no’, say tell me more.  Most kids need to feel heard.  Our natural tendency when our kids request something that we feel is out of the question is to just say ‘no’ and move on expecting them to intuitively know that the request is ridiculous.  Tell me more says I respect you enough to listen to why you are making the request.
  2. Before saying ‘no’, ask yourself if you have time for this conversation.  Typically teens will hit us with requests when we are in the middle of something.  What seems like an earth shattering matter to them is the last thing we want to have to deal with at that point in time.  Rather than saying ‘no’ try saying something like “This sounds important to you and I want to be able to understand what you are thinking, can you come back in ____ minutes when I can give you my undivided attention?”  When you re-engage in conversation say tell me more.
  3. When you do say ‘no’, empathize with your teen’s feelings.  After the tell me more discussionbe brave enough to say ‘no’.  Just know that there will probably be emotion.  Most of us will feel a rush of frustration when someone tells us ‘no’.  Depending on the emotional maturity of our tweens and teens, they may flash from hope to hurt and disappointment to anger and resentment within seconds.  Empathizing and addressing your teen’s feelings in the moment will help them become more aware not only of what they are feeling but also help teach them that those feelings are understandable.  Empathy allows us to connect with our teens in such a way that they can more easily regulate back to neutral.  Saying something as simple as “I know you are probably upset with me right now because I had to say ‘no’, but know that I love you and even though it may not feel like it right now, we both want the same thing.  We want you to be successful when you are old enough to leave our home.”

Proverbs 18:13

If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.

Saying ‘no’ can sometimes be hard, and yes, it does involve more time on our part to do it with respect and empathy; however, the payback in connection can be well worth the time invested.  When we say ‘no’ without taking the time to link arms emotionally, our kids may feel that it is an “us against them” mentality which can bring a host of resentment and defensiveness.  Our job as parents is to instill in our kids that no matter our decision, and especially when we say ‘no’, that we love them enough to connect in the midst of their disappointment.

“Let go…and let God”


I would love to have you join me as I take a group of women through our new e-Course using the book With All Due Respect: 40 days to a more fulfilling relationship with your teens and tweens.  The class starts mid-September. Pre-register now at a discount.  I’d love to get to know you better.  There will be video and opportunity to share with other women as we grow to be more like Him in our parenting.