Are Teen Sleepovers a Recipe for Disaster?

Posted October 12, 2011 by

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Recently, a 44-year-old California mother of a teenage hockey player was reported to have had sexual intercourse and engaged in other sexual activities with her son’s teammates who were all 16 and under. And where did this shameful and sickening activity take place? Yep, you guessed correctly if you assumed that it happened at one of those increasingly unsafe and way too frequent situations — an alcohol-infused teen sleepover.

There were so many factors here leading up to this situation:

1. A disturbed mother

2. Impaired youngsters… and

3. Sadly, a group of parents who assumed that their sons would not only be in the good hands of another parent, but also that the boys would be able to protect themselves. These young men were certainly not in good hands, and were in fact molested.

This unfortunate event is yet another reason why I continue to question the necessity, frequency, and most importantly the safety of teen sleepovers.

I am aware that I’m probably in the minority when I suggest that perhaps it’s time for a re-evaluation of the concept of sleepovers. I think they should be the exception rather than the rule. In many cases, the parents go to sleep and the kids go on to party. In this particular case, the mother should have turned in early and spared the boys instead of preying on them.

Your thoughts about this situation and teen sleepovers in general?


Barbara is a Ph.D. clinical psychologist who specializes in the treatment of adolescents and their well-intentioned but exhausted parents. She is the co-author of Teenage as a Second Language-A Parents Guide to Becoming Bilingual with Jennifer Powell-Lunder PsyD and the co-creator of the website

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  1. appy29 Report

    What I see to be the problem is that from a child is little we need to set healthy guidelines for them and speak of negative actions and what the consequences are . Also let them know that you are not afraid to do whatever to protect them from friends who would lead them astray. My child who 16 went to a party and I was half way home when I got a text to please pick her up right away. I got her and she told me kids were being allowed to drink alcholic drinks. Well I did the adult thing which was to call the authority and gave them the address of the party. To me I am my child friend but most important I am her parent. It is not easy,but we have to be smart and teach teens about honesty morality and love for themselves. Instill in them high self esteem. I tell my child how beautiful she is daily and tell something she is a senior and wants to be a prosecutor one day. That is where I explain to her about back ground checks an not having negative things catching up with her.

  2. laura s. Report

    Meshoey – Wow, that’s terrible. Something very similar happened to us in July, about 1 month before school started up. My daughter was at a friend’s house in the middle of a horrible rain storm. She wanted to come home to our house with the friend and was having the uncle of the friend drive them home. I wasn’t too happy that they were coming home in the storm but she really wanted to come home…or so she said. The uncle dropped them off in our development at another home – not ours for an underage, unsupervised party. To this day we do not know where they were because they would not say. The uncle didn’t know where he dropped them because it was really, really bad weather and he couldn’t see to well and wasn’t familiar with the neighborhood. Anyway, my daughter had a big hickey on her neck; it was all very appalling to me. She got 1 month of grounding for this stunt and is 14 as well.

  3. Meshoey Report

    I had a sleep over for my 14 year old daughter.. Only five girls… I stayed up till midnight… Slept on the couch so that I could keep an ear out …. Woke up at 1am… Checked in on them… They were all asleep… Got a funny feeling… Checked the one that I thought was my daughter … And sure enough.. The girls had stuffed pillow and covered them up … That old trick! They all got past me and snuck out of the house!!! None of them answered their phones and were gone until 5:30am. Caught returning home… drunk. I was so disappointed in them and myself as a parent. Sneaky little buggers! I felt helpless. No more sleep overs for my kid. They are to young and stupid to realize the danger they had put themselves in.



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