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Are Teen Sleepovers a Recipe for Disaster?

Posted by Barbara Greenberg, PhD

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?


About Barbara Greenberg, PhD

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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