STAFF EDITORIAL: Should boys and girls be allowed to have sleepovers together?

Kids+sleeping+together+on+a+trampoline.

photo by Barbara moore, taken on May 17th, 2016, some rights reserved, (license link) http://bit.ly/1mhaR6e, (original link to work) http://bit.ly/1Te3u0d

Kids sleeping together on a trampoline.

Jessica Borla – YES – I’m not saying that this applies to every situation, but for the most part, I see no problem in boys and girls having sleepovers together. I definitely see where parents have a problem with this, as they believe that their kid will engage in “inappropriate behavior”. However, I’ve been to a mixed sleepover before, and it was just as if we were all hanging out as usual, then going to sleep afterwards. Again, I’m not speaking for every teenager, but my parents trust me and my actions, so they did not really mind. As long as there is a bridge of trust and communication (but not like, TOO MUCH communication; that’s annoying and invasive), then boys and girls simply sleeping in the same room together should not be frowned upon.

Elizabeth Findley – YES – Personally, I believe that this decision should be a decision made individually between parents and their child. If there is legitimate reason for concern that something “inappropriate” might happen between the children involved, like being involved with each other in a romantic relationship or the child having a past of proving not to be trustworthy to the parents, then those are individual cases that should be handled accordingly. However, if a boy and girl are just good friends and want to have a sleepover, there should not be a major problem with that. I understand the parent’s hesitation in that it is not a common practice and they want to keep their children safe but in my personal experience, I have plenty of male friends that are just my friends and nothing of that nature would happen between us. Just because two people are of two different genders doesn’t mean that their friendship is less validated and that inappropriate activities are sure to happen just because they are a boy and a girl. If a parent and a child have trust and the adults trust in their child to act responsibly, sleepovers shouldn’t be such a big deal.

Riley Findley – YES – People don’t let boys and girls have sleepovers because they are afraid that the kids will have sex with each other. Ignoring the fact that many kids don’t want to have sex with their friends or may be gay, because, as I’m sure most people would argue to me, most people are straight and most people want to have sex, I still think boys and girls should be able to have sleepovers together if they want to – even one on one! If a teen says they won’t have sex with their friend then you can either choose to trust your child, or if you do not, ask what you, as a guardian, are really accomplishing. A teen can have all the sex they want outside of your house (in unsafe locations, possibly not using birth control). Not only is your home a safer location under your discretion, but, if the sleepover involves more than two people and takes place in a singular room, I doubt that most would choose to engage in that activity in front of all of their friends. Most people just want to hang out with their friends. I’m a girl who has had a bunch of sleepovers with both boys and girls. I’ve never once tried anything at any of them; I think most teens would be like me in a social setting as well.

Quinn Forney – YES – I have many friends who aren’t allowed to have sleepovers with people of the opposite gender, and it gets really annoying. I just would like to be able to spend the night there because it’s not as restricting (I don’t have to get a parent to pick me up at night while others are spending the night) and I would get to spend more time with my friends. I see where many may oppose it, as they fear inappropriate actions may take place, but trusting your child and their friends is important, and supervision is a good method to calm your nerves. Of course, with teenagers it’s a bit more complicated than with children, as they may be slightly rebellious or risky, but you know your child best and can decide whether or not you approve of it. In my personal experience, however, I don’t see the faults with it and have not had friends who report issues either.

J’Nea Greer – I think that boys and girls being allowed to sleep over with each other is dependent on the children. Even though it’s socially frowned upon, I don’t see anything wrong with it if the people can be trusted. Guys and girls hanging out is perfectly ok and if they want to spend the night together then that is a conversation that should be had with the parents and boundaries should be set. The problem most parents have with their teenager spending the night with teenagers of the opposite sex is thinking that they’ll have sex; that’s not always the case. In larger groups, sex and/or drugs may be presented, but they also may be widely discouraged. Peer pressure can be very powerful but, some children can control themselves and some don’t even want to encounter those kinds of relations. On the other hand, some teenagers do want to engage in those kinds of relations. I think that trust should be the main reason boys and girls are or not allowed to spend the night together, and not trust based off of others or situations that have happened to someone else but trust based off the individuals; but at the end of the day, you do you, bro.

Jordan Meaker – Like so many of these editorial questions, my answer again is it depends. With many parenting questions, nothing is ever black and white; it all depends on the temperament and maturity level of the children involved, as well as the nature of their friendship. I remember when I was younger, one of my best friends was a boy, and our relationship was obviously nothing but innocent, because we were little kids. We’d want to have sleepovers together, but were never allowed to. I think relationships like that between kids should be more normalized and accepted by parents. However, when kids grow up, situations change as boys and girls become less close of friends and more like awkward flirtatious opponents. At that point, parents need to consider what’s best for their children, as having coed sleepovers could lead to a lot of drama and uncomfortable situations. I think parents should trust their children, but also be able to tell the difference between two friends wanting to have a sleepover, who have nothing but a platonic relationship, and a potentially hazardous event involving drama and peer-pressure.

SungMin Park – NO – Sex. That’s what it’s about, right? Sorry to be blunt, but I hate being vague. Okay, obviously sex is not the only thing involved but I’m convinced that it’s a common concern. Because anybody – especially parents – can easily (and do) imagine this scenario and could suffocate from the anxiety it could cause, this would be something to discuss with parents. I once said: “No, that’s wrong”, but there are situations where it would be acceptable. If there are at least 3 people and families trust each other, it’s probably permissible. If the people of opposite gender are not known to have “close friendships”, it could work. If the sleepover only consists of one girl and one guy however, I would not permit it. If you’re thinking of doing this, I’d say get creative. The world is too large for you not to think of something else to do, especially if it’s with anybody who is – ahem – just your friend.

Kathryn Raynor – YES – The only problem I could foresee with a coed sleepover is the possibility of sexual tension within the group. As long as no one is in a relationship, I can’t see this problem arousing. I’ve been a part of many coed sleepovers, and all it does is promote the benefits of a platonic relationship with the opposite sex. Without that, I wouldn’t have half the friends I do now.

Nusaybah Smith – There are multiple factors to consider when it comes to the matter of co-ed sleepovers. First and foremost, there is something to say about pregnancy. In a safe and contained atmosphere, I think it can be negotiated, primarily depending on how well the family knows and trusts the person of the opposite sex. It’s very possible for two people to have a platonic relationship, however hormones and impulses do exist. There’s also the factor of age. If they are elementary age, I don’t see an issue. It’s when puberty begins to set in that it could become something to be cautious of. In less ambiguous term, while it isn’t a social norm, boys and girls can feasibly sleep in the same house based on age, maturity and supervision.

Cayla Vanderzanden – YES – I understand the reason that others would disagree. I believe they should be allowed to because friendships can be between those of the opposite sex. I adore sleepovers. Sleepovers are great opportunities to bond with your friends, feel a comfort during the night, and relish in more hours of your day. I could have just as much, if not more, pleasure having sleepovers with my guy friends than with my girl friends. However, I wholly understand anybody who disagrees. As a parent, you would need to have blind faith that your child wouldn’t engage in any kind of sexual activity. As a child, you could possibly find the situation uncomfortable. I have been raised to believe that sleeping next to somebody of the opposite sex is a big deal, it’s emotional and a significant step in a relationship. I wouldn’t desire that to change. So, as much as I believe that guys and girls should be permitted to have sleepovers, I’m not sure it’s essentially the “right” thing to do.

Lael White – NO – I’m not exactly sure why this became a thing. I don’t know anyone who has ever been to a co-ed sleepover. It’s too tempting to do something you might regret, and I would think it would just feel strange.

Logan White – NO – I think mixed sleepovers are a bad idea, and I don’t really understand why they have become a “thing,” if you will, within our society. Most girls I know have no desire to have sleepovers with their guy friends and, honestly, the idea seems pretty awkward. Like it or not, guys and girls sleeping in the same room will create tension. A lot of parents are not okay with letting their children go to sleepovers with the opposite gender and there is a reason why this issue is so heavily opposed.

Jessica Wilder – I personally don’t really have an extensive opinion on this subject. I know it’s been tossed around and some people feel strongly about a certain fence but to me, I just take a “you do you” kind of approach. It does bother me when people judge others because they let their kids have co-ed sleepovers. To me, I would like to tell those people, “Why do you care so much? Teenagers are not crazy sex demons like you may think.” I don’t see a problem with it, but parents have their own reasons and beliefs for either argument.

Kelly Yoon – NO – As a child (or even until now) I enjoyed having sleepovers at different locations, including my house. I love having company right beside me all night long: all of us just full of laughter. However, I personally have never experienced a sleepover with the opposite gender since the beginning. I have never imagined or even gave a little thought about sleeping next to a guy that is not part of my family members. I just feel like that is never really a part of our family and how our house is run. I have never seen anyone in the family do it, so why take the risk of even asking when I already kind of know the answer? Also, I would feel uncomfortable all night and will most likely end up keeping myself up to greet the sun the next morning.