Sleepovers with the opposite sex: some parents oppose

By Patricia J. Sheehan
April 12, 2007

“Yo!” My mother yells from the top of the basement stairs, “Wrap it up!”

It was at this time that my boyfriend and I were expected to head upstairs and he was to head straight home. No detours, please.

Sleeping over was not even a question. In fact, both of my parents would have probably laughed in my face if I brought it up.

My boyfriend is only allowed to stay over in extreme circumstances. If he was coming on a family vacation, he would sleep on the air mattress, which would be strategically located at least two floors away from my bedroom.

I never really questioned my parents “No Boyfriend Sleepovers” rule because it was basically branded in my mind not to cross that line. There was no need for protest; it just was not going to happen.

Honestly, I would feel weird stumbling down the stairs in my pajamas and my boyfriend in his day-old boxers and saying good morning to mom and dad at the breakfast table. I can just see the look of awkwardness on my dad’s face as he notices my tired eyes and tasseled hair. No, I’ll pass please.

There were a few, in my opinion, unnecessary restrictions placed on me while I was growing up. “But everyone else is allowed,” was a phrase I used often. Or the ever popular, “You’re ruining my life!” came up in extreme cases of desperation.

I was forbidden to break curfew. I was expected home and in bed at 11 p.m. sharp. Of course this never actually happened. At 10:55 p.m. I would leave wherever I was and race home and in my town, it really takes at least 15 minutes to get to any kind of civilization. Speeding down back roads and dodging deer became sort of like a hobby for me. I felt like I had more restrictions on me than my friends did, so I constantly pushed the boundaries. I felt like I was always missing out for some reason. This added to some friction between my parents and me, so they added more rules.

The plan backfired. Out of all of my friends, I was the “bad” one. I was the one who dated young, got suspended from school, drove like a maniac, drank early and lied almost all the time about where I was going. Sorry mom and dad, don’t go off the deep end yet, there’s more.

That was only a few years of going “wild.” Once I got to college and my restrictions didn’t exist anymore, I calmed down. There was no need for me to test the limits. I appreciate that I never went too far. In the back of my mind I knew when something just shouldn’t be flirted with and I think my upbringing helped me make those decisions. So, thanks mom and dad, for putting those crazy rules on me. You always said I would thank you so cut this out and frame it or something.

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Patricia J. Sheehan

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