Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Sleepover Scams

Summertime sleepovers are in high demand. Unless your teen needs to be up early for work or some summer program, you're not left with too many excuses about why they can't sleep at a friends after a night out or hang. During the school year when I teach college classes about Adolescents to Adolescents I ask my my college students to tell me what they argued about most with their parents, when they were in high school. They raised their hands with the usual; messy room, laundry, fighting with siblings, messy room, laundry, rest and repeat. But one student raised her hand and told me how every weekend she would fight with her parents to be able to take the car on the weekend nights when her evening would end up with a sleepover at a friends. Coming home to sleep, no problem, take the car, sleeping at a friends, no way. Turns out it wasn't even the family car, it was her own car.  I was intrigued, and puzzled. But then the real story revealed itself.

Hypothetically speaking here, if your teen brings your car to a sleepover with your permission, then the ease of sneaking out after curfew with those attending the sleepover is considerably easier. Because of course the sleepover host parents have obviously told their teen that use of the car is verboten after everyone is home and accounted for. Meaning you better not sneak out. Now technically speaking when another teen has brought a car to your house, and the sleepover crew sneaks out and drives away in the friends car, from their point of view they are not technically breaking a rule. After all it wasn't YOUR car they used for the getaway. Let me emphasize here that the teen rationalization for being out and about after curfew is well, "It wasn't your car." As if the car is the issue!

I surveyed the class to see if this was just one rogue ballsey student, but when I asked who else pulled this sleepover scan, almost the entire class of 30 hands went up! So where would you go at 1 in the morning? I asked naively. "To a boys house, to a party, to get a food. "But how could you just walk into someone's house that late, weren't the parents home? I asked again naively. "Through the basement door, through the front door. The parents were asleep or away for the weekend and just never knew!

So I don't think you want your teens driving around late at night, partying and trying to get home before you get up after a night of drinking! So please parents, supervise those sleepovers. Set your alarms, and get up and do a bed check at 2 AM and 4 AM. And most importantly, let your teen know that you will be doing this. If teens think they can get away with something, they will give it their all. How many times have you said your goodnights, and gone up your two or three flights of stairs none the wiser to what your night owl teens are up too. This is about temptation not trust. Don't set your teen up for failure or unsafe decisions.

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