USA Today carried an article exploring the question whether parents should let their teenage children living at home have romantic sleepovers, and even cohabitation to prevent sneaking around and to foster better communication.
Movie star Angelina Jolie shocked her fans in 2011 when she said she lived with her boyfriend at 14 years of age, and that she planned to be just as liberal with her own children. Commentators suggested that Jolie’s move might be smart for parents and kids. Some think that it would improve relationships between them.
Jolie’s decision will certainly give many youth an excuse to justify immoral relationships. Only about 9 percent of women have cohabitated by the age of 18. But by the age of 20, it jumps to 26%. The fact that over half of young people 18-24 are living with their parents, and that number is rising, suggests that at least some of them are cohabitating in their parents homes.
The article pointed out a larger shift in America. Americans are rapidly becoming more flexible in their attitudes about family life. Instead of traditional living arrangements, they are now choosing them based on individual needs and economics. A greater openness to alternative lifestyles and sexuality has left the biblical model of “no sex before marriage” under the label of “old-school.”
“It makes sense that this attitude would extend beyond the 21-year-old living at home to the 16-year-old enmeshed in her first relationship,” wrote the liberal USA Today.
While claiming that teenage cohabitation is a good thing because it leads to less risky sex, some researchers said that as teenage cohabitation rates rose, teenage marriage rates declined. Studies also showed however, that teenagers who cohabitate were more likely to have unstable relations with their family of origin. They use cohabitation as a way to save money and spend time with a partner without a commitment to a marriage. But apparently it doesn’t help relationships with their parents.
Advocates of alternatives to biblical principles say that by parents being more accepting of romantic sleepovers and cohabitation would improve communication and reduce risky behavior and unwanted pregnancies.
“Everywhere are seen wrecks of humanity, broken-down family altars, ruined homes. There is a strange abandonment of principle, the standard of morality is lowered, and the earth is fast becoming a Sodom. The practices which brought the judgment of God upon the antediluvian world, and which caused Sodom to be destroyed by fire, are fast increasing. We are nearing the end, when the earth is to be purified by fire.” Gospel Workers, pages 125, 126