Billy Connolly's row with Pamela Stephenson over letting daughters sleep with boyfriendsComedian Billy Connolly clashed with wife Pamela Stephenson over whether their daughters' sleeping arrangementsMost fathers are against their daughters spending the night with their boyfriends, he says
00:19 GMT, 22 June 2012
It is one of the great dilemmas of modern parenting – should you ever allow your teenage children to sleep over with boyfriends or girlfriends.
Billy Connolly has revealed that one of his biggest rows with wife Pamela Stephenson was over whether their daughters should be allowed to spend the night with their boyfriends.
The comedian, who has three daughters, Daisy, 28, Amy, 26, and Scarlett, 23, with Miss Stephenson, insisted most fathers are against the idea.
Daddy's girls: Billy Connolly, pictured with daughters Scarlett (left) and Amy, revealed he disagreed with his wife over whether they should be allowed to spend the night with their boyfriends
Connolly said that when his children were younger the debate about how to handle sleeping arrangements with boyfriends was the last big fight he could remember in their family life.
‘We argued about kids sleeping over. The question is, do you let your children sleep with their lovers at home or elsewhere,’ he said.
‘You will find that when it comes to daughters most women are for it, and most men are against it.’
The 69-year-old also revealed that the transformation of his daughters from sweet girls doting on their father to angry teenagers came as a shock to him.
He told of being ‘bitterly wounded’ after one of his daughters, at the age of 14, screamed at him to ‘get out of my room!’.
He explained: ‘I never thought she would speak to me like that. I was delusional, living in fairyland, which I’ve done most of my life.’
The debate about whether to let teenage children stay with their boyfriends has raged in recent months.
Some parents believe it is better to know where their offspring are rather than forbid behaviour that is likely to happen anyway. Others take a more conservative view.
In a Daily Mail interview, academic Amy Schalet said the reason the US and the UK rates of teen pregnancy are eight and seven times higher than the Netherlands is that Dutch parents adopt a far more liberal approach.
Two-thirds of those in Holland allow their teenagers’ partners to sleep over, she claimed.
Clash: Pamela Stephenson disagreed with her husband over sleeping arrangements
Speaking about her book on teenage relationships, Not Under My Roof, she said: ‘In Dutch families there is an expectation that sex should take place in steady relationships in which both teens are in love. Dutch parents don’t want teenage sex to be a secret.
‘They want to stay connected with their teens and be able to exercise influence and provide support.’
But David Spellman, a consultant clinical psychologist working with teenagers and families in East Lancashire, believes parents are misguided if they think all teenagers are eager to have sex.
He said: ‘Not all 16-year-olds are the same. I can understand parents wanting to know where their teenagers are, but I don’t think it’s a convincing argument for allowing partners to sleep over.
‘It’s not right to assume that teenagers will have sex whether you allow it under your roof or not. Not all teenagers want to have sex early, so there might be a danger in making it too easy – it could encourage sex to happen sooner than it otherwise would.’
Connolly raised the issue in an interview with Australian newspaper The Age.
The subject of family life came up as he promoted his Disney Pixar film Brave, in which he provides the voice of King Fergus, a Highland warrior.
In it he and wife Queen Elinor have to deal with their rebellious daughter Merida, who wants to become a soldier.
The star has two children from his first marriage to Iris Pressagh – Jamie, 42, and Cara, 38.
Comedienne-turned-psychotherapist Miss Stephenson, 62, and Connolly have been together for more than 30 years and have been married since 1989.
In a 2011 interview, she talked frankly about sex and fidelity, saying: ‘I don’t ask [about other women] and I don’t care. I think monogamy’s hard for anybody.
‘If you spend a lot of time apart and you suspect your partner might occasionally dabble, isn’t your priority to make sure he’s being sexual with someone he’s safe with’