Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Why I Won't Let My Kids Have Sleepovers

I remember my first sleepover.  It was with my good friend who lived across the street. I remember being so excited, packing up my bag and walking across the street.  We had a great time playing and before we knew it, it was time to get ready for bed.  I changed into my pajamas, brushed my teeth and then started crying.  I am not sure why I started crying, the thought of going to sleep without saying goodnight to my mom, just the fact that I was sleeping in a different bed....

  I do remember I called my mom but I can't remember if I stayed or not.  While my mind vividly remembers the fear, I don't remember the resolution.

I did get more brave after that and had many fun sleepovers over the years.

Now today as a parent we have a rule, no sleepovers.
Now that might seem hypocritical or extreme, especially after the many sleepovers I had growing up.

The trouble is the world is a different place now.  Yes, most people are good kind people, but sadly there are those who are not.  Not only is there the possibility of an assault but with the Internet and technology the things that can be easily viewed in a home is vastly different.  The things some families find okay, violent video games, R rated movies, vulgar language; are things we do not find okay.

Now, I will admit, if I knew a family really well and knew their values and beliefs I would probably be okay with a sleepover, but how do you say yes to one family but no to an other?   Besides, how much do you ever really know a family?  What if an older sibling has a friend over that causes problems? What if one of the friends causes problems?  At first you my be vigilant about checking to make sure everything will be monitored, that all in the home are safe, but how quickly would you slip into complacency and not be so vigilant?  Also statistics don't lie and most kids or people that are assaulted are assaulted by someone they know.

Alex has already been asked by a friend to have a sleepover, but she knows our rules (only sleepovers with certain cousins) and so told her friend she could not.  As they get older, I am more than willing to let them stay at a friends house late, but I will always come pick them up.  If the parents know I will be picking up my child that night, then I think something like what recently happened in Minnesota where the father drugged a 10-year-old girl , by slipping things into her pop so he could molest her in the night, would be way less likely to happen; as they knew I would be there soon to get my child.

This might be seem rigid or extreme, but when it comes to my kids safety there are certain things that just do not seem worth the risk.

What are your thoughts about sleepovers?

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Linking with Shell's PYHO

23 comments:

  1. Sleepovers seems to be less common with boys, and for that, I'm glad.

    My oldest has slept over at two friends' houses. The one is practically family- we've known them for years and were just on vacation with them. The other is a family where we've known the parents for 15+ years. There's one other invite he's gotten where I'd say yes.

    But others make me nervous. I think it's easier to have a no sleepovers at all rule than to pick and choose.

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  2. I completely agree with you. And yes, I also know how extreme and rigid it sounds. I usually get an eyeroll from friends when I tell them how I feel about it, but the fact is that I am a very protective parent and it is my job to keep my children 100% safe. At least, from all that is within my control. And when they are 13 to 15, and under there is just too much that can happen that I can prevent by simply not letting them stay over night. Then, if the standard has been set it can be expected to stay that way in the upper teen years, when a whole other list of troubles is possible. Can mine, when age appropriate,stay late? Sure. And I am more than happy to host late night parties, say Halloween for an example. But that's as far as I can go with it.

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  3. We do sleep overs, but then we live in a small town and the friends we have are all close friends and letting the boys have sleepovers is easy because we know the families well. I would be harder if we lived in a bigger city and didn't know people as well.

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  4. This recently came up because my son wanted a couple friends to come over for his 7th birthday. One of them he has stayed with once before and I feel like I know the boy's parent fairly well. The other boy he invited has stayed with the other kid before so I figured it would be cool, but that boy's mother has ignored my request. I am ok with kids coming to our house because I know we wouldn't hurt them. I am definitely skeptical of others but I would and will make sure I know the parents if it comes up again. But I find that kids just don't have sleepovers much anymore. Probably because we're just so much more aware of abuse.

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  5. We have the same rule. We haven't at the age where they want to sleepover, but when we do, we've decided we'll let them go over and stay late, even change into pjs and then, I'll come pick them up and bring them home. Sort of the best of both worlds. And they have plenty of opportunities to sleep over at their grandma's!

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  6. I think this is an instance where 'better safe than sorry' applies quite well. We have always restricted who Lexie was allowed to have sleepovers with. I have to know the parents well, and most of the time if they have much older siblings I won't allow it. Because of his rule, Lexie only gets just a few sleepovers a year, including the ones we have at our house, but I don't take chances when it comes to her safety. As far as offending the people we say no to, sometimes I try to gently let them know that since we don't know each other well enough yet, maybe a playdate would be better. Sleepovers just don't seem to be as popular as they used to be anyways which is good for protective parents like us. :)

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    1. I love that about what you say about the playdate instead. I figure there will be plenty of times where I am “letting them out there” and I know I can’t always protect them, but this is one of those things that I can and figure yes better safe than sorry.

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  7. That's horrible to hear about that girl in Minnesota. Personally I've never had a problem saying no to sleepovers at some houses and not others, there's only been 3 friends my teenagers been allowed to have sleepovers with and one is a cousin. Lucky for me sleepovers really aren't that popular so her disappointment has been minimal.

    No sleepovers is a totally fair rule though!

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    1. Yes, I am glad they don’t seem to be the thing as much any more as it isn’t fun saying no. My trouble is while I would feel fine going by my gut and saying yes to some and no to others- how do you explain that to your kids, especially if trying to teach kids not to judge and be kind to everyone… just gets to fuzzy for me so easier to say forget it.

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    2. I would just tell Zoe that I don't know her friends' family well enough to feel comfortable about her sleeping over, and the "you'll understand when you're older" bit of it and she seemed at content with that explanation. Her close friends that I let her sleep over with have parents with the same values as me so they were usually in the same boat as her so she didn't feel too left out. Do what you think is best though. As a parent it's always better to be on the side of caution.

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    3. Yes, I think it is sometimes easy to not give our kids enough credit for what they do understand and will accept, so good for you!

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    4. Agreed! On the plus side, now she's become picky about what parties she'll go to and avoids ones that don't have proper parent supervision or one's that will include peers that tend to get into trouble.

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  8. I let my kids have sleepovers, but I always tell them they can come home at any time day or night if they want to. I will only let me kids stay at homes where I know the family and am comfortable. And I have no problem telling some families no sleepovers and some families yes. That's just me. If I feel odd even the slightest bit, then no and I don't care if that makes the parents upset.

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    1. Yes, there are some families that I think I would be more than happy to let them have a sleepover, but I just have a hard time figuring out how to explain to my kids why some families are okay and some aren't when we are also trying to teach them to love and be kind to everyone... so easier just to say no. Sounds like you have some good rules in place for when they do have sleepovers.

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  9. I didn't know about the incident in MN. I really only stayed over at 2 friends houses all through school... and they stayed at mine. Other than that very very rarely did I every stay at anyone else's house. I preferred my own bed I guess. I'm fairly certain Tori's mom allows her to sleep over wherever she wants whenever she wants but when she's at our house it is either my parents, his mom or we have some friends that are just like family, otherwise we don't let her stay over, not even at his sisters because she has a new man and I don't trust him.

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    1. Yea, that is the problem, the family might be nice but who else is in the house, you just don’t ever know.

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  10. This post makes me feel so much better. Sometimes, people act like I am crazy when I tell them. My kiddos have stayed the night with their cousins and with our best friend family, but only a handful of times. I just don't think you can be too careful with your kiddos.

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    1. Yes, I figure there will be many things that I do while raising my kids that others think is crazy or overly protective, but as long as I am loving them, keeping them safe and teaching them to be good productive members of society than it doesn’t really matter what others think.

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  11. We've decided this is our rule too. Though this summer we let Miyah have a 'late-over' with a good friend. They were in pjs, watched a movie, painted nails, etc. She loved it. And like you said, better safe than sorry. :)

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    1. Yes a late-over is such a good idea! They still have the fun and then can safely sleep back in their own beds

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  12. I haven't had to deal with this yet as I have an 8 year old son who hasn't asked about sleep overs, but I'm sure my 1 year old girl one day will. I would have to say that I think I will allow it, but she will have to be at an age where I feel she can advocate for herself and I will have to know the parents well. It's hard because there is a lot out there and a lot of different values, but you can't protect them forever also. Who knows maybe i will change my mind by then haha

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    1. Yes, I think at first I thought I would be more than fine letting my kids have sleepovers, but as they have gotten older and to the age where they are asking for them I just don't feel good about it.

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  13. I honestly have not thought about this. I know that the older two boys go to sleepovers because their mom allows it, but I do not know how comfortable I would feel letting my son go to a house that I do not know well. I completely understand where you are coming from though! I think if I knew the parents (for example: most of Carson's friends are the children of friends I have known for years and years) well enough I would feel comfortable. But, I would also talk to my son about what is and is not okay.

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