Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sleepovers: Let's take a poll

So I've just been thinking about this lately and would like to get your input.

I grew up having tons of sleepovers. Birthday sleepover parties, just with one friend or 2, my house, their house, whatever. I cannot even imagine my childhood without them. And I mostly have positive memories of them. Certainly there was always drama. And sleepy grumpy mornings. And perhaps a couple pranks, scary stories, and other general foolishness.

But there were also innumerable late-night whisperings, secrets told, confidences built, friendships solidified. Some things just don't come out in a friendship until the lights are out and it's late at night. I think it was something worthy and important. It is something I want my kids to experience.

But I know there are many parents these days who have heard the stories of all the trouble kids get into at sleepovers. Not to even mention the scary possibilities of abuse, or being exposed to dangerous things. And they have decided upon the rule: No Sleepovers. Ever.

And so here we are with my oldest daughter going into 6th grade and she has never been to a sleepover and never had a friend to spend the night. In some ways, I feel bad about this. I feel like she is missing out on some really great times. And in some ways, I feel like I'm a "less-than" parent for even suggesting that it would be ok for her to do so. I admit, I would let her if it was a family I knew pretty well. And I would love for her to have a friend over at our house, if she had a friend that was allowed to.

So where do you stand?? And what are your reasonings?

Is it a "never, no never" rule? Only with one friend? Only certain families? After a certain age?Or anything goes?
And do you feel the standard is different for girls and boys?

And if you aren't in the position to really say "yea or nay" quite yet, what are your thoughts on it right now?

I'm just so curious to hear what other people think about this. Please do tell!!


Colleen said...

At this point, our policy is family only. I'm sure we'll have to rethink things down the road, and I guess we'll see then.

The Mel B said...

I've never really thought about it, for obvious reasons, but I also couldn't imagine growing up without slumber parties! It does seem like a lot to trust your children in the hands of another family whom you might not know that well, so it's hard to say. It does make me sad to think kids these days won't have the same experiences but I guess that's how it goes.

Jackie said...

Nope. Never. Sorry. (Babysitting is a different story, that is with family only.) But no sleepovers. I've had too many experiences where I don't trust peoples friends or brothers or dads.

Jennifer said...

We used to be more open to it. Ian and Sophia used to have sleepovers at friends and friends would sleepover here. Then there was an incident and we needed to make a decision that we would be able to live with for all the kids. So we decided that it is now only family for overnights and that they can do late nights with friends.

I don't have any really great memories of sleepovers myself. I don't think that there was ever anything that was accomplished by sleeping over that couldn't have happened before sleep.

Davis and Carter's Mommy said...

For now, I can't think of a single soul who would take my kids overnight! And we've been lucky enough to only have family babysit and I am certainly picky about who I leave them with. But I foresee allowing sleep overs with them. But with extreme caution, preferring kids to come to our home or only to homes where I know the parents well. I enjoyed slumber parties as a kid as well.

Ellie said...

We have a no sleepover policy and we don't live by family so that's not even an issue. We have done late-overs and when the kids get invited to slumber parties I pick them up around 10, which is plenty late.

Yes, there were some fun slumber parties when I was growing up. There were also movies I shouldn't have been watching and games I didn't want to play and neighborhood mischief I didn't need to be involved in.

Also, my parents have some close friends who lived next door to their "best friends." The moms had been bridesmaids for each other. They bought their lots together and built houses so they could be friends and neighbors forever. These good friends then spent the next 10 years abusing several of the children of the next door neighbor best friends. It was really easy to do because they babysat for each other and had sleepovers frequently and none of the kids ever said anything. It's really pretty tragic and it happened because they were the "close friends that we totally trust."

There's a fabulous book called Protecting The Gift that will also make you never want to let your children sleep over anywhere. If you want your children to be allowed to have sleepovers, I don't recommend it. Except that I do because it has a lot of really great ways to help protect your children.

Do you regret asking the question yet?

Kristen said...

nope, I hardly ever regret asking a question. ;)

It is interesting to hear everyone's viewpoints. I completely understand why people wouldn't allow sleepovers. But I also think not ever allowing sleepovers is not going to completely protect my children either. There are never any guarentees - even family you think you trust could be causing trouble. We all do the best we can with the information we have. I hope educating and communicating with my kids can help a lot. I think I'll still let my kids, maybe if they're over 10 and if I feel good about it - if they ever have friends who allow it! haha.

Letting my kids go off to college will be a very risky endeavor as well, but I do hope they get some "practice runs" along the way before then! :)

PS - thanks for the book recommendation, Ellie, I'll have to check that out.

Amber Baker said...

I'm OK with family up to a certain age. Nothing good ever happened at any middle school sleep over I went to. Late nights are fine. No sleep overs at our house, period.

bonitinha said...

Our rule is no. It makes me sad that the kids won't have the fun that I did at sleepovers when I was a kid, but honestly I feel like the risks are just too great. I totally agree with you that you can't guarantee that they'll be safe just by outlawing this one event and that there are risks in everything. But this one in particular is just to iffy to me.

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