Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Sleepover. Except Not Really.


Growing up sleepovers were a huge part of my childhood. My friends and I were constantly at each others' houses, staying up way too late eating snacks and sweets, giggling under sleeping bags and playing "light as a feather, stiff as a board." I have all happy memories. And the older I get, and the more I hear, the more I realize that having only happy memories associated with sleepovers isn't always the norm.

And so last night Henry had his first "sleepover." Except it wasn't really a sleepover, because his friend's Mom (one of my closest girlfriends) spent the night too. For us, that will always be the extent of sleepovers with friends. Either it will be with our longtime family friends, and it's more of a family affair with me there too at their house or ours, or we'll do more of a "sleep-under" where friends can come over in their pajamas, watch movies...then go home by 10pm. Or if it's a sleepover somewhere else Henry can do the same. And maybe that seems overprotective, but regardless of his age- four, ten, thirteen- I can't imagine I will ever feel comfortable letting him go to a friend's house to spend the night.

There are so many articles on the topic, and opinions vary, I know. But for me, there are too many unknowns, and hearing too many stories of sexual abuse has made me much more aware of those unknowns. At the root of it I wouldn't ever want my children sleeping somewhere where there could be someone else there that we don't know. An older sister or brother. A neighbor. A visiting relative. And it's not even that- I am fully aware that I cannot control everything and that abuse most often happens with people we already know, but I feel like if I can do anything to keep him even a little safer, I will.

And I know it's easy now to say "no sleepovers." I have a baby and an almost four-year old. Simple stuff because they don't know the difference. But I wonder what it will be like when I have a preteen begging to spend the night at a friend's house, and feeling like I'm making my child miss out on fun times? We'll see. If I've learned one thing over the past four years as a parent it's to never say never, so I won't...but I at this point in our life I can't imagine I'd ever be okay with it.

I'm curious on your thoughts, too. Where do you weigh in? Are you all for sleepovers, or will they be something you won't or don't allow? I'd love to hear your opinion.

68 comments:

  1. When I was young, I slept over at my friend's house all the time, and until I was in high school and had that "wild" streak, my parents didn't worry too much about it. Mind you, I grew up in a small, SMALL town where the parents all knew one another.

    As far as my own daughter, I'm not sure what my stance will be when she wants to sleep over at a friend's house. I think it will depend on the friend, and how well I know the parents. And like you said, it's easy to brush off the requests know when they don't know the difference, but come the age where you "need" to do these things as a social right of passage, it's tough to say.

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    1. Yes, I agree. It's so easy to say it now...but when I have a teenager who so badly wants to do what everyone else is doing...ugh. So hard. I feel like we'll cross that bridge when we get them but as far as elementary school/junior high sleepovers? No way.

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    1. I know a girl who was sexually abused at a friend's house by the friend's step-father. It happens, and it's not as uncommon as you might think. Sexual abuse/assault remains among the most under-reported crimes against children.

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    2. My dad was a child molester and touched my friend when she spent the night..

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    3. A coworker told me part of her Master's thesis was about childhood molestation and she learned that the most common place it occurs is at a sleepover

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  3. My mom was always very cautious about sleepovers. She would never let it happen if there was an older brother, and she would always ask the parents if there were guns in the house. She was also very picky about whose house I was allowed to sleep at. I can probably think of 5 friends total, and most were very close family friends or happened when I was a bit older.

    We had tons of friends sleep over at my house - and only once did my friends parents asked the same questions of my mom.

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    1. I feel like that's a realistic view for us too, as my kids get older. The idea of guns never crossed my mind either, but that's a great point. We live in a small town with a big gun culture (hunting, etc.) and I think that's a great thing to keep in mind.

      My Mom was the same way with us growing up too, we were allowed to sleepover friends often, but no one was as vigilant about questions as my parents either.

      Sometimes I worry I may be too overprotective. But I am hoping as my children get older and we both experience things as parents and children I will learn to strike a balance that works for us.

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    2. Thinking back to my friends in middle school and high school - boys were not usually as interested in sleep overs so you might be lucky!

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  4. my son is two and a half, so this isn't something I'm going to have to worry about for years, but I'd imagine it's going to depend on how close I am with the host child's parents. right now my son's two best friends are the children of our very best friends. he's young and won't be staying overnight there anytime soon, but I trust those families completely. I have very strong instincts and I hope to encourage my kid to trust his instincts as well. It's something we will work out together when the time comes.

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  5. I'm down for a kiddo sleepover. My five year old just today requested a sleepover with his sweet friend. Also,where did you get Henry's locker?

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  6. My parents never let me sleep over at friends houses. They always had that concern of an older sibling or that family member that lives there. It never bothered me growing up. Now, being a mom I'm thinking of going the same route... but I still got a few years as my son is only 7 months!

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  7. I don't have children, so I recognize that I can't relate quite as much as other parents, but personally I think we've gotten a little too "helicopter parenting" for my tastes. I grew up on a horse ranch where the kids ran wild, were out all day, and generally took care of themselves. I agree it's good to be cautious with young children and have frank conversations with them about what is appropriate behavior for both other children and adults, but when they're past a certain age, I'll expect them to take care of themselves and put some trust in other (properly vetted) parents. But on the other hand, also believe in trusting your gut - you know what's best for your own child and no one else can tell you otherwise :)

    Cat
    http://oddlylovely.com

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    1. I agree with you, Cat, that this is helicopter parenting. Every family has to do what is right for them, but I can't think of a safer place for a kid to be then with five or so other loud kids who can't keep their mouths shut.

      And it is so much more likely that your child will be abused by someone you trust/are related to. So you are going to ruin their fun for nothing and still put them in danger when they go to a relative's house? What about school field trips or sleepaway camp? And why do we think kids are only abused at night?

      Why does everyone think the world is all of a sudden so dangerous? It's safer than ever! Turn off the 24 hour news and live a little.

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  8. I was the kid with the parents that I thought we're too overprotective at times - and sleepovers were one of their sticking points. Looking back now, I can appreciate it. I don't think I missed out on too much. And while abuse or guns may not have been an issue at the houses I wanted to stay over at, I'm realizing that I could have gotten stuck in some very uncomfortable situations with family dynamics and things like that. I slept over with a few close friends, but that was it. I'm thinking I'll end up the same way with my kids.

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  9. I agree with you completely. My husband and I are due with our first baby in January and we were talking about this very thing today. It's good to trust people but it's also good to be cautious. To teach your kids at a young age what is not appropriate. It's our job as parents to teach our kids about the world, and to protect them appropriately. Thanks for posting!

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  10. with boys, sleepovers are rare-go with your gut-be protective. I don't regret being protective at all!

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  11. I'll allow sleepovers, but not to the extent that I had them when I was a kid. I basically lived at my friends houses, and we often had group co ed sleepovers. I think as long as I'm comfortable with the parents, that's fine, or else I'll host them myself.

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  12. Oh this is such a thought provoking post. As a kid my parents were super strict and I was only allowed to go to maybe two or three sleepovers in my formative years. I was really bitter about it at the time because it makes you feel like the biggest weirdo when you're the only one of your friends not allowed to do something as common as staying the night with your friends. I always said I would never put MY kids through that, but as you said, never say never. Even in the short time since I was a teenager things have changed so much. It's definitely something you really have to weigh. I think we'd have to know the family really well before my husband and I would feel comfortable sending our girls somewhere.

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  13. I also grew up spending nights and friends house and vise versa, I think it's a good learning experience as in eating foods you would normally refuse at home so you weren't rude and different family experiences, never once had I thought of anything sinister but I guess thy as sign of the times now, I agree I would have to know the whole family well before my daughter stayed there

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  14. I just think it's great that you have convictions about this sort of thing and plan to stand by them. Whether or not I agree or will do the same thing with my kids one day, kudos to you for being an intentional, thoughtful parent!

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  15. I didn't have many sleepovers growing up, and never really enjoyed them much. I was homeschooled, so all my friends came from church, and it was very small, so all the parents went to Sunday School together, and church field trips together. All the parents knew each other well, though my parents were still picky about it.

    I don't know how I will feel when the time comes. I will definitely need to know the parents very well, even if my child is just visiting. It's a little scary to think about, so I think I will just put that one out of mind until it is something I need to worry about.

    Christen
    http://christenlouise.blogspot.com

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  16. Thanks for this post - it's really eye opening. Our daughter turned 2 in May and to be honest, I haven't given sleep overs much thought, just because she's so young.

    When I think back to my childhood, it sounds much like yours (I laughed when I read "Stiff as board, light as a feather" - I totally forgot about that!!). I can vividly remember one or two sleepovers that felt "not right" and as an adult, I can pinpoint that clearly either a parent or guardian was not behaving as they probably should have. And when I think about putting my daughter in a similar situation, well, my blood pressure raises a bit!

    Unfortunately I think some things have changed, especially from our generation (I'm close to 30) and our kids. And I think the most important thing is to learn from what happens in the world and make better choices, so our children don't have to be put in situations that could result in something not ideal. So truthfully, I think it just fits into all of the other "be more careful now" categories.

    I'm not sure exactly how we'll handle this but I think it's a really good thing to actually give it some thought, and not just assume it's a normal childhood activity, because that's exactly how people get blindsided. But either way, it's a great idea to start coming up with ideas early, so thanks!!

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    1. Thanks so much for your thoughtful reply Jamie! I agree that things have changed...and I wonder if when our kids are 12, 13, 14 what will be different then.

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  17. My children are 7, 10 and 12. The eldest 2 regularly have sleepovers and we often have their friends stay at our home. I only allow them to stay with families that I know very well and trust completely. My 10 year old daughter has a lovely friend that sometimes asks for her to sleepover. My gut says no. I know the parents and I like them but it doesn't feel right, so she doesn't go. Everyone has their own rules and feels differently about it and you must do what is right for your own family. PJ's, dinner and a movie then home time is a great option.

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    1. Love that you listen to your gut. I also love that option- PJs, dinner, a movie and home. Thank you :)

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  18. I'm 100% with you on this! People may think it's over protective but it's a very real possibility that something could happen. I have a friend who was abused at a sleepover as a kid and it has really affected her life. Also, I remember being at a sleepover where my friends moms ex showed up drunk and kick the door in. The cops were called and my mom had to come get me in the middle of the night. She was much more cautious about where I stayed after that.

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    1. I also know someone who was sexually abused in a similar situation and it's horrible for him. So sad.

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  19. I'm from Germany and sleepovers were totally normal when I was a child. I think I slept at a friends house for the first time at the age of 4 or 5 and my friends slept at my house too all the time. I would say that there were sleepovers every other weekend until I was about 14 I think. After that the sleepovers stopped for some reason as we started to prefer hanging out not within our parents reach I think :) My baby brother is quite a bit younger than me (he's 15 now) and he has sleepovers too but not as often as I did and maybe started when he was 6 or so. But it's pretty much the norm here and I remember it being so much fun.
    But I totally get the concern about guns being at a place where you don't really know the parents. That's something we don't have to worry about.

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  20. I don't have children yet, but i spent two years as an au pair so i had plenty of time to think those things through. I feel like being overprotective with children is not helpful, not because it's weird or stupid or anything, but because children need to learn how to be independant (unless you really want a 35 years old playing video games in your living room and asking what you're cooking for dinner). When i was a kid, we had plenty of sleepovers: my mum knew my friends' parents well, i could sleep there and they could sleep at my house. By the age of 12 i was used to stay home by myself at night and to take te bus to school in the morning because my mum had to take care of her old aunt who lived far from us. When i was 14 i left to go to boarding school over an hour away from home. When I turned 17 i finished high school and got my first appartment two hours away from home to go to university. Three years later, i packed by bags to go to the US. I was not scared. I was ready. I am so glad that my mum gave me enough freedom to blossom and to grow independant in a safe place so i would feel ready to face the real world (which is def not safe) as an adult later on. I think that parents often forget that their children will grow up, they will have to face peer pressure and violence and sex and everything just as we had to. Our role as professionnals of childcare or parents is not to protect children against everything that could hurt them. Your children will fall and learn. But you can't raise a child and never let it leave your home. Children, and humans in genereal, are like birds, none of them loves to live in a cage, no matter how safe it is.

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    1. I agree that children shouldn't live in a "cage," but to me, this is different. I plan on giving my children room to blossom and grow...but as a parent I also have the responsibility to make sure the room I give them is safe. And until I change my mind, my judgment call will be "no sleepovers." I don't think this will stunt my kids, or make them unable to face peer pressure, violence, or whatever comes their way. There will be plenty of time for them to (unfortunately) learn those lessons. But I see where you are coming from, and like me, your experiences or what you've seen, have shaped the parent you are (or will become someday). :)

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  21. Once I reached 7 or 8 I slept over my best friend's house multiple times a month. And when I got into middle school I slept over at probably half the girls houses in my grade. My mom always wanted to talk to the parents and have contact info but it was never a big deal beyond that. It was just part of growing up. I remember half of my birthday parties being sleepovers. It was awesome! Now, I'm not a parent and don't plan to be one so I don't really know how to feel if it were my own child going to someone's house but I think once they got to a certain age and I knew the child/parents I'd certainly let them. Your concerns are 100% valid but at the same time I think it would be sad to have a kid miss out on those experiences.

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    1. That's exactly where I am too- I still feel like I will stick to the rule...but then it's hard because I don't want my kids to miss out. Hoping sleepovers won't be as much of a "thing" with boys! :)

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  22. my son has been begging me for lockers in his room, where did you get the one that you use as a nightstand?! thank you!

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    1. it's from Target! Henry LOVES it...it's filled with all his treasures! :)

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  23. p.s. bob & mabel (above) has a great solution. "PJ's, dinner and a movie then home" try that!

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    1. I liked that too! Best of both worlds. :)

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  24. I love that room! and the bedding is great! I wasn't allowed to spend the night at other people's houses until my parent's got divorced when I was 9... everything changed then, lol. But those are some of my concerns too. We were allowed to have friends spend the night, but mostly I stayed home if I was invited over.

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  25. If it’s something you cherish so fondly from your own childhood, why would you deprive your own children of that experience? I assume you won’t allow him to play sports where he will be subjected to locker rooms with potential predators? Or allow him to go to movies where villains could be hiding? Even the mall for that matter. You probably shouldn’t allow him to attend school where rampant acts of violence occur. Better just keep him safe and sound in your little bubble of protection. Should serve him well in preparation for “life”.

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    1. Reposting pieces of a reply from above, because it fits here. Ignoring your rude tone, I do understand where you're coming from. I wondered if I would receive comments like this, because I do totally get the other side of it. Kids need room to grow. And I plan on giving my children room to blossom and have chances to make choices...but as a parent I also have the responsibility to make sure they are safe. And until I change my mind, my judgment call will be "no sleepovers." Like I mentioned in my post, there are a million other things that are out of my control (pretty much everything), so if I can do one thing that can keep them safe I will. This is what is best for my family. I don't think this will stunt my kids, or make them unable to face peer pressure, weird situations, or whatever comes their way. There will be plenty of time for them to (unfortunately) learn those lessons. But I see where you are coming from, and like me, your experiences and what you've seen in your lifetime have shaped the parent you are (or will become someday). :)

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    2. Kudos on the response, Danielle!

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    3. You say "I" a lot. I keep forgetting you're married and have a husband. Does he not have an opinion on this? Shouldn't this be a "we" decision?

      Alyssa

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    4. Alyssa, the very first thing I said was "for us." I would hope that starting it off with a very clear "for us," would indicate that it was indeed an US decision...I continued to speak on my thoughts because this is my blog. I don't feel that I need to constantly preface, "my husband and I" "Hank and me" because it's a given in this space. :)

      xo

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  26. Because our kids are so young, I honestly had never even thought of this. Both my husband and I grew up going over to sleep at friend's houses and never even gave it a second thought. People I work with talk about sleep overs as a normal thing as well. I think right now I can't make that decision because I don't know what will happen. I probably won't allow sleepovers at a really young age like my parents allowed when we were younger because I do remember being uncomfortable at one friend's house when her older brother was there, but never told anyone I didn't feel comfortable. When they're teenagers - I hope that we'll have the kind of relationship where our kids will feel like they can talk to us and be open. I'll probably only allow sleepovers at houses where I know the families, and vice versa - if a kid is coming to our house - I want to know where they come from. I hate that we live in a world where parents have to worry about these things. It's so disheartening to me.

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  27. I respect your opinion but sexual abuse can happen at any time of the day, not just while sleeping over.

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    1. Absolutely. And I think I touched on that up there too. My point is that outside of the conversations we have about what is appropriate, what is not etc. if there is anything I can do to keep my kids safe in any way, I will do it. I can't control all aspects of their life (nor would I want to), but in my opinion, at this point in my life, I feel the risks outweigh the benefits.

      Thank you for commenting. :)

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  28. I'm seeing lots and lots of comments about how boys don't do sleepovers. My brothers slept over at friends' houses ALL OF THE TIME. Way more often than I slept over at girlfriends' houses.

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  29. Your post is very timely! I had never even thought of this as an issue until I came across an article recently. At first I thought it was preposterous, and way overprotective, but then the logic started to nag on me. Sure, the chances may not be very high that a child might experience abuse in a friend's home, but if it WERE to happen, the consequences would be devastating.

    I have two adopted siblings who were abused in their families of origin, and I've seen the difficulties in their lives from childhood even now through adulthood. It sucks! Really! Granted, there's not much we can do to protect our kids from every risk, but this is an area that does need attention. Thanks for talking about this, Dani.

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  30. I do understand your point.. the world's not a very safe place, so why take unnecessary risks if you don't have to. I too would be a slightly overprotective mother if I had kids... :)
    but if you know the other parents/family very well, I wouldn't say it's an issue! when we read all those horrible stories in the papers we see just one side of it. we don't know any real specifics. who were the people involved? how did it happen? just because someone has been molested by a relative doesn't mean you can't ever leave your kids with your own relatives. it always depends on the people - I'm pretty sure you would never befriend people you don't trust. and if you trust someone who is a close friend, you can trust them not to have any shady people over.
    plus I think it's very important to teach children about those difficult aspects of life because being too naive or overly trustworthy can be quite dangerous. walking home from school is really a much greater danger than staying at a friend's house I'd say. good friends will not only look after their own children but also after yours.
    I grew up with a 'second family' because I was so close to my best friend and her three brothers - I was staying there a lot, beginning at the age of 7 or 8 I think and then also spending lots of nights over at their house. I've NEVER felt not safe there, in all those years - and some of my best childhood memories are from those years spent there. but my parents did a pretty good job of talking to me about everything (don't talk to strangers etc. ;)) with me and if I hadn't known the family so well I wouldn't have stayed.
    I think it's a very good thing to think everything over quite thoroughly but keep in mind that it always depends.

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  31. Lots of food for thought here. When I first read, I thought perhaps you seemed a little overprotective. But...as a mom of two little girls, & a woman who (as a girl) has experienced abuse in a sleep-over setting (side note: I don't think it's as much of a "these-days" kind of issue- rather, something that has always occurred and maybe has more publicity now...) I think I'm more on-track with you than I was at first-glance. I am hardly a "helicopter parent" but I totally get what you mean about protecting your babies when you can.

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  32. I totally agree with you and we've talked about this many times. It's so scary to think about putting your child in a situation or enviornment where they can be possibly abused, intimidated, made to feel uncomfortable, etc. If there is anything I can do to make sure my children are not put in that situation, I will absolutely do that. Who knows what my opinion may be as my kids get older, but for now the answer is absolutely not. I also do not understand people's responses about how you can't put your child in a bubble, etc. Looking at the statistics of child abuse and then thinking about how that comes into play when having your child be somewhere where they are under the supervision of other people (and like you said, who even knows who else could be visiting the house, or other friends of siblings) overnight, is such an obvious no way in my book. Henry, Charlie, and Lucy sleepovers will be fun enough for us!

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  33. in my opinion, sleepovers are a great experience, even more great for teenagers and i would definitely let my child have sleepovers :) i had plenty as a child and a teenager (family related and when i was in school "friends-related"... but my parents always knew where exactly i was and who i was with)

    but again... it is a very personal decision and i don't judge anything. just saying that for me it is definitely a great experience i would want my kids to have.

    loves,
    katja

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  34. Good for you for posting this, Danielle! I feel exactly the way you do and live hearing that other moms in our age group will approach this the same way!

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  35. my husband and i just had this conversation a week or so ago. it's such a tough topic! he feels pretty strongly that sleepovers are a part of life and that you can't control your kids forever and you can't be with them at all times, etc. etc. i'm just not sure how to feel about it! i'm totally a "helicopter parent" and want to protect my kids from basically everything and at this point (they're three and just turned one) i'm pretty set on not doing sleepovers. or having very specific rules when they are in the later stages of middle school or something.

    but really, who knows how i'll feel ten years from now. c;

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  36. Loved reading this, and wish I had time to read over all of the comments (I'm on a boat in Canada w/ spotty internet, so just checking in really quick :)) This is such an interesting topic with so many legit. thoughts and opinions.
    As for us, we have always kept a rule that "In general, we don't do sleepovers." haha--that leaves a little door open for the "exception..." We do have a few friends who we feel 100% comfortable letting our kids stay w/ and if my husband and I are traveling or have the need, it is good to know that is an option.
    I had a friend w/ kids just a little beyond mine tell me that having a no-sleepover rule is usually good b/c most kids actually don't feel comfortable sleeping over, and telling them that it is our family rules turns out to be a relief to the kids...:)
    Now that my boys are getting older, we have made the exception for a couple birthday sleepovers, and we feel very comfortable that our older boys have great judgement and know exactly what to do if put in an uncomfortable situation, etc...We still avoid it most of the time just because it does avoid a lot of problems...
    Sounds like you're off to a great start and you'll figure it out as you go, which is always good. :)
    Aloha

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  37. I only slept over at a friends house a few times in my childhood. It was a blast and our families knew each other VERY well. But then my parents pulled the plug on all sleepovers. It was for a variety of reasons and I understood them all. I don't think my childhood suffered at all from lack of sleepovers. My friends and I still saw each other regularly. I think if you are clear from the get go about your stance on sleep overs, then your children and children's friends will come to accept it just fine. It doesn't seem to me you are intending to keep your children in a bubble. I have two children similar in age, and (my husband and) I have already decided that sleepovers will not be something we will be doing with our kids outside of Grandma and Grandpa's house. This is a massively different generation to the one I grew up in. Its just too risky to me.

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  38. Aww it's nice to have a mummy and child sleepover so you both had friends to talk to. (both responsible if they stay up late chatting and get grumpy the next day too)

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  39. I don't have children so have never really given this much thought, but, now that I have, you are absolutely right....As a child, thankfully I have fond memories of sleepovers at both my house and my best friends... but, once I have children, I don't know that I could let them go. There is too much uncertainty. And it's truly sad that the world has come to this point, but, it's a sad reality that we have to live. Sexual abuse is prominent. I can count on more than one hand the number of people *I* know personally that have experienced a form of sexual abuse. And for them my heart breaks. And that is one more reason I will protect my future children in any ways possible

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  40. I totally understand where you're coming from and everyone wants to keep their child safe, but one day he will have a very best friend and he'll want to sleep over. I'm 18 and had my first real sleepover when I was 5. Before I was 10, I slept over at several neighbors houses and cousins houses. I met my best friend to this day when I was 13 and we would have, and still have, sleepovers several times a week. I love your blog and parenting and I'm not trying to be mean in any way! But I know that I've had some of my very best memories with my very best friends at sleepovers and now I'm heading off to college next month and feel 100% comfortable with living with others and having "sleepovers" every night. I couldn't imagine a childhood without them!

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  41. Something is disturbingly wrong with America. This is not the way the rest of the world thinks. This is not something that the rest of the world even worries about. That's not meant to sound ignorant and I certainly do not mean to say that heinous things don't happen everywhere every single day, of course they do. The difference is they're not shoved down your throat the way they are in the states. Fear, fear, fear. Trust no one! I'm an expat who has lived abroad for nearly 15 years and I have recently given birth to my first daughter and have started reading 'mommy' blogs. When I started reading your post, I couldn't imagine what you might have against sleepovers. I was completely floored and deeply saddened to read the reason. I then brought your post up to my boyfriend, who is Portuguese, asking him what he thought the reason might be. He guessed picking up bad habits from other kids, eating junk food, or staying up too late. When I told him the actual reason, he just had one thing to say. We're never ever moving there.

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  42. Having older kids, I can't imagine making my 14 year old leave a slumber party at 10 pm because I didn't trust him enough to make the right decisions and how to handle himself in all situations. I also understand only letting them sleep over at close friends where you are also friends with parents(that is how it is here) but to never let your children experience a sleepover without mommy in the next room seems sad, it's seems like a childhood must, like running through sprinklers. That is just me though. My kids have so much fun at sleepovers and I love having their friends here. I love that I know their friends as well as I do. Dinner/breakfast conversations with all of them are the best. I love that I know one doesn't like tator tots and the other doesn't eat eggs. These kids open up a bit more when their mom isn't around and it's nice to see the trust they have me. My friends say my kids are the same when they are over there without me. My kids are older though and I do remember thinking that I'd never let them do a lot of things that I do actually let them do now. You have to do what you feel is best though, but there were a lot things I thought were best for my kids and then they got older and I had to loosen the strings. It's hard.

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    1. Thank you so much for this insightful comment. I was just talking to my husband about this- it's so easy to have these rules in my head (and I kind of touched on this above) when the kids are small...or even when we weren't parents yet- but I know that once they get older things will change. LOVED having your input on this. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. :)

      xo
      Dani

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  43. I feel like a large part of reasoning behind this may be from having the option/ability to stay home with your children and not be in the workforce which would require, on a daily basis, someone else helping raise your child. As a working parent part of my survival is trusting others with my child. I wonder if we took a look at a stay-at-home parent versus a working parent(s) perspective would we find more stay-at-home parents feel concerned/fearful of sleepovers?

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  44. The first thing that came to mind is how I would feel about things like this if I was financially able to stay at home with my son. Part of being a working parent is having trust in others to care for my child. I could not survive mentally or emotionally otherwise. This whole conversation/idea saddens me that things such as sleepovers are tainted with conversations of guns and sexual predators. I respect in a family's choice for their child but for me personally this just seems so paranoid. I believe I will always build relationships with the families of my son's friends and also go with my parental gut when something feels threatening in any way to my child. What happens to communities when we all live in fear? The power of thought and it's affect on the energy of the world is something I strongly believe in. I wonder if we looked at the opinions of a family with one stay-at-home parent versus working parents if we would see differences in approaches to things where trust in caring for your children is needed?

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  45. To be honest, I would never have thought of this. Perhaps it is a cultural matter even though we are all aware that sexual harassment can happen anywhere and to anyone. I just wouldn't think about it happening at a sleepover. Despite the differences, I don't think anyone here can disagree with Danielle wanting to keep her kids safe.

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  46. When I was growing up, I used to have sleepovers on a regular basis with my childhood friend/neighbor. Her family was very much an extension of my own family. I also had sleepovers with my cousins when we were teenagers. We were pretty mellow kids back then. I am sure, we could have gotten into trouble if we had bad intentions. We spent most sleepovers dancing to 90s/Y2K pop and talking about boys.

    I understand your concern. I share them too! I don't have children yet but it would worry me to put my child into harms way. I agree with many of your readers, we all need to develop trust in others so we can allow our children the childhood that they deserve.

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