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.