No sleepovers! Many parents ban tween ritual

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 04/30/2012 ( 76 moms have responded )

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Forget the sleepover rituals of junk food, "truth or dare" and late night gab sessions that have ushered tweens into teens for decades. A new generation of parents are sticking to strict no sleepover rules.

They call them "sleep unders," "half-overs," "late nights" and "breakfast bashes." Come in your jammies, bring junk food, play all the games you want, but at a certain point these children will be tucked in under their own roof where their parents know the rules about R-rated movies, Internet use and adult supervision.

"In the old days it used to be that you would build up to a sleepover and you knew everything about that family," says Stacy DeBroff, a Boston mother of two and author of four parenting books including "The Mom Book!" "But now a more vigilant kind of hyper-concerned parent says unknown dangers may lurk, I don't know every variable ... and so I'm going to hover and basically swoop in and take you out."

While plenty of families believe slumber parties are harmless good fun, several news stories about molestation at sleepovers — including a Vermont father who was charged in June with drugging a 13-year-old friend of his daughter with a smoothie and then fondling her — have given parents who worry about slumber parties concrete reasons to avoid them.


Read the rest:
http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/32288857/n...

Now, I am a believer in sleepover's. I truly believe they encourage emotional growth for children. However, I am a parent that does meet with the other parent before my child gets to sleep over night there. I also, have already pretty well interrogated my child of what goes on in the other childs home (without my child realizing it is an interrogation).

I was of course very nervous and still am, when my daughter sleeps over at a friends home. I must already have met and gotten to know her friend and they must have already slept at our home. She is not allowed to sleep over at a friends home, where I know the parents do not have rules and allow their child to roam the streets after my daughters ruled in time at home. You know, ones I consider irresponsible. I also, always give a specific home time for the morning. I will either pick her up or now that she is older, she can walk home (since it is within our neighbourhood). With that said, there are very few friends of hers that this is an issue.

I most definitely encourage her friends sleeping at our home over her sleeping at theirs. She does prefer that anyhow. However, I do believe it is important for her to get out and experience herself, on her own, overnight at her friends too. She does have a cell phone, so she can call me at anytime, if needed.

My daughter would have been about 10, though, before I started allowing her to sleep over night outside our home, except at family members homes.

Your thoughts. How do you feel about sleep overs? Do you allow your child to sleep out of the house or does it bring too much anxiety?

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**Jackie** - posted on 05/01/2012

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"I am curious, what reasoning are you going to give to your daughter when you KNOW the mother, you KNOW the child, and yet you still say no, she can't go for a sleepover? What are you going to tell her? That you won't let her because you think she might get molested?"



You just said I would be saying no to my child.





ETA: Your statement was not hypothetical...you were actually asking me a question. Furthermore, my posts were not hypothetical...I was referencing the true story in the OP

Jodi - posted on 05/01/2012

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"Jodi, where in my post did I say I wouldn't let my daughter sleep at someone's house? I said I would ENCOURAGE her friends to come over here. Yikes!"

I never said you wouldn't. I was using the same hypotheticals you were.......Yikes!

**Jackie** - posted on 05/01/2012

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Jodi, where in my post did I say I wouldn't let my daughter sleep at someone's house? I said I would ENCOURAGE her friends to come over here. Yikes!

Jodi - posted on 05/01/2012

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" I do not allow my daughter to sleepover at a new friends home. They can sleep at ours, until we know them and their family better. I am not as stern on that now that my daughter is a bit older, I do still need to know them though."

Exactly! I know these kids. I know their parents. And as my son has gotten older, I don't dwell on it as much.

The thing is, as parents, we can protect our children from EVER having a bad experience. Wouldn't that be great if we could do that? I think it would be.

BUT, the pay off for that is we also protect them FROM opportunity and experience. As a parent, we have to decide where that balances. Banning sleepovers altogether is one end of the balance scale. Allowing every sleepover they are ever invited to is on the other. There is a middle ground. The middle ground is the healthiest, because that is where a parent has confidence in their judgement based on knowledge, and experience, rather than propoganda and paranoia.

Parenting is never without anxiety. To take measures to eliminate it entirely is being overprotective. Anxiety, when you are a parent, is a normal state of mind. It isn't your job to eliminate your own anxiety.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 05/01/2012

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I do get what Jackie is saying because it truly can be scary. There are weirdo's out there. However, when you know your children's friends well and their parents, you would typically be able to tell if there may be something odd going on in their home. When my daughter was younger, I dropped her off at her friends home and I stayed to chat for a bit. I was able to nonchalantly look around and get a glimpse of how they live and where my child would be sleeping.

I do think it is very rare, to have something terrible happen to your child but I do think it is hard to get the rare occurrences out of your head. Since it only takes one time and that one time, could be your child. Which is why, for me, it is very important to be aware and ensure you and your child, knows their friend and family fairly well. I do not allow my daughter to sleepover at a new friends home. They can sleep at ours, until we know them and their family better. I am not as stern on that now that my daughter is a bit older, I do still need to know them though.

With that said, I do prefer them in my home. I make sure it is tons of fun for them (when they are younger, now it is up to my daughter to be a good host). I make sure they are all comfortable and that they know where the phone is, if they feel they want to call home to say goodnight to their Mom/Dad or they want to go home (no biggie). I give them all sleeping bags or blankets and pillows and we blow air mattresses up for them, some use the couch's (depends on how many are sleeping over, we have had up to 6 girls).

I truly agree with Jodi and Jodi. Sleepovers are so very important. It is a wonderful experience and a great way to get to know how others live and interact, without your parents. I think as long as you are sensible and have some guidelines, such as knowing where your child is going to be and with who, it is important you let them spread their wings a bit. Some of my fondest memories of my childhood (and there aren't many) are sleepovers. ;)

Jodi - posted on 05/01/2012

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I had TONS of sleep overs when I was a kid. I probably had 2 or 3 a month! BUT, my mother knew my friends and BOTH their parents very well. I started having sleep overs when I was probably 6 or 7, younger with my cousins. I've had mostly same gender sleep overs, but I had one friend that was a boy, a neighbor and my dad and his dad were best friends, so we had sleep overs sometimes too. My daughter is only 3, and she has been having sleep overs with her boy cousins since she was 2. She LOVES it, so do the boys. They claim to be best friends, and she even promised to marry him one day! lol *cute* I plan on getting to know my kids friends and their parents before they're allowed to sleep over OR come to my house, but I have no problem having sleep overs! Heck, when I was kid, it was common to invite a friend camping with you!

I think banning sleep overs altogether is just ridiculous. The chances of something like this happening are so slim it's pathetic to dwell on it *that* much IMO. Like someone else said, it makes the news because "bad" news sells and because these things are so bizarre and incredibly rare, they make a sensational story to tell...NOT because they're happening every weekend across America (or any other country). I'm excited for my girls to have their first sleep overs with *friends*, both here and at someone else's house. They're exciting, they're fun, they're great ways to bond and discover things about yourself.

Janice - posted on 05/01/2012

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I agree that the smoothie incident is scary. However, I also agree that the chances of this happening are slim. I guess for me I had dozens of sleepovers and never heard of anything happen to myself or anyone else so it just seems safe to me.

Jodi - posted on 05/01/2012

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Gotcha. Because the smoothie thing happens all the time ..... that's why it is news.

Are you REALLY going to base your parenting decision on situations that happen one in 10 thousand. Or one in a hundred thousand? Or even one in a million?

I am curious, what reasoning are you going to give to your daughter when you KNOW the mother, you KNOW the child, and yet you still say no, she can't go for a sleepover? What are you going to tell her? That you won't let her because you think she might get molested?

**Jackie** - posted on 05/01/2012

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Jodi, I only used a drugged smoothie as an example because of the story in the OP. As far as statistics go, that doesn't really do much for me because it has nothing to do with my life. I am only speaking for my town.

Sally, I get what you're saying, and I don't plan on wrapping my child in cotton wool or sheltering them, however, kids are very easily persuaded and talked into something that seems ok. Let's just take the story and see just how "sensible" the girl that got molested was. She was at her friend's home at a sleepover, she was offered a smoothie by her friend's dad. She was being polite and taking it, he offered her a fruit smoothie and fruit is good for you, and she knew her friend's dad (EVEN if she hadn't met him before the sleepover, he was obviously mingling with him)...she was being sensible through and through.

Sally - posted on 05/01/2012

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I can understand being careful etc but IMHO we are wrapping our kids in cotton wool . Do people not realise that the only reason we hear about drugged drinks etc is because its so rare.yes i allow sleep overs with same sex. I know the kids and have never had a problem. I feel sorey for kids these days because instead of being brought up to be sensible they are taught to fear.

[deleted account]

man i seriously don't think a single kid in my school didn't grow up with some kind of pedo in their family, so i totally get what Jackie is saying. in fact, my husband's best friend recently found out that he had been sexually abused when he was little by his uncle, and that he had completely blocked it out. so i think the idea of that "handful" of bad parents is a bit off, especially when you live in a town bordered by a bunch of other towns that have high crime rates, like where i grew up. we're an hour away from Memphis, TN, which is supposed to have one of the highest crime rates in the nation, according to something i heard on a local radio station. so it really does depend on where you live.

Stifler's - posted on 04/30/2012

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I had lots of sleepovers as a kid. From like preschool onwards! It's not an issue to me. People are usually sexually abused by people they know, not random children from schools parents. One person does it adn suddenly it's an "epidemic"./ PLEASE.

Jodi - posted on 04/30/2012

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" The thought of my daughter drinking a drugged smoothie makes me sick to my stomach!!"

I am curious about this bit too, however. Is this a common thing where you live?

Jodi - posted on 04/30/2012

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That's fine Jackie. The statistics disagree with you, that's all. Maybe in your pocket of the world things are worse. But in general, they aren't. They are just different.



I also wasn't suggesting you were saying you'd drag her friends by the ear. I think you actually totally misinterpreted what I meant there. I was meaning that if all parent thought like you do, there would be no sleepovers because as much as you would encourage them to come to your house, if their parents think like you, that's not going to happen.



But anyway, it's all hypothetical for you really. There's probably no point speculating until you are faced with a child old enough to have to make that decision :)

**Jackie** - posted on 04/30/2012

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Jodi, I'd have to respectfully disagree with you about the world. I grew up in the same town that I now reside in and when I was little we left our doors unlocked all the time and now there have been break ins on our street.

The comment about husband and boyfriends was in reference to the article, HOWEVER, I will agree with you when you accuse me of judging. I judge other moms when it comes to my daughter, you can bet your ass I do. No way in hell is my child sleeping over someone's house because I want to be politically correct or not seem like a protective nutcase. Furthermore, that "handful" of bad seed parents that fondle children after drugging a smoothie is about a handful more than I am comfortable with.

As far as having my daughter's friends sleep over my house, I said I would encourage it, not grab her friends by the ears and drag them to my house like a caveman.


I'm not looking to change the world or fix the evil people in it, I'm just looking to get my child through her youth without being molested! If that makes me an overbearing, judgmental, mother than I'll wear that proudly.

Jodi - posted on 04/30/2012

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"is the world just going to get worse"

The world is no worse now than it used to be. 24/7 news just makes it seem that way.

" the mother very well and she may even be a good friend of yours, but you have no idea who the father is OR if her boyfriend will be sleeping over that night."

On this basis, you are judging the majority of parents to have poor judgement. On the whole, MOST parents are good parents and very responsible. There are only a handful that aren't. And if you know the child and the parents well enough, you should be able to trust your judgement of character.

"I will definitely encourage my daughter's friends to sleep over here."

That will only work for you if the other child's parents don't have the same judgements about you as you have about them.....

**Jackie** - posted on 04/30/2012

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I think that is the problem with sleepovers, you may know the mother very well and she may even be a good friend of yours, but you have no idea who the father is OR if her boyfriend will be sleeping over that night. I only have a toddler so we aren't ready for sleepovers, but I will definitely encourage my daughter's friends to sleep over here. I don't know how I am going to feel in 9 or 10 years with her sleeping out of the house, I mean is the world just going to get worse? The thought of my daughter drinking a drugged smoothie makes me sick to my stomach!!

Is it bad that I think it would be different with a boy? I mean I don't know if I will be this anxious with a boy as I am with a girl.

I will tell you this, IF my daughter starts sleeping over at her friend's house she WILL have a cell phone...even if it's mine or my husband's that she is borrowing. It will also be drilled into her head that she can call us at 8 pm or 3 am to come get her, doesn't matter.

Jodi - posted on 04/30/2012

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My son is almost 15 and has sleepovers all the time. Either one of his mates will hang out and sleep over here, or he will be at their place. Just this past 2 week break, I am pretty sure there were at least 4-5 nights like this. I have no issue with it. I know his friends, and I like them, they are good kids and I find them easy to have here. I know their parents (to a degree), and am comfortable with the arrangements. The boys just like to have nights to sit and watch movies late, and staying over is easy for us parents because we don't have to jump in the car and take anyone home or pick them up.



My rules are no sleepovers on a school or work night. No sleepovers on weekends near exam time.



Personally, I think that a parent should get to know their child's friends, and the parents of those friends so that they can accommodate some of these arrangements. But that's just my opinion.



Having said that, my youngest is too young for sleepovers yet. She is 7, but she still wakes with nightmares at night on a regular basis, so while she has stayed with grandparents and family, I don't think sleepovers with friends are on her agenda quite yet. MAYBE I will consider it again in 12 months, depending on her emotional maturity.



I think banning sleepovers because of the anxiety is a recipe for disaster anyway - that kind of parent is probably coddling their children too much in other ways too. Kids need to see life on the other side occasionally, and I believe seeing life in another person's household can be very GOOD for them. It makes them see, often, that their life, and the expectations of them at home, are not any different to those around them. It can help them adapt to new environments. It can introduce them to new ideas, new foods, new ways of doing things. If you are suffering that much anxiety over it, get off your ass and get to know your child's friends and their parents.

Janice - posted on 04/30/2012

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Sleepover b-day parties were the big thing when I was growing up. I had many sleep overs with my cousin Brandy and I remember feeling super cool having a sleep over for my 7th or 8th birthday. However, I was a bed-wetter till age 10 and so the older i got the less enjoyable sleepovers were. I still had them with my close friends and family though. We never lived in a house just apartments and so except with my cousin, I mostly slept at other friends homes. My parents never seemed worried and only said no if it was a schedule issue.



I definitely will let my children have sleep overs. My daughter is only 2 but my niece and my cousin's daughter are less than a year older and I'm sure we will be having sleepovers at both my home or theirs. I'm sure once she is school aged she will go to them and her friends will be welcome in our home too. I will definitely need to talk with the other child's parents but I'm not too worried. I'm sure my son will have sleep overs too one day although they are more common with girls.



I think being choosy is okay but to completely ban sleepovers is a bit silly and over protective.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 04/30/2012

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Ok, I am gonna take that back. I RARELY got sleep overs. I had one friend that was allowed over, and she was my closest friend from 8th grade until graduation. My mom new her and her family very well. I would sleep over her house more often, but she was allowed over maybe every other month when we were about 16 for sleepovers. I enjoyed it alot. We had so much fun, and I don't want my kids missing out on that bonding time with close friends.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 04/30/2012

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I have been planning on being the sleep over house since I thought about having kids. I never got to have sleep overs, and want to be the fun house for my kids. No, not partying all the time, I just want them to feel welcome having their friends over, unlike I was as a kid. I want an open door policy for my kids. But for sleep overs they certainly need to aks and I need to know the kids and talk with the parents to make sure it is ok.

[deleted account]

J loves them. He's only 7 though, boys aren't as keen on them as they get older.

I didn't really have them as a little girl either, we didn't have a home, so there really was no way. I went to a boarding school for highschool, and the summer after that, I had sleepovers with some of the girls I met there. I thought boarding school would be like a sleepover, but it's totally different. I had a blast at the sleepover. There is just something special about being up in the middle of the night with a bunch of friends and keeping quiet so you don't wake the parents.

J has 2 little friends he can do sleepovers with--I know the parents very well and trust them. I prefer he stay with them because I'm not good at kids and I'm afraid that they will miss their parents and I won't know what to do or how to make them feel better, so thus far, only J's cousin has ever stayed with us.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 04/30/2012

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Oh I should add, there is absolutely no cross gender sleep overs in or out of my home. No boys allowed where my daughter sleeps, ever.



Actually, funny you mentioned that. Just this past weekend my daughter asked me if she could sleep over with some of her girlfriends and one of their boy "friends" home. It was a teen party (no alcohol or anything like that, the boys parents don't even drink). There was going to be 5/6 boys and 4/5 girls. They had a room for the girls and one for the boys, to sleep. I know every single one of the kids and I know the boys parents, the Dad is a cop. Although, none of that mattered to me. There is no way in this universe my daughter is sleeping at any house where there is boys sleeping over too. Now, if the girl "friend" had a brother or two, there isn't much I could do about it. I would, however, really encourage her having her friend sleep at our home. ;)



We have sleep overs at least once a month in our home. The girls love it. Yes, there is a lot of junk food and long, long nights but that is a part of the excitment for them. If I choose that they can come over before supper, I do feed them a good supper (well hotdogs and macaroni, I didn't say healthy..lol). When my daughter was younger though, I did make them turn out the lights by a certain time and they had to be quiet. Otherwise, all the girls were going home via my service. ;)



Now that my daughter is older, she knows they had better keep it down. I don't care how long they stay up, as long as they are quiet. They are not allowed upstairs once we go to bed though. They have to use the downstairs washroom. We are lucky, though, we have a rec room in the basement, where they sleep (if they sleep). ;)



Oh, if my daughter sleeps over somewhere, I make sure I feed her before she goes and yes, it is healthy. Otherwise, she cannot go.



ETA:

I do see your dilema, though, Jaime. Since, it will be your daughter with a brother (close in age). Hey, I don't think there would be an issue. I would take that time to make it a girls night with her, while the boys played and did their thing. ;) Mom and daughter, could have their own little sleep over in Mom or daughters room. But that's just me. ;) I do understand your thoughts, with that.

[deleted account]

i never had sleepovers when i was little because i never had friends. i can count on one hand the number of sleepovers i had before i moved into the dorms at college. one was with a girl down the road. she and her parents came over to talk every once in a while, they were new to the area. another was with a girl whose mom was my mom's former best friend, but it was not much fun since 1) i ended up not eating anything but doritos and cereal while i was there and 2) i ended up staying awake the entire time and it was the first time i can remember being up for 24hrs straight. there were also roaches. gross. and the girl that i spent the most sleepovers with, had a crazy pedo dad who made my parents extremely nervous so i only had two sleepovers with her, and then when we got in high school we stopped being friends.



so i really don't have any clue about sleepovers and what happens during them or anything like that. i would be fine with my kids having them, as long as i knew the parents of the other girls involved. as for having them in my own home, idk. it would depend on how clean we can keep the house, haha, and on whether or not both kids would be okay with it. besides, not too sure i'd be okay with my daughter being in the same house with a bunch of boys close to her age (she and brother will only be a year and a half apart) and vise versa. so i would probably prefer sleepovers outside the home. oh, probably doesn't help that i'm not good with kids or people in general. so yeah, definitely more for sleepovers outside the home. oooh, or even cooler, little sleepovers in the backyard! maybe by then we'll have an awesome house and an awesome backyard and it will be full of awesomeness.



so yeah i wouldn't be too anxious about it, as long as i knew the parents and met up with them before the kids had a slumber party. and i would expect the parents to want to meet up with me before their kids stayed over at my place, but that's not always the case.

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