parental peer pressure sleepover issue

From the age of six both my daughters have been receiving invitations for sleepover parties. With the kids being older, sleepover requests are still streaming in. Our stance on this is – we simply do not allow sleepovers at friends.

Before I continue, sleepover exceptions include staying over at their grandparents and cousins, go on school camps and for the first time this year my eldest daughter went to a one-night group sleepover at school. As for the group sleepover at school; our kids attend an all girls school and the sleepover is a social event organised for a specific grade. Well supervised by female teachers, they have a programme of activities lined up for the girls and they all sleep in the school hall that is secured.

As for other sleepovers at friends – we have a “no sleepover” policy. Yip we are the uncool parents who don’t allow this. And we will not succumb to parental peer pressure because other parents are allowing it and therefore we should too. Surprisingly many parents that I’ve spoken to feel exactly the same way.

I know that there are people who feel differently – and that’s ok. Each to their own.

As a child, my parents did not allow me to sleepover other than at my grandparents. Friends invited me on numerous occasions for sleepovers but my parents stuck to the rule. It frustrated me that I was the only one out of the circle of friends who were not allowed to sleepover.

When I started university my parents started slacking the rope. At 19, I could go clubbing but had a strict curfew. Often my dad would drop and pick me up at the club. They changed the rule on sleepovers; allowing me to only stay over at friends whose parents they knew.  What my parents weren’t aware of was that these friends’ parents didn’t always know our whereabouts.  At times I felt uncomfortable with where we went and who we went with.

Of course I never told my parents this but it opened my eyes to many things. And yes at 19, I was so to say an adult and could navigate my way out of unpleasant situations. And there were times that my safety was compromised. But I could make choices based on my gut feeling and whether I felt comfortable with a situation or not. If not I would opt out from going or sleeping over.

Now that I am a parent, I totally understand my parents reasoning for not allowing sleepovers.

The benefits of sleepovers are often highlighted.  Spending a night at a friend’s house can be fun, memorable, it can help with development, enhances self-esteem, it strengthens relationships and they experience how other families live.  But surely all these things can also be experienced without having a sleepover.

Plus so far it hasn’t been an issue for our daughters.

So here is what our no sleepover policy is based on.

We know you but we don’t know enough about you

We know our daughters’ friends and their parents fairly well. I mean we don’t frequent their homes and know their business. So there is that underlying difference of knowing someone vs knowing enough about someone. And that is what matters the most.  The thing is if I don’t know your values, beliefs, your behaviour in your own home, your social boundaries, who else stays at your house and who else will have contact with my kids when they sleepover; then it makes me a bit uncomfortable.  I know that keeping the lines of communication open is important but asking these questions to some parents might be offensive.

No exceptions

We will not make a judgement for one and change it for another. Even if we know the parents exceptionally well, sleepovers at friends is still a no-no. And therefore it makes it easier to have a no sleepover policy instead of allowing sleepovers at some friends and not at others. We don’t have double standards and therefore we also don’t allow friends to have sleepovers at our house.

Parental supervision

When kids have friends over parents tend to slack the rules a bit. Leaving them to do their own thing without checking up on them. Other parents might not have the same view points on having strict limitations to screen time, social media and the internet. For one I know that my daughters are sensitive viewers and anything scary will disrupt their sleeping pattern and result in bad dreams.

No Control

Although we continue to teach our daughters about safety, inappropriate adult behaviour and what to do if they feel uncomfortable. There is no disputing the fact that bad things can happen during day time play dates but when children sleep, it is easier to overpower them. The point is, when they are not under our roof and not sleeping in their own beds; we basically have no control over their safety. Yes we can tell them to kick and scream but where do they run to in the middle of the night. Our job as parents are to keep our daughters safe.

Alternatives

We allow our kids their freedom and don’t want them to miss out on opportunities. So if invitations for sleepovers arrive; we usually inform the parents that they can have a sleep under or late night. This still gives them the benefit of going in their pj’s, have all the fun they can but at a certain time we will fetch them.

Bottom line is, we not out to see the risk and dangers of sleepovers. In most cases it is pretty harmless fun. We want our kids to grow up and be independent and make sound decisions. Who knows in a couple of years when they much older and can make their own judgments perhaps we would consider otherwise. For now we have peace of mind knowing that our daughters are sleeping in their own beds.

What are your views on sleepovers? Please let me know. Also note that this is our stance, you might think differently. Everyone has a different parenting style and that should be respected.

 


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18 comments on “Parental Peer Pressure: The sleepover issue”

  1. I fully agree with you on this & we only allow sleepovers at family members. I’m having this argument with my son this entire week cos he was invited to his friend’s house.

    • We need to be firm on this. There are too many scary stories out there. Not that we want to be negative but we have to put their safety firs. Come you and your son can come to some sort of compromise. At the moment kids don’t see our viewpoint but the older they get – they will see where we come from.

  2. I think you know what what’s best for your kids, we were very happy with ours having sleepovers and going on them from as soon as they were old enough. I think they went from age 4 or 5. We always knew the families and where they were.

  3. Hi, I think like many things in life it is a personal decision great fun can be had at sleepovers but under supervision with those you know and trust #dreamteam & #triumphanttales

  4. Well argued and presented. We have had selected sleepover down the years and no issues. But I can understand your reservations, and your kids know exactly why. It’s not a punishment. #TriumphantTales

  5. A very interesting point. I have two girls but they are 4 and 2 so we are not there yet but I have to agree, I can’t really see myself ever allowing them to sleep over either. #itsok

  6. I think as long as you know the parents and are comfortable with their parents (and their house) and you know they are going to be there (seriously???) then fine. But I also think it’s okay to say no too. #TwinklyTuesday

  7. Yep I totally relate to your reasoning. My eldest is nearly 8 and I am in no way comfortable with her sleeping over at friends houses. I have always assumed that I will feel more comofrtable with it once she is older but perhaps not – I think the key thinng is to trust your gut and stick to your guns. Thanks for linking this with #ItsOK

  8. We are also very strict. I think because we have moved around so much, we don’t have the bonds and long term relationships with people so we tend to hold our kids close. My eldest did have few sleepovers with her best friend but we were extremely confident that they were the kind of people we would trust with our child’s life. And for me, that’s what it comes down to. Other than that, no other sleepovers. Hope you are well. Thanks for linking up to the #itsok linky. Hope you join us again next week.

  9. My daughter is 7 and I let her stay at a few friends houses – very few. My wife and I have been very fortunate to have made some really good friendships with some of her friend’s parents, but this has led to akward conversations with those that aren’t on that list #dreamteam

  10. This is a really interesting post, I don’t think I’ve ever known anyone not allowed to go to or have sleepovers. You do make some really valid points that have got me thinking about what I’d allow my boys to do!Thank you for sharing this with us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back next week.

  11. I think each parent needs to make the decision they feel comfortable with and also factor in their individual children’s personalities and age. Like you said, when they are older you may change your mind but for right now this rule is best – which seems to sum up parenting in a nutshell! #DreamTeam

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