Tuesday, August 8, 2017

SleepNOvers

 

 I've had a couple people ask me about our stance on sleepovers after this post, so I decided to write a little more about it.  As a background, Phil and I both grew up with parents who allowed sleepovers at friend's houses.  Neither one of us had cousins living nearby, so all of our friends weren't family members.  We both have great memories of these sleepovers with friends...but also some really bad ones.  Both of us recall that sick feeling in the bottom of our stomachs the day after a sleepover where we tried to stay up for the whole night, ate too much junk food, and watched questionable movies.  I watched The Shining in 6th grade after my friend's mom asked the group of girls if we were all allowed to watch R-rated movies and I was too embarrassed to state otherwise.  That movie scarred me for life.  I also played with a Ouija board, did some stupid dares, and between the bus and sleepovers, I learned about everything controversial/morally questionable/swears/the birds and the bees, etc.  Phil tells of similar tales...nothing good happens after dark, hyped up on sugar and adrenaline, away from parents.  All of these things influenced our decision as to why we didn't want our kids to have sleepovers at friends houses.  



But there are two more points that sealed the deal.



First, Phil and I both work in a school, and because of this, we have to attend child abuse prevention classes, watch videos, and be aware of all the potential dangers facing children.  We hear the warnings and see the results of kids who suffer abuse and it is hard enough to hear, nevermind actually having to live through it with one of our own kids.  Shudder.  We are by no means "helicopter parents" and believe our kids need a sense of freedom and want them to run wild and free and be little for as long as possible.  We don't want anything to take away their sweet innocence any earlier than needed.  We realize they come into contact with potential dangers every single day at school, at sports, at church, you name it.  We're not saying that bad things can only happen at sleepovers, we just feel that giving our kids away for the night in a non-family member's house where we don't really know the parents/friends/uncle who lives in the basement is too risky.  They have access to our kids all night long while the adults in charge are sleeping.  



Secondly, our kids are the luckiest to have so many family members around!  We may not have been able to make this decision if we only had one child who was starving for friendships.  Our crew has  siblings right in their own home, and they have cousins all around (26 with 2 more on the way!)  They can experience sleepovers with cousins in an environment where we feel that they are safe and being watched, disciplined and loved just as we would.  That's the beauty of having family all on the same page.  We don't think our kids need to sleepover anywhere else.



So how do we make this work realistically?  Our kids still get invited to sleepover birthday parties, they don't necessarily agree with our stance, and they feel they are missing out when their friends talk about that fun sleepover last weekend.  Well, we explain to them that as a general rule, we only sleepover at family's houses.  This decision then is not a personal judgment on a particular friend, it's just our family rule.  



We do allow them to go to sleepovers, we just pick them up at 9 or so, so they can have the fun part and only miss the "sleeping" part.  We also tell them they can have their friend sleep over at our house, if their parents allow that.  We don't judge anyone who allows sleepovers (I'm sure we do plenty of things other parent's don't agree with).   We know that our oldest is only entering high school so we may need to change the rules as our kids get older, or we may just be too tired to care by the time our youngest is ten ;)  


We've made this work for our family thus far, and I think it's been a blessing to be able to sleep each night knowing our babies are all under our roof or with a trusted family member.  The peace of mind is worth the temporary disappointment, and I hope one day our kids know we loved them so much that sometimes we had to be the mean parents :)

9 comments:

  1. I completely agree and we have exactly the same reasoning and family rules that you do. It's good to have the family statement "we don't sleepover at any friends' homes" so we never have to feel we are choosing one 'safer' home over another. We just don't let them. And I also can attest from teenage memories, nothing good really happens at sleepovers after sleep should be occurring :)

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  2. We are the same. No sleepovers for our kids. It is easy for now but I am sure will get harder to enforce the older they get.

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  3. It's good that your family is all on the same page. Because "family" doesn't necessarily always mean safe. Even there you have to sometimes be careful.

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    1. Scary but true. Fortunately we've both been blessed thus far with awesome families :)

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  4. My boys are young (2yr and newborn) but this gives me great food for thought for when they're older. I've heard Dr Ray talk about this on Catholic radio too. Question: do you still let them play at other families' houses? I'd be interested to know if you have any rules for that. Curious how to navigate all of this! Thank you for writing up this post!

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    1. We do let them play at other people's houses. Playing with friends during the day while the other parent is in charge is very different then letting them stay at night while the parent is sleeping. We are very selective as to whose house they go over as well. When they're younger it was mostly mommy and me playdates, so they weren't away from me, and as they get older it's much more being invited to birthday parties or meeting at a park, the mall, the beach, etc. than "playdates". We keep them busy with school and church events and sports so that they are not lacking for social interactions :)

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  5. I wish we had the amount of cousins your family has! My husband is the 4th of 5 and all of his older brothers have kids who are in college or seniors in high school! And not to mention they live all over the country. We don't allow sleepovers as a general family rule. The scary reality is that you don't really know people sometimes and it's just a risk we aren't willing to take with our babes.

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  6. Hello!
    Same here...
    We don't do sleepovers.
    My kids like their own house.
    Must get that from their mother. : )

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  7. I had the SAME experience as you growing up. We've decided no sleepovers for our kids either when they get older. Thanks for posting this- gives me some more confidence about our decision!

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