Monday, February 1, 2010

Try to keep your responses civil

When I open a can of worms, it's usually because I'm genuinely interested in others' opinions - not because I like tension and heat and open disdain.

(Usually.)

Alright, so today's discussion is on sleepovers.

Do you or don't you?

I have to make my own declaration before I expect anyone else to make theirs: we don't.

My reasons are many. One of them is safety. You hear freaky scary stories every day about "trustworthy" people who turn out to be your worst nightmare. Many of them are family. (This boggles my mind. And depresses me to no end.)

Another is this: every questionable experience of my youth took place at a sleepover. Same with My Man. Our parents would be horrified to know the things that happened at innocent girlie pajama parties. (Dear Mom - no, I'm not telling you, so don't ask.) I just tried googling an image for 'sleepovers,' and was appalled. I think you get the drift. Hint - don't google an image for sleepovers....

It's really sad. Because I had some great sleepovers, too. Friendships were deepened and lifelong love and devotion proclaimed. The majority of my sleepovers were entirely innocent and fun-filled.

BUT THEN.

My Man and I have had many discussions about this topic. Because I know darn well that I can't shield my children from every single evil influence - and in fact, I shouldn't. They need opposition to test their strength and prove what they've learned.

... On the other hand, I'm not going to blatantly display the world two inches in front of their little noses. While I can't protect them from the influence of alcohol forever, I'm not going to take them to bars.

In short, I will do all I can to keep them from situations I know to be contrary to our values.

Question is - do sleepovers fall under that definition?

For my husband and I, we decided that the bad outweighs the good. We will be happy to let our sons go to sleepovers until midnight or so, and then we will pick them up. Sleep, they will not.

I'm well aware that they will probably be ridiculed. That we may offend some parents. But again - for us, we feel it is worth it.

I understand parents who don't feel the way we do, and I don't want to argue - my simple question is, what do you do?

(For basically all the same things I said, but better written and backed up, this is an excellent article on the subject.)

52 comments:

wonder woman said...

I think your policy of staying till midnight is becoming more and more common -- especially within the LDS culture.

Superman and I have never even come close to discussing this subject. Our kids are way so young that it just hasn't come up. (Though my kids are about the same age as yours, so maybe we should discuss it!)

I had some of my best memories as a youth made at sleepovers, but a good amount of those sleepovers took place at my own house. Or the house of my best friend, who was best friends with my mom. Does your "no sleepovers" rule include doing it at your house?

I must admit, though, that some of my worst decisions were made at sleepovers. I definitely understand your point of view.

Amy said...

I remember growing up we weren't aloud to do sleepovers until we were a certain age (can't remember what age that was, but probably around 12). By that point we had been given the "nobody is aloud to touch your bathing suit areas" talk several times and had a good understanding of what was ok and not ok.

I remember talking to my mom and questioning things that took place at certain friend's houses in general (it's not ok for Barbie and Ken to be having sex, is it mom?) and I remember calling my parents to have them pick me up from other ones (watching R rated movies). But most of the questionable situations I can think of weren't even during sleepovers.

The point is by the time I was old enough to go to sleepovers I knew what was right and what was wrong, and I knew enough to yell, scream, pitch a fit and fight like crazy if anyone was to approach me inappropriately (which thankfully never happened).

One day, when I have kids (and I'm aloud to change my opinion when that day comes :)). My kids will be aloud to go to sleepovers, but Dave and I will use our discretion as to the circumstances (when, who, etc).

We can't shield our kids forever, and they will be sleeping with friends/leaders at scout or girl camps and Youth Conferences. I know Girls Camps and Youth Conferences were life altering/testimony building experiences for me (even if I did run around with my sports bra on the outside of my shirt at camp).

The Prices said...

We don't either and it took me a while to come around. Hubby was not allowed to do sleepovers and I did more than I count. Then as I grew up a little I began to understand. Then, funny thing, I read that same article a while ago and it turned me for sure. I agree that it just won't be worth it. I too expect ridicule as hubby's parents and kids were given a hard time, but I know I will feel more secure having my children at home and may likely avoid those questionable behaviors.

The Prices said...

p.s. In response to Amy, we will of course allow youth conference and girls camp/scout sleepovers and hopefully I'll be a leader and get to go with them :)

Fig said...

Not really crossing this bridge yet, but I'm sure it will be a toughie in the future.

I'm amazed that my parents let me go to all the sleepovers I did. Apparently they trusted me (and my friends, and their families) and stuff, but holy cow. When I think of all the things that COULD have happened ...

It's an interesting question. I'm excited to read everyone's responses.

Nikki said...

ugh. This subject makes me feel ill. I had sleepovers as a child. I remember some kids that couldn't stay. I don't remember thinking they were weird or teasing them though. I also remember a lot of what went on. I thought my husband and I had agreed on no sleepovers ever. But recently when we were discussing no boy-girl parties he did not remember the talk about the sleepovers. I'm going to show him that article and see if his opinion changed. Fortunately, we haven't had any sleepovers. I'd like to keep it that way.

Fig said...

P.S. Some of the more, um, questionable conversations of my youth were had at Girls' Camp. So ... churchly overnighters are not immune from the natural tendencies of teenage minds.

Erin said...

Even though I went to sleepover parties as a kid, I am 99% certain that they will be a no-go for our future children. I know of several families who make exceptions for "special" occasions (like Youth Conference etc...) and others who stuck to a policy of never, for any reason.I'm pretty sure we'd be of the first variety, but that would depend a great deal on the group of kids involved in the activity, the chaperons etc... Even though this will likely not be the most popular rule with the children and their friends/friends parents, I think kids are exposed to enough evil in this world (try walking through the hallways of any Jr/Sr High School and listen to some of the things kids talk about-very scary) without inviting it into their lives.

rori said...

Hahaha, that's funny fig. I wasn't really allowed sleep overs as a child, when I was young a girlfriend had a birthday sleepover, I think pretty much everyone was just grumpy and tired the next day. However, when I was in high school, after dances and stuff my two besties (that looks kinda like beasties, but that's not where I'm going....) would often just come and stay at my house, those were always fun. So gosh, I don't know!

Kimberly said...

Lucky for me I was unpopular as a kid so the only sleepovers I ever went to were those of my best-friend-because-she-was-the-only-other-girl-my-age-in-primary.

We haven't had this come up yet with our girls, but it's something I honestly haven't given any thought to and should. I think I'm against the idea of them having sleepovers at the home of people who I don't know well. I might give permission if we know and trust the parents, but even then I'd feel a bit cautious I think.

Jill said...

It's a no go here too, with one exception. MY Family. My 3 siblings all are married to people I completely trust. A sister lives across the street and we have boys 4 months apart. They get together for an overnighter prpbably about quarterly. It's special. When the others are in town, it's special.
A birthday is not reason enough.
And when they are older, midnight is quite late enough for anything.

There may be certain families I would feel comfortable placeing my children with for a night now and then, but a blanket no sleepover policy prevents lots of hurt feelings from those families who simple wouldn't make cut. It's just easier that way.

j@nAe said...

I'll do late-overs (you know, 11 pm or midnight, with pjs and the whole ordeal), but not sleepovers. My hubs and are with you - some of the worst things we saw were all on sleepovers. In my husband's case, often at the homes of family. Quite frankly, it's not worth it. Even if the parents are great people, who's to say the 13 year old boy (or girl) hasn't seen porn and suddenly decides to try stuff out when his parents aren't looking? And if we have them at our house? I'm not leaving the room for a second. I know what my friends did when no one is looking. Not happening.

LisAway said...

Thanks for this. I hadn't thought quite enough about it. I'm for sure going to make this a rule for our kids, too. That article was very good (if a little paranoia inducing) and very convincing.

Shellie said...

I let my daughter, but she has a different personality than my sons, with them, one sleepover at my own house was enough to convince me they aren't mature enough to handle it, so I have suspended them forever probably. My SIL has the kids just do late-overs with anyone who wants a sleep-over so no one is "offended".

Hilary said...

With a three and a one year old, we haven't had to cross this bridge yet -- but we have been talking about it. On one hand, I LOVED sleepovers, and had so much fun, and hate the idea of depriving my children of those experiences. On the other hand, I don't think we'll allow them. I don't think the benefits outweigh the risk -- and I did a lot of stupid things at sleepovers myself.
I don't know if this'll be a completely set in stone rule, or if there'll be exceptions, we'll just have to take things as they come. But for now, I'm leaning heavily towards being a 'no sleepover family' ourselves.
But it makes me sad.

Sarah said...

I doubt you are being ridiculed (at least not at this stage in their little lives). Josh has had 1 child over here for a sleepover (other than cousins) and Carly has not been on one despite being invited. I am not comfortable with it. However, I think it entirely depends on the situation. If it is a family I know VERY well and can trust without doubt, my kids can sleep over. We have had many questions about what is ok and what is not ok. This doesn't stop things from happening, I know, but I am hopeful that we have a open dialogue that feels safe when things go wrong.
Bottom line for us, information is key. Do I know the parent? Do I trust the parent? Will the parent be there ALL the time? Where are the kids sleeping? Do my kids know our phone number? Do they know they can call no matter the time? You can't know too much or be too safe.

Riddle Girl said...

What a great can of worms you opened up. I am glad to read others share my views on this. (I really did think I was in a minority.)
My girls are 10 and almost 8. This is starting to come up. But we have already discussed with our girls that they will be picked up around 11 or 12 (depending on the parents at the party). They are ok with it.
It is also to shield the friends from my early risers. Even if they go to bed really late, they still get up with the sun.
The only exception is their bi-annual cousin overnighter at grandma's house. They are monitored by my parents and my two brothers for the evening. So I KNOW that nothing bad happens. (Other than silly kids stuff!)

Megan said...

No sleepovers here with the exception of family and close friends whose parents request the need for one (like an overnight couple-only trip). There really isn't any reason for them... kids get little to no sleep and are bears to deal with the next day. For many of the same reasons you've listed we don't do them although I did as a child as well. I don't let my children sleep in my bed or in each other's rooms either.

Vanessa said...

No. For selfish reasons. I want my sleep. And I don't want to be up all night policing those squealy girls. And then, my kids are bears the next day.

The day after cousin sleep overs are the worst day of my life.

kristi said...

I allow sleepovers!!!! Of course, I do have restrictions. I have to know the parents and feel completely comfortable with them. So far my kids have only had a sleepover, without us, at my brothers house. My 3 oldest are boys and I just don't know how often sleepovers will even get put into play. I will take it a situation at a time. I will always reenforce our rules with my kids before they go and let them know that no matter what they can always call us if needed. Of course I will allow my kids to go to scout camp and/or girls camp and youth conference. I think that I would be doing a very large disservice to them if I took that opportunity of spirtual building away from them.

I do wonder though, what does everyone here consider a sleepover? I consider it anytime that a child sleeps away from their parents. So, for those who don't allow sleepovers do you ever have anyone babysat your kids overnight so that you can have a getaway with your husband? I'm not trying to be nit picky, I'm just wondering.

DeNae said...

Call us hypocrites, but we always had one set of rules for the girls and one for the boys. Girls were allowed maybe twice a year, under very controlled circumstances, to have a friend or two over. Or to sleep at a trusted friend's house.

We never let the boys. Period. Boys may be sane, rational creatures as individuals. But when you start multiplying the bodies, you divide the brains. Proven scientific fact. Plus, they tend to want to "do things", like bowling and stuff. So we'd drive everyone hither and thither, and end with a big ol' drop-off at their own homes. Party over!

We also did the "stay until midnight and we'll come get you" thing, and that worked out great.

Having raised out kids outside Utah, it was often the case that the sleepover was a Saturday to Sunday thing. So we just begged off on the grounds that we didn't do parties of any kind on Sunday.

When my kids hit their older teens, I permitted it more. By then I trusted them, I trusted their friends, they could drive themselves, etc. Interestingly, by that time they had figured out for themselves that all the fun happens by midnight, and you get dang sick of that crowd by morning. They hardly ever do sleepovers now.

Head Nurse or Patient- you be the judge said...

We do both- sort of. We have certain very good friends that a one or two at a time sleep over at their houses is okay- Parents are our very good friends and there aren't older siblings to cause concern. But- sleepover parties- no- and people whose parents we are not close with - no again. It has caused more than one sad time- but our kids understand the rule, and why the rule. John Bytheway said in a talk that "get a few kids together and their IQ takes a dive".

My oldest survived just fine with no lasting antisocial effects.

As they get older- the rules sometimes have to adjust- but while they are still governable- the rule is no- with a few exceptions. It can get a little tricky to have those exceptions, but I am not in this to win a popularity contest. :)

Rachel Sue said...

Someone else said it first, but I was allowed to to sleepovers all the time growing up and my husband never was. (And thinking back on it, I am amazed my parents let me go to as many places with the people that they did.) I was all for them. In fact, some close friends invited my girls to sleep over and I was all for it, but my husband put his foot down. We talked about it for hours. For me, it was "But we know them. We trust them." They are one of the few families that I would have said yes too without even thinking about it. He simply refused, so I decided to go along with him on it.

My lesson came a couple of months later. This particular family fell apart for some pretty appalling reasons. I won't air their dirty laundry, but I pretty much decided that my kids weren't allowed to play over there with out my presence, let alone sleep there. And that pretty much decided it for me. No sleepovers for our kids.

Hel said...

This issue never came up in my life because I used to get TERRIBLE home sickness, so I was always calling mum up by midnight anyway begging her to pick me up.

I didn't really appreciate that LDS Living article because although all those things are true, I would say that it is mostly paranoia inducing (as already stated). It is my personal experience that these things are likely to happen at any time. Are we going to stop sending our children to other people's places to play? Where does it stop?

There is a point to where we have to start trusting our children and the morals we have taught them. and not being so scared of society that we become reclusive.

Just my take on things. I totally get the no sleepover rule, but from my own experiences I know that despite being sheltered... I still grew up and made bad choices. I eventually had my agency. xo

Just SO said...

We do sleepovers with cousins but that is it. And they are few and far between. Oh and my daughter has slept over at my dear friends house a couple of times. I always casually ask about what they did while they were there. I would hope that my kids would tell me if anything went wrong. Which hopefully it won't.

Other than that we have "stay up late" nights and my kids are okay with that. Surprisingly it's done quite a bit around here so most people understand. My kids know the reasoning behind it and therefore they don't even ask to have sleepovers they ask to have "Stay up Late Nights".

Morgan -Ing said...

Nope, not gonna. My husband and I are as one on this. We are absolutely not interested in our children sleeping anywhere but home.

Now, I understand Boy Scouts and camp and all that jazz, and to be honest, if their dad isn't with them, they won't be old and 6ft tall. MAYBE. (And yes, they will be, my husband was a 6ft tall 7th grader) but until then, I am not willing to risk it.

As for going on overnights with my husband, HA! We've never done it yet, but I'm sure we will. And if we do, the kids will be with my parents. I'm cool with that.

So, I'm weird and paranoid, and I'm totally fine with that.

Beeswax said...

We only do sleepovers at grandma or cousins' homes. Case by case decisions seemed like we'd end up with lots of begging and hurt feelings.

Also, my friends who were normal teenagers (ie not embarrassing goody-goody like me) in high school tell me that telling their parents they were 'sleeping over' at someone else's house was a great way to make sure their parents had no idea what they were really up to. Maybe they did end up sleeping over there, but some permissive parents didn't care if you showed up at 4 am, if at all.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

I'm a sleepover prude. Even at relative's homes, I get antsy.

Addressing to this question from our youth, our Stake President recently stated that while there is no rule, his own personal first exposure to R-rated movies, pornography, homosexuality, and the occult all occurred at sleepovers. This is similar to what the article said. I'd also add that "dare" activities and near-criminal behavior are much more likely, even reflecting on my own "innocent" experiences as a youth.

I absolutely do NOT buy into the "they're going to be exposed to it somehow anyway" argument. My only response to that is: "Not on my watch, nor with my consent."

Joni said...

I didn't read any of the other responses, but this is a topic that, while we've never had to test it, has been decided for a while.

We have the same policy: Our kids can go to sleepovers, but cannot sleep at sleepovers. If there is some big thing happening in the morning we will take them back.

I almost said you can't be too careful. But I think you can be too careful. I just don't think this is being too careful.

The only acceptable sleepovers are the ones where we are also sleeping over.

I think sleepovers are losing popularity in general though.

janel said...

Thank you for the encouragement. I was recently confronted with this issue for the first time and I felt bad being the "party pooper" but I agree-you can't be too careful.

Melanie J said...

I'm embarrassed to say that I haven't given the sleepover question much thought, but I should have. I can recall some less than wholesome experiences from childhood sleepovers. I think I like the midnight solution, too. But that's more in terms of slumber parties. I think I'm still open to friends coming over here and mine going to certain friends' houses. But it's an excellent question.

The Astons said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Astons said...

This is something my hubby and I talk about A LOT. Our oldest is only 8 but has been invited to a number of sleep overs (and even our 5 year old). But the fact for us is this: NOTHING is worth the risk of putting our kids in preventable danger. Even if it makes us unpopular. So we have a NO sleep over policy at friends places. BUT. we allow them at our house. And we do our best to make sure they're fun for the kids so they're happy to be at home (which is working for now :) And although I do it discreetly, you better believe i'm hovering within ear shot up until the second they're all asleep so I know exactly what's going on :) We have a similar policy with play dates too. We do everything we can to encourage the kids to bring their friends to our place instead of them going there. But we do allow them. I'd much rather have the 'inconvenience' of lots of extra kids at my place but know exactly what's going on. We also have an open door policy at our place which simply means when you're in a room - the door stays open! For now the kids are good with this. I'm sure in the future they may resist but hopefully we can help them understand why we do the things we do!

Thanks for the link to the article i'm going to check it out now!

The Astons said...

I just read my comment back and I thought I should state for the record that "I am not a control freak" :)hehe - seriously i'm not! and my kids can play at their friends places if I know and trust the parents (and anyone else that may live there or be in the home at the same time as my kids! Sadly I have learned from others that it's not just the parents or those that 'live' in the house that you have to be aware of!!

Lara said...

We don't allow our kids to do sleepovers. We don't even allow them to stay until midnight (well, they're a little young yet), but if they are invited to one they may stay until around 10:30 pm, and I usually think that's long enough.

I was really relieved moving here that Bria's best friend's family feels the same way. They aren't LDS, but they are a strong Catholic family. It makes Bria feel better to know that she and her friend will both be leaving the sleepover at the same time.

Anyway, my reasons are pretty much everything you already said. I've heard some pretty horrible things that have happened at sleepovers, and like you, I know that I participated in many a questionable activity while sleeping over. They're just not necessary, in my opinion.

Lara said...

PS...just read over the comments and am relieved to see that I am in the majority. That is really nice to see where this topic is concerned, because in real life, I am often in the minority on this one.

Happy Mom said...

We don't, for the reasons you listed above.

My older kids were sometimes teased, but more often their friends and classmates were just confused. They would ask them why they didn't do sleep overs, with that look that lets you know they clearly think you're from another planet. Sometimes it bothered my children and it was a topic of discussion on many occasions.

It's a very personal, family decision, but I'd make the same decision again.

kristi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
i like whispering too said...

I am married, and I have no kids, which definitely lessens my credibility on the subject, but I am a Young Women's leader in my ward, which I love. Once every few months (when my husband is away on a Scout campout for his calling), we have a YW sleepover at my house, with several leaders who stay. We always let the Bishopric know about it as well (I think that says something. Even for a church sleepover, we've been counseled to make sure the Bishopric knows and approves of it.) The girls really love this opportunity to be in a good place and have fun with their friends. I love knowing that they are in a good environment instead of any other kind of party. I am also a public high school teacher, so I know a little too well what some of their peers may be up to on the weekends. The YW may be loud and giggle uncontrollably, but at least they are getting a safe and positive sleepover experience.

Harmony said...

I haven't really thought about it much, and Jared & I have NEVER discussed whether our kids will be allowed to go to sleepovers. However, off the top of my head, I think maybe it depends on where they are going. For example, if my child were ME and she were going to YOUR house when we wer 16, then, definitely, yes. I know the parents, I know they have good values, I know YOU like my own daighter, and the family is LDS. So, yes.

But, someone from school that maybe I've only met a couple times and I don't know the family situation? Hm, I think the 12:00 is a great idea. Only mischief can happen after midnight. (TP party, anyone?)

Brittany Ann said...

Negative. There's just too many possibilities. You're right, we can't shield our kids from everything, I agree. I also wouldn't send them out to play in the street just because I didn't see any cars coming. It just seems unsafe to me. So...I agree with your no sleep over policy. :)

Kathy said...

We don't do sleepovers unless it's cousins or grandparents. Honestly, I think it takes some of the pressure off of our kids. For kids who may be shy or uncomfortable in that kind of situation, we give them an easy out.

I was allowed sleepovers. And yes, there were a few questionable activities at these sleepovers.

I like the "you can stay late but not over" policy. My kids are only 5 and 6 so we'll have to see how it goes. Great topic for discussion!

Jamie said...

We call them "Late Night Parties" and have them at our house, that way no one gets ridiculed and everyone goes home or to bed at midnight. Playing and fun had by all with parental supervision.

Katy said...

I was not allowed to do sleepovers. My mom budged on that only once, I think, and it was at my own house with a best friend. Like, in high school. We watched Newsies and were so tired froms school that we fell asleep. The end.

I argued against it a lot, but now I am thankful she was strict. When I've asked her why, she said, "Well, I believe nothing good really comes out of sleepovers. Plus, the few times I DID allow it, my children were AWFUL for the next few days from sleep-deprivation. Never again!"

I completely agree. :)

Qait said...

You're wise. I agree on your policy. I thought it was unfair when I was a kid, thought my parents were very uncool, but I also understood enough that I didn't let it become a super huge deal. And my papa finally explained once (about the same way you did in your blog with maybe some stories thrown in), and I immediately agreed on my parents' decision.
It's dangerous.
My parents came up with a sort of compromise. Our friends could come to our house. OR. If we went to their house, our families had to know each other well AND there had to be no men/boys in the home AT ALL. If it was girls sleeping over, had to be all girls at home. And boys, all boys.
Anyway, even that wasn't necessarily foolproof. I honestly have only ever had...oh, three? sleepovers... and I sure don't care!
Definitely stick to your choice.

Qait said...

Oh, PS: if you ever did a sleepover, put the kids in the living room or something!
...and make sure everyone has modest pajamas...
and like I said, only girls in the home if it's girls...
yeah, whatever, it's dangerous anyway.

Mei said...

I am not familiar with the LDS community, so can someone tell me what the dangers are at sleepovers, in your eyes? I understand the not trusting random adults part, but what else? I mean, is it drinking and filthy mags, or other things? I remember my sleepovers being really tame until I turned about 16.

Kazzy said...

We allowed them more with my older boys, but have cracked down with the younger two. Late nights at a friend's is what we do now.

Cousins' houses are the only exceptions.

Anonymous said...

I wanted to add something. Even families who may seem to have the same values as you (ie- same religious beliefs, etc.) may not when it comes to movies, TV, music- and it is pretty hard for kids to stand up to not only their friends, but adults as well. And- I believe the best offense is a great defense. It is NEVER too early to teach your children not only Stranger Danger- but the often overlooked Friend/Family Member Danger. Speaking from painful personal experience.

gigi said...

I'm with you!! My boys only stayed with grandparents. Kids were allowed to stay over with us but my kids never wanted to stay with ay one else so it was easy for us :)

MayerFamily said...

hmmm, I have a feeling this post was due to our conversation! I didn't mean to open a can of worms, I really just wanted to broach the subject and see how others felt about it because while we feel the same way you do about it, it was hard the pull the trigger and say, nope, no sleepovers, ever. But I'm a big fan of the "stay over late" rule, and then pick up.
Hopefully our kids won't be ridiculed!

Kristi said...

NO! A few of my friends were molested at a good friends home over the years - the Dad was a really nice guy that no one would have ever thought would do something like that! I only slept over there a couple of times... thank goodness. I just think you can't be too careful! If there is a sleepover I simply pick up my child at 10:00 or so - that way they get to enjoy most of the fun, and I have peace of mind knowing they are home in a safe envorinment!