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Your child comes yelling at you after school, ‘mom I got asked to go for a sleepover, can I go?’ You panic. You don’t want to let them go, You want to protect them and the only way to do that is by keeping them with you at all times. Right?
Do you really want your child sleeping in someone else’s house, but then again how do you say no? Isn’t that part of having friends and grow up? Do we keep our kids in a bubble to protect them so no one can hurt them? If you are anything like me, these are the thoughts going through your head concerning this issue. The reality of the situation is we cannot keep our kids protected against everything. Life will cause some pain and we cannot protect them from everything, but we also have to ensure we do not throw our children to the wolves.
Being prepared is a great way to be ready for this question. So try and think about this before your child asks this question in front of everyone. You need to know what you will do and why. Do you allow them, if so with whom and why?
I had decided that I wanted to give my children a life as normal as possible and if bad things happen I would be there alongside them to teach them how to overcome those things. So for me, I have decided to not live in a bubble and I try to keep a good balance between protecting them and yet letting them live a fun life.
What you think is right or wrong here might differ a great deal from what I was willing to accept, so here are the rules I came up with that are only a guideline for your consideration: If I knew the parents and were comfortable with them, my child could go for a sleep-over, if it was not a school night. If, however, they called me to come to pick them up and bring them home I would gladly do so without making them feel any guilt but they would not be allowed to go back for a sleepover for one year.
The same applied with others coming to sleep-over at our home. If they went home for any reason other than they were sick, they were not invited back for one year. My reasoning for this was because it is an inconvenience for both parents to have a sleep-over disrupted due to a child not wanting to stay and it is a huge disappointment to the child that is left behind. So if they are uncomfortable for any reason and they want to come home, it is either because they are not comfortable with that home, or they are not old enough and mature enough to go on an overnight yet. In either case, not allowing them to go again for a year solves both problems.
Meanwhile, within that year you have time to find out if it was a problem with the home and if it was you have time to try and get the truth out of the child as to what the issue was and help work through it. At times like this, you just have to pray that nothing bad happened to them while they were there. You also have to ensure you do your homework on the family they wish to stay with so the next time they want to go for a sleep-over your judgment is in tune with what is good for your child and that it is truly a safe environment
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