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Kid Sleeps At Your House, Whose Rules Apply? Yours Or Kid's Parents?

Who's in charge? Whose rules apply?

Sleepovers are a huge part of growing up.  But releasing your child to the care of another parent can be tricky.

Rules vary drastically within households.  What one family considers important may not be on the radar in another home.

For example, you may not be inclined to let your 11-year-old walk to a nearby convenience store for a soda and candy or whatever it is 11-year-olds are into.  But maybe the parents of your 11-year-old’s friend think it’s no big deal to allow the kids to do so.  If they do allow the children to walk to the store, do you hold them responsible or do you hold your child (who knows the rules) responsible?

Similarly, if a child sleeps at your home and you know they aren’t allowed to drink soda, is it your obligation to police the child?  What if the kid has a soda while watching movies with your children?  Is it your job to confiscate the soda?  AWKWARD.

I came across this exact scenario on a parenting forum on which a mother expresses her anger that her teenager went to a party while sleeping at a friend’s house.  She isn’t sure whether she should be mad at her teen for breaking the rule or angry with the parent for taking her teen to the party or if she’s overreacting altogether.

My teen daughter is allowed to go to parties under certain conditions… We drive her to all parties and pick her up. She is not allowed to sleep over after a party so that we can be sure she is safe and – if she has snuck a drink – has not had too much…  On the weekend she went to a good friends house for “just a sleep over” (I have spoken with the mother many times and she knows our policies). I spoke with the mother later in the week and she said they had a good time, just hung around the house.  I then found out later that she had driven them to a party and pretty much lied to me about them going anywhere, not to mention my daughter lying about it.  I feel this is a terrible breach of trust between parents.

Granted, the other mother lied.  It’s safe to assume she probably thinks this mother’s policies are too strict.  But if the teen in question wanted to go to the party and chose to go to the party, ultimately, is it this mother’s responsible to police someone else’s child?  Do parents have an unspoken agreement with each other to accept the authority of the other parent?  Or is the teen old enough to make her choices? She knew your rules better then anyone and she chose to ignore them.

Where do parents draw the line of authority when hosting children at their home?  And what if you think another parent’s policies for their children are ridiculous or overly strict? Are you obligated to enforce them in your home?

Make it a good time for everyone with these 6 Strategies for Playdate Success!

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