Sleepovers: Are They A Childhood Ritual Parents Love To Hate?Danielle Smith
I think I went to my first sleepover when I was five. And, if I’m not mistaken, that is the same age, I first allowed my daughter to experience the same. I know that’s when my son first did. (since it was just in this past year… he’s been begging for longer after watching his older sister).
It never occurred to me to *not* allow sleepovers.
But after reading this post by my friend Jenny Ingram this week, I realized many, many parents not only dislike the sleepover, quite a few ban them. Jenny’s post was sparked, in part by revelations about politcian Michael Gardner and his recent conviction for molesting two young girls at a sleepover for his daughter’s birthday.
In the post, Jenny expresses her hesitations about sleepovers, as well as her ‘Circle of Trust’ – those with whom her children are allowed sleepovers. But within the comments, I will admit to being surprised to see, a flood of parents who either don’t allow sleepovers at all, or who only allow them with a very few families.
As I read, I realized how many people had poor experiences with sleepovers as a child – or who knew someone who had experienced the unthinkable. It is natural for this personal experience to effect how we parent.
Since my sleepover experiences were all positive and we live in a very closeknit community – the kids we have over and who’s homes my children visit are all families we know very well – we haven’t hesitated.
I love that Jenny inspired greater thought in me and how she summed up her feelings in this comment:
I do think it’s situational. What I’ve seen in comments here and in a couple other spaces about this topic, those who have not had a negative experience are more open. Those who have, are more cautious. I have to remain very vague in the two instances that have affected me/people I have close connection with… and I just really can’t say much more. I just have seen the exception and it’s hard to not be affected by that.
What are your thoughts and experiences as they relate to sleepovers and your children?
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