My son (6) has just gotten to the age that we felt he was mature and old enough to sleep over at a friend's house. He has only done it a handful of times, but now I'm starting to really, umm, HATE it... and I feel like a grumpy mom. Here's my issue:
WE are a very strict household. I was allowed to run wild as a child and I felt like it had a negative impact on me growing up. DH was raised in a very strict household, so he's just carrying on what he felt was successful in his life. By strict I mean my kids have boundaries, which I feel are important. Cleaning up after ourselves, our kids have chores, we follow a schedule, we don't jump on beds, furniture or act like wild animals. Rough play and yelling is fine outside, but inside we expect you to respect our things. You do what you're told, and if there is a problem, we have "time in's" and talk about what the issue is and try to come to an understanding together. I feel like I support my kids and make them feel secure and loved, but have an equally stern, high expectations household.
Now DS1's friends house... to me... is wayyyyyy different. His mom is a very loving, laid back women. I can tell she is very well bonded with her kids and is a devoted mom. However, her kids do pretty much whatever they want. While DH and I were over last night, the kids were using all of the furniture as trampolines and somehow got a bunch of play-dough out and were throwing it AT THE WHITE WALLS, watching it splatter. DH and I looked at each other like "ooommmggg is this happening right now?" Their blinds are like completely destroyed from the kids, and I just notice that a lot of their furniture and stuff is broken because everyone is so rough. I mean, the kids were chasing each other around with a tennis racket and hitting and kicking balls in the house. My DS had this glimmer in his eye as he ran around like a wild animal (not listening to me at all as I asked him to respect their house, as she said "no biggie, they're allowed to do that!".
So he comes home this morning. I pick him at at noon and he's still in his PJs. He had a chocolate bar for breakfast, no lunch. I asked him what he did and he tells me "I stayed up ALLLLL night! They're allowed to watch TV all night(yes, TV in their bed room .. lol.. we don't even have cable) and we jumped on the beds for hours. SO MUCH FUN. We played outside all morning by ourselves!"
On the way home, DS started to cry because he was coming home. When we pulled in the driveway I turned the car off and encouraged him to talk to me about why he was upset. Long story short, he's upset because our house is so lame and J's house is so fun. His parents are so cool. He can do anything he wants. I tried to explain the best I could the differences in households, but I mean.. c'mon.. he's 6. I fed him, showered and dressed him, and now he is taking the first nap in three years because he's so completely exhausted from not sleeping.
DH arranged this sleepover, I had been trying to avoid them as I find the differences in households to be just TOO much. But now I feel like the jerk, controlling mom who won't let him have sleepovers because I don't feel like the things he's doing/seeing are safe & good examples.
WWYD in a situation like this? DH thinks one night every now and then won't hurt him.. I don't feel like she's a bad mom or anything, I just feel like our households are very different and sending mixed signals.
Edited by mamanoish - 12/17/11 at 11:19am