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#1 of 183 Old 12-22-2007, 01:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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After much consideration, I've decided on a no-sleepover policy for my kids - none at our house, no attending sleep-overs at other people's homes.

Rather than asking every potential friend if the family has guns, or former convicted criminals, or drug users, etc...., or not asking and then worrying - I think a no-sleepover at all policy will be the fairest all around policy. The kids will survive.

Does anyone else have this policy?
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#2 of 183 Old 12-22-2007, 02:06 PM
 
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My mom had this policy with me when I was a child. I did end up going on one sleepover but it was at my friend's house whose mom babysat me everyday after school until my mom got home from work.

I have some very mixed feelings about the whole thing, but now these are different times. At the time I thought it was terribly unfair of her. By the time I got to high school I just stayed over friend's houses without her permission and of course she thought I went missing, was hooking up with boys, and doing all sorts of drinking and drugs...which was somewhat true...But I always insisted that if she was not so overprotective I would not have felt the need to rebel so hard. I mean I reallllllllly rebelled. I was bad. I turned out ok, but it was touch and go for a long time.

I think as parents we have to find a balance. Saying no to everything the kids want to do all the time leads to rebellious behavior. Saying yes to everything the kids want leads to spoiled, unprotected kids.

Talk with your kids about each situation that arises and discuss with them the pros and cons of saying yes or no. I think being open-minded and honest with them about your feelings and your information is the best route rather than having a hard and fast rule.

If sleep overs are going to be part of the culture of the kids in your 'hood, then have get-togethers and meet the families. Communicate with the parents and develop healthy relationships. If that is not possible then having some hard and fast guidelines about certain activities is probably a good bet.

I am just a huge advocate for open, honest dialogue that includes the children in the decision. Just my $0.02.
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#3 of 183 Old 12-22-2007, 04:34 PM
 
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I don't really have a policy but it hasn't come up yet with dd.
She has never asked for a non-relative to sleep over or sleep at a non-relative's home.
I think I would want to be more flexible and take it on a case-by-case basis to be fair to everyone. I would not want dd staying with someone we didn't know pretty well but if we knew someone well I would allow a sleepover if dd wants it.

OP- I'm curious about your no sleepover policy to avoid asking questions about each potential friend's background. I'm not criticizing. I'd really just like to know more about your reasoning and implementation of the policy.

Do you plan to allow other children to play at your home or your children to play at another person's home at any point under your policy?
Are you concerned about the same issues being there (guns, criminal history, drugs) during the day? If you aren't concerned about these issues outside a sleepover situation why aren't you concerned?
If you don't ask the questions about the playmate's home and background then do you worry that the no sleepover policy might provide a false sense of security?
Will your kids be with other kids only at a neutral location like school or the park or with you present?
Do you plan to have this policy until your children are adults or is this only for when they are very young?

Kim ~mom to one awesome dd (12)

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#4 of 183 Old 12-22-2007, 04:37 PM
 
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My dh grew up with that policy and was very hurt by it. It was unfair, unjustified and made him more of a "weirdo" than he already was (identical twin geek... )

I had sleep overs (in both directions) My parents always knew the families involved and they benefited me in many ways. I got to spend more quailty time with friends than I would have otherwise. I got to take friends to our beach house and create countless memories. I got to see up close how other families functioned.

-Angela
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#5 of 183 Old 12-22-2007, 04:56 PM
 
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Are you applying that policy to summer camps as well? What about friends or relatives whose families you trust very much?

I don't have a no-sleepover policy... but nor has my daughter ever been invited to one (cause she's only 5.5!) I imagine I'll take it case by case. And assuming she's interested, I would definitely not want to deny her experiences of girl scout summer camps and church camps that I have such great memories of.
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#6 of 183 Old 12-22-2007, 04:56 PM
 
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My dd is too young for sleepovers, but I'll chime in... (and I don't know how old you children are, which might make a difference)

I think that by not allowing sleepovers you may be limiting their ability to see and recognize dangerous situations for themselves. As a child I was allowed sleepovers, but I was also allowed to choose where I went and where I stayed. My mum talked to me about my friend's parents and their homes, how safe and cared for I felt there, etc. I was also allowed to call at any time if I wanted to come home early. I think it gave me good opportunities to grow and be exposed to how other families operate. And lots of sleepless nights and junkfood, too.

I know for a while my younger sister was doing sleepovers every weekend and chronically exhausted, so she was not allowed sleepovers. My parents did let her stay pretty late at friend's houses, but she had to come home to sleep.

The kids will survive, but will they understand the rule or resent it?

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#7 of 183 Old 12-22-2007, 05:06 PM
 
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I agree with what MelW said. FWIW, I do allow my daughters to have sleepovers, but only with families that I know very well and have spent time with. I have no problem with telling them that sometimes we don't know a family well enough to have them sleep over, or for my kids to go to their houses. I think that's a little more fair than just a "none at all" policy. I also think that by never letting them sleep over at other's houses you may be sheltering them way too much, and create a child that never knows that to do beyond his/her four walls, or when ever mom or dad isn't there. I also believe it's important for kids to be exposed to the way that other families function, so that they learn to explore and respect differences between them.

Bethany, crunchy Christian mom to Destiny (11) Deanna (9), and Ethan (2)

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#8 of 183 Old 12-22-2007, 05:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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If I take it on a case by case basis, then I'm in the position of making some parents/kids/families feel "not good enough." If I make it a blanket policy for now, then it's not a case of saying, no my son can stay at this friend's house, but not yours. We live in a small rural area where everyone knows everyone, with class sizes of around 16 students, and a lot of poverty. So when someone like myself who has not lived here forever, and is not living in poverty, says yes to some and not to others, it makes me look like a snob. It doesn't matter if I say that we just don't know the family well enough.

What if we do know them well enough to know that we don't want our kids at their home - guns, cigarette smoke, violent video games, lax safety standards? I think their kids are fine and their parenting methods are obviously working for their families- but I don't want my kids to be in that environment for 8 or more hours. What if I said? "Sorry, I see that you let your toddler ride in your lap in the front seat of the car and your other kids without seatbelts in the back. That's fine for you, but I don't trust you with my child for ten hours overnight." For now, at the elementary school level, I'd rather put out the blanket policy of no sleepovers.

I've got to say that I've never regretted being over protective with my kids. I have however regretted a few instances of going against my instincts and saying yes where I should have said no.
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#9 of 183 Old 12-22-2007, 05:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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One of you asked about summer camps. I plan to try a day camp with the kids this coming summer. If that works out, then my older child can try the week long in-residence camp. I would only choose a camp that had a clear policy on abuse prevention and that adhered to some sort of a national standard.
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#10 of 183 Old 12-22-2007, 05:14 PM
 
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I don't have a no-sleepover policy, but I wouldn't let DD sleep over at any family's house that I didn't know pretty well.

I do think our children miss out on a lot because our culture has become so much more paranoid, to the point where it hurts our children. I think it has been said that the fear of bad things happening to our kids actually causes more damage to them than allowing the very unlikely risk of something happening to them. Its hard to let them go, though. Sometimes I wonder how I survived my own childhood! We even slept outside in tents, with no parents within earshot. I always brought a friend camping with me, and neither set of parents even had cell phones.
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#11 of 183 Old 12-22-2007, 05:47 PM
 
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I have the same policy. But, the nice thing is that at least in my group of friends, sleep overs are a thing of the past. Most parents these days are uncomfortable with it so it's never come up.

I personally know someone who spent the night at her girlfriends house and the dad came in and molested her while she slept. These were good family friends. You never can tell so there is no way in the world I would ever allow it.

I also don't see the point? Why in the world would you need to sleep at someone else's house? I hated sleeping over at friends houses as a kid - hated it. As my kids get older, they can hang out, have dinner with friends etc... but when it comes time for bed, they're coming home.
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#12 of 183 Old 12-22-2007, 06:21 PM
 
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Why no kids sleeping over at your house? I can almost understand the no sleepover policy at someone else's house, but I can't understand why you won't let other kids sleep over at your house. You can always tell the other parents that you're too paranoid to let your dd out of your sight, but you'd be happy to have their kids at your house.

I wouldn't have this policy myself. I will be very careful about where my kids play and when/where they sleepover. But sleepovers are an important part of being social in our community, and I don't want my kids to miss out on that.

I don't think the risks are any greater now than they were 30-35 years ago when I was doing this. I prefer to ask the difficult questions (do you have guns? Then no, I'm sorry, my kids can't spend the night there, but you're welcome to send them to my house; will you be home all the time? who else will be there with the children? where is your alcohol located? Can your kids get access to it? ) and make myself unpopular with a few people than to severely limit my kids' social opportunities. I remember my mom doing this kind of thing, and while it embarrassed the heck out of me at the time, I survived and I was safe.

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#13 of 183 Old 12-22-2007, 06:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The complete no-sleepover policy avoids the whole judging individuals issue. My main issue is making kids feel bad. I don't worry about upsetting parents so much as I worry about making someone else's little children feel bad. Now my kids can say "my mom doesn't allow any sleepovers" instead of saying "My mom says I can't come to your house because ...."
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#14 of 183 Old 12-22-2007, 06:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Amcal. It's nice to hear from another person with a similar policy.
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#15 of 183 Old 12-22-2007, 07:01 PM
 
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My kids are too young to really do sleepovers although my son has been asking to have a couple of his friends spend the night. I have said sure - I can't wait until my kids want to have sleepovers, although I would prefer to have them at my house.

I used to have (and go on) lots of sleepovers as a child and I have great memories of them. Staying up late, talking, playing pranks, eating lots of junk, watching TV late, etc. I want my kids to have that kind of fun as well. Plus, I think it gives them the chance to really start to learn some independence.
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#16 of 183 Old 12-22-2007, 07:45 PM
 
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I've got mixed feelings with the whole thing...I had fun at some sleep overs, but was exposed to things at others that really traumatized me....all with families we knew really well. We live in a small community as well, with family nearby. I've thought of the family only rule, but to be honest sometimes, you just can't trust family. My biggest concern is sexual abuse.
It's my job as a parent to protect my children and if that means they miss out on a few activities, so be it. Better safe than sorry....Gratefully, my children are too young. We have some time to figure this out.
So, for those of you who do allow: what age?
Does anyone have a sleepovers-at-our-house-only policy?
Thanks for the thread, op! I'm interested in everyone's approach.

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#17 of 183 Old 12-22-2007, 08:03 PM
 
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I've got mixed feelings with the whole thing...I had fun at some sleep overs, but was exposed to things at others that really traumatized me....all with families we knew really well.
You know, this is a really good point. I had a good friend - my parents knew the family well. But, every time I spent the night, the girl would bring out sexual things. She showed me her dad's naked girl playing cards, her mom's vibrator, her dad's playboy collection etc... It made me so uncomfortable and I felt trapped. I never told my parents because I was embarrassed. I just think that no matter how well you think you know someone, until you've lived in their house, you don't really know them. I think children can have so many fun activities together that doesn't involve sleeping over at someone else's house.
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#18 of 183 Old 12-22-2007, 08:20 PM
 
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Yeah, and it's always the person you'd never think it of, it seems. I just feel like it's my duty to protect them. I think you can do that and still give them plenty of opportunities to have fun. It really is a sad world, tho that we even need to worry about things like this.

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#19 of 183 Old 12-22-2007, 08:23 PM
 
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I think I will be using google alot when my kids are sleeping over.

Oh and BTW-the police office can do a criminal check real quick if you just call them.

Get to know the familys...

And whats wrong with having kids over to your house?
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#20 of 183 Old 12-22-2007, 08:24 PM
 
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Yeah, and it's always the person you'd never think it of, it seems. I just feel like it's my duty to protect them. I think you can do that and still give them plenty of opportunities to have fun. It really is a sad world, tho that we even need to worry about things like this.
I dont think there is actually more crime, etc. I just think we hear about it more because we have the internett and 24 hour news.

Check out http://www.goodnewsnetwork.org

Smile!
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#21 of 183 Old 12-22-2007, 08:26 PM
 
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Mixed feelings..mixed feelings...mixed feelings...*sigh* With my kids getting older I am going to have to face this. Just a few days ago my 9 yr. old DS was invited to sleep over at the home a boy who lives across the road. I said no...he was VERY unhappy with me.
...mixed feelings...

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#22 of 183 Old 12-22-2007, 08:43 PM
 
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I dont think there is actually more crime, etc. I just think we hear about it more because we have the internett and 24 hour news.

Check out http://www.goodnewsnetwork.org

Smile!
I don't think she's saying there is more crime, just that it's a sad world that horrible things happen to children and that we even have to think about it. I know its happened throughout history. The majority of women my mom's age and older that I know were sexually abused in one way or another - they just never talked about it back then. At least we're talking about it now and can make informed choices.
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#23 of 183 Old 12-22-2007, 08:45 PM
 
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Mixed feelings..mixed feelings...mixed feelings...*sigh* With my kids getting older I am going to have to face this. Just a few days ago my 9 yr. old DS was invited to sleep over at the home a boy who lives across the road. I said no...he was VERY unhappy with me.
...mixed feelings...
This is why I will have a no sleep over policy from the very beginning so it's not even a quesiton. My children will know that we don't sleep over at other people's houses.

As far as children sleeping at our house, I wouldn't have a problem with it but, at some point, they are going to want to reciprocate and won't understand that I trust my house but not theirs. I'd rather just have a no sleepover policy period.
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#24 of 183 Old 12-22-2007, 08:52 PM
 
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This is why I will have a no sleep over policy from the very beginning so it's not even a quesiton. My children will know that we don't sleep over at other people's houses.

As far as children sleeping at our house, I wouldn't have a problem with it but, at some point, they are going to want to reciprocate and won't understand that I trust my house but not theirs. I'd rather just have a no sleepover policy period.
I AM going to have to pick a stance here. I had a no sleepover policy growing up all through elem. school & I HATED IT. I was in girl scouts & they let me go camping & do sleepovers with them, but anything else was a firm NO. In middle school they changed their minds. I have to say though, in high school I did some things that I would be TERRIFIED for my DD to do. My family was (& IS) clueless about it all. I don't trust people. But I can see these issues stemming from being raised that way, don't wanna repeat mistakes. ONE time - when DS1 was about 6 - I let him go to a neighbors house for a COUPLE HOURS and something pretty disturbing happened. I'm just really conflicted.

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#25 of 183 Old 12-22-2007, 09:17 PM
 
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I don't think she's saying there is more crime, just that it's a sad world that horrible things happen to children and that we even have to think about it. I know its happened throughout history. The majority of women my mom's age and older that I know were sexually abused in one way or another - they just never talked about it back then. At least we're talking about it now and can make informed choices.
Yes but you dont have to let it take over your life. And I think that sheltering kids is very damaging sometimes. Like no sleep-overs...like some other posters said-it kind of scarred them.

We have to keep our kids safe. But we can't keep them in a sling forever.

(Mine are still young so remind me I said this in about 3 years. )
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#26 of 183 Old 12-22-2007, 09:25 PM
 
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I dont think there is actually more crime, etc. I just think we hear about it more because we have the internett and 24 hour news.

Check out http://www.goodnewsnetwork.org

Smile!
You may well be right. It basically comes down to providing a healthy
(as much as we can, anyway) environment to raise our kids...we each have to decide what we are comfortable with, kwim? nak

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#27 of 183 Old 12-22-2007, 09:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I can't think of any over-protective things my parents did that scarred me - irritated me yes, but scarred me no.


That's true- we do all have to choose what we're comfortable with. There's no right or wrong answer for this particular question. Still, I do like hearing from others like Amcal that share a similar policy and reasons.
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#28 of 183 Old 12-22-2007, 09:30 PM
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My dd's friend's mom has that policy. She certainly has the right, but it makes us feel not trusted.

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#29 of 183 Old 12-22-2007, 09:32 PM
 
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Does anyone else have this policy?

My DD is 5 and HS'ed so it hasent come up yet. Actually ive never even thought about until now. Just me personally though? I believe I would have this same policy.
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#30 of 183 Old 12-22-2007, 09:41 PM
 
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Yes but you dont have to let it take over your life. And I think that sheltering kids is very damaging sometimes. Like no sleep-overs...like some other posters said-it kind of scarred them.

We have to keep our kids safe. But we can't keep them in a sling forever.

(Mine are still young so remind me I said this in about 3 years. )
I don't think that if I choose not to allow sleepovers, that I'm letting my worries for my children consume me (not saying you meant that, either--just clarifying, lol). But I do think that being sexually abused is a bit more traumatic than not being allowed to sleepover (again, not saying that just because someone goes to a sleepover, it will end in abuse...).
There are many dangers in life, many that we cannot control. But, I can control to some extent what my dc are exposed to by being an assertive mom/parent. I don't know if this is coming out right (I'm nak, which says it all).
If I do decide to selectively allow sleepovers, I'll be setting some ground rules from the get-go. I'd have to know the family very well, I'd educate my dc on what is/isn't appropriate for them and for others pertaining to them, and I'd send a cell phone and tell them to call if they were uncomfortable in any way...but I'd still be concerned about sexual abuse--I know way too many people who've been molested--not from internet stories or the news.
My opinion only, not endorsing anyone to feel the same way, lol

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