Tuesday, February 1, 2011


This is a hotly debated topic in our house, amongst friends, family and among parents.  Ashley and I talk about the fun and mischief we got up to when we went on sleepovers.  We both tell stories of being at parties where we watched movies we probably shouldn't have (i.e., Nightmare on Elm Street 3:  Dream Warriors, as a third grader).  While that was horrifying, I got through it.  Of course there is the worry that you don't know what goes on at other people's houses, older siblings, etc.
The jury is still out for us, and we have a long time (I think) before George is going to be doing sleepovers.   When I think back to my childhood though, I have to think, would I have liked to grow up in a house that didn't allow sleepovers?  The answer is an obvious "no."  Does that mean - that George is entitled to the same freedoms I was?  I don't know... there is a lot to consider.  A lot of people say that we live in a different world than when we grew up.  But other people say that in many ways we live in a much safer world.  It's a lot to take in.

What are your thoughts parents?


Serena Cherry said...

This is a can of worms, David! We have decided on a no-go, but I have no problem with people who disagree with me. I am happy to come and get them at 10pm or later and drive them back in the morning. I just like my babies close!

david said...

serena. is this open to change? if so, at what age?

david said...

btw, mother-bullying will not be tolerated.

honest, thoughtful discourse is welcomed!

Dawn D. Lion said...

A no-brainer for me. Not having families close, sleepovers were a necessity for Xine starting at age 3 so that we could have a night out once in awhile. I can't imagine Maxine's life without sleepovers, honestly - it would be very different. She has a friend sleep over, or has one over here, every couple weeks at least.

Dawn D. Lion said...

I'm also kind of interested in the all-or-nothing policy - I'm guessing it would exclude close family friends who you trust with your life and kids, and your kids grow up together? Not that every sleepover is of that variety, but there are definitely some.
I would argue that parenting is a series of "letting go" and taking leaps of faith -trusting the world and that your child can navigate it. Like the first time you send them to school, you are putting their life and mind in their teacher's hands, and you have to do your homework and be OK with where you send them. Of course there are some who homeschool for exactly this reason. It does make for different dynamics as they grow up.
The idea central to Free Range Kids (how do you like it, David?) is that gaining independence is one of the central tasks of childhood.
I hope this does not come off as mother bullying. I have plenty of friends who homeschool, etc, and make different choices than me, and we can all get along. :)

Serena Cherry said...

I don't think you are mommy bullying, Dawn! :) I feel strongly about not hovering over your child and letting them figure things out for themselves. I think it gives them a lot of confidence. My decision is based on my own growing up and also just a gut feeling. I have to say, I have a 6 year old.

Maybe my tune will change as she gets older. I am out here with no family and I don't really have many friends who do sleepovers, so it isn't a huge issue in our lives. I think it is a careful mix of letting your children go and fostering an environment where they can be the best they can be! I really enjoy reading what is out there and it gives you good perspective. I am drawn to the home school approach because I am drawn to wanting to experience things with my child and to have fun together. There are so many cool things out there to do with them. I have a friend that does "un-schooling" and I really like that idea. But the other part of me feels like she does need her own world to figure things out, and to be social with other children. She does go to public school.

Anyway, this was a really long response, but I have been thinking about it ever since I read the initial post.

Serena Cherry said...

And the all or nothing does not include family, or even possibly those friends that you almost feel like family with.

david said...

this is a great dialog you guys... keep it up.

david said...

oh and dawn, i love free range kids. it's a great book. though, it's not a good "night time" read for me because it really makes my brain work.

lots to digest. and think about.

Blythe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Blythe said...

I deleted my original comments because I thought they sounded kind of harsh. So, I'm rephrasing.

When I was growing up, no one i knew had this rule. By the time I was raising kids I knew several families that had a blanket policy of no sleepovers. I have to admit that I was a little offended at a good friend who would not relax this policy was Abigail's sleepover party. This woman was someone I had known for years, who had spent hours in my home. Frankly, I just didn't get that. All or nothing doesn't make much sense to me.

On the whole, I think it's part of the culture of fear that we have. Crime is lower than it was when I was growing up in the freewheeling 70s, but people are more afraid. I don't think that we should harken back to every convention of a time when no one wore seatbelts and you could smoke like no tomorrow in every restaurant. But I wonder what exactly people think is going to happen - especially at the home of someone they know.

As for us, it didn't even become an issue until Scarlett was about seven. No one had even asked until then, so we hadn't thought about a policy. But I think parents know when (and if) their kids are ready.

coldbike said...

I am of the opinion that most of the types of people who would cause my child actual harm during a sleepover are concerned enough about being discovered that they are unlikely to invite my child for a sleepover.
I tend to limit the number of sleepovers based on practical reasons such as the lack of sleeping that tends to happen.
Of course, I would politely refuse any sleepover that I thought was not right.