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My Kids Don’t Do Sleepovers

I never imagined I would be the kind of parent with strict rules that are out of the norm. But here I am banning my children from sleepovers.

When I was a kid, I had this one friend who was not allowed to spend the night. Naturally, I was intrigued. She told me that her mom did not want to have to pick and choose and hurt feelings when deciding who her children could spend the night with. As a kid, I did not think much of it. As an adult, I get it.

my kids dont do sleepovers memphis momsblog

First, it’s hard to trust people with my tiny humans. I want to give everyone the benefit of the doubt but I hear an array of stories about situations involving “the nicest people” who do not turn out to be very nice. It gives me a peace of mind to know that my kids are in my house sleeping in their own beds. Like my friend’s mom, I work full-time. I won’t be at every school party or event to socialize and become best buddies with the other mothers. I won’t be hosting after school play dates or meeting up for lunch during school breaks. I am absolutely fine with that! But it also means I will not blindly send my kids to sleep at homes just because everyone else is doing it.

Second, I went through an awful experience at a slumber party when I was ten. During a time when I was a total outcast, I was thrilled when a popular girl invited me to her house to spend the night. Little did I know the whole thing was set up for me to get bullied and ridiculed. I was upset and my parents were heart broken for me. I know my children are not destined to endure the same mistreatment, but metaphorically speaking, if your house gets broken into you start locking the doors at night. Like many other moms, some of my parenting choices are based on past experiences.

And third, I know we will all be okay.

I will be okay. I am fine with being the weird mom with the weird rule. It doesn’t bother me if someone disagrees with my decisions. I know I am doing what is right for my children and my family. It may not be the right thing for everyone else and that is fine. You do you and I will do me.

My kids will be okay. Will they miss out on a few parties and invites? Yes, but they can always go to a sleepover and I will pick them up when it is time to settle down for bed. They can still have play dates and friends hanging out at our house. They will move on. It is only sleeping time. They aren’t fully missing out because I do allow them to spend the night with our family members and they love it.

The other kids will be okay. Sure, they might ask my kids why they can’t spend the night, but they will move on. They won’t dwell on it forever.

Hear me out: I have nothing against parents who choose to let their children partake in sleepovers. I am so glad that works for them. But as for me and my household, we will be sleeping in our own beds at night.

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25 Responses to My Kids Don’t Do Sleepovers

  1. Jessica April 18, 2016 at 2:06 PM #

    So you won’t let your kids experience something at all because you are too afraid, and because you don’t make time to meet other parents. This doesn’t seem like just a weird thing. But instead not wanting your kids to experience something because you don’t want to take the precautions and meet the people that are going on. It seems more like to me that you just don’t have time to do it as compared to not being comfortable with it.

    • Erica Baumer
      Erica Baumer April 18, 2016 at 9:13 PM #

      Hi Jessica, thank you for taking the time to read and comment! My biggest hang up for sleepovers when it comes to my children is trust. Regardless of how close I become with other parents or my own past experience, trust is the main reason. My daughter still has a blast playing with her friends and going to birthday parties. Plus, our entire large family lives in town and she enjoys spending the night at relatives’ houses. So, she doesn’t completely live under a rock! It is always neat to hear the perspective of others, so I appreciate this dialogue!

    • Ellen April 25, 2016 at 8:26 PM #

      I think your past experiences are affecting your parenting. It’s too bad because really all you are teaching them is not to trust themselves and learn how to deal with situations that might not be ideal. I have picked up my kids at sleepovers when they called and wanted to come home. No problem. But I have always encouraged them to try again. We need to teach our children that they can manage their lives without us. That’s our job.

  2. Analyz April 20, 2016 at 1:48 AM #

    I agree with Erika . I’m like that with all 4 of my kids. I have a 15 yr old daughter and she asks me all the time if she could sleep over and I tell her no I prefer them over then her over in others homes. I hear horror stories of sleep over parting and sneaking out. I want to see and handle it all here. I trust my daughter but again she is just 15 and could be talked into anything. Plus I was abused when I was a child by a relative , so I trust no one out side my home.
    So Erika I’m with you on this one. It’s an,ugly world and,we have to protect our own.

    • Erica Baumer
      Erica Baumer April 22, 2016 at 9:44 PM #

      Thanks for the support, Analyz! I am so sorry to hear about your past abuse.

  3. Jenny April 20, 2016 at 6:36 AM #

    So if you don’t meet and get to know people first, what makes you comfortable enough to send your kids for a play date but not a sleepover? You said it’s just for “sleeping time” but the things you mention being concerned about can happen anytime.

    • Erica Baumer
      Erica Baumer April 22, 2016 at 9:27 PM #

      Hi Jenny! I totally agree with you about concerning things happening at any time. I believe parents have to make decisions for what is best for their kids and their family in their different situations. For our family, not doing sleepovers is one of those decisions. It may not be the same decision for other families and that’s okay!

  4. Abigail April 20, 2016 at 7:27 AM #

    Sleepovers and slumber parties were some of the best parts of my childhood. I’m sure she’ll be fine, but here’s some things that my parents didn’t allow me to do as a teen that everyone else did: go to the mall with friends; watch PG-13 movies; wear trendy clothes. And guess what? I got bullied and teased for those things. So don’t be surprised when, instead of getting teased at a slumber party or sleepover, she’ll just get teased at school for being the weirdo who isn’t allowed to sleepover.

    Your child will likely be teased, regardless of what you allow them to do. Rather than working on sheltering my children from this life lesson, I’m working on giving my kids the tools to interact with those who tease/bully them or others. I’m also encouraging any and all communication so they can bring their concerns to me.

    As far as the trust issue, statistics show that a child is much more likely to be molested by a family member than by a stranger, so…

    • Beth April 20, 2016 at 1:33 PM #

      I wasn’t allowed to do a few of those things you mentioned either and I turned out just fine. In fact, it taught me to stand up for myself and my families beliefs even if others didn’t agree with them, and I’d rather my kids learn that skill ahead of adulthood than feel they missed out on sleepovers. And that statistic is actually that they’ll be hurt by someone they know and trust, not necessarily a family member. You can easily let your kids experience a lot of life without sleepovers and they’ll still have a wide variety of life experiences in junior high and high school. Not sure when “Better safe than sorry,” became a bad thing. The world is different now than a generation ago – why not adapt, or at least not judge other moms for being cautious?

    • Erica Baumer
      Erica Baumer April 22, 2016 at 9:54 PM #

      Thanks for reading, Abigail! Unfortunately all kids get teased for something at some point and pretty much all kids do some teasing as well. I know this is just part of life and I, too, am teaching her the skills to overcome these types of situations. Excellent point about communication as well! It is great for kids to feel and know they can openly discuss issues with us parents.

      Thanks, Beth! As an innately cautious person in general, I have always been a big fan of “better safe than sorry.”

  5. T April 20, 2016 at 8:09 AM #

    It’s such a hard subject in today’s day and age. We all share so much more and much more broadly. If a good thing happens, we share it. If a bad thing happens, we inform others to be cautious of it.
    I, too, had a bad sleep over as a preteen. It was tough and I went home crying at 7 am after waiting all night to call my parents at a reasonable time for a pick up. They, of course, said they would have come at any time…
    There are things we do, like endure a night of torture instead of calling our parents at 2 am when every girl in the party is picking on you.
    I guess I never officially looked at whether I would allow my child to do sleep overs. But I have had the feeling in the pit of my stomach that I don’t want him to stay overnight. Even with family. As an adult, an uncle of mine was caught in a child porn sting. To be clear, I never stayed the night with this uncle and I never experienced anything out of the norm. But, none the less, he is family. And we all had no idea.
    That makes you wonder in reference to victims stories about family members you would never suspect. Or an extremely trusted family friend.

    I think that the bottom line here is that parenting is up to you and shaped by your experiences and your knowledge on the topic. The more informed you are, the more you will be guarded, naturally. No one can make the hard choice for you. But when all is said and done I would rather my child come to me as an adult and nag me for never letting him do sleepovers, than to disclose to me that something happened with someone we trusted him alone with.

    • Lindsay Bright
      Lindsay Bright April 20, 2016 at 8:47 AM #

      Yes!! That’s really the bottom line here–it’s up to us to parent our children how we see fit. I’m glad Erica shared her opinion and her perspective. I’m not to the point of sleepovers yet, but I’ve definitely felt all of these things and felt bad about it. Now I know I’m not the only one, and it’s really ok. I realize we can’t shelter our kids from everything, but if I’m uneasy about a situation, I’m sticking with my gut.

    • Erica Baumer
      Erica Baumer April 22, 2016 at 10:05 PM #

      Love your points, T! Thank you for sharing! Couldn’t agree more with, “…parenting is up to you and shaped by your experiences and knowledge on the topic.”

  6. Erin April 20, 2016 at 9:15 AM #

    I couldn’t agree more, Erika! My kids can spend the night with grandparents and cousins, so it’s not like they’re missing out entirely. But they’re not even allowed to play inside our neighbors houses – everyone has to be outside and visible. I’m the Weird Mom, and I couldn’t care less!

    As a school social worker, I know for a fact that kids at sleepovers (or even playdates, as someone else mentioned) are an easy target for SO much – not just sexual abuse and bullying! Guns, medications – there are so many variables, and it’s dangerous to assume your kids are safe in someone else’s home just because their kids would be safe in YOURS. Don’t let the negative comments get you down, girl! You are a GOOD MOM, and these kids are yours to protect.

    • Erica Baumer
      Erica Baumer April 22, 2016 at 10:11 PM #

      Thanks for your support, fellow Weird Mom! #noshame I like the “everyone outside and visible” rule – thanks for sharing! We just moved into a new neighborhood that actually has children (we did not have any other kids close to us at our old house) so I plan to implement that as well.

  7. Sharron April 20, 2016 at 10:38 PM #

    I’m with you, Erica. I don’t like it. And I AM a stay home mom who does talk to other moms at the park and at school. Quite frankly you NEVER know exactly what is happening in someone else’s home. And just because you know the mom or talk to her at the park, that doesn’t mean anything about the dad, uncle, cousin, roommate, whomever may also be around. It is true, abuse comes from people we know. And its people our kids think they can trust. I investigated child sexual exploitation for several years and now know too many things that are just awful. My children might get picked on for not going to sleepovers, but thats ok. I’ll deal with that.

    • Erica Baumer
      Erica Baumer April 22, 2016 at 10:25 PM #

      Hi Sharron! Yes, I agree, we never know what is going on in someone else’s home. Trust is so hard to give these days! Thanks for reading!

  8. Zada April 21, 2016 at 3:44 PM #

    Growing up, my parents only allowed sleepovers if they were at our house.We were not allowed to go to other people’s houses for sleepover For good reason, the only time I did get to go to a sleepover it ended with me calling my parents and them coming and getting all the kids and taking them home because of my friend’s parent’s martial issues. I still have nightmares about that night. My friend ended up spending the next 6 months at our house, while the parents worked through the issues that were exposed that horrible night.

    I don’t mind having kids over to our house where I know they will be safe and properly supervised, but I do not feel comfortable leaving my kids overnight with other people. You never know what they are going through in their personal lives.

    • Erica Baumer
      Erica Baumer April 22, 2016 at 10:27 PM #

      You make a great point, Zada. Thank you for sharing your perspective and experience!

  9. [email protected] PurelyDiligent.com April 23, 2016 at 4:32 PM #

    This is a great article. I never had anything bad happen to me at a sleepover but I also felt uncomfortable around dads and brothers in my jammies even with a bra on. I am going to show this to my husband.

  10. Leah April 23, 2016 at 7:02 PM #

    Question: do you allow your children to have sleepovers at your home?

  11. Pat April 24, 2016 at 6:47 AM #

    Wow. I’m grandparent-age and saw this on a young friend’s post. Observations: parenting is hard enough and very personal. Why anyone would bash another is just grown-up bullying. Nobody has lived in your shoes, nor have you lived in anyone else’s. We all have reasons why we respond uniquely to things. Last but not least: most kids who go to a “sleep”over rarely sleep!

  12. Tammy April 24, 2016 at 7:18 AM #

    Erika, I gave birth to 4 children but raised 5. There were NO sleepovers until around the age of 14 or older; they were old enough to ‘know’ the adult issues that (God forbid) they could be faced with and what to do. And yes I was the odd mom out, every time; shunned and mocked for it but I yielded not. There is nothing good that happens after midnight and that includes sleepovers; I too allowed mine to stay until bedtime, I told the hosting mom to simply call me when they would be bedding down so I could pick mine up. I did however allow mine to host sleepovers for special events BUT I told each parent that if they were uncomfortable that I totally understood and was fine with them picking their child up at bedtime because I did not want to be a hypocrite. I would never get offended by a parent taking all precautions to protect their children. Lastly, the one thing you will have thrown at you most Erika is “You are living in fear and I refuse to do that…”~~ that didn’t work on me either, I saw it for what it was: other parents feeling judged by my standard and attacking back. Stay the course; it only takes 1 mistake to allow your child’s life to be forever altered and my child is worth every inconvenience to me. I am on the other side of raising young children now and I have NO regrets regarding this choice.

  13. Becky April 24, 2016 at 1:35 PM #

    I think you have that right as a parent, but I don’t understand it. You don’t want to have to get to know parents and say yes to some and no to others, so you just say no to it all?

    Growing up, my mom got to know other parents. In general, we weren’t allowed to stay over at friends’ homes who lived in apartments, but she eventually eased up on that when I became best friends with a girl who lived in an apartment! My brother wasn’t allowed to stay at a boy’s house because his family had guns. He understood that. It’s not all-or-nothing. As a parent, you can absolutely say yes to some homes and no to others.

  14. Camille May 7, 2016 at 12:52 PM #

    I didn’t let my oldest daughters now, 21 and 19 to stay over anyone’s home. They had their first sleepover at the age of 13 at my house. =) When they turned 18 then they were able to go and stay at friend’s. They never complaint and they are not traumatized. I didnt feel comfortable so I didnt allow it. That simple. My little one is 5 years old and she constantly asks about sleepovers, her sisters tell her…It is NOT going to happen. She will get over it.