Are Sleepovers Safe In This Day And Age? 

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As our children grow, they crave more privileges – which is a double-edged sword for parents.

Of course, it’s nice when our children can safely walk the dog without parents having to worry about them running in the street, or unload the dishwasher without throwing away all the dishes they couldn’t reach to put away (yes, it’s a thing).

But then there are the scarier responsibilities we eventually give our children like owning a cell phone, being dropped off at the movie theater with friends, and the always dreaded first sleepover.

The news is bombarded with stories about children who have been mistreated by monsters whom they trusted.

These are the thoughts and fears rolling around in your head when your daughter asks if she can stay the night at Jenny’s house for the first time.

When your daughter is five the response is easy.

“Not yet, honey. When you are older we can talk about having a slumber party with your friends.”

But then they get older. And remember you said you would have the talk about slumber parties.

Some families make it a hard-and-fast rule that no sleepovers are allowed in the home, others will only allow relatives to stay over.

However, the majority of parents will permit their children’s friends to stay the night at some point in their adolescence.

This begs the question, when is it a good time to begin sleepovers and is it even safe with how society has targeted children in their liberal conquest, or with people who would abuse children being out there?

According to Yahoo Lifestyle, experts say sleepovers are a matter of when the parent and child are comfortable and if the parent knows the other parents.

Aside from that vague and general information there are some opinions from other moms that can help steer you into a decision about your own family’s sleepover policy.

Vanessa Miceli is a mom to an 11-year-old girl who loves to have sleepovers with her friends, and her mom is fine with it as long as it is one girl at a time.

Vanessa tells Yahoo Lifestyle:

“I allow my daughter to sleep over at three of her friends’ houses. I am friends with the mothers and I have been to their houses multiple times. We also host sleepovers, but one girl at a time, because my house is small.”

However, there are moms who aren’t ready to take the risks that accompany letting their children sleep over at a friend’s home.

Bethany Cook, a parent and licensed clinical psychologist, is one of those moms.

Bethany tells Yahoo Lifestyle her thoughts on sleepovers:

“I’ve witnessed too many circumstances when a child was harmed by someone who We never thought would do something like this or Was a trusted friend or family member, so my answer is no.”

As Bethany shares her concerns it boiled down to the “cost-benefit analysis doesn’t add up for her.”

If you do decide to fulfill the much-anticipated rite of passage for your child by letting them attend a sleepover, there are some things you can do to increase their safety.

Walk through the home and check the family’s social media accounts before letting them stay over.

If the parents are uncomfortable with you getting a home tour prior to a sleepover, that is a red flag and you could suggest their child stay at your house or opt for a play date instead.

Discuss with your child what they should expect at a sleepover and what behaviors are unacceptable.

Provide your child with a way out of a dangerous situation by giving them a cell phone or having a code word they can use when calling to check in.

Most importantly ensure your child knows safe body autonomy, personal boundaries and how to handle the situation when these are violated.

If all of this is too much to process at this stage in your child’s life, that is ok.

It is perfectly acceptable, especially with all that is being normalized with children in modern society, to decide sleepovers are not going to be done in your family during adolescence.

Just know that there are predators lurking in the most unsuspecting places and vetting a sleepover situation is foundational.

Your child may get embarrassed by the extra questions you ask Jenny’s mom before sleeping over – or may feel left out when you pick them up from the sleepover before everyone goes to bed – but in the end they will thank you for your vigilance in protecting them.