I Don’t Let My Kids Have Sleepovers….


I remember my first sleepover vividly. I was 9 years old and it was a school friend. Nice house, nice parents, nice friend.

It just wasn’t my house.

By dinnertime, I was freaking out. Their food was different, I didn’t like it but forced myself to eat it. Then I got a headache, and my dad came and picked me up. I can’t recall if I actually had one, faked one or willed one on. What I do know is this: I had never been so relieved to get home to my own bed.

Teenage years arrived and a sleepover happened here and there, mostly at my best friends house. Her place was like mine, I felt comfortable there. But I was still a homebody, then and today. I don’t like staying at anyone’s house, I prefer a hotel.

My first son had sleepovers and then went to boarding school: the never ending sleepover. It was during his second year that I was told a story by someone close to me that changed my views on them for good. This man years prior had lived in a unit with his wife and small daughter, who played with the kids next door. The wife had already had her first daughter when they married, and they added two more. The two fathers used to have a beer together. They were two normal families.

Or so it seemed.

Years later it came out the man next door had been sexually abusing his step-daughter, and no one knew. Not her mother. Not her sisters. And not her neighbours.

From that point on I was turned off sleepovers. Apart from family members, my kids were staying in their own beds, with me and my husband close by. Where I knew where they were, what they were doing, and that they were safe.

“Sleepovers are a child’s rite of passage. Sleepovers are fun. Kids enjoy them. You can’t wrap them in cotton wool forever. Kids need to learn to be independent. You’re depriving them. Not everyone is a paedophile.”  They’re just some of the reactions I’ve heard when I let people know we don’t do them.

What a load of bullshit. If I’m not going to wrap them in cotton wool who is? How is sleeping in someone else’s house a necessity? How is it beneficial at 5, 7 or 9 years of age being in unfamiliar
surroundings in the middle of the night? What if my middle child who sleepwalks does that in a strange place?  Do I think everyone is a child molester? No, I don’t. Not at all. I just see no reason for sleepovers now, or in the near future for my children.

And I won’t be changing that rule until we decide to, if ever.

3 thoughts on “I Don’t Let My Kids Have Sleepovers….

  1. amelia

    I agree with you and would like to congratulate you for your critical thinking and for not following the herd blindly.

    Also, I would like to add that sleepovers are just a cultural thing (a bad one, in my opinion) which exists in a few countries and whose potential benefits (zero, for me) are heavily outweighed by the potential risks (exposure to pornography; indecent behavior or even molestation; exposure to alcohol, drugs or smoking; exposure to values, talk, and behaviors that one doesn’t deem beneficial to one’s own children (unsuitable television programs, video games, etc.); or, at the very least, losing sleep, which is not good for anyone, let alone for a child).

    In my country (Eastern European), such a thing as sleepovers didn’t EXIST when I grew up and I don’t think it is popular there today either. People there simply don’t like their children to sleep at other people’s houses. That’s why I say this is a cultural thing; there are millions of people who lived without sleepovers and that was the LEAST of their concerns, really!

    Also, I myself, as a child, wouldn’t have wished that as I only felt and feel comfortable in my own house. This doesn’t mean that I’m not independent or that I don’t have social skills or that I missed out on anything important in life. In fact, it is by not copying others that I managed to focus on my goals and be successful in life, even in the foreign country where I moved.

    I moved in a professional interest to a Western European country where this thing exists and I don’t see its benefits at all. In fact, it is sad and harmful that people tend to copy what others do, without more reasoning. Fortunately, not all people do the same.

    I also see the results of this type of habits (which involve young people spending too much time with peers): smoking and alcohol consumption at an early age, not enough focus on learning, loosing one’s innocence at an early age.

    If I think well, in fact, everything BAD that I learned in life, I learned it from peers (sometimes too early in life). And it wasn’t even during sleepovers, which I never did or wanted to do; it was during simple play without adult supervision.

    I have a strong conviction that sleepovers are not at all necessary and that they take away from a child’s innocence (even if you, as a parent, don’t get to know about it; because most of the times you DON’T!)


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