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sleepover, slumber party, raising girls

Why I Forbid Our Daughters from Sleepovers at Other People’s Houses

by Deborah Cruz

sleep over, slumber party, raising girlsSleepover, we don’t need no stinkin’ sleepovers!

Yesterday, I came across a kerfuffle on social media about sleepovers and slumber parties, of all things. Apparently, if you won’t allow your children to attend sleepovers you are deemed an overprotective crazy person, which I find funny especially in the day and time of the helicopter mom. It was even brought up, what, pray tell, will these insane women do when those children go off to college some day? Worse still, how will these poor deprived and helpless children survive on their own when left to their own devices at university?

Well, I am one of those moms. The crazy, overprotective ones who doesn’t allow her children to attend sleepovers at stranger’s homes. I was never allowed to sleepover at anyone’s house when I was a child. I didn’t turn into a heroine addict whore when I went away to college. Nor did I turn into a psychopathic serial killing ,single white female type either. I was raised with good morals and respect for myself, a little bit of freedom,a lot of discipline and good manners. I had six brothers and sisters so every night was pretty much a sleepover. It’s true I didn’t sleep at other people’s homes but I had friends, went to their homes to hang out and had hundreds of sleepovers at my house with my friends throughout my childhood and teens.

The Big Guy and I have chosen not to let our daughters sleepover at other people’s houses for a few reasons, least of all being that we have only lived in our new neighborhood and city a little over a year and we don’t know anyone well enough to trust them to care for our children overnight, unless they are related to us. I don’t think it’s outrageous to expect to know the people whose house your child will be spending an extended amount of time. I do think letting my child sleep at a stranger’s house to prove that I am cool, or out of some social obligation to the parents is crazy. If you’re one of those parents who does, I’m not saying I care any more about my kids than you do about yours but I certainly don’t care any less.

Growing up, my dad never let us spend the night anywhere. Believe me, I asked. I begged. I had slumber party invitations almost weekly from grades 4- 8. I did feel left out because I wanted to be with my friends. I once questioned my father as to why he wouldn’t let me sleep at my friend’s house. I thought he didn’t trust me or he was just being mean. This was his theory; if we were sleeping over at someone’s house and the house caught on fire, they’d instinctively grab their children to save first and he didn’t want something bad to happen to us if we were out of his care. He said he couldn’t bear it. I saw his face. He meant every word of it. As a parent, I now understand his fear. His theory made sense.

I know that if my house were to catch on fire, the first thing that I am grabbing is my children. I think that is a natural mama bear instinct to protect your children. Isn’t it?  It’s sort of my job to do that. Sure, we’d all like to think that we’d get everyone out immediately but you can bet your ass that if it were between my kid and anyone else’s, I’m grabbing my kids.

My oldest daughter is about to turn 8 in a couple weeks and to celebrate we are having her first sleepover. She is thrilled and I am excited for her. I loved having sleepovers. We know this will open the door for her to be invited to sleepover at her friend’s houses. She knows that her father and I will not allow it. I don’t want her to feel left out. So, we’ve decided that if her friends are having a sleepover, she can go over in her pajamas and take part in the party but at 11 or midnight, we will be picking her up to sleep in her own bed at our home. I don’t really care if people think I am crazy or call me over protective. I care that my child is safe, whether other people approve or not is of no concern to me.

I’m not as leery of a sudden outbreak of arson fires as my father was but there are other things that could happen. All parents don’t parent the way I parent and I don’t want my children to be exposed to things, people or behaviors that I don’t allow at my house. I don’t want my child to get hurt because some other parent isn’t as watchful as I am or allows more freedom to roam the neighborhood or whatever than I do. I don’t want my little girls learning bad habits or being exposed to things they are not ready to know at someone else’s house. And I even read people cracking jokes that parents won’t allow their children to spend the night at people’s homes due to some irrational fear of sexual predators. I don’t necessarily have that fear but why is that irrational? No one will watch or protect your child like you will.All people are not good people and I am not willing to take that chance.

Don’t get your feelings hurt when I say my kid can’t stay the night at your house. It’s not you, it’s me. Well, maybe it’s you but I don’t know yet and that is the point.

Do you allow or will you allow your child to attend sleepovers at their friend’s house and why or why not?

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Kristen Daukas 2013/02/20 - 12:57 pm

All of our girls spend the night at other people’s houses – but only if we know them. Now that mine are getting older, I PREFER they sleep at my house… I can keep a closer eye on what my teen’s doing.

We’ve had kids that have come to our slumber parties, whose parents are like you and they’ve been picked up around 10. It’s all a matter of family preference. I don’t think you should be judged for it but I think you should prepare yourself and the girls for when they inevitably get the push back and teasing from other kids. You know how they are – if it’s not “normal” they’re going to poke at it. Also, I think letting kids be exposed to other cultures and ways of life is a good thing – not a bad thing.

You’ve raised your kids well, they know right from wrong. I think if you have honest communications with them and let them know what kind of things should alarm or concern them, you’re giving them the power to listen to their instinct.

Deborah Cruz 2013/02/20 - 1:08 pm

We do have family friends who we know and trust with our children, unfortunately they don’t live anywhere near us anymore.

The girls have a core group of friends who are good kids and they live in our neighborhood, its just a matter of getting to a place where I know their parents well enough and they know me well enough to know what I expect when my kids are in their care and vice versa.

AS for letting the girls be exposed to other cultures, I am all for that. I’m not saying they can;t play with their friends or go to their homes, I just prefer they sleep at mine.

I think when they’re a bit older and we’ve been here longer, it may be an option that we could revisit but for now, it’s not an option:)

Tracie 2013/02/20 - 2:08 pm

We have not allowed our daughter (she is nine) to sleepover at anyone’s house. Partly because, like you, we don’t know anyone in our area well enough that I would trust them to care for her overnight. But even if we did – I think the answer would still be no. Maybe when she is 13 I will feel differently, but for now there is no question.

I went to sleepovers a lot when I was a kid, and I do remember a friend who was only allowed to stay until about midnight. She always had fun at the party and probably had much better sleep in her own bed. I think that is a great compromise.

Shell 2013/02/21 - 4:32 pm

I think it’s a smart idea to let her participate but pick her up late- anything happening after midnight is probably going to be drama anyway. 😉

This really hasn’t been an issue with us yet- I don’t think boys are as quick to do slumber parties. Oldest was invited to one once, in kindergarten, but I thought he was way too young.

Tiffany 2013/02/24 - 1:17 am

I only allow my children to spend the night at sleepover parties if I know the other parents very well. Otherwise, we (like you) pick up our child well before midnight. As parents, it is up to me & my spouse to protect our children. My children are still in elementary school and they have plenty of time to prepare for the real world.

Corey Feldman 2013/02/27 - 12:21 pm

Nope I agree with you entirely. I am the same way. My kids are still only 4-6 but I am not down with the sleepovers.

kymberly stewart 2013/04/29 - 8:53 pm

I am replying o this late but I am in this situation right now. I say no to sleepovers. I am not comfortable with my child sleeping away from home. It’s a personal choice for every parent. Friends are welcome to visit and I reciprocate with parents that I know well and trust, but when it is time to go to bed every sleeps at their own house.

Pauline Napole 2013/05/27 - 7:14 am

My daughters are still very little (almost five and almost two) and personally after staying over at my own friends houses, not often, but a few times from around the age of 7 or 8 I can say that I probably won’t be letting my girls stay at anyones houses other than family or very close friends. (off the top of my head, i would only allow them to stay with two friends houses of which I have known for 15 plus years so you could probably say they are now closer to family). My girls have been raised very close to us so even if I could manage to trust others, I think I would spend the whole night worrying if they were missing home but were too shy or polite to ask to come home. That would kill me wondering. For my daughters up coming 5th birthday, our local little girls pampering store offers sleep over party evenings where they offer cute little facials and they do their hair all pretty and eat cupcakes, play games etc. My daughter loves going to the store for a visit as a treat and I know she wants one of the slumber parties for her birthday. Since she is only five what I have come up with is I have asked two close friends (one is my daughters aunty who has two daughters that are 5 and 7 and the other is my best friend of 15 years who has a daughter who will be five at the time of the party also) if their daughters could attend a ‘mummy and me’ sleep over. The apartment accomodates 8 people easily and I have checked it is fine that have three adults and five little ones in there. It works out much cheaper than attending one of the pamper parties at the store but we are able to duplicate the same treatments/games at the hotel with ourselves. There is an indoor heated pool at the hotel which we can take the girls for a dip. we are able to cook and prepare our own meals while we stay and its like a wee get away for the mums aswell while we don’t have to clean up the glitter and cupcake sparkles off the floor the next day as housekeeping will take care of that. A party package at the pamper store was going to set me back 250 atleast and would only last 2 hours. On booking.com i secured an apartment for much less, 150, sourced pamper items from home for free and can buy 100 dollars worth of goodies and food to cover dinner, breakfast and snacks. It lasts a full 24 hours almost and the girls get time with mummy without the boys for a change. Just an idea

Wejo 2015/01/09 - 7:48 am

Bravo! Stick to your guns! I absolutely agree with you in every bit . I still don’t have children but we plan to ban slumber parties! I grew up with no slumber parties and I can tell you I did perfectly fine . I went to college lived in a dorm and this never affected me at all. I think kids should be raised with certain values which is being in their house with your parents is what matters. Friends come and go but they only have two parents. They can always throw slumber parties but going out is a no no.

Jackson Milburn 2015/03/09 - 9:14 pm

I went to tons of sleepovers as a kid with many kids at my school and nothing bad ever happened and from experience i know I would hate my parents if they didn’t allow sleepovers

Deborah Cruz 2015/03/09 - 10:10 pm

I guess if you went to sleepovers and then they were taken away, you would be upset. My girls have never been and they know our reasoning behind it. They accept it and know that their friends are welcome in our home anytime.It works for us.

Alice Mason 2015/04/17 - 3:55 pm

When I grow up I plan to have kids ,and I plan to let them go to their friends houses ,I was always gutted when I couldn’t have a sleepover ,so why treat your kids like that . I grew up with an abusive mother unroll I was 10 ,then I moved in with my father ,I’m always aloud at my friends house ,I just have to tell them which friend and where abouts I am

Alison 2015/09/12 - 9:43 pm

Let me tell you one thing. Never do to your children what my father did to me. Of course not allowing your children to go to a sleepover may seem like the right thing to do in your eyes but by all means it is not. What do you think your child is going to do when it’s time to go off to collage or move out. I try to live with no regrets in my life but one of the little regrets I do hold is not going to my best friends sleepover party. your daughters other friends wil not understand why your daughter can not sleepover. In the end your dad wanted to have control over where you slept at night. In his house or on the streets. I am sure you as a kid were aloud to do many things as going into a store alone and ,any other like that which are in no way safer than attending a sleepover at a friend in which you trusted and knew very well. So let ,e tell you something and I make myself VERY clear. Let your child go to a sleepover. Maybe there will be a fire, but I’m pretty dang sure your daughter will hear the fire alarm. I cried u countless tears and practically wanted to die every time my dad wouldent let ,e spend the night at my friends house. It pains me to see you do the same to your child. Don’t do it. Okay please don’t. It breaks my heart to imagine the feeling that I once had and remember so clearly, happening to another girl.

Debra Rice 2017/07/02 - 2:49 pm

so sorry you were hurt by your father’s decision. Not knowing you or your father, I cannot begin to know what you went through. I do however agree with the premise of protecting children. Letting children go stay overnight in other people’s homes poses risks that wise educated individuals may not be willing to take. I am not talking necessarily of “formal education.” As a teenager I remember learning that the member of our local church had molested our neighbors son. Legal consequences were never pursued because of the ramification for the victim. The perpetrator went on to form numerous “close relationships” with young boys while serving on the board of a church. He was helping “to mentor” these boys into becoming strong “Christian” young men. At sixteen I became educated through this experience that “upstanding, trustworthy” individuals in our community are not always what they appear. As a professional I work daily with children that have been molested and face a life of dealing with that trauma. I hope parents always err on the side of protection.

Clarice A. 2018/01/21 - 9:26 pm

When our daughter was 13,she had lots of close friends and we let her go to to sleepovers and slumber parties which she really enjoyed.One of her friends was a bedwetter at the time and wore cloth diapers and plastic pants to bed every night.I knew that the girl was a bedwetter,but i didnt know that she wore the cloth diapers and plastic pants for it.she had a sleepover the one saturday night with the daughter and two other girls.Later that evening,the daughter called me and told me they were having pizza and that she needed some money to help pay for it.When i got there,the daughter and the other two girls and the host girl all had cloth diapers and plastic pants on!I asked the daughter why they were wearing them and she told me that they are what her friend wears for her bedwetting and that they were wearing them also to help their friend out! I couldnt believe what i was seeing,4 13 year old girls with cloth diapers and plastic pants on! She told me that they were all having fun and didnt mind wearing the diapers and plastic pants.

Deborah Cruz 2018/01/22 - 11:27 am

Wow, that is bizarre. I have tweens and I don’t know if they would do that. But, in a way, that is very nice that they are not making fun of her but trying to put her at ease. Bedwetting is usually either caused ( at that age) by something physically wrong or psychologically, I hope her parents are getting her help and not just a diaper and plastic pants.

Corrine J. 2018/10/23 - 11:28 am

To Deborah-As a mom of a 16 year old daughter,i experienced this two years ago when my daughter was 14.Her and another girl,14,slept over at a friends house,who was 14,and the girl was bedwetting due to puberty.The girl wore size 8 pampers diapers with plastic pants over it to bed every night and my daughter and the other girl both put on a pampers and plastic pants also when the three of them got ready for bed.The girl is now 16 and her bedwetting ended a couple of months after the sleepover.

Grace B. 2023/03/18 - 8:35 am

To Deborah-When my daughter was 12,she had a close friend who started puberty and bedwetting because of it.She wore cloth diapers and rubberpants to bed everynight because she got rashes from Goodnites and other disposable products.When she would sleepover at our house,she would bring her diapers and rubberpants and extra diapers and rubberpants and the daughter would wear the extra ones to help her friend out! I thought it was very nice of the daughter to do this for her friend! I would put the diapers and rubberpants on both of them later on in the evening and they would have fun doing their girl stuff.I was told that there isnt much that can be done about puberty bedwetting and that it just runs its course untill it ends later on.

Kathy D. 2023/03/25 - 9:02 am

To Deborah Cruz-There isnt much that can be done for girls when they start puberty and bedwetting because of it,from what i have been told and read.Not all girls have this problem in puberty and it is hard on the ones that do wet the bed.Our daughter went thru puberty without any problems,but she did have a friend who was a bedwetter in puberty and the friend wore cloth diapers and rubberpants to bed.I have been told that most parents with bedwetting daughters in puberty,prefer having them wear the cloth diapers and rubberpants as the cloth diapers are softer and dont cause rashes like Goodnites or disposables do.

June K 2019/01/31 - 9:17 am

As a mom of a teen daughter,i can understand the blogs from ClariceA and Corrine j about the other girls at the slumber party and sleepover wearing the diapers and rubberpants to level the playing field and helping out the bedwetting girl.I think it is very considerate of the other girls! What i dont understand is why teenage girls would have a slumber party where they all wore diapers at even tho none of the girls needed them! My daughter is 17 and hangs around in a clique with several other girls.Last year when she was 16,they all had a slumber party and the theme was “babies”! They all wore size 8 pampers diapers with cute tee shirts and had pacifiers,baby bottles,and othe baby related things! There were three moms there who were supervising the party and i couldnt believe that they would let this party happen! My daughter told me that she had a blast at the party and actually felt somewhat like a baby along with the other girls.Acouple months later,they had another slumber party and the theme of that one was “clowns” where they all dressed up like a clown.Has any other moms of teen daughters experienced their daughters going to “themed” slumber parties like this?

Marilynn 2019/11/30 - 10:25 am

As a mom,i have heard of something similiar! We are catholic also and our parish does baptisms twice a year,in October and May.All of the girls up to age 17 wear the traditional white,poofy,short sleeve,top of the knees baptism dress and bonnet with a tee shirt,cloth diaper,rubberpants,lace socks and white shoes as their baptism outfits.Last may,my teen daughter told me that that six of the teen girls who were being baptized,were having a slumber party the saturday night before their sunday baptisms and that they were all going to wear cloth diapers and rubberpants and blanket sleepers to be come more baby like for their baptisms.The daughter is friends with two of the girls and she told me that they all had pacifiers,baby bottles and baby blankets at the slumber party.

Gracie L. 2020/05/08 - 9:02 am

To June K.-I am 18 and have attended several “themed” slumber parties over the last 4 years.Two of those slumber parties were themed “babies”! The first one i attended was when i was 15 and there were 10 of us there and we all dressed up like babies in size 8 pampers and tee shirts and had pacifiers and bottles and other baby things.We had a really great time and had pizza,watched girl movies and ran around and got silly! The other slumber party i attended was when i was 16 and that one also was themed “babies” and it was more intense! There were 8 of us girls there and the one girl had a 14 year old sister who was a bedwetter and wore cloth diapers and plastic pants to bed,so she brought enough of her sisters cloth diapers and 8 pair of plastic pants for all of us to wear.We wore tee shirts and footed pajamas with our diapers and plastic pants under them and had our pacifiers,baby bottles,stuffed animals,etc and carried on like babies! I have to admit that it was fun and enjoyable being like babies at both of these slumber parties and it was a great stress reliever!


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