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To sleep over or not to sleep over...

Updated on September 1, 2015
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With more than her share of motherhood's superfails, Rebecca is "Momming Out Loud." Why pretend to be Pinterest-perfect when you're not?

Sleepovers are a big deal, in more than one way.

There seems to be a growing movement among (overly?) concerned parents that children should not have sleepovers. My husband and I have discussed this and initially responded with, "Love it. It's a done deal. No sleepovers ever. No exceptions." But as I think over how many of my most cherished memories were of sleeping at my friend Michelle's house, I have to wonder if that's the right choice.

(For more information on both sides of the issue, read here: http://www.today.com/id/32288857/ns/today-parenting_and_family/t/no-sleepovers-many-parents-ban-tween-ritual/.)

Cons of forbidding sleepovers

  1. Making our daughters feel like we don't trust them to use good judgment
  2. Denying our kids a longstanding rite of passage
  3. Not allowing those basically levelheaded young ladies to experience life independently

So what should we do?

Personally, I think we will decide somewhere in the middle of it all by taking each request on a case-by-case basis and not worrying one flippin' flip about who we offend by saying, "No."

We are, after all, their parents. What others think about our choice is inconsequential when compared to what we think about the safety and wellness our children. If we don't know the family well, no sleepover. And by "well," I mean knowing the parent(s), the neighborhood, the siblings, the general discipline of the household and the likelihood that our children will be supervised appropriately.

If we know the family well, we may still have to take special situations into consideration, such as the level of trust our children have earned, their understanding of why we have the rules we have and their top-of-mind awareness of their inalienable, undeniable, absolute, incontrovertible right to call us to come get them at any time if they are uncomfortable for any reason.

One of our daughters decides she wants to come home at 3 a.m.? That's fine. One of us will be in the car and headed that way, no questions asked, and the fiercely protective Mama in me won't give one moment's care about the hassle it might be for the parent(s) of the child with whom our child was staying. My child wants to come home, so she is coming home, whether anyone else likes it or not, and it won't matter if she is just homesick or if she genuinely feels uneasy or threatened.

(SIDE NOTE - if you are the parent of the child with whom my child is staying and my child genuinely feels uneasy or threatened with good reason, I will make 100%, by-God, without-a-doubt, no-questions-left-to-be-asked certain that you, too, feel uneasy and threatened.)

Sigh.

Parenting isn't easy, and I don't like choosing between feeling like we're overanxiously helicoptering around our kids and feeling like we're kicking open the floodgates to whomever and whatever might want to hurt them. Sometimes I think there has to be a happy middle, but, on the other hand, these are our kids - we don't owe an explanation to anyone for the decisions we make that are in our family's best interest.

So what do you think? Sleepovers are okay, and parents should get over it? Or is the world outside your circle of trust a little too much to bear when it comes to your kids? We have to let them grow up at some point and experience things for themselves, but at what point is that okay?

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