I have always thought sleepovers were a right of childhood passage. What could be more fun than ditching your dorky parents for your besties’ cool ones? Snuggling into bed at night with a friend next to you and staying up half the night talking, the stuff of childhood memories.
I have allowed my boys to spend the night with friends over the years. Always pre-qualified, of course. Phone calls were made, I was always assured that my kids would be in bed at a decent hour to ensure a grouch free child the next day. And? Always my child was exhausted and grouchy the next day from a lack of sleep. So, I repaid the favor the following weekend. And so began great years of kid swapping, pettiness and paybacks. The kids, the beneficiaries of friendships solidified and hours and hours of sleep lost for a good cause.
Then something happened. My kids turned into teenagers. The calls were still made, but the lies now bigger. “Yes, of course your child is here,” I would be told. Then I would find a Facebook post about a party attended.
“Yes, we will be home all night,” the parents said. The next day I learn of girls over and parents out at a party until all hours of the night.
Now the idea of allowing my kids to spend the night with their friends has gone from fun to frightening. No longer is the issue how much sleep they get. Instead it has become, what if they sneak out? What if they drink and sneak out in a car? What if they sneak out to meet a girl. What if there are girls over unsupervised and…Sweet Lincoln’s mullet it’s all too much to think about.
One of my son’s has had a friend since kindergarten that he likes a lot. The family, like ours, had older boys and then a large separation and one more. Noah’s friend was the youngest. He was never allowed to spend the night at our house. (Or anyone else’s, so you can wipe that judgy thought out of your head.) He could come over for all the sleepover parties, but he would always be picked up around 10:00 p.m. I assumed the kid was a bed wetter or had night terrors. It wasn’t until about two years ago, when he turned 13, that it donned on me. He was not wetting the bed at 13, his mom “Just Said No” to sleepovers.
And now I think she might be BRILLIANT. Set it up early so you don’t have to deal with it later.
I am torn. Do I want to implement a “No Sleepovers” policy with my now 10 year old son? Do I now block sleepovers at other friend’s homes for my teenagers? They can have people to our house. We stay home. We lock the liquor cabinet and set an alarm every night. No one is leaving my house after I go to bed. What is a paranoid mom to do?