What Happened to Good Old Fashioned Slumber Parties?

by , 08/15/13

sleepover dangers, sleepovers, sleepover benefits, slumber party dangers, slumber parties, dangerous sleepovers, dangerous slumber party, childhood dangers, social skills, child independence
Image courtesy of Shutterstock

12 year old at a sleepover – what a crazy idea!

When I finally heard back from the parents of my son’s friends, here’s what they said:

  • “12 is way too young for sleepovers.”
  • “We have a strict no sleepover rule for everyone in the house until they turn 16.”
  • “I don’t allow my kid to go to the city, so he can’t come.” (The city? I live in Portland, so yeah it’s a city I suppose. Sorry it’s not the burbs).
  • “Will there be junk food and movies?” to which I said, probably, it’s a sleepover, to which the parent said, “I don’t agree with junk food or movies, so no.”

At Cedar’s previous sleepovers we’ve had a packed house. This year, we had THREE kids, counting Cedar. Besides the two who slept over, another mom did let her son come over, but only for 3 hours, because she had a strict home by dark rule. She also gave me a laundry list of rules before she’d let her son come, including stuff like no scary movies and no video games over E. I didn’t ever bring up the fact that I was planning on sending the kids outside to play, because my gut told me no way would this mom be on board with shenanigans like that. Not having experienced parents like this much before, this sleepover issue was depressing, both to me and my son. I thought, maybe my son’s just fallen in with a strange crowd of friends with overprotective parents. Not all parents frown on sleepovers nowadays, right? Wrong.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

The many alleged ‘evils’ of sleepovers

The Education.com article proclaiming the many hazards of sleepovers has since been removed, maybe due to backlash from free range parents, but it’s not unique. After my recent sleepover experience, I looked up “childhood sleepovers” online and found that many parents don’t allow sleepovers. How come?

  • One parent says, a home may have “Pornography, internet access, cable TV, pin-ups, violent games, loaded guns, fireworks or uncovered swimming pools.” My personal favorite fear from this parent was,  ”Even something as simple as a dartboard can be dangerous to kids that are not aware of its dangers.” Pin-ups? Is this the 60s? On a side note I also don’t hand kids guns at the door.
  • Another writer who is really freaked out about sleepovers notes, “Sexual experimentation can occur at sleepovers… sleepovers are a prime opportunity for a child molester to engage in child abuse” and she notes a dad might drug your daughter then molest her.
  • Parents will most likely go to bed, leaving the kids all alone, at which point major mischief will occur and/or it sets kids up for child abuse via the other kids.
  • Your child may eat refined sugar or other junk food.
  • The sleepover kids will sneak out of the house and drink or do drugs.
  • Another problem is that, “Plans cooked up by children alone can often turn into recipes for disaster.” I like how this point further indicates how stupid people think their kids are. Kids do have brains. Raise them to use them, you know?
  • “Sleepovers are difficult to regulate and can easily get out of hand… issues like vandalism and sexual assault may occur.” Sigh.

I found dozens of articles like the ones above and apparently more and more parents are enacting strict no sleepover rules, probably because they’re reading these articles is my guess.

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