Sleepover or no sleepover?

My son came home a few days ago saying that he had been invited to a sleepover at a friend’s house.

My first feeling was one of joy that my son seems to have found his feet socially. I asked him to ensure he got full information on where the sleepover was taking place, contact numbers, timings and so on.

This morning, he admitted he still has not got me any of this.

Over the last few days, I have got more concerned and more against the whole idea of him going on the sleepover. I do not know the family concerned. I have not met the friend concerned. How do I know my son will be safe in this unknown environment? If I am not pretty certain he will be safe, I am minded not to let him go. As you can imagine, me expressing such ideas impresses my teenage son not at all.

I look back to my childhood. I went on one sleepover probably when I was around his age or a little older. What made my parents think it was OK for me to go? I imagine as they are not here to ask that the fact that the parents of my friend lived in a posh area and had professional parents made them feel OK. Of course, they had lived in the town for generations and my Dad knew an lot about people through his police work. There were connections through church too.

We are relatively new to this town and don’t know many people well.

I tried to explain my concerns to my son who said I was accusing the parents of his friend of being “mass murderers”. Now I did not say that although I guess they might be for all I know. They could sanction smoking, drug use or the drinking of alcohol by teens. They could be violent or worse. Even if people have a Criminal Record Bureau check, all it actually proves is that they have never been caught for anything by the police.

I can imagine that people will think I am over the top and too protective.

Then I think about my step-daughters who were abused in their own home by their mother’s boyfriend.

I think of my friend who disclosed how a very professional man and a great friend of her parents’ abused her.

I think how many professionals I have known who use drugs regularly.

Of course, the reality is that if he goes he will probably have a wonderful time and be perfectly safe. If he does not go, it may impact on his relationship with the friend badly. I really don’t want to stop him having a good time so I think maybe I should just take the risk and let him go. Except every instinct as a mum screams against that.

Which raises the whole question of letting children go as they get older. It is a very scary business. You invest all that time in keeping them safe as they are growing up and then at some point they are on their own in a world that whilst wonderful is also “big and bad” sometimes.

Sleepover or no sleepover?

What do you think?

The Pramshed

13 Comments

  1. Candace January 10, 2014 / 1:30 pm

    I’d want to meet the parents first and certainly take him there if you do decide to go ahead. Nothing wrong in wanting your child to be safe

  2. Louise Barrett January 10, 2014 / 1:33 pm

    For me it would me, no information, no sleep over. End off!

    If he really wants to go he will get you the information you require. If that is forthcoming, make sure you drop him and meet the parents before you leave him there.

    Your role in life is to protect him. If he doesn’t like the way you do it on this occasion, that is tough as far as I can see. There will be plenty of times they don’t like how you handle things but they will thank you for it when they are parents.

    Louise
    x

  3. Helen January 10, 2014 / 1:48 pm

    I think you need to at least speak to a parent over the phone for some reassurance. When children get to Secondary school, it’s not always possible to meet the mums and dads in the same way it is in Primary. Perhaps your son hasn’t got the details yet because he doesn’t want to appear uncool in front of his friend? (Just thinking how my kids are!) Good luck! I hope you find a solution.
    P.S. My 12 yo daughter slept over at a friend’s house last weekend. As I dropped her off, I saw the ‘Warning, Rhodesian Ridgeback’ sign on the door. My girl is very scared of dogs and spent the entire time in her friend’s bedroom. I was worried sick until I picked her up.

  4. Ellen January 10, 2014 / 3:39 pm

    Oh my days, this is such a hard one! We are parents who don’t let our kids ‘out to play’, they don’t run feral & sleepovers as they’ve gotten older have become tricky to deal with. There are some families that my children are friends with that I wouldn’t trust to look after my dog, I’m not a snob, truly I’m not but if they don’t know where there own kids are then how can they be expected to look after MY child like I would?

    Eddie my oldest son was invited to a sleepover when he was in Yr7, after a chat on the phone, we politely stated our boundaries where Eddie was concerned & it turns out she was worried about the same when her son came to our house first!!
    Having said that, I won’t invite Charlie’s ‘best friend’ (Age 6) over to play because I don’t want him to go to their house because of their son is allowed out to play on the streets.
    I don’t feel as though we should enforce our will as a family on another family, where as my husband feels we should draw a line in the sand from day one!

    Best of luck to you!
    Ellen recently posted…Love The Little ThingsMy Profile

  5. Glenys January 10, 2014 / 4:51 pm

    Unless he provides you with the information for which you have asked, he doesn’t go. Make him do the running. A lesson to learn for him. If the information is forthcoming then I would phone the parent (mum) of the friend holding the sleepover to make sure it is legitimate & of course take him there & make sure he knows he can phone you if he needs/wants to.

  6. thebeesleybuzz January 10, 2014 / 7:35 pm

    gosh- what a dilemma. I don’t have any words of wisdom I’m afraid. My son doesn’t even get party invites let alone a sleepover because of his ASD! I don’t think i’d feel happy until i had met the friend and probably parents too and then decide. Even then, like you say, sometimes you can’t judge people by how ‘professional’ they appear. Hope you find a solution that both you and your son are happy with. One thought popped into my head literally just now as i type – could you ask for the sleepover to be at your house the first time until you get to know the friend/ family better? that way you can keep an eye on things x
    thebeesleybuzz recently posted…Endings and New beginningsMy Profile

  7. sarah pellew January 11, 2014 / 12:18 pm

    I agree with the comments above. I would also say, if he does go make sure he has a charged phone so if at any point he’s not happy he can call you. Have a plan that he can say he’s not well or something you’re both happy with so that you can contact each other and have an “out” if necessary. Maybe he could go until quite late but not sleep over? Good luck :0)
    sarah pellew recently posted…A Blog Post with two photos.My Profile

  8. Midlife Singlemum January 11, 2014 / 7:30 pm

    It’s not expecting too much for you to ring the parents under the guise of asking if it’s ok with them. Having an address and a telephone number for where your son is is basic. After that I think you have to let him trust his choice of friends and let him go armed with a mobile phone so he can call you if he needs to at any time and you can text him asking if all is ok.
    Midlife Singlemum recently posted…When Everything Breaks At OnceMy Profile

  9. Angela January 12, 2014 / 10:09 pm

    Definitely no information, no sleepover!
    My son had his first sleepover last half term, but we knew the boy and mum really well and known them for years, the difference is that we had the boy stay at ours. maybe you could suggest the sleepover to be at your house once you have met the boys parents. I think I would maybe have the boy round just for a few hours first, good luck x
    Angela recently posted…A Wintery Morning ParkRun #countrykidsMy Profile

  10. Left Back January 29, 2017 / 8:36 am

    I agree with all the comments above I think you need to meet the parents first. Are there any other boys going? Do you know there parents? At the end of the day your son’s well being is more important than being a cool parent #fortheloveofblog

  11. The Pramshed February 2, 2017 / 10:43 am

    Oh man this is a hard one. I remember going to sleep overs when I was younger but they were with my close friends and my parents knew the parents. I would try to meet his parents first, if you can, which I hope would help reassure you. Thanks for linking up at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x
    The Pramshed recently posted…The Partner’s View – Autumn’s MummyMy Profile

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