Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Saying "No" to Sleepovers Could be the Best Thing You Ever Say to Your Child

A while back I read a blog post from a young father that was interesting, thought-provoking, a wonderful example of Godly parenting, and something I think is worth expounding on. The subject: Three reasons why they had decided to not allow their children to participate in sleepovers. The writer stated that as parents, it was his and his wife’s responsibility to keep their children safe and to do whatever they could to protect them from danger—and that in their opinion protecting them included not allowing sleepovers. He went on to explain his reasoning, which was based on his own personal experience as a child; experiences that included being exposed to pornography and being subjected to sinful and illegal acts. He went on to say that while his wife’s experiences weren’t that severe, she, too, had been exposed to things she wished she wouldn’t have been. 
As I read this article I remembered a few sleepovers I’d been to that weren’t so great. Quite honestly my parents could have been a lot more particular than they were—for my safety and protection. Nothing too terribly bad happened, but there were times when things could have, and I would have been right there in the middle of it all. 
And then I thought about my own kids. Thankfully, I was more particular when it came to who my kids stayed with. I made sure I knew the parents and the kids, too. I may be wrong, but as far as I know my kids were always safe and well-supervised at these events. And if I am wrong, I apologize from the depths of my heart for falling down on the job, kids. 
So what am I saying? Am I saying all sleepovers are bad? No, not really. If done right and with the right people, they’re fine. The problem is that more often than not, you don’t have any idea if it’s being done right or how well supervised they are. Am I saying you should never let your kids out of your sight or allow them to try something new, take a few risks, or experience things outside their comfort zone? No, not at all! 
What I am saying, however, is that as parents, you need to be very careful about leaving your children under the care and supervision of someone other than yourself—even if it’s ‘only’ overnight or for a few hours. That’s right—even a few hours. As careful as I was about who my kids spent time with, there were a couple of birthday parties and playdates I still wish I wouldn’t have allowed because they weren’t pleasant and exposed my kids to habits and attitudes I didn’t appreciate them being exposed to. 
I’m also saying that the new things they try and the risks, and adventures they take need to be emotionally, physically and spiritually sound. Otherwise, you are putting your child’s safety and well-being at risk and that isn’t good parenting. 
When I shared this article on my social media, I was prepared for comments about being over-protective and suspicious. Instead, the comments were completely supportive of the parents’ decision. In fact, every parent with small children who commented said they were in full agreement with these parents—with the exception of having sleepovers grandparents and aunts/uncles, that is. 
Parents, there is nothing as precious and fragile than the hearts and minds of your children. Love them. Guard them. Protect them.

Momma D
                              Copyright 2016 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author.