It is fun to make a friend online that you’ve never met in person. That happened with Laura and I through our blogs. We are on the same journey, just at different points along the way. We both have girls, mine are older teens, hers younger. Even though I’ve already been through the younger stage, it still intrigues me to read about it. Why? Because things have changed so quickly and dramatically that she has issues to deal with that I didn’t have, just 8 years ago!
I’m honored to be sharing today about slumber parties. My girls are now 14, 16 and 19. Through the years, I’ve hosted slumber parties, refused to host them, sent my girls to slumber parties and denied permission to attend others. I am not hard core on either side. It truly depends on the people, place and situation. What I will do is share some real thoughts and experiences for you to consider.
- Slumber parties should wait until after middle school (and luckily enough, interest wanes after that!) After hosting a few with my older daughter during middle school, I decided it would be better to wait until latter 8th grade, after the girl drama that is infamous with tweens and middle schoolers, subsides a bit. In a large group of girls, it is almost inevitable that the group splits into two halves, with one stirring up drama and strife, followed by hurt feelings.
- Things you don’t want to happen, will happen at slumber parties. Practically an entire sex ed course took place at a 4th grade slumber party. I would rather be the instigator of sex ed with my girls, but at this very young age, a little peer of my daughter beat me to it. Having attended a very- well- done church education course with her mom, the little girl was excited to fill all the other girls in on the news. In middle school, one girl informed everyone of the details and “how- tos” of sex. Another time, a group ran around the neighborhood at night . Girls taking pictures they shouldn’t take has happened at a slumber party. And movies are always an issue. Movies I would never let my kids watch have been shown at slumber parties hosted by church leaders, so I’ve learned to never assume anything. In 90% of these cases, it was church girls from good families taking part.
- Cell phones make slumber parties riskier. Phones were not an issue during my earlier tween-parenting years. Now if I had younger kids with phones, I would ask the girls to leave them downstairs with me during the nighttime. Drama and “iffy” things are stirred up by phone calls, boys, cameras and internet access on phones. I have turned computers off at night, disabled internet access and told everyone to stay off of them, but you can’t control kids’ phones. Most girls don’t mind if you are nice and friendly about it and provide other fun activities. Cell phones have helped on the other hand, because my kids have texted me from overnights asking if they can see a certain movie. It saves them embarrassment by asking privately. Then if I say no, they can say to the friend, “Naah, that doesn’t sound good. Let’s watch something else” instead of “My mom won’t let me watch that.” I don’t mind helping them save face, as long as we accomplish the goal. We also have an understanding that if things are “going south” at an overnight, they can say they don’t feel good and call me, and I’ll come get them. We have a phrase they can say so that I know the secret message to me is “I want to come home,” no matter what she’s saying in front of friends. Sometimes slumber parties sound SO FUN, then once they get there, drama begins and they’d like a way out.
- Things to consider if it’s at someone else’s house…What adults will be there and do they supervise like you would? Are there older siblings you need to think about? What’s the entertainment, movies being shown? Also, I tell my kids (whether they completely obey it I’ll probably never know) that I want them to stay off computers at other people’s houses, because you never know. I have also let my daughters attend some parties for a portion of time, and picked them up late at night instead of allowing the overnight.
- There can be successful slumber parties at any age, so use your judgment. And don’t feel bad if you decide on “No, we’re not going to do them.” We have had successful slumber parties in middle school. In high school, a school club wanted to have a slumber party, so I volunteered to host it. That saved me the drama of denying attendance to my daughter, because I didn’t know anyone else’s family in the club. But girls will survive if you say no. The missed party will soon be forgotten by all. Yet, I have let mine attend an overnight that usually I wouldn’t approve, but truly felt in my spirit it was okay, and it was. Make it a matter of prayer. God cares about all of these details! Follow your gut, your instinct, your spirit.
Holly, thank you so much for sharing your wisdom. Holly blogs at 5 Things..Raising Girls in Today’s World. She covers all the issues I need to know about in the future! Don’t forget to thank the mentor mom today! Come back later this week as I discuss a slumber party alternative and play date decisions.