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How well would you need to know the other parent before you allowed your DC to go to a sleepover?

(37 Posts)
LynetteScavo Mon 13-Jan-14 21:09:29

8yo DD has been to a few sleepover parties before - I've known the parents well enough to chat to if I meet them at a school fete or similar. I've dropped DD off at their houses for afternoon tea type parties, and had no worries about DD going to a sleepover at their house (worried more about the parents surviving the ordeal to be honest! grin). A sleepover seemed like a natural progression as they got older.

Now DD has been invited to a sleepover party, along with a few other girls. She is desperate to go. The thing is I don't really know the mum, have never chatted to her at school (DD is in before and after school club, so I don't see other parents that much, but there are quite a few parents I'm on polite chatting terms with if I do bump into them). I also don't really know the other girls or their parents who've been invited.

For no obvious reason I'm really uncomfortable about letting DD go on this sleepover. DH doesn't see the issue.

IamGluezilla Mon 13-Jan-14 21:41:28

Really, he doesn't.?

I would say No.

But then we don't do sleepovers.

BaconAndAvocado Tue 14-Jan-14 11:52:55

I would need to know the parents extremely well.

Even if you chatted to the mum, what about the dad/partner etc. Older brother etc?

Sorry if I sound over the top but I would never want my daughter to be somewhere where's she's potentially at risk.

DS is 7 and has been on about 3 sleepovers at a close family friends.,DD is only 5 so sleepovers are a way off yet!

LynetteScavo Tue 14-Jan-14 17:54:41

Friends I've spoken to in RL I've spoken to think there is no more risk from a dad I haven't spoken to, than a dad I've chatted to a few times.

I'm 50/50 on whether to let DD go or not!

I have no reason to think DD would be at risk. Apart from when my imagination starts to run overtime and I start to imagine all sorts of things

BaconAndAvocado Tue 14-Jan-14 18:21:09

lynette that's probably true but both scenarios are a small risk!

And still a risk that I personally wouldn't take.

Maybe you could invite a couple of the girls to your house instead for a sleepover?

BaconAndAvocado Tue 14-Jan-14 18:23:06

Btw I know the pressure from DD must be bordering on the unbearable! As will the fallout be if you say No.

I know I've got this all to come.

LynetteScavo Tue 14-Jan-14 18:35:08

I have suggested to DD we invite the friend here for a sleepover. I also suggested if she doesn't go to the party she and I could do something really fun instead - but then DD got all wobbly and said she couldn't decide if she'd rather do something fun with me or go to the sleepover. It ended with me saying she didn't have to decide, I would decide as I am the Mummy....only I can't decide.

A friend of mine suggested giving her a phone, but that just opens up a whole different can of worms, IMO.

Starballbunny Tue 14-Jan-14 18:50:18

At 8 I'd have known the parents pretty well, and it's a small school so by y6 we all knew each other quite well.

Total shock to the system when in Y7 parents I have never met happily let their DDs come here and DD stay there.

LynetteScavo Tue 14-Jan-14 19:20:24

DD has thrown the "If you didn't work and collected me like the other Mums, you would know X's Mum, and you'd let me go to the sleep over" line at me. hmm

BaconAndAvocado Tue 14-Jan-14 20:19:57

Oh poor you! My 7 yo has laid it on thick with that one if things aren't going his way hmm

lljkk Tue 14-Jan-14 20:22:51

Can't you invent an excuse to phone the other parents, say you need to check on the possibility of an invite, "you know how kids get the wrong idea" and then make up excuses to prolong the conversation a bit?

Plan to let her go but tell her you'll change mind at your discretion. When you drop her off walk in and check the place & people out.

I've never had popular kids, but I would work along those lines if I had to.

CocktailQueen Tue 14-Jan-14 20:23:35

Hmm. My dd has just been to a sleepover at her new best friend's house - and I've only met the mum to chat to. Dd is 10 though and has just changed schools to middle school, so this is new to me. I gave been used to knowing all dd's friends over the past years in lower school.

8 is quite young for sleepovers anyway, and I don't think I'd have let dd go at that age, where I didn't know the family well.

ClairesTravellingCircus Tue 14-Jan-14 20:26:40

Do you know any of the other girls' mums?
Maybe you can check with them?
Or you can phone this mum and have a chat, maybe arrange to meet her for a coffee, before the sleepover?

It might give you a starting point.

LynetteScavo Tue 14-Jan-14 20:40:51

From what I know of the mum, she is perfectly lovely. Very smiley. I don't think I'd gain anything from having a coffee with her. And I'm quite shy so would never do that!

DD is confident and out going, so I've no worries about her being unhappy. She would have a whale of a time.

I don't know the other girls mums, either. DD tells me the girls who have been invited (and their mums) are all a group of friends, and she has been "invited into the group".

Seriously, the worst that will happen is she stays awake until 1am and doesn't brush her teeth, right?

MostWicked Tue 14-Jan-14 21:26:34

I'm with your DH - I really don't see what the big issue is.
I would phone or speak to the mum to confirm the details, then let them get on with it.
Your only reason for saying no, is that you would worry that something (no idea what) might happen to her.
Seriously - what are these risks that she would be exposed to?

mathanxiety Wed 15-Jan-14 03:50:30

If there are a few other girls going then I would let her go. I would call and chat with the other mum first, introduce myself, get a sense of what sort of person she was and what she had planned for the sleepover activities.

I have let all the DCs off to sleepovers from age 6 without really knowing the parents (and in many cases the older siblings) too well. It's one way to get to know people.

I am a shy person too and quite an introvert, but I made a vow not to hold my outgoing DCs back from activities they wanted to do with friends just because of my own natural aversion to exciting social gatherings. It seems if DD has already been making remarks about you working and not knowing the other mums there has already been a bit of angst over this and I really urge you to bite your tongue if you've been hashing this matter out with her. Listen to your DH on this and try to get over your fears. Try to get past your fears of dads. It's not rational to be suspicious like that.

Before your DD goes to the sleepover, arrange with her that you will phone her at say 10 o'clock and will ask her questions that require a yes or no answer from her about how things are going. Assure her that it's ok to leave a sleepover if she isn't having a good time or feels it's creepy or misses you or whatever. You can tell the hostess she has told you she fears she's getting diarrhoea or something equally nasty to deal with. If she does ask to come home, no probing questions unless you think something truly horrible has happened, or she will feel she was wrong and you were right and feel bad about the next invitation.

mathanxiety Wed 15-Jan-14 03:53:16

Seriously, the worst that will happen is she stays awake until 1am and doesn't brush her teeth, right?

Nobody will go to bed before midnight and no teeth will be brushed. All the girls will come home with their nails painted and be very crabby and cross with their families the next day.

moldingsunbeams Wed 15-Jan-14 04:25:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LynetteScavo Wed 15-Jan-14 18:24:50

mathanxiety You speak a lot of sense. smile

I have accepted the invitation. [gulp]

(DD has now been verbally invited to a party where a load of girls will be driven around in a limousine for an hour drinking out of champagne glasses, apparently -I think the family own a limo hire company or something- I am obsessed with car seats and still have my Y6 DS in an isofix high back car seat. Lord help me!)

LynetteScavo Sun 19-Jan-14 19:16:56

Do you know what?

I just can't do it! I can't let her go. It's just a gut feeling I have. I feel really uncomfortable about it, and I've never not let DD go to a sleepover before. The first one she went to was when she'd just turned 7yo, and I had no worries about that. I just can't put my finger on why I'm so uncomfortable about this. Apart from I've never really spoken to the mum. (I did send a longish text, and she replied. "Thanks".)

DH says it's because I'm "not of the same mindset" as the other parent, or the parents of the other invited girls. Whatever that means.

FourFlapjacksPlease Sun 19-Jan-14 20:38:58

Are you worried about her being abused in some way? If so, can I ask what makes you think that this is less likely with parents that you have chatted to before? Dodgy types don't always shuffle about in grubby macs. They can be the lovely, smiley, always charming dad/brother/grandad that you have known your whole life. Obviously this is stating the obvious but just making the point that knowing the parents is no indicator that there isn't stuff about them that you will never know about

I would (and do) let my DC go to sleepovers but not until 8, much to my 6 year olds fury! I think you have to balance caution with letting them join in with things and have a little independence.

I have said no to a sleepover where they have very unruly dogs, one where the other child was a bully and I felt concerned there would be ganging up, and one where I know that the mum leaves her DC's on their own to go out (didn't feel sure that she would supervise them properly) Other than that I let them go, and discuss personal safety and boundaries with them.

mathanxiety Sun 19-Jan-14 21:11:57

I agree with Flapjacks.

Most people, even if not the exact same as you or me, fall into the category of 'decent', and would not invite a group of girls for a sleepover without understanding their responsibility or at the least, knowing they would need to be firmly in charge of proceedings just for the sake of their furniture and personal belongings.

LynetteScavo Sun 19-Jan-14 21:26:28

No, I'm not worried about her being abused (although this did go through my head, then I realised I was being unreasonable.)

I am worried about her maybe watching a film I would consider unsuitable. I am worried about them going out the next day, and DD not being adequately supervised (DD is very dozy around roads and would just step off the pavement in front of a car) I am worried someone in the family smokes (see, I don't even know if they do or not!)

I'm not even sure DD is particularly good friends with the party girl - I think it's just reciprocating from DD inviting her to DDs party (along with half the class). I would have preferred an invitation to tea first, TBH.

The time I allowed DD to sleepover with a child when I wasn't good friends with the parents, they were teachers who have adopted children, so I figured to a certain extent, they had already been vetted.

DH has accused me of not letting DD go because the family have a "small" house. angry. We used to have a "small" house, FFS! And have you seen the prices of houses, and the cost of rent these days?! One of the reasons I like the DC attending the school they do, rather than our local school is that they mix with children from varied backgrounds, rather than every child living in almost the same house as ours if they went to our catchment school. The person I know who lives in the smallest house ever is a barrister (and doesn't do sleepovers for their DC because there is nowhere for anyone to actually sleep grin) who only feed thier DC organic food and doesn't allow television. I'm rambling now, as I just can't put my finger on why I don't want DD to go.

I look at her sleeping in bed, and don't want someone else I don't really know having the privilege of DDs company. (I know I sound really odd and weird, but I'm just being honest)

Anyway, it's a gut feeling I just can't shake. [crazed mother smiley]

FourFlapjacksPlease Sun 19-Jan-14 21:43:13

well if your instinct says not to let her go, I think that is enough of a reason to say no. She will forgive you eventually grin

There will be plenty of other sleepovers, and other friends that you feel more comfortable about her staying with. Sleepovers are not compulsory thankfully! At least you get to avoid the 'sunday of rage and tears' which seems to follow most of them.

johnwinstonlennon Mon 20-Jan-14 02:57:44

well, I'll be worried that she gets sexually abused. my 7 year old son went to his first sleepover a month ago. there's only my son's friend from school and his widowed mother -who seems lovely, we talked many times- in the house. I'd have a hard time deciding to let him go to a house with men or older boys around.

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