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Why I don't allow my children to go to sleepovers

Janelle is a mother of a tween girl and one year old boy. She is recently married and balancing the hurdles of being a full-time worker with the mindset of a traditional housewife. She has a Master degree in Public Health and is the brai...

How saying no to sleepovers is one way I keep my kids safe

We decided very early in the parenting process that we wouldn't allow our children to spend the night at the homes of friends or neighbors. The only exception to the rule has been to allow them to sleep over with the their grandparents. The world has become cruel; when it comes to the safety of our precious little ones, few people can be trusted. Not that anyone has ever harmed my children, but dangers exist. As a parent, one of my major duties is to protect my kids to the best of my abilities. With this role, I'm faced with the tough decisions of allowing them to be free to experience the world and to set limitation on what I feel may be too risky. It didn't take much conversation for my husband and I to decide sleepovers were in the realm of things that were absolutely non-negotiable. Friends, neighbors, uncles, aunts and even church leaders have all preyed on small, defenseless children.

I don't care how well I think I know someone, the truth is you never know how someone lives behind closed doors. I know too many friends who have shared horror stories of molestation and abuse. The friendly faces of abusers are real. Abusers don't look like monsters, they look like our friends and some can be the same age as our kids.

I've never wanted to put my children in a place where they are in a home at 3 a.m. and can't leave. Let's be upfront, when the doors and the lights go out inside a home, a child is in a vulnerable place. The truth is that we can teach and educate our children about protecting themselves, but there is still a chance that someone could violate them. A sleepover is often a playground for such a horrible offense.

In sleepover situations, there are always the possibilities for kids to be exposed to older siblings, pornography, adult internet sites, other adults living in the household, visiting adults, etc. A sleepover can also be a place for bullying, everyone invited to the party may not be friends with each other. The list of situations that a child could become victim to is endless.

While many sleepovers could be harmless and fun filled, I'm not willing to take that chance with my children. Sorry, thank you for the invite, but we RSVP with no regrets.

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