Why Avoid Sleepovers
By Barrington H. Brennen

Should parents have sleepovers for their growing children? Are there any challenges in having sleepovers? Truly, I am amazed how sleepovers have become so popular during the past decades. I also observed that mostly, it is the children who request sleepovers, not the parents. Then parents give in with the view that there is no harm in having the sleepover. They are little children.

   Let me remind us about two important principles.
   It is in the home where children are to feel most loved and secure.

It is the parent’s full responsibility to provide a healthy growth development plan and environment for their children.

With that in mind, we must understand that young children—from birth to age twelve—are very impressionable and are developing life-long patterns of behavior which become the foundation for their character. So, parents are to guard every minute of their children’s lives to ensure that their mind and senses are not cluttered with negative ideas and
emotions. It is also my view that teenagers are full of energy and creativity, yet vulnerable and can be innocently exposed to environments that can adversely change their lives forever. It is my view that sleepovers, no matter how well they are organized, are one of those negative gateways for learning destructive behaviors.

Before I go further, I want to share what I would consider as positive points for sleepovers. In the article, “Sleepovers—Bad Idea or No Big Deal?” the writer Shelby Abbott states: “It can be fun for your kids to build deeper and more meaningful relationships with their friends. Time spent in someone else’s home can foster an environment of great friendship building. Being in someone else’s home can also help kids learn a different family culture or environment. This helps to make your kids more well-rounded, knowledgeable, and empathetic.” Also note this important point he makes: “The pros, however, kind of end there. And honestly, the positives mentioned do not only happen in the context of a sleepover. Those benefits can happen in different environments that don’t require the vulnerability of staying overnight.”

Then, what would be a negative point for having sleepovers. I must first quote from the same author. Here are his words: “We’ll start with something minor. Your kids are probably going to stay up late and eat a bunch of junk food, which may make them sick to their stomach and guarantees they will be grouchy the next day. Other more likely outcomes are the mischievous actions, words, and attitudes kids tend to shift toward when unsupervised for long periods. They could watch something on TV you may not approve of. They could be exposed to pornography, alcohol, foul language, or even unsafe circumstances. None of which they are equipped to handle because of their immaturity as children. Even worse, they could be abused in some form or harmed in a way that could affect them for years to come.”

The challenge with sleepovers, especially if the number of guest children greatly exceeds the number of your children, is that it is exceedingly difficult to effectively manage all of them. Little children (those up to 12 years) require hands-on supervision. Eyes and ears must always be vigilant. Although teenagers do not require hands-on supervision, still they need distant supervision and can be more reckless and challenging.

Interestingly, while researching on the topic, every article I read had one common reason they opposed sleepovers. They all had a negative personal experience with sleepovers. One author said: “While many kids go to sleepovers that are not a problem, it only takes one incident to ruin a child’s innocence. That was the case for me.”

Another point is that of being exposed to seeing . . . .

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Your Daily Relationship Nugget is a short radio program by marriage and family therapist, Barrington H. Brennen, designed to encourage, inform and uplift families, couples, singles, parents, teenagers;
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Your Daily Relationship Nugget is short and sweet.  Each program is between seven to ten minutes in length.  Each program is stimulating, provocative, and refreshing.   Barrington H. Brennen is  marriage and family therapist, counseling psychologist and a retired minister of the gospel.  He combines his 25 years experience and training as a marriage and family therapist and writer; 43 years as a husband, and 42 years of ministry, to bring to you refreshing nuggets that can change your life.

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