Many years ago Aileen and I made a decision for our family, little knowing how that decision would end up reverberating around the world. We decided not to have our kids participate in sleepovers. Here’s why, many years later, my family still doesn’t do sleepovers. It’s available in YouTube and Facebook formats and, as always, there’s a transcript for the readers. Note that the videos also now feature captioning.
A few years ago Aileen and I made a decision for our family that we believed was wise, that was good for us. At the time, we had no idea how that decision would end up reverberating around the world. We decided that we would not do sleepovers. That for our family, we would not permit our children to sleep over at someone else’s house. That was fine. That was good.
Then I wrote an article about it. It got spread far and wide. Literally, millions of people read that article. It resulted in this outpouring, this avalanche of feedback. Avalanche of information about other people’s experiences with sleepovers. Today I want to tell you why my family still doesn’t do sleepovers.
It’s one of our culture’s strange traditions and I’ve got no idea where it came from, but there’s this rite of passage that our children are now old enough to sleep over at someone’s house, or old enough to have one of their friends come and sleep at their house.
If you really think about it, it doesn’t make a lot of sense, does it? I don’t know what the thrill is in having someone over to sleep. Yet our culture does it. And it’s become this accepted part of parenting that you invite people into your house. This accepted part of growing up, that you go and sleep in someone else’s house.
When Aileen and I were thinking about this, when our children were young, and we thought about it before they were old enough to do sleepovers. We decided we would just put a blanket ban on sleepovers. That was really based on two different things.
The first one was just experience we had had. Neither Aileen and I were ever harmed at a sleepover. We did participate in them when we were young. But we knew people who were very seriously harmed. Either somebody had abused them or hurt them. Or they had encountered things that they should not have encountered. For many people, their first experience of pornography was at a sleepover. Their first experience of sexuality or even drunkenness was at a sleepover.
We became very concerned that we didn’t want our children to experience any of those things. Not only that, we didn’t want to put our children in a situation where they were young and vulnerable and still too immature, still too in equipped to know how to deal with a situation. Often, I think we put very young children in situations they simply don’t have the capacity, the maturity to deal with. So somebody compels them to do something. Somebody encouraged them to do something. They’re simply not old enough, mature enough to know how to deal with it and they end up suffering.
For those two reasons, and there were others. But those were the two big ones, we decided there would be no sleepovers. We really stuck to it. It wasn’t always easy. Sometimes our children were mad at us. They wanted to do what their friends were doing. Sometimes the parents of our children’s friends were mad at us. They thought we were being way over protective or that we were judging them.
One of the most helpful things about just saying no sleepovers, was we never had to choose. We never had to explain ourselves. We never had to say to our children, “You can sleep at that person’s house. But not that person’s house.” That was very helpful. When the parents were upset, we just said, “No sleepovers.”
Since I wrote that article, I received literally hundreds and hundreds of emails and comments. They really reaffirmed the decision we had made. We learned a couple of things. We learned that the upside of sleepovers really isn’t that high. I mean, yes it’s fun. Our children want fun experiences. But really, mostly what they get out of a sleepover is a grouchy day the next day and probably a sick stomach from eating too much. There’s not a lot to gain.
But the downside, and again, I got so many emails, just heartbreaking emails about this. The downside can be a lifetime of suffering. The positive consequences are pretty minimal. The negative consequences can be very, very serious. We really believe that, at least for our family and our situation, we made the right decision.
One of the things that came out of it was this sense of relief. Many people got in touch and were just relieved. They may not have agreed with everything I said. They may not have agreed with my entire position. But I think they felt relief that there was someone else out there who was saying, “We don’t think sleepovers are a great idea.” Because again, there is this pressure, this cultural pressure that good parents let their children go to somebody else’s house to sleep.
I just simply meant to say, “Why don’t you think about it?” Aileen and I, we’re Christians. We try to raise our children in accordance with the Bible. We believe that the Bible is God’s revelation to us. That it gives us wisdom. You can read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, you won’t find the word sleepover. You won’t receive a clear command, you must or you must not allow your children to sleepover at someone else’s house.
But you will find the importance of raising your children in the discipline and the instruction of the Lord and protecting your children, taking good care of them, expressing your love for your child in protecting them. We felt, that as we prayed about it, as we thought about it, wisdom dictated we would not allow our children to participate in sleepovers. We had to heed our conscience there.
That’s all I say for you. Read God’s word. Think about it. Apply wisdom. Heed your conscience. Make a decision that’s good, that’s the best for your family, for your children. Hope you found this helpful. If you did, why don’t you click the like button so maybe other people can find it. Why don’t you consider subscribing so you can get some more videos like this one. I’ll see you soon.