Dear Dr. Bill,
My wife and I have two daughters, ages 7 and 9. We’ve found sleepovers to be one of the best ways for them to develop some great friendships with girls who come from Christian families with values similar to our own. When we’ve had the girls at our house, it’s been a great way for us to get to know these friends better.
But what do you think about sleepovers at a friend’s house where there’s an older teen brother living there? Should that be an absolute “no?” Do you have any guidelines on how we should deal with that situation?
It’s great that you and you wife have a group of Christian friends who share your values—and that your kids have developed friendships with their kids. When I talk to parents around the country, I tell them I believe that’s one of the best ways to protect our kids from some of the toxic influences in today’s youth culture.
Because these parents have the same Christian beliefs you do, it’s likely they share your values regarding entertainment, internet use, drugs and alcohol, and sexual purity.
That being said, there are always risks when your child stays overnight in someone else’s home.
Normally I discourage sleepovers for this very reason—especially if you don’t know the other child’s parents extremely well.
Have you known this family for a long time? Do they share your values? Do you know and trust their son? Are you confident there will be a high level of supervision during the sleepover?
If so, you may choose to you may choose to let your daughters attend. But if you can’t answer a definite “yes” to all of these questions, I would strongly advise against it.
Another option would be to volunteer to be a chaperone at the sleepover. That way you can completely supervise your own daughters and have the peace of mind that they are in a safe environment. But don’t plan on getting much sleep!
Thanks for writing Eric. If you have a question for me about family issues or Christian living, click the “Questions” link on the Culture Connection page.