After careful consideration and many discussions later with an esteemed acquaintance of ours, we have decided to disallow our teens to attend sleepovers. Much of this thinking has come from training that our friend received based on the Boys Town model as follows:
1. It puts your child in a possible situation without an out.
2. The supervision at one home is not always what you would want.
3. As they say, "nothing good happens after midnight."
4. Structure is very important to the development of teens.
5. "It's not fun to drink alone." Using alcohol and drugs is less likely when you have no one else to party with.
6. You really want to stay at someone's house just to sleep?
7. How often does your child come home refreshed and ready to participate in a family function?
Some helpful thoughts:
1. Compromise: if there is a group sleepover, let them stay out an hour later than normal curfew. Then go and pick them up.
2. Don't let a sleepover happen at your home. You don't want to be a hypocrite.
3. Let your child know that you are looking out for them, because it is your job. That you don't want them to be in a situation where they would fall to peer pressure.
4. You can't be with them 24 hours a day, but you can control how many hours they are away from you.
5. Use common sense, not guilt when making decisions for your child.
With that being said, we have instituted this in our own home with our child who is 16 and it will go into effect with our next one who will be 13 this summer. We have two older sons, who would have benefited from this and maybe it would've prevented them from making some of the poor decisions that they did make. So far it works. I wonder how some of our behavior issues in Spencer would be rectified if more parents agreed to do the same. Maybe some of the behavior issues would be alleviated if parents in our community were united in something such as this. I'd like to see it happen and I'd like to see the results. What do you think?