on discipleship

April 29, 2015

Why I Don’t Allow my Kids to Sleepover

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Almost every kid I know have experienced sleepovers. As a young kid, I was only allowed to sleepover when I was 13 and it was on very rare occasions. I really have nothing against sleepovers before but as a former youth pastor and now as a pastor of a church – I have heard just too many horror stories of sleepovers.

I’ll give you why sleepover is not a good idea.

1. Culture has changed.

The rampant stories and sexual abuse that has happened in the past five years are overwhelming. It is not surprising to hear so many sexual exploitations occur during sleepovers. Whether it is a relative, a cousin or a brother’s friend or parents of the teens – everyone is susceptible to unwanted sexual activities that can be avoided because of sleepovers.

In his book Bringing Up Girls, James Dobson says:

Sadly, the world has changed in the last few decades, and it is no longer a safe place for children. Pedophiles and child molesters are more pervasive than ever. That is why parents must be diligent to protect their kids every hour of the day and night. …

Until you have dealt with little victims as I have and seen the pain in their eyes, you might not fully appreciate the devastation inflicted by molestation. It casts a long shadow on everything that follows, including future marital relationships. Therefore, parents have to think the unthinkable in every situation. The threat can come from anywhere—including neighbors, uncles, stepfathers, grandfathers, Sunday school teachers, coaches, music instructors, Scout leaders, and babysitters. Even public bathrooms can be dangerous today…

 

Another thing that usually happens in sleepovers are sexual conversations among friends that are not guided by mature Christian adults. A lot have their sexual awakening in sleepovers. Again no such thing as “safe friends since they are a Christian family” – because the safest thing to do is not to have sleepovers.

The disadvantages of sleepovers far outweighs the advantages of sleepover – which is actually close to none.

2. Same sex temptations

You might be saying, well I only allow same sex sleepovers! Okay, here is the deal – it doesn’t really matter now with a lot of same-sex sexual temptations and activities happening – I would rather be on the safe side.

I had a friend who was sexually molested while sleeping by in his friend’s house. He said he never knew what happened but later on the guy friend confessed that he did took advantage of him sexually.

What was frustrating in this situation is that my friend knew that his friend was sexually attracted with other men and to put yourself in such a tempting situation is not only foolish but also selfish.

Also we have to keep our antenna up – parents you have a gift called Spidey Sense and sometimes you already have doubts in your mind about this specific person hanging around with your kids all the time (some much older than your kids), – trust your instinct. Don’t be afraid to be labeled as anti-fun by other parents who would advocate free range parenting because your kids are not free-range chickens – they are your kids

3.  It can happen to anyone.

I have never shared this publicly except with some friends and other leaders in our church but it almost happened to me 20 years ago. I was in a camp as a camp counsellor when one night I was awakened by a hand that was touching my thigh. At first I thought it was nothing but I tried to pull out his hand but it became more forceful. I forced myself out of the situation and turned on the lights but surprisingly – everyone looked asleep. I went back to sleep shrugging off the experience when less than 5 minutes upon lying down – his hands was on my thigh again inching its way up. I had to shout for him to know I will not back down. Good thing was that he never tried it again.

The next day I was too shocked, embarrassed to confront the guy who did it to me. I was 15 at that time and I didn’t know any better. I should have asked some authorities to take action but again I didn’t know any better. I could also have knocked the living daylight out of him but I wasn’t sure if it was the right thing to do and I felt at that time that there was no proof who did it to me except that I knew nobody was capable of doing it except that other man in the room with me.

You see – my point is that it can happen to anyone and when it happens to someone – that someone might not even know what to do next or how to react. Most sexual victims feel they are partly to be blamed when they are sexually molested and abused.

POINT OF ACTION:

1. Parents – decide on whether you will allow sleepovers (whether its your kids sleeping over other people’s home or the other way around) Weigh the pros and cons of sleepovers with your spouse before talking to your kids.

Some parents I know only have trusted people whom they will allow to sleepover with their kids at their house. Thammie and I made a decision that only a very limited number of people are allowed to sleepover our house and that our kids are not allowed to sleepover somebody else’s house.

2. Pastors and Youth Pastors.

It would be a very wise move not to sleepover someone else’s house or invite the young people you are ministering to sleepover your house. As shepherds of the flock, you must be wise, above reproach and not put your flock in tempting situations. With the rise of dysfunctional family structures and sexual culture – our role as pastors is to lead them spiritually and teach them to not have even a hint of sexual compromise.

3. Young person

Not because everyone is doing it – you will go with the flow. Be futuristic. Don’t live for the NOW but live for the future. Again there is too much casualties happening because of sleepovers. Make a decision to stay away from tempting situations. Choose to go home rather than sleep over someone else’s house for your sake and your friend’s sake.

Here are some good reads on other families who decided not to do sleepovers:

1. Why My Family Doesn’t Do Sleepovers

2. Should you Allow your Kids to Sleepover?