I was about 15 years old and I was sleeping over at my best friend’s house. It was tiny, run-down, three-bedroom house that was too small for the six people who lived there. With no bed space available, I slept on the couch in the living room.
I woke in the middle of the night to find my friend’s creepy older brother leaning over me, leering. He touched the hem of my nightgown as I laid there terrified. I knew I had to do something, so I rolled over to let him know I was awake.
Thankfully, it worked. He left.
I laid awake all night long, worried he would come back and praying for morning to come so I could call my mom, make up an excuse and go home.
I never stayed over at that friend’s house again, and I never told her why. As long as we remained friends, I stayed far away from her older brother. I don’t know what ever happened to him, but if I had to guess, I’d bet my house that he is in prison, or should be.
I recently read this blog post about the Safety of Sleepovers and found myself nodding in agreement with this mother and thanking my lucky stars that neither of my girls have been invited to sleepover at friends’ houses that I do not know because I would probably not let them go.
The whole sleepover thing makes me nervous, especially in light of my experience. You just don’t know what environment your child will be in — who will be there, how that family behaves, what that family’s standards are, what your child will be exposed to, etc.
No one would ever accuse me of being an overprotective mom.
I am the mom who assumes a 4-day cough is just a bad cold. I can count on one hand how many times we saw the pediatrician when my kids were young. I never baby-proofed the house. I believe that the easiest way to teach a kid something is to let them experience it (Your feet are cold, huh? Yep, it’s not a great idea to wear flip flops in February, honey.)
But, when it comes to sleepovers (outside of family and friends whose parents we know), I’ll admit I have both feet firmly planted in the overprotective-mom camp.