(Anticipation: all packed & waiting for grandma to pick her up*.)
It's hardly a secret that I am a protective mom. Some might say overly so. I don't think of myself as a helicopter mom, constantly up in Annelise's business when she's playing and what have you, but I do shelter her to some extent. Some might say to quite an extent.
I am not one to allow her to do things just because all her friends are able to do said thing.
So far she has not been allowed to go on sleepovers at friend's houses.
I know, I'm so Mommie Dearest.
She's almost 9 and is going into the third grade.
Some of her school friends (she says) have been having sleepovers for ages. Like forever.
Truth be told, she rarely has play dates at friend's houses. When she does, it's usually at houses of my really good friends and I am there too. That's not to say we never meet up with school friends at various places to play/socialize, we do.
And the other, most important truth be told, I want our family and our home environment to be her greatest influence (well, besides church, obvs.) right now. There will come a point, and I'm fairly certain it's just around the corner not so patiently waiting, where her friends will be one of her biggest influences, for better or worse and we will be competing even more for her attentions (yes, I mean the teen years), so I am not in any hurry to rush things (read: relinquish control).
Maybe it's because I was an only child, living on a single street without other neighborhood children, or maybe 30+ years ago playdates and sleepovers just weren't the big deal that they seem to be now. Don't get me wrong, I had friends over occasionally, had birthday parties, sleepovers with my cousins (I can only remember one friend sleepover in elementary school, maybe in third grade?) and then of course more time with friends and sleepovers when I was older (upper elementary, junior high and high school), and I turned out okay (I think) (pretty much).
I know I can't control everything, I know that bad things can happen almost anywhere, anytime.
And yet. Still.
Am I depriving her? Maybe. For now. And maybe that's both good and bad. I don't know.
I might be ready to allow more play dates with school friends on a case by case basis (yes, I'm picky) but I'm still not sure when we'll feel comfortable with sleepovers.
In a teensie-tiny step toward allowing her a smidge more freedom, we let her go with Peggy to visit her grandsons C & C across town. And yes, she's sleeping over. And I haven't come unglued. Yet.
I'm so proud of me.
*She was so beyond excited to go to C & C's house that she was up, dressed, wearing her packed backpack and standing beside my bed staring at me at 7:30. They weren't leaving until 9:00. Yi, yi yi!
Do you allow sleepovers?
What are your guidelines? With friends? Family only? At what age?