The time has come to rethink sleepovers

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What kid doesn’t love a sleepover?

Whether it’s a slumber party to celebrate a birthday, the whim of best buddies who already spent a full day together at the pool, or even a night away with Grandma and Grandpa, sleepovers are staple of childhood.

But as my children grow up, I’m becoming wary of this youthful tradition, especially as my 12-year-old daughter meets new friends in middle school.

I have no reason to distrust her new friends or their families, but I also have to reason to trust them. I simply don’t know them, so I see no reason to put the welfare of my daughter in their care for an overnight excursion.

Even if we ask her new friends’ parents the basic questions about pets, siblings, adults in the house, movie ratings, guns, alcohol, among many others, we still wouldn’t know them. We would only know how they answered our questions.

We might as well allow our daughter to sleep over at the house of a girl she just met at the beach and with whom she spent the day building sandcastles. Good idea! 👍 👍

I’m growing just as wary of hosting sleepovers. I know I would never touch nor harm a child, but what’s stopping a misguided adolescent from claiming I did, even months or years after we hosted a sleepover? Nothing.

What defense could I mount? None.

I would deny it, of course, but if an adolescent girl claims to police that I did something to her during a sleepover at my house, they would knock on my door loaded with questions.

Who are they going to believe? A teenage girl who claims to be a victim of sexual abuse or the 45-year-old man at whom she’s pointing her finger?

I like to think police would believe me, especially since there would be no evidence of a crime that did not occur, but I don’t have that much faith in our criminal justice system.

In fact, I know of someone who is going through this exact scenario. A jury hasn’t heard his case, so no judgment has been handed down, but his life is ruined because a girl claims he touched her inappropriately during a sleepover with his daughter in his house several years ago.

Yes, the time has come to rethink the childhood staple of sleepovers.

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