Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Would you let your daughter sleep at a stranger's house?

The Teenager is still in bed.  Last night she had a sleepover with two friends.  One of them, Laura, has been here several times before.  The other girl, Abi, is a 'new friend' of the Teenager. 

Now, tell me if I'm going over the top, but if the Teenager wants to go to a friends for a sleepover, I need to:  a) know who the friend is, b) know who the parents are, or at least talk to them to introduce myself and ask about the sleepover arrangements, and c) be as sure as I can be that she is going to be safe (she was once invited to a sleepover where there would be several teenage boys.....that'll be a no then). 

Yesterday, when Abi turned up at our house for the sleepover it was the first time I'd met her.  Her Mum dropped her off at the end of the drive and drove away.  I have no emergency phone number for her, and neither of her parents have spoken to me or asked me what the sleepover arrangements were.  Is it just me, or is this a bit odd?

Is it normal to send your 13 year old daughter to sleep at a stranger's house without even the most basic checks?  Answers on a postcard please to Paranoid Single Mum.


English Mum said...

Yup, that's weird okay. I had a similar situation with a friend ofmy 14 year old. The lad stayed the whole weekend,and yet I had no contact with his parents at all. I might have been a serial killer.

I mean, I'm not, obviously, but I could have been *cough*

notSupermum said...

English Mum - it's not just me then, that's a relief! And I'm sure you'd make a very nice serial killer, if you know what I mean...

Liz, that's exactly what I do. Why would anyone leave their precious child in the care of a complete stranger? Bizarre and worrying.

TheMadHouse said...

I think that is on par to the people that drop off 3 and 4 year olds at parties and then drive away. Never in a million years in my house!

Looking Fab in your forties said...

I think you owe it to yourself to check out the arrangements for a sleepover. If Abi's mum doesn't give a damn - that is down to her. Having 3 daughters myself who are now 20, 18 and 17, I have noticed over the years, as children have their own mobile phones that as parents, we rarely have the home number for our childrens friends as they all communicate with each other via mobile. I don't think it will hurt to ask for the number of the house your daughter wants to stay at, or better still, speak to the parents at the door when you drop her off, that might cause her less embarrassment than you making a big deal about getting the number and you can always say to the mum you feel it important to check as you had the previous "boy" sleepover experience. My girls always moaned about me "wrapping them up in cotton wool" but they came to no harm. It is so hard now one doesn't live at home and they all go clubbing - you have so much to look forward to - NOT!

Anonymous said...

I don't think you are being paranoid at all. I would react in exactly the same way. It is careless of the girl's parents to drop her off without checking any of the arrangements with you, or even introducing themselves. They don't seem to have put any boundaries in place for their daughter which is irresponsible. And of course they don't know you either or your parenting style.

Like you, I would want to know all the details before I let me daughter stay over anywhere. As you will already know, parents have different ways of operating. I had 13 year old friends who had strict bedtimes. I also had 13 year old friends who were out drinking every night and doing alot more than that, as I'm sure I don't need to detail here.

You have absolutely no way of knowing how the girl's parents operate, if there are any rules regarding the sleepover, and if there are what they are, and who else will be there? And of course you are placing your trust with them if you let her stay, yet you know nothing about them.

So I'm sensing yout gut feeling is that your daughter should not go. I'd feel the same. The difficult part is telling her, I suppose. She may think you are just being a pain, but of course it's because you care.

Stigmum said...

Oh my, glad that's not my problem... yet... Keep us posted on how you get on. My parents would not, would not not not, let me stay with any friend whose parents they had not met. I used to get soooooooo annoyed but now of course, I see their point. A minefield, an absolute minefield. You're not being paranoid, you're being a parent. Best of best of best of luck xxx

Aly said...

I don't have teenagers yet but when I do I certainly won't be dropping them off unknowingly.I would certainly like to think my kids would be responsible enough to introduce me to their friends parents first before wanting to stay over.

notSupermum said...

The Madhouse - ah yes, there's always the drop and run parents at parties isn't there?

Looking Fab - thanks, I'm so glad to hear that other parents think along the same lines as me. And I'm NOT looking forward to the older teenage years thank you very much!

Rosie - I have no qualms at all about laying down rules for my girls - they know that and expect it too; I just find it quite bizarre that some parents don't make even the most basic checks about where their children will be staying.

Stigmum, it IS a minefield isn't it? I think when you're a single parent it's difficult to judge whether you're making the right decisions, so it's great to have other parents to bounce these ideas off. Thanks.

Aly - absolutely right. Btw, thanks for visiting!

see you there! said...

When my GD was 11 she wanted me to take her and a friend to our cabin for a long weekend(2 hrs by car away). I did not know the friends parents although my Dtr and SIL did. The friends parents said ok which surprised me. When I picked her up I gave them written information and made sure their daughter called them when we got there. I must say I would not have let my daughters go when they were that age but we really had a wonderful time and have repeated it the last two summers.


Ang (A Mum's Survival Guide) said...

It's horrible having to face these situations with teenage daughters isn't it. My daughter is 14 and lately we have had friends over (once in the middle of the night when a sleepover went wrong. DD had the sense to come home and brought strange friends with her too. I was glad they were safe but the respective parents of the strange friends didn;t seem to mind they were at a strangers house when I insisted the girls phoned their parents the next morning).

As for sleeping at a strange house, I think when they grow up and go to larger school you will never know everyone,and their parents, but what I do is insist that if she wants to go to a strange house, I drop her off and state I want to meet the parent / guardian. Then I will let her stay, i may not be happy but there are going to be plenty of situation where I wont be happy but I have to let her stretch her wings a bit.
With mobile phones I always make sure dd has got her phone and charger with her so I can contact her.

As for friends coming to our house, I haven't known all the parents. I actually think a lot of parents don't care, we seem to restrict dd a lot more than her friends are and it's only because I want her to be safe.
Generally with mobiles, most parents use that as a way of staying in touch and making sure their kids are ok.

Personally though I like to know where dd is and that she is in a safe environment. I wont even think about what she could do after I have met the parents and then she is in their care for the evening etc.

We just have to do the best we can and pray they stay safe and come out the other end ok.

BABS said...

Hi, Im a passing reader and your blog rocks :)

My instinct as a mother of a similar aged child would be the same. It's too weird that the mum just dropped her child off without coming in to say hello, but then,we never know what is going on in people's lives do we? in which case, um, would one want ones dd going to the house of a woman who doesn't leave contact details for her own daughter? Mmm.

I have to have met the parents more than once and to actually like and trust them before I will facilitate such a sleepover. It's worth finding out who visits the house too. It's just not worth the risk.

But it is difficult, because this can seem very controlling..

I loved Bill Cosby's words about raising kids, in that we should hold them very close until they come of age, and then let them go completely.

But then, now you'd have to make moves to befriend said friends mother...so you could call her to invite her for coffee when she comes to collect your daughter's friend - doh! No contact number...what are they thinkin?

Kelloggsville said...

Your post made me think about this http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/3957585.stm. You never really know what risks are around you or your children and there is a fine line been sensible protection and stifling a teenagers need to have some independence. It's so hard isn't it - how to try to get a handle on what/who/where without embarrassing or over protecting - *sigh/shrug* - I think I would veer to the 'I want to know' team though as opposed to the 'drop 'em off at the door and hope' brigade

notSupermum said...

Darla, I'm glad it worked out with your granddaughter and her friend, but it was quite a leap of faith for her parents to entrust her to strangers for the weekend wasn't it?

Ang, I'm like you, I like to know as far as possible that my girls are safe and I have refused to allow them to do some things because I wasn't confident about the arrangements. But you're right, we do what we can and hope it's enough.

Babs, thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. I love the Bill Cosby saying - how wise. Re my daughters friend, I mentioned to my daughter how surprised i was that her parents didn't check with me and she said that her friend's parents were usually very strict with her! Strange.

Kellogsville, I remember that horrific news story, it was so sad for the parents. Just imagine being in your own home and something like that happening, you've never be able to recover from it. I agree it's tricky trying to figure out how much independence to give teenagers, and knowing how far to go with checking things out etc.

Muddling Along Mummy said...

The lack of emergency contact details would freak me out - very very strange

I can't imagine letting either of mine stay overnight without at least talking to the parents in question

Iota said...

Trust your instincts. They're all you have, when it comes down to it.

Melany said...

There is NO WAY that my child will sleep over at someone's house if I don't know the parents. If I don't know what the situation will be at the sleep over. NO WAY