J.S. asks from Gulf Shores, AL on October 24, 2008
My 8 1/2 year old son has a best friend, who's a little girl (the same age). He's been asking if he can have a sleepover with her. I'm going to ask her mom what she thinks. Both of them are imature, and we have no suspisions it's anything more than 2 kids playing, but...Has anyone dealt with this before and/or what are your thoughts. I wasn't quite ready to have any discussions about sex with my 8 year old, not to mention, I'm always around when they're playing, but..I'm not sure when the right age to start any of that is? We've already told him that if he has a sleepover with her, they'll have to sleep in different rooms. He innocently asked why? I explained that boys and girls sleep in different rooms and he seemed satisfied with that answer.
So What Happened?™
Thanks for the advice. We've talked and explained to the kids that boys and girls don't have sleep-overs together. We've planned a few fun activities for them to do together-coming over one evening and ordering pizza, watching (then going home before bedtime!), bring a friend for free at 6 Flags next weekend, and going to Sky Zone together. They seem to have forgotten they wanted a sleepover in the 1st place,now that they have some fun things to look forward to.
R.K. answers from St. Louis on October 25, 2008
I agree with Sherry. I had this concern when my daughter back when she was 4 and her male friend was 3 1/2! I did let them sleep over at his house and he had bunk beds and they slept separately. That friendship ended for other reasons, but I was relieved.
These days kids are so sexualized on tv and in music, they know a lot more than we think they know. It's really hard to know what they are learning from it and how they apply it to themselves. Sleeping in different rooms seems like a fine idea, but the point of a sleepover is to stay up really late - later than your parents - that's half the fun. If you put them to bed in separate rooms, what's to stop them from getting up and hanging out together after you're asleep?
I would just let him know that boys have sleepovers with boys and girls have sleepovers with girls and that's the way it is. I wouldn't bring up a sex talk in reference to this because he may not even be thinking along those lines at all and he would just think you're weird and paranoid if you tell him you are concerned about something sexual happening. And if he IS thinking along those lines, the explanation of boys only having sleepovers with boys is a subtle way of telling him you know what he could be thinking and you're on to that.
S.L. answers from St. Louis on October 25, 2008
I've never had this problem, but I would say that you know your child best. If you think he's still innocent, which he probably is, what do you know about the girl? Girls are sometimes more aggressive and 'boy crazy' at an earlier age. So check her out. But basically, I think if they are just good friends it would be ok. They could camp out in their sleeping bags on the floor instead of sleeping in seperate rooms, that takes away the fun of it being a sleep-over where you stay up all night and giggle! Be a good chaperone and check in on them, it's probably innocent, and who cares about the other kids? Today we give kids too much information when all they want to do is watch some movies, play some video games eat pizza and laugh and have fun.
Now I'm not naive, I know kids this age are more advanced, and I see it first hand working in a 3rd grade classroom as an aide. There are some students who I believe it would be totally ok, and some that I know I would sleep in between them! So follow your gut, but don't make too much out of it either.
S.G. answers from St. Louis on October 24, 2008
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L.H. answers from St. Louis on October 28, 2008
I really don't think you have to drop the 'S bomb" on him so to speak. If you're not into the idea of a co-ed sleep over, just tell him that boys & girls are different & that probably not a good idea to have a sleep over. If you & the girl's mom are ok with it maybe have like an adult supervised lock in like they have @ a church or school where you have activities & games & you guys crash with them.