Sleepover at Friend's Grandparent's House

Updated on June 24, 2010
K.H. asks from Broken Arrow, OK
17 answers

My 14 year old daughter has been invited to a sleepover/swim/birthday party for her best friend. They have been friends for nearly 3 years and have sleepovers at each other's houses regularly. However, now she has been invited to her friend's sleepover, but it is not at her friend's house. It is at her grandma and grandpa's house. Let me clarify, I have never met either grandparent. I do NOT want to let her go. I feel that in all likelihood, everything would be fine and there is nothing to worry about. They are probably lovely people. But, I don't know either one of them. I also feel like these are the kinds of situations that parents are not cautious enough about. I believe it is something like 1 in every 4 women will have been sexually molested by the time they are an adult. I also know that the VAST majority of the time it is by a family member or a friend of the family. It is rarely a stranger.

I know that everything would probably be fine, but I guess probably is not good enough for me. If I do not let her go, my daughter will be so upset and disappointed. I hate this but as a parent, unfortunately, sometimes it is my job to be the bad guy. Also, if I say no, how do I addresss this diplomatically with her friend's mom, who I need to maintain a healthy friendly relationship with? I'm not sure how to feel about all this. I would never have a slumber party for my daughter's friends at my parent's house, as I would not expect other parents to feel comfortable with this. HELP!

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answers from Columbus on

If your gut says not to let her go, then bite that bullet and own your decision. You cannot soften your thoughts here to make them more palatable to other people who must not share your view point, and if you are going to have vastly different comfort levels from this family, then it is best that you both know where you stand. Be nice, but tell Mom what you think, I doubt that there is much you can do to be dipolmatic here.

Just a thought here though, if you trust your daughter's friend's Mother enough to let your daughter sleep at her home, and if the Mother (presumably) set up this sleep over at her parents home (with a pool, so there is a reason to hold this party at the G-parents house) then I would presume that this Mother (if she suspected that Gramps was a pedophile) would never, never subject her own child, let alone other children to a danger by planning a sleep over at her parents home. Unless you think that this Mother is in cahoots with her dad, and is bringing in his "victims" for him. If you have something real to fear, it is possible that she has no idea her dad is a pedophile, in which case, even if you meet the grandparents, you won't be able to tell either. If she can't tell, how will you? How are you going to tell if any man she may come into contact with is a danger? How far are you willing to go to protect her from a possiblity without evidence of higher than average probablity?

You have to go with what is comfortable for you, but you can't also have your cake and make everyone, including your daughter, happy about what they get to eat! Your daughter will be angry, her friend will be hurt and disapointed, the other Mother will be insulted, and grandma and grandpa will probably be blown away by your concern. If there will be other girls at this party, be prepared for them to discuss the reasons for your daughter's abscence, and for catty 14 year old gossip to go around about your child and get all tisted around. That is the worst case sceanero, but it is likely to happen to some degree, that is human nature. No matter how you try to state your concern, you can't change how human beings will react to some kinds of situations. You can level up with this Mom and tell her about your concern, but the more you try to hide your intent here, the worse the situation could be; I think that they will see right through any dipolmacy you try.

I have a 13 year old, and she has a group of friends. I know thier parents, and I trust them. I would not hesistate to allow my daughter to go with them if the parent I trusted set it up. I would take the risk that something bad could happen to my daughter under the circumstances you describe, but I think your risk is small here if you trust the Mother. Your call, but think ahead, and think about how people will interpret your fear, because there is not much you can do to change that.


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answers from Philadelphia on

FYI - My daughter friends hang out at my parents house all the time, they have a pool and they prefer to be there.

I also have sent my daughter to stay with friends at their grandparents house. If you maintain an open relationship with your daughter and explain to her the do's and don'ts about how "friendly" people should be, and what behavior is unexceptable, you should have no problem.

Maybe set it up so you can drop her off and have a cup of coffee with the grandparents or something just so you can see the house and meet the G-parents?

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answers from Savannah on

Talk to your daughter about how you feel and tell her the truth. You're freaking out!! I would too. But - she IS 14... not 8. And I bet if you guys talked about it and made her aware of the reasons why you're a little uncomfortable, things might get a little more comfortable for you. I'd let her go, but only after explaining I was worried about a few things, and that I want her to be aware of them so that if she needed to, she could anticipate that and protect herself.

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answers from Chicago on

Let her go. She is 14. When I was in 7th grade I wanted to have a sleep over more than anything in the world But my parents were having a divorce. So no sleepover at my house. My grandmother let me have it at her house. I would have been devastated to find out my friends couldn't come becuase the parents were uncomfortable with them sleeping at my grandmas. Especially without them meeting my grandparents. Your daughter is almost grown up. She most likely has a phone or access to a phone. She could call you if she was uncomfortable in anyway. I can see saying no if she was going to stay there alone but she will be with friends. they will stay up all night laughing and giggling and she will have fun.

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answers from Dallas on

Well I wouldn't be so quick to judge. Not knowing the grandparents I would contact the person I do know, the girl's mother and let her know that I'm not comfortable with my daughter going to the grandparents house. Maybe meeting them, finding out who's all going to be there, will settle your uncertainty. Maybe the parent might be at the party too. You say your daughter has been friends with this girl for nearly 3 years, and you have a healthy relationship with the mother, so you should feel comfortable talking about your concerns with her. I wouldn't think the grandparents live too far away, they just have a better set-up for a party. I agree with you that we sometimes have to be the bad guy, I just don't think I'd make the same decision without knowing all the facts first. I have a 15 year old daughter so it's not like I don't know where you are coming from.

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answers from Dallas on

Talk to the friends parents and ask to speak to the grandparents if you are that uncomfortable. Also other girls will probably be there. Like a previous poster said your daughter is 14 not 8. She is probably going to hs this fall as I was at 14. She is a year to 2 years away from lying to you that she as at the movies and really going to a party.

Let her go. Sorry just being blunt but its the truth.

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answers from Indianapolis on

I know you have to do what you feel comfortable with but maybe you can go with what you know about this family. Since the pool is at the grandparents home it somewhat makes sense to have the party there. Many families are so close that they spend lots of time at the grandparents home. I would enquire about the plans in such a way to see how supervised it will be and take it from there. My son and daughter both spent alot of time at the home of friends grandparents (different friends) but never spent the night (opportunity never came up) but the friends mother was always present also.

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answers from Dallas on

You are right about having to be the bad guy........this is appropriate and true in many situations. This situation is iffy to me.

Is your daughter the only guest or will or will there be several girls? Security in numbers is something to consider. Your daughter is 14, not 6, and has a little more of a capability to protect herself. She will be dating before long and you do not want to over protect her now. She needs to learn how to trust HER gut.

How about this? Personally, I always liked to be around when my kids went swimming. Especially at a party. There can never be enough eyes on the pool. What if you said you would like to be there during the swimming. That way you could meet grandma and grandpa and get a gut feeling. You could also compromise with your daughter ahead of time and say you don't want her to spend the night, but she can stay until either midnight or 1am. Come up with an excuse of some kind. You will have to pick her up at that time.

You can reserve an option that if after meeting gramps you feel better and at the last minute can just tell her she can stay. It will be a nice surprise.

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answers from Phoenix on

i say let her go. dont hold her back from anything that could help her out in her social life. if your really worried go to the grandparents house yourself and talk to them see if there good people.

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answers from Phoenix on

I think it would depend on how many other kids are there, the more the better! And at 14 your daughter I'm sure is very versed and has been told MANY times of the dangers she faces. I tend to be overly protective of my kids but I think I would be ok in this case. I would also mention to the friends mom that you are a little nervous about her staying at a new home with new people and feel her out about what she says and take it from there. Good luck with what you decide!

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answers from Dallas on

I think the first step is to talk to the mom (your friend) of this best friend and go meet the grandparents. You might be surprised.

Make a decision AFTER you have facts and not based on fear. Your daughter is 14, she should be communicating with you very well by now and understand your thought process regarding her safety. Don't scare her, just talk.

There are some fantastic grandparents out there who are great influences with our children. Not every unknown points to something dangerous.

Sometimes it is right to be the bad guy, other times, we have to learn to let go a bit and trust that we have taught our children well and let them learn to be independent.

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answers from New York on

i am surprised to read the responses so far. seems like the vast majority says it's fine to let her go. i, on the other hand, has not had to deal with sleepover invites yet but i don't think i will allow my kids to participate in sleepovers or invite anyone for that matter. if i were you i'd tell the mom that while you think everything would be fine you just don't feel comfortable enough to let her go, and hope she understands. if you get pressed with whys i'd not answer just say i just am not comfortable. that is it. yes everyone is lovely, but these creatures roam around us and are someone's dad, husband, grandpa, grandma, mom, sister, aunt, uncle. how do we know when we get dealt a bad hand? in fact, i never want to find out. i say don't let her go. being the bad guy comes with territory, but it's for our kids' best interest.



answers from Providence on

I haven't read the other replies but if it were me, I would not let her go. At least until you meet the grandparents...but even still, how well will you get to know them before the party. I agree with you when you say these are the kinds of situations people are not cautious enough about. My daughter is still young (20 months) but I am already telling myself that I can never never never put her in a situation where something questionable could occur. As you said, I'm sure the people are lovely but this is one area where I plan to be the bad guy and make damn sure I am not putting her in any unknown situation. I would tell your friend that you have a policy of not having your kids sleep anywhere you have not been. As you said, she'd probably be fine but better safe than sorry in this instance. As for your daughter, maybe this could be a good chance to explain that sad as it is, the reality of today is you have to be super cautious and that based on all the horror stories you hear, you are not comfortable with her staying with people you have not met. At 14, hopefully she will understand your viewpoint. Maybe she can go to the party for a few hours but not spend the night? If you do meet the grandparents and end up feeling comfortable with this, maybe you could have your daughter bring a cell phone and call you from the party to check in every few hours? Maybe ask her to call you during the night and also to say good night.. But I say go with your gut. good luck..


answers from Phoenix on

Let her her go swimming! she dont have to stay the night, but can still have time with her friends



answers from Chicago on

My mom meet all my friends' parents until I got my driver's license. (Of course I didn't have a lot of new friends...I hung out with the same people all the time) She always knew the address and phone number, which I had to call from. When I got a job and a license my mom felt I was old enough to not have to meet the parents, but she did meet the friends.
Also my best friend always had her party at her grandparents because they had a pool and a big basement for 30 girls to sleep in (double birthday party).
I always like to be able to reach my 5 year old when I have to run an errand. My mom isn't reliable to get to the phone fast enough, so my husband has his cell and I leave my cell with my son.



answers from Oklahoma City on

i know once my daughter gets to the age of sleepovers I will have to deal with this same thing. I would explain to the mother when you RSVP that you have concerns about your daugter staying the night with grandma and grandpa since you haven't met them. See if there is a time and place you all can meet maybe at the park or for dinner (maybe both). This will let you at least know who your daughter is staying with and if you don't feel confortble with it then explain it to your daughter. Just remember as you have stated it is noramlly someone you know so you may just be putting a face to the accused. Most people are good and the bad ones don't ware all black so you know who is bad you just have to go with your gut. You may also find out one of the grandparants have a health issue you wouldn't be confortable with your daugther around. You are the parent you have to do what is best for your child even if it means being the bad guy she will thank you when she is older.



answers from Los Angeles on

I haven't read all the replies, so sorry if I am repeating myself. Is there any way for you to talk to or meet the grandparents in advance? I'm assuming they live nearby, since they are hosting a party for their granddaughter's friends.

My initial thought when I read your subject line was that it would not be a big deal at all. Last summer, my friend and I were invited to a wedding, and both her son and mine stayed with my in-laws for the night. But they were much younger (2 and 4) and my friend had met the grandparents a couple of times in the past (and have known the family for 15 years)

I can understand your concern. But if there are going to be a lot of other kids there, even 5-6, I think your daughter will be very safe. At the very least, you should at least let your daughter attend the swim party and, if you don't want her to spend the night, you can pick her up around 10 p.m. and bring her home. Make something up so she doesn't feel embarrassed around her friends (i.e. needing to leave the house for something VERY early the following morning).


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