Sleepovers: Are They Appropriate for Every Child?
One of the most pivotal coming-of-age experiences in children’s lives is their first sleepover, perhaps the first night they spend away from their parents and embark on a journey to independence and creating their own life outside the realm of their family home. With the first sleepover comes many worries for the child: what to bring, whether or not to leave the beloved stuffed animal at home, being away from their parent for the whole night, and the possibility of something embarrassing happening (especially the scary possibility of bedwetting). However, in light of the recent controversy surrounding Amy Chua’s book on strict parenting, The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (link to book) (Penguin Press, 2011), in which she states that she strictly forbids sleepovers, the topic has warranted much discussion and concern for parents as well.
In Dr. Perri Klass’ recent article, “Ensuring Domestic Tranquility,” (NYTimes.com, 2011) the author discusses the benefits and potential risks associated with sleepovers. While a sleepover is certainly a rite of passage for most children, the parent has many issues to consider before deciding what’s right for the child, including the possibility of the child experiencing anxiety, bullying, making sure medications are taken, night terrors, sleep deprivation, and, of course, the dreaded bedwetting. Klass stresses the importance of parents considering what is appropriate for their child, taking into consideration the aforementioned issues — “This night away from home, this now iconic childhood activity — a step toward mock independence and at the same time an intense exposure to peer standards and pressures — defies simple guidelines but calls for family conversations which range from individual medical issues to social norms and parental judgment.”
To read more on Dr. Klass’ discussion of sleepovers click here.
To read more on the controversy and discussion surround Amy Chua’s book The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother click here.