As a parent, when it comes to the question “when do you start allowing sleepovers,” this usually means, “At what age do you allow your child to start spending the night at a friend’s house?”
But for SINGLE parents, the topic of sleepovers takes on a new meaning altogether.
This can be a controversial topic. But I’m standing my ground on this one, Strong Single Moms. As a single mother, there’s no room for sleepovers with a boyfriend while the kids are home. It can wait until the kids are at their dad’s house, staying the night with a friend, at grandma’s house – whatever.
Of course, that’s my opinion. So I asked the Strong Single Mom Network’s Official Psychology Expert Lisa Gomez, MA LPC – owner of Becoming Transformed Counseling Services in Surprise, AZ. Here’s what Lisa had to say:
Do not take the parenting belief “Do as I say, not as I do.” Children of all ages learn much better by watching what you do. To practice what you preach teaches them to actually trust in you. Just like if you tell your kids not to lie, yet they hear you telling your boss you’re sick (when you’re not) or telling the kids “say I am not here.” It is all the same thing.
So if you do not want your children to participate in casual sex when they grow older, do not show them it is OK. Kids can not differentiate between just the physical act of sex and sex as a result of love. Most kids before the age of 18 will have been “in-love” about 3-4 times. If you are demonstrating it is OK to have sex when you are seriously dating or in-love, they easily could have 3-4 partners before they are even 18.
However I understand that sometimes it makes sense for a man to stay the night for daycare, geographical or financial reasons. Let the kids see that he sleeps in a different room or on the couch. Demonstrate that a sleep over does not need to mean sex. Too often people get love & intimacy confused with sex. If you want to have intimate moments I would recommend doing them at his house or on the days you do not have the kids.
In my counseling practice, I have had several teenagers that are frustrated with their parents for being hypocrites. They tend to lose respect for their parents. Overall, if you want your kids to respect you, themselves, their bodies and others’ bodies, show them what that looks like.
Overall, I know that it can be inconvenient to forego the boyfriend-sleepover. But unless and until you KNOW that man is in it for the long haul, avoid the sleepover!!
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