This is one of those things that make me feel like a paranoid nut, but I think is actually something we should really think about before we send our kiddos off to some kid’s house for the night.
Here are my thoughts – I’d let your kids spend the night with very close friends families – ones where you know the family well and don’t get any bad vibes.
I wouldn’t let the kids spend the night with much other kids, like teen boys. It’s probably fine, and maybe I’m profiling, but teen boys and wee girls aren’t the greatest mix. Especially if you don’t know the family well.
Trust your gut, however, and ask your kids if any of the people in the family have ever done anything that made them feel uncomfortable. This is a non-threatening way to get info out of her.
Also, ask her if there are any adults in her life she doesn’t like, feels yucky around, etc. Tell her it’s okay to tell you and that she won’t be in trouble for saying something “bad” about someone. Her intuition will tell her if someone is off. Yours too, if you pay attention.
One thing my friend Kim does is ½ sleepovers – the girl goes, and stays late and comes home. This might be the solution for families you don’t know well. Sleepovers suck anyway, as you may recall. I liked to do it, but always felt crappy the next day and it was hard to sleep away from my parents.
Having the sleepover at your house is a good idea too – but what do you do if both families have the same rule?! Might mean everyone is safe if they are savvy enough to do that, right?
Finally, afterwards, ask questions like “What was the most fun you had?” and then “Did anything happen that made you feel uncomfortable?” Make sure they both know that no adult or older child should ever touch their privates – unless it’s you, their other parent or the doctor. And only if there’s a problem.
Sign up for the PEACE of Mind newsletter – it’s great! www.pomwa.org All kinds of safety tips!