WWYD – sleepover

(Not my story, as told to me by a friend)

Your young child is invited to a sleepover. You know the family from school. The parents are divorced, but have remained within the community. Mother still covers her hair, father still wears a yarmulke – both still heavily involved with their children and their community.

When you drop off the child for the sleepover (at the mom’s house) you see a religious looking guy there that you have never met, he’s sprawled on the sofa watching TV in his sweats and black kippah. You figure he is her brother or something. You think nothing of it until you pick up your child the next day, the guy is still there, in the same clothes, and your child tells you on the way home that he is Ms Sleepover’s special friend and he got to cuddle with her all night in her room. Your older child (who is in the car with you at the pick up time) happens to mention that she knows Ms Sleepover has been dating a guy for a while, as this child is friends with the other sibling.

What would you do at this point? Your child has absolutely no reason to lie to you. Your child doesn’t even think there is anything wrong because s/he is too young to understand that religious people don’t behave that way. Do you take this opportunity to teach some values to your child who may be too young to understand? Do you tell your child she cannot play over there any more – after all if she has a male stay over guest, perhaps her kashrut or parenting or character is also suspect? Do you call the mother and tell her that what she does on her own time is her business, but you would appreciate it if she didn’t expose your child to her sinful behaviour?

Personally, I don’t think I would force the issue, I just wouldn’t let my child sleep over again. If I were to be challenged by the parent on why I let him/her sleep over last time but not this, then I might tactfully bring the subject up.

What would YOU do?

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34 responses to “WWYD – sleepover

  1. Yowza! That’s a toughie. I think the mom was a little irresponsible in letting the guy sleep over on a night when her kids were having sleepover company.

  2. This is a very tough issue mainly because the older kids hear about it from the younger ones. And the older kids know what’s going on there (and they will probably talk to their friends, something like this is simply irresistible*). I agree that sleepovers there should cease, at least until they get married and become [more] respectable.

    * This is why, if the woman decides to act this way, she should do a better job hiding it from the community.

  3. I agree, what she does on her own time and in front of her own children is her own business but I wouldn’t let my kid spend the night again. Only if it became an issue and SHE brought it up would I explain why.

  4. Come to think of it, I think I would be really pissed if my kid slept over there and saw that.

  5. I would probably confront the mom. Tell her that I would have expected to her to act a little more respectful and keep her libido in check for ONE FREAKING NIGHT, while her kids entertained friends.

    • What if she then responds that you are making unjust assumptions about her libido (“we don’t actually do anything”)?

      • i would tell her that it’s irrelevent what they do or don’t do but it surely is maaris ayin & is inappropriate IMHO & i would not want my kid going over there until they were married or the relationship would be over.

        i would also let her know that she is free to sleep with whomever she so desires just not while my kid is over!

  6. what is wrong with this woman if she feels the need for her kids to have sleepovers while she herself is having a sleepover with her black-yarmulka’ed (supposedly religious) boyfriend/cuddle-partner?! she is definitely acting irresponsibly especially b/c she knows that this behavior is not condoned in the orthodox community. my kids would definitely NOT be back there unless she would do the respectable thing & get married. there is no need for my kids to see such immoral behavior which they then may think is perfectly acceptable which it is not (EVEN IF she is going to the mikvah etc…)

  7. lady lock and load

    I was always hesitant about allowing my children to sleep over at other kids homes. Would only let if it was someone I knew very well.

  8. You mean after sputtering a bit in complete shock? I would check it out to make sure my child was clear and if there wasn’t any other explanation, sorry…my kids don’t sleep there again. I wouldn’t say anything to my child about it further unless absolutely necessary.


  9. I have 2 comments. First, it is absolutely inappropriate for an unrelated male to ‘sleep over’ in the same room as the mom – especially when she has her kids in the house and doubly when the kids have friends over. My kid would not be spending another overnight there.
    What I want to separate out is the first descriptions- that the mother ‘still covers her hair’ etc. I would not want to have my parenting or kashrut judged after a divorce based on those things, because there are many different opinions on that subject. If I am a good parent as a married woman covering my hair, I am likely also a good parent as a divorced woman NOT covering my hair. Just my $.02.

    • Marla, when mentioning that the mom still covered her hair I was trying to describe the kind of community she lives in. I did not cover my hair as a divorcee (and got flak for it) and I hated when my kashrut / parenting etc was called into question over it. I in no way intended for that statement to be taken as a judgment of any divorcee who no longer covers.

      • I didn’t think you meant it that way at all HSM! I just wanted to be sure to point it out. Clearly despite the hair covering and outward ‘frumkeit’ there are bigger issues lurking in that home. Thanks!

  10. Um… no way… my kids would not go over again. And I would be more than happy to let the mom know if asked. And I say this as a single protestant mom to 3 wonderful children who has been dating a wonderful man with like faith and values for 2 years now. I have occasionally stayed over when all children were present and either the boyfriend or myself would sleep on the couch. Even that makes me very nervous. I do not think that Mom is setting a good example at all. We have a doors open all the time policy when children are present…..

    • Also wanted to add that in no way would me and my significant other stay over when other children are visiting… too many questions. Only reason we stay when we do is because of distance between homes…

  11. No sleepovers. That was my parents’ rule and it makes a lot of sense. I’d skip the confrontation since it is after the fact (finding out who the strange male on the coach should have been taken care of earlier) and let it slide because you aren’t sleeping over anymore and making a big deal out of something your kid is too young to understand right now will likely introduce subject matter you aren’t interested in dealing with.

  12. Having nothing to do with religion (but understanding that we expect more from people who are outwardly observant) it is inappropriate for her to have a male “cuddlebuddy” over to stay the night when her kids have sleepover friends. Whether she chooses to engage in that behavior in front of her own children or not is her business, but it is not up to her to make the decision to expose others’ children to it. Especially children from a religious home where she KNOWS that the idea of a male sleeping over in the mother’s room would be categorically unacceptable and difficult for the child’s parent to explain.

    If it were me, and I knew the mom semi well, I would call her and say something to the effect that I really don’t care who she cuddless with, but next time we have a sleepover planned and her buddlebuddy plans to spend the night, she should please let me know so we can reschedule for another night when he will not be present. I’d try to make it clear that I don’t judge her for it (to lighten the mood of the conversation I might even give her a little kudos for getting what she needs, but hey, that’s just me and please, not in front of my kids.)

  13. Wow. I feel like I may have no right to comment here, as we’re somewhere between Reform and Conservative, but if that were my child…I would be pretty upset, religion aside. I see so many areas where this is just not acceptable, but maybe I’m a paranoid parent. I wouldn’t be okay with anyone I didn’t know (especially male…yes, I know it’s judgmental) sleeping over with my child in the house, without my consent. The mother could have easily asked the parents of the children sleeping over if they were okay with it, introduced this person, and given the parents a choice of whether they wanted to allow their children to stay. Granted, most likely wouldn’t have. Taking religion back in to account, yes…this is a good time to age-appropriately discuss what one considers appropriate behaviour withing their religion/family/etc., if the child asks questions, or to point out that this isn’t the norm. *sigh* I feel like I’m not making a cohesive point, so I’ll stop. 🙂

    • I think you made a very good point(that I was thinking but forgot to include in my post)… Yes I do believe its a very good chance to talk to older children and some younger as well abotu appropriate behavior. My children know very well that we do not stay over very often and not sleep in same room if we do because we are not married and it is not appropriate example to set for them. I have had those discussions with my 13yo son and my 9yo daughter…

      • you both make good points about it being the appropriate time for a discussion. I must be naive because I would never have thought that kids in this kind of religious milieu would be confronted with this kind of behaviour.

        • Actually , H, I just sat down and talked with my oldest about this tonight, and simply explained that if I were to behave in this way, I could be damaging my testimony to others and also as to what type of values would I be teaching my kids, what type of example is that to them…
          With a now teenage son and a preteen daughter, these are things I must think of often… Thank you for sharing this today…

  14. Jeeze- talk about uncomfortable! Definitely no more sleepovers there! If the child requests to have another sleepover with this friend- I would say only at my own home, not theirs. depending on the age of the child, I would try to explain the reasons. Why punish the child for the unethical behaviour of the parent? While I could def. see others advising to make the child suffer to teach the parent- it just wouldn’t work. That mother is totally into ‘selfish mode’.

    • Actually Z!, i think this mom is in “stupid mode” more so than selfish mode for having Mr. Cuddles come over while her kids are having their religious friends sleeping over. I think she is not thinking straight if she thinks that she can have Mr. C together with the friends sleeping over! Where pray tell are her brains?!!!!

  15. I’m appalled of this collective reaction of moral outrage. REally.


    at the risk of sounding like an inexperienced and bad parent, what’s wrong with sleepovers for kids?

    • I’m also an inexperienced parent (of 5).

      There is nothing wrong with sleepovers for kids! It’s just that we haven’t done it yet. But I think we aren’t typical, as we also very rarely leave our kids with babysitters (other than their grandparents).

  17. I should have been more specific. No sleepovers where a divorced parent had a “cuddle buddy.”

  18. Another “reverb” possibility:

    WHAT…WOULD…YOU…DO??? (or: W…W…Y…D…?)

    OK, enough about the sound effects 😉

    But it was just a thought…

    • As for the topic of the post: Politely but firmly tell the mother that because of this situation, the child does not have permission to sleep over. (Whether the friendship with the other woman’s child must be affected may be another matter.)

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