Dr. Sarah (00:02):
Ever wonder what psychologist moms talk about when we get together, whether we’re consulting one another about a challenging case or one of our own kids, or just leaning on each other when parenting feels hard, because trust me, even when we do this for a living, it’s still hard. Joining me each week in these special Thursday shows are two of my closest friends, both moms, both psychologists, they’re the people I call when I need a sounding board. These are our unfiltered answers to your parenting questions. We’re letting you in on the conversations the three of us usually have behind closed doors. This is Securely Attached: Beyond the Sessions.
Hello everyone. Welcome to another episode of Beyond the Sessions. Let’s dive right in. I received this question from a listener who writes, “Hi Dr. Bren, what do you think of sleepovers? Is there an age when you’d start letting your kids spend the night at a friend’s house? My daughter is eight and her friend from school just invited her to her first sleepover. I keep seeing people on Instagram saying not to allow kids to do this anymore, and now I’m feeling a bit freaked out. What would you do if this was your kid?”
Okay, so I’m sure we’re going to have a lot to say about this, but before we do, I just wanted to remind you, if you are enjoying this show, I would love so much for you to follow, rate, or review this podcast. I love seeing your feedback. It makes such a big difference in helping more people like you find this information and parent with attunement, compassion and trust for our kids and for ourselves. So I really appreciate when you write a review. I read every one of them joining me again today to answer this question. Our psychologist moms Dr. Emily Upshur, the co-founder of our group practice, Upshur Bend Psychology Group and Dr. Rebecca Hershberg. So Rebecca, what do you think of this question? How do you handle this with your kids or how do you help parents that you’re working with handle it with their kids?
Dr. Rebecca (02:04):
For me, honestly, it’s a complicated issue in part because its so individual. There’s so much nuance here and there’s so many factors at play. I know there’s a whole movement that says you need to ask before your child even goes to someone’s house after school. A whole set of questions in order to feel safe. Here’s what I was just thinking. My kids have sleepovers all the time. They have typically with families that we know and cause that’s kind of how we’ve been lucky enough. So we’re integrated into this community and it feels like there’s no question we would ask that we don’t already have a gut check for. I do think it’s potentially different for families who are part of serve communities that they don’t feel integrated in and culturally, maybe they’re a little bit outside of what when they move to a new place or whatever and suddenly their kids want to have sleep. I almost feel like it’s a little bit about sort of what is your profile as a family. If your kid has a close friend group that they’ve had since five, no one’s having these conversations. I don’t think.
Dr. Emily (03:04):
Yeah, i mean, I will say similarly, Rebecca, I think that the sort of guideline that I, mindful guideline that I have for sleepovers are do I know the family? So I think that came up in the question. I think that’s a valid question. Do you know if your kid gets invited to a sleepover party at a classmate’s house and you don’t know the family? That’s very different than planning a sleepover with a family friend that you guys know each other and have a lot of repertoire with each other. I think that’s very, very different. I do tend to ask, but not all the time if the parents are going to be home, because sometimes parents will allow their kids to have sleepovers and they’ll have a babysitter that night. And in the beginning, especially when my kids were younger and they were doing this, I kind of wanted to know that it was the parents there who are sort of like…
Dr. Rebecca (03:57):
See, I feel like that wouldn’t even occur to me to ask. But I think part of that is again, because I know these families, both the friend sleepovers and the sleepover parties that Henry’s gone to and party is like six or seven kids, not 20. Everybody’s texting each other pictures of it. Well, we’re all kind of in, I don’t ask if they’re going to be home because I just assume of course they’re going to be home and now, and maybe that’s part of the issue. Maybe that’s interesting because if I found out the next day from my son, actually they went out for dinner, I’d be like, oh, I guess from now on I’m going to ask. So part of it is what are you willing to, I mean, that’s a question that I think the reason I haven’t asked is because it just wouldn’t occur to me in a million years, and it sounds like it happened to your kids, but other questions about what are your family’s rules about bodily safety? Even if I didn’t know a family, I’m just trying to think. Henry, let’s say, gets an invitation to a slumber party. I think I would reach out to the family.
Dr. Emily (04:50):
Dr. Rebecca (04:52):
And just talk to the family and just get a gut check on the family. I don’t think I would ask any formal questions. Although yes, the research would suggest that formal questions about bodily safety, formal questions about firearms, formal, that those are all recommended.
Dr. Sarah (05:08):
Right, but knowing those formal questions is important even if you choose not to ask them because it increases the chance that you’re doing some internal mental arithmetic. I may not be asking explicitly, what is your body safety plan and how do you respect body safety rules in your house? But if I know what those questions are and I know to be internally assessing, I might be looking for those answers in other ways, asking who’s going to be there. And if someone says, oh, well my uncle’s staying with us, so he’ll be around, then you could say, oh, well how do you handle who’s going to be watching the kids and are there going to be closed doors, open doors?
Dr. Emily (05:58):
I just think, Rebecca, you’re right though. Those are questions, Sarah, that I would never ask even maybe who’s going to be home.
Dr. Sarah (06:07):
But then I almost ask, why not? Why would you never ask that?
Dr. Emily (06:12):
I would developmentally at the age, so I will say my six year old has done sleepovers, but my older children are somewhere between nine and 13 years old. They are organizing their social lives more than I am. They are making their own relationships. They are the ones that are initiating some of this and that independence is part of what you’ll see as you mature in this parenting journey. And so you do have to have these, I’m not saying some of, I think those are all obviously legitimate questions. I just think that it’s just very, it’s a conversation that brings things to a different level. I just don’t know if that’s something that’s…
Dr. Sarah (06:56):
Sure. But then my question would be when your children first started, obviously your 13 year old is if they’re going on a sleepover this weekend, it wouldn’t be their first sleepover. They started at a younger age, presumably, in which case you probably did have, if not explicit questions, certain thoughts that you were kind of thinking in your mind to assess for safety. And then as your children get more accustomed to sleepovers, learn the drill, get better at problem solving, should they start to feel uncomfortable, you kind of understand and trust that they have a plan for get in touch with you or to talk to you about it that you can, perhaps by the time they are 13 and have been on years of sleepovers, you’re not asking those questions anymore because you’ve kind of helped your child learn how to be safe on sleepovers on their own or know what to do if they didn’t feel safe. Whereas for the first time parent who’s thinking about, okay, when is my child ready to have a sleepover? If I think that they’re developmental ready, developmentally ready to have a sleepover, how do I decide how to introduce that in a way that feels safe to me and good to them? Then you might be thinking about those questions perhaps whether or not you explicitly ask them. That was just a thought.
Dr. Rebecca (08:09):
I don’t think there’s anything, I mean, I hope this is stating the obvious. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with asking those questions nor, and it’s not that I don’t ask them because I’m somehow embarrassed or ashamed. People say like, oh, I just would be embarrassed to ask if there’s a gun. Just again, I have a relationship with these people generally, but it’s also if that’s what you need to feel so much of these are individual decisions. I don’t need that to feel safe.
I need what my, and I couldn’t even quantify it. Probably I need my general gut check in a conversation with a parent in order to feel safe. If you need the explicit information to feel safe, then absolutely have those conversations. I think it also comes back to what the age old thing is, which is the only to be a hundred percent certain that your child is safe is not to let them do it. So it’s about risk tolerance. It’s also the only way to absolutely guarantee they won’t be hit by a car is not to let them leave the house. And so there might be, and again, especially what you said Sarah earlier, which is that a lot of times people who are unsafe for kids present themselves as pr really safe for kids. And so then someone might say to me, well, how do you trust your gut?
If someone is a skill, it’s, you’re absolutely right. Chances are if there is a skilled pedophile out there who is the father of a classmate of my son, I might not know it until it’s too late and that is terrifying. And I don’t see myself completely changing my parenting habits and style because of that possibility. And for someone else, someone who has a trauma history, abuse, what I could absolutely see that equation tilting in another direction. And that’s, that’s okay. And I will just, one last thing. What want to highlight what Emily said, which is so much for me, is about teaching my child what to pick up on and what to make sure you always feel comfortable telling a grownup pretty early on because my son started walking around. We live in, he had one of those watches where he doesn’t have a phone, but it’s a watch that just has a couple people programmed in. So I could trust that he could get in touch with me. Now again, if there’s some really skilled person who’s like all the watches are going in this bucket for the night, again, terrifying but not necessarily something that’s going to make me forbid my kid from having sleepovers. And that’s a personal equation that you weigh.
Dr. Emily (10:44):
And I think that’s a really good point, but I also think it’s just to touch to further expand that I think it’s not so binary. It’s like we do all these things in the hope that it’ll shake it up enough for it not to be a risk. So Sarah, to your question to me earlier, I might not ask those things, but I also probably started sleepovers with people. I like to Rebecca’s point, people I sort of knew and I gut checked and I sort of felt okay about maybe we had some commonalities, maybe we have some common language, but I also talk to my kids about body safety at home and I also allow them to talk to the grownups around and tell them to express themselves. And those are things that I think you put all these things into the mix and that creates a safer environment, if that makes sense. It’s not just do I send my kid to a sleepover and they get abused or do I keep them at home and they’re fine. There’s a lot of other pieces that can go into contributing to something that feels safer, but I totally agree with Rebecca that everybody has a different risk tolerance and I think it’s about checking in with yourself, feeling what that is, even maybe potentially experimenting with it a little bit to try to see if you can stretch it. And I think that that’s an important piece of this.
Dr. Sarah (12:04):
And I think another thing to consider when you’re weighing all this, obviously Rebecca, you were talking about how it’s our own history and our own experiences and our own anxiety and our own risk tolerance level is going to have a big factor in what we do and don’t allow in our family or what we feel comfortable stretching ourselves to try. But I also think we should consider what are the benefits of sleepovers, right? Because there are a lot of benefits that may factor into the weight of the risks, right?
Dr. Emily (12:37):
Dr. Sarah (12:38):
It’s a big opportunity to develop sort of social skills, intimacy and in peer relationships and also to practice separating and individuating from the family. And I think thinking about your child’s developmental stage is a big part of that equation, but there’s a lot that can be really beneficial about a sleepover.
Dr. Rebecca (13:04):
Yeah, I mean one of the benefits that I feel like is sort of unquantifiable and happens in certainly other ways besides sleepovers, but I’ve found sleepovers to be a big one, is just this understanding that other people are different, that people do things differently. Not everybody keeps their cereal in the same place, even something so minor as that. Our kids are developing out of egocentrism and we’re always talking about appreciating differences and noticing differences, but some people’s houses are bigger than mine. Some people’s houses are smaller than mine. Some people’s parent jokes about this thing that we don’t joke about. Other people’s parents don’t joke about these things that we do joke about. Again, with this understanding of just an exposure to different people who do different kinds of things, which of course you get in your life through, you can do that not through sleepovers, but because sleepovers tend to encompass these everyday family activities. Usually it’s dinner, bedtime, sleep, morning time. It includes brushing teeth, it includes breakfast. Just to get a sense of how different families do things, I think can be a tremendously valuable and educational thing for our kids.
Dr. Emily (14:11):
I love that, Rebecca, because I also think it’s sort of the intimacies, right? It’s those things that are, you don’t do with other people brushing your teeth. You don’t typically brush your teeth in front of other people. I think that that’s a great point. And the other thing I would add on to that, I personally for my children is there, so this is the polar opposite of risk is there are other adults that can take care of you. There are other adults that can help you, and I want you to know that we are part of going to build within our family this extended community of other safe people that you can go to if you have these problems. Even with an, I don’t know where the toothpaste is, I don’t know if I need help wiping, wiping something off of my face or my bottom or something. There are other adults that can sort of help you, and that’s the opposite of the scary side of things. That’s the sort of nice side of that.
Dr. Sarah (15:07):
Yeah. I also think it helps with resilience building because especially for the younger set, that first couple sleepovers, it takes a lot of, it really stretches their ability to tolerate being separated from what they know, their routine, their parents, that familiar space, and that’s uncomfortable, but it’s also hopefully a positive enough experience that it allows them to build that tolerance for discomfort in a really kind of positive way. And in doing so, kind of expanding their world.
Dr. Rebecca (15:50):
And I think you can frame it different. People probably frame it very differently depending on their kids and their families, but we’re going to try this if you think there might be a little bit of a chance that it’s too, we’re going to try. We’re give us a shot. We can always come get you. And then someone might say, well, don’t come get them because that’s not stretching them and that it’s like your kid and none of you don’t have to decide and then stick with it or they’re, what is it called now? Sleep? Sleepunders. Sleep under.
Dr. Emily (16:17):
I was going to say we started with sleep-unders. They love, my kids love sleep-unders.
Dr. Rebecca (16:21):
Where you do, you know, have dinner, everybody gets in their pajamas, you watch a TV show, whatever, whatever, and then the parent comes and picks them up. You kind of do everything except go to sleep. So there’s way again, it’s not all or nothing and it’s not. It can be a really nice thing to just try it or try it out and let’s see how it goes and then maybe next time we sleep over. And also if you’re listening to this, because this has happened with friends and clients too, and you feel like your kid, what’s the bed every night? And it would be really embarrassing for them or your kid is tremendously reliant on a sleep routine and it would be very just then don’t do it again. I think there’s a way in which sometimes these conversations get so weighty and so serious and they go to this place of let’s say body safety or sexual abuse and of course we have to talk about those things, but it’s also okay if you put those things aside and just think about much more pragmatic day-to-day concerns and sleepovers may not be right for your kids and they may be right for your kids and you can decide differently next month.
Dr. Sarah (17:26):
Yeah, I think that’s just an important point of that flexibility. You are not signing some sort of contract in blood that you are, that this is now the thing we do. You can give it a try. You can model that. Let’s wait and see attitude with your kids, and I think that helps ease some of the anxiety too. If we put all this weight and this is a big deal, we’re doing this big sleepover and it’s going to feel really hard, but you can do it. Sure. That sort of supportive emotional stance of this validating how hard it is and communicating confidence that they can cope. We love that, but we don’t have to have a quote serious talk about sleepovers with our kids and then kind of infuse it with this sort of weighty anxiety. It can just be, Hey, we’re going to give it a try and we’ll see how it goes. If you don’t like it, we’ll come pick you up, but let’s just see what it’s like.
Dr. Emily (18:20):
I think that’s a great point. I think it’s important to be flexible with yourself because I think there’s a, I don’t do sleepovers, our family doesn’t do sleepovers. Kind of is that my philosophy and I think that it’s important to be able to be a little bit flexible with yourself. Maybe we don’t do them yet or maybe we’re not doing them right now. To Sarah, your point, maybe I’ll feel differently when my child is a little developmentally more mature. And I think you don’t have to subscribe to a philosophy about them until you sort of figure it out.
Dr. Rebecca (18:57):
That’s literally exactly what I was going to say. I was going to say in Ke, because also what happens is not only do we infuse the conversations with weightiness with our kids, but we engage in these online debates, whether it’s a mom’s Facebook group or Instagram or TikTok where it’s like, I am on teams, sleepovers are amazing and I am on teams. Sleepovers can lead to horrible, and it’s like, oh my gosh, we don’t actually have to be this polarized over this. Sleepovers can serve really different purposes for really different kids at really different times, period. There’s a lot of other things in my opinion, we can get really, really incensed about, and this is not one of them, particularly for someone else’s kids. The other thing is people are saying, I’ve heard people say, well, we know that it’s generally unsafe because of the rates of abuse, and so I’m not going to do it for my kid, but also we shouldn’t have it be a thing so that then my kid doesn’t feel left out. It’s like, wait, again, there’s sort of all this, I get to decide what’s right for everybody right now.
Dr. Sarah (20:05):
Yeah. I think we have to watch out for that.
Dr. Rebecca (20:07):
Whether it’s books, whether it’s gender, whether it’s, it’s like no, you get to decide what’s right for your kid and your family. That’s kind of it. And that can feel really beautiful and relieving.
Dr. Emily (20:20):
Totally. I love that. And I think when you said that, oh, there’s this risk of sexual abuse, I also want to remind everybody and ourselves that probability and possibility is something that we talk about all the time. The probability of sexual abuse at a sleepover is actually very low. Is it possible? Sure. Right. Anything’s possible. Rebecca, to your point, if I let my kid walk on the street, is it possible that they’ll get hit by a car? Sure. Is it probable actually really, right. The numbers are really pretty low. So I think not getting swept up in that sort of, yes, of course we want to do all the safe practices and we want to instill all those values, but we also want to have our feet on the ground with the reality of these risks.
Dr. Sarah (21:03):
I think that’s an important point. I’m also thinking just for sort of nuts and bolts, let’s talk a little bit about just practical things. At what age developmentally are most kids kind of able to handle that kind of a separation? Obviously, I’m going to put a big asterisk by this one because every kid is different and you’re going to have to weigh in a lot of variables that you’re unique to your child and your family and everything. But let’s just assume you are a family who wants to try sleepovers and your child for outside of an anxiety disorder or a really, really challenging issues with separation or maybe bathroom issues like you were saying, Rebecca, if your kid really is struggling to know stay dry overnight, this could be kind of a vulnerable position to put them in. Making sure we should talk about bullying and social stuff too, but I’ll put a pin in that one. But just saying we’ve got developmentally, we’re just looking at the developmental timeline roughly when you think is a good age to start to explore this with kids.
Dr. Rebecca (22:03):
I mean, I would add 10 more different variables, not that we want to, but it’s also have they been separated from you? They have they been to full day of school ever? Do they have a babysitter? Do they spend the night at grandparents’ house or have they, what’s their experience of separation from you?
Dr. Emily (22:20):
What’s their birth order? Right. My third child is going on sleepovers a very much I would never have considered at so early, frankly, compared to my first child who I was a bit probably more conservative about or had less established community ties or something like that. So I think birth order is actually probably a big predictor as well.
Dr. Sarah (22:45):
For the parent and the kid. Right. What you’re saying, Emily, that is so true, is we’re probably more anxious about separating from our kids when they’re a first kid because we’ve never done it, but they’ve never done it either. But when you have a six year old who’s watched their third 13 year old and 19 year old or nine year old, whatever, if you’ve watched all these big siblings do it all the time, you are, I want to do that too. And whereas your first kid didn’t have that modeling. So I also think our kids’ exposure to sleepovers from older siblings will be a factor as well, both in their tolerance for it and their interest for it.
Dr. Emily (23:21):
I think Sarah, an important factor in my family was like, how well does my child do without sleep? My first child? How well does he do without sleep? Is it going to be a disaster if he goes to the sleepover party? Is it going to really unwind us for a couple of days? I think I probably waited until I felt that he could tolerate a little less sleep and not be so dysregulated, and that’s just so hard to put a number on in terms of age, I would say if I had to, I would say anywhere between first and third grade that if I, you push me against a wall, and the other thing that factors in to those decisions even now is what else do we have going on? Does he have a big soccer tournament tomorrow? And having a sleepover might totally derail everything for that or looking into your own family decisions. Something I wanted to touch upon is also if you’re uncomfortable with your child going to sleepover, maybe you host a sleepover for the first time at your home where you feel that you have a little bit more control over those variables and that maybe that also, again, fluctuates with aids. Maybe you’d feel more comfortable with your eight year old doing that than your eight year old going to sleep over outside of your home.
Dr. Sarah (24:35):
I also think there’s this other piece which I, again, talking about bullying and meanness, that the difference between a one-on-one sleepover and a multi kid sleepover, a slumber party, not that we can necessarily prevent. Again, to their point, we can’t protect our kid from being bullied. We can’t protect our kids from witnessing bullying. We can’t protect our kids from bullying themselves. We can’t snowplow all this stuff away from them, and it does happen. And so how do we address that with our children, with our own anxieties about that?
Dr. Rebecca (25:14):
I feel like we got to define bullying. What does bullying on a sleepover look like? I could picture a really awful event happening that I would call bullying. I can also picture a group of kids being together and someone getting teased a little bit and that being a bummer and not bullying. And so I think the question of safety comes question of safety comes into play, question of kindness comes into play. And frankly, I don’t know that preparing my child for sleep or is going to look that different from preparing them for a lot of things they do, which is we talk about the importance of being kind and be, can you be aware of someone’s being left out? And it’s a bit, I don’t know that, and maybe this changes when they get older. I still have young kids, but I don’t know that the bullying of one kid and a sleepover the way you see in movies or whatever, does that happen? Is that still a thing?
Dr. Sarah (26:22):
I dunno. I would imagine it can be, and obviously like you said, Rebecca, as parents, we can’t prevent that from happening. I remember when I was a little kid, I was probably, I could not have been more than first grade. I was on a group sleepover at this girl’s house. It was summertime. We slept in a tent in backyard with six other girls, and these girls were not nice to me typically in life. And I fell asleep and they poured pixie sticks in my ears while I was sleeping. And I woke up and I was so upset. And this was something that I could see happening now. And in some ways I don’t want to scare people, but in some ways it’s different even because the ability for kids to be cruel to each other has expanded to these online places and these text chats that exist outside of class groups of kids at school are on these sort of text chats and they can ostracize kids in that way.
I don’t think that we are safe from kids getting bullied in a way that’s really potentially quite painful for kids. I also don’t think that means I would not have wanted my parents to never send me on another sleepover because that experience happened and I had been on many, many, many subsequent sleepovers that were wonderful and enriched my relationships with those people. So it’s like we also have to trust our kids to be a bit resilient and to be able to go through something painful, be able to use that information to determine who are your safe friends, who are not people you want to be spending time with, and how do you process what it feels like to have something mean happen to you without making it sort of crush your spirit or your sense of your likability.
Dr. Rebecca (28:16):
So I may have misspoken or somehow have been misunderstood. Bullying is a huge issue. I mean, full stop. I’m still not sure even with your example, although again, I’m really sorry that happened both. I don’t know if you saw all of our phases were like, ohhh.
Dr. Sarah (28:36):
I know, but I’ve come a long way since that time. I’m okay with it.
Dr. Rebecca (28:40):
Look at you now. You even enjoy pixie sticks sometimes. But I guess I’m just looking in my mind for what is distinctive about something that could happen in a sleepover. I’m still trying to use a sleepover lens. Of course, we need to talk to our kids all the time about bullying. We need to talk about being kind. We need to talk about not leaving someone out. We need to talk again. These are conversations that I view as part of parenting these days. I was going to a place of how different does that need to be heading into a sleepover scenario.
Dr. Emily (29:16):
And I think that I would like to add a little bit of how you make these decisions. And Sarah though, maybe it goes back to having these questions in your mind, whether you maybe ask them of the sleepover host or not. But it’s for me, sleepovers when I host them or when my kids are on them, I’m always thinking about supervision. So somebody in that situation where you’re outside, you’re not in the house, there’s not, there’s some questions about how much supervision there is. And I think that that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t happen, and that doesn’t mean you can’t be resilient in those situations. But I think having a sense of that, maybe that’s part of the gut check that Rebecca and I keep referring to. But I think that does make a difference. And again, Rebecca, to your point, that’s also just a parenting philosophy. If I have a play date at my house, I’m sort of have a little bit of an ear or two. Did somebody just leave somebody out I to? Should I hang back? How much do I need to…
Dr. Rebecca (30:17):
It sounds really quiet in there. I think I’m going to go that sort of a thing. And also, Sarah, even though you said it kind of in passing, I think it’s important you said these were girls who weren’t typically that nice to you. Yeah. So that begs the question of, again, a conversation to have with your kid before sleepover of where again, the conversation about friendships and who friends are and what you feel like when you spend time with them and how it usually goes are all conversations to have before making a decision about a sleepover party. Because clearly that’s important too.
Dr. Sarah (30:50):
Yeah, and I do think there’s a level of, Emily were you were saying, thinking about questions in the back of your mind, whether you ask them or not about the adult role and things. But I also think we should have those questions in the back of our mind, whether or not we ask them explicitly about the child component of things. Who are the kids that are going to be on this sleepover? Do I know anything about these kids? Do I know anything about the relationship? My child with these kids? Has my child ever talked about feeling kind of left out by these kids or wishing they could be friends with them? Because also sometimes a sleepover is a way to break into a group of kids where you normally don’t feel like you’re being included. I think group sleepovers aren’t the way to do that.
I think one-on-one sleepovers are often better for creating those allyships when a child, this is another thing to sort of tangentially mention is I think sleepovers and play dates in general can be used as a tool to help a child who’s struggling kind of to make friendships or who does feel chronically left out of a group to start to find inroads by taking as a parent looking at, okay, I have this group of kids that sort of seems to keep leaving my kid out. Is there anybody in that group that is a little bit safer, that is a little bit more open and friendly and has as a high eq, can I set up a one-on-one play date or a one-on-one sleepover depending on development, whatever with that kid so that my child can start to develop this allyship relationship that could lead to either more of more comfort on my child’s part to enter into this group, or more comfort for the group to allow and invite this child in because they see one member of the group doing it and modeling that. So that’s another piece that I think creates a lot of benefit, but there’s an intentionality on the part of the parent setting that up. Who are the kids I’m bringing into my child’s life outside of school and how do I have some intentionality around that?
Dr. Rebecca (32:54):
Well, and that’s back to your question about how old do kids need to be and all those caveats. It’s like my son had his first sleepover with a kid he’d been friends with since he was 18 months, and they live right up the street and it was way younger than I would do if they lived further away or they hadn’t been friends for so long, or we weren’t friends with the parents. You, that’s really different from your kid comes home from school and mentions this kid you have no idea anything about. And it’s like, I want to have a sleepover. It just, there’s so many factors that determine our comfort level.
Dr. Sarah (33:28):
So kind of wrapping this up, we’ve covered a lot of things, some heavier and some lighter, but I, what I’m ultimately hearing is we need to find that balance between explicitly advocating for our kids and asking tough questions, and also being able to trust our instincts, trust our child, be willing to stretch our own anxiety and perhaps even our child’s anxiety in order to develop this resilience and these opportunities for growth and relationship building and some of the benefits of these experiences too.
Thank you so much for listening. As you can hear, parenting is not one size fits all. It’s nuanced and it’s complicated. So I really hope that this series where we’re answering your questions really helps you to cut through some of the noise and find out what works best for you and your unique child. If you have a burning parenting question, something you’re struggling to navigate or a topic you really want us to shed light on or share research about, we want to know, go to drsarahbren.com/question to send in anything that you want, Rebecca, Emily, and me to answer in this new series Securely Attached: Beyond the Sessions. That’s drsarahbren.com/question. And check back for a brand new securely attached next Tuesday. And until then, don’t be a stranger.
✨We want to hear from you! Go to https://drsarahbren.com/question to send us a question or a topic you want to hear us answer on Securely Attached – Beyond the Sessions! ✨