Berkeley Parents Network >
Advice about Playing >
My 4 year old daughter loves to sleep over at her cousin's house. They are
both male and are 6 and 11 years old. She sleeps on the floor in between their
We are not concerned about the 6 year old but are concerned that the 11 year
old is too old to be sleeping with our daughter. We don't want to start a family
squabble and are trying to get some info before presenting this concern to my
Thanks for any advice.
There is absolutly NO reason why they can't sleep in the
same room together! I mean they are cousins for crying out
loud! I don't even see what the conflict is. The boy is eleven
and her cousin so what is the problem?!?!
A bit disturbed
I don't think there is anything wrong with being concerned, frankly I think more
people should be more careful with their children--- Given the alarmingly high rate
of rape and molestation (especially with girls). While it may be disturbing to believe
that a trusted family member could do something inappropriate, statistically it is
usually a close reletive or family friend. I have known and worked with many kids
who were sexually abused by family members and a few who were older cousins,
but on a more personal note, my little sister was molested by my cousin when she
was three and he was nine. Simply speaking children are curious and preteens are
especially curious. I appreciate that he may be a great kid and he probably would
not do anything, but do you really want to risk it? Keep in mind that I didn't see the
original post so I don't know the specifics, it would be better if there were other
children and adults, but I say trust your gut, protect your kids and find a polite way
to say no thank you if it doesn't feel right to you.
I applaud your concern!
anon--- for sisters sake
I don't recall your original post exactly, but felt compelled to
respond after seeing another response.
What I would like to point out is that at around age 11, boys
are getting their second batch of testosterone and entering
puberty. Kids this age (and younger) are sexually curious and
often experiment on each other. In most cases this
experimentation is part of normal and healthy sexual development
and is not problematic when it occurs between similarly aged
kids. However, when the experimenation is done by an older child
on a much younger kid (even very innocently), it can be harmful
to the younger child. If it were me, I would not allow my much
younger daughter to have overnights in the same room with her
older male relatives, just to help minimize the opportunities
for this occurring.
My perspective re your question is different than those I've seen offered so far.
When I was around 11, we visited for a weekend with friends of the family at their
beach house. Kids slept up in the converted attic- one very big room- in sleeping
bags. As I recall, there were about 4 of us altogether, boys and girls of various ages,
including their son who was about a year older than me. We had a great time. It was
a pajama party- essentially no different than those I had with my girlfriends.
While I think that it is very important that molestation is recognized now as more
common than once known and reasonable caution is only responsible, in this age
of the sensational media we hear too much about the bad and too little of the
normal and the good. That has created a level of fear that I see as out of proportion
to the truth of everyday life. I think that is a shame to deny kids the opportunity to
have wholesome and fun interactions with the opposite, as well as their own,
gender. Let's remember to look at the whole picture.
Thanks for raising the topic.
Sleepovers: it's just ever so fun to talk and giggle with a friend
once the lights are out. And it's fun to wake up in the morning
next to your friend and then getup and maybe have your mom or dad
fix something special like pancakes. My son, also an only child,
started having sleepovers when he was 4 and had always tremendously
I think that sleepovers are just inherently exciting---even as adults (which
is why we don't sleep too well at someone else's house?) It's exciting to
go to sleep with someone else and even better to wake up and be able to
start right in playing again. Think about it; brushing your teeth with your
friend, breakfast with your friend.... I think that if your living
arrangement allows for sleepovers they are great fun for the kids (tho' in
my experience everyone can be really grouchy the following afternoon.) (and
when my daughter and her friend started using their sleeping bags as
slip-n-slides I got a little grouchy that night)
Regarding sleepovers: Pamela, age 10, says, Kids like sleepovers even if you
get more playtime during the daytime, because we like to sleep in
sleeping bags, and unroll them, and whisper to each other, and fall asleep
talking with friends, and it's pretty special.
I suppose the answer to "why?" is that it's a novelty. I don't have any set
philosophy about this. Our 4 yr-old son has had two sleep-overs with his
best friend who is also our neighbor. First she slept over at our house,
and then a month later he slept over there. I suppose since we're closeby
and are friends with the parents we didn't worry. Both times the kids had a
great time. They'd actually been asking to do this for awhile. The first
requirement we set was that they be night-potty-trained which they both did
at a little over age 3. Beyond that we just played it by ear. Oh, and we
happen to be family-bedders, especially during the winter. Our son had
absolutely no problem sleeping in a strange bed- goes to show we haven't
"ruined" him :-)
this page was last updated: Dec 27, 2004
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are transitioning to a new website during
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network