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As a Single Dad, Should I Allow My Daughter to Have a Sleepover Party?

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Question: As a Single Dad, Should I Allow My Daughter to Have a Sleepover Party?
Sleepover parties are tons of fun for kids, but what about single dads? Should a single father host a kids' sleepover, or would that make him vulnerable to potential false accusations? Garrett asks:
My daughter will be turning 9 in a few weeks, and she has asked me to host a sleepover party for three of her friends. I'm reluctant to do that, because I'm not sure that I'd be comfortable if the situation were reversed, unless I knew the father really, really well. But I also don't want to disappoint her. What should I do?
Answer: It is unfortunate that, as a single dad, you even have to give this issue a second thought. However, it is important to be aware of even the smallest potential for miscommunication, while also refusing to allow such concerns to completely interrupt your lives. The following tips can help you either feel more comfortable about saying "yes," or, alternatively, say "no" and offer your daughter some variations on the typical sleepover:

If You Choose to Say "Yes" to the Sleepover:

  • Get to the know the other families first. Invite them all over for pizza and start to get to know one another. This will not only make hosting a potential sleepover easier on you as a single dad, but it will also allow you to get to know your daughter's friends and their families better, as well.

  • Invite your sister or a cousin to help you host the sleepover. Is there a female family member or a platonic friend who would be willing to sleep on your couch or in a guest room on the night of the sleepover? The presence of another trusted adult would decrease any possibility of false accusations or miscommunications between you and your daughter's friends.

If You Choose to Say "No" to the Sleepover, Offer One of These Alternatives Instead:

  • Have a pseudo-sleepover. Allow your daughter to invite her friends to come over for the evening and stay late, until 9:00 or 10:00 p.m. This way, they can still stay up late, watch a movie, have popcorn, and enjoy some of the components of a typical sleepover.

  • Host a pajama birthday party on a Saturday morning. Invite the kids to wear their PJs while you serve a traditional sleepover breakfast, such as french toast. This would allow your daughter to enjoy a unique birthday event, with a sleepover-like atmosphere, without actually having all the kids spend the night. Consider either asking a friend to help you serve breakfast, or choose a recipe that can be made in advance, so that you can monitor the party events without any distractions.

Finally, I would suggest that you talk with your daughter about your concerns and let her know that you're committed to reaching some type of compromise and celebrating her birthday in a way that is meaningful for both of you.

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