So here’s the thing.
My twelve year old daughter was invited to a sleepover.
But, and it’s a big but for me, I have never met this new friend before and don’t know her parents. My first instinct was to say a big fat NO! No way can I let my precious little girl go off and stay with strangers for the night. But of course she didn’t understand my concerns at all and just thought I was The Worst Mummy In The World *sigh*
I am the first to admit that I am a bit of a cotton wool parent. I can be really over-protective, I know I can. And I know for a fact that friends of my twelve year old daughter and even more so my thirteen year old son, are allowed much more of a free rein. But I just find it so hard to loosen those reins. The older they get, the more I seem to be pushed out of my comfort zone and I don’t much like it, I’m not going to lie.
This sleepover would have meant her going to stay with people who I don’t know from Adam. How am I ever supposed to feel okay with that? Those alarm bells in my head were ringing ten to the dozen with all the what ifs and maybes and I just couldn’t ignore that. I know it doesn’t make me very popular with my daughter but her safety and welfare comes before anything else for me. How can it not?
As it turned out, the sleepover was actually cancelled because her friend’s sister was ill. So all of the agonising on my part and tears on my daughter’s part were in vain. This time at least. But there will be a next time of course. And I’m not sure that my position can or will change when it comes around again.
So what do I do?
I suggested to my daughter that maybe her friend could come over to play at our house after school one day and have dinner. That way at least my daughter wouldn’t feel like she was completely missing out but at the same time, the over-protective parent in me knows that she is safe. And of course I get to meet her friend and when we take her home, I would hopefully get to say hello to her parents. I think one of the hard things about going up to high school is that you just don’t have that contact with school friends or their parents like you do in primary school. My daughter has thrown herself into high school life and I’m so proud of just how well she settled into a such a huge school after her small village primary school beginnings. But of course, without meaning to sound like a complete control freak, it means that I don’t get to know her friends any more like I once did.
Maybe I do need to learn to let go. Maybe there’s no maybe about it *sigh*
But honestly? I just don’t know how.