I’m struggling with a culture difference here. Not about being an American in Australia but rather a Puerto-Rican in Australia. My kids are now 13 and 10. They’re at an age where they’re getting invitations to sleepover parties. Actually, my eldest has been getting sleepover invitations for a few years now. And I’ve had to tiptoe around those invitations like landmines. While most parents relish the idea of a night without the kids, I dread reading “Don’t forget your PJs for a sleepover party.”
My kids don’t do sleepovers.
They’re too young. Kids don’t sleep at sleepovers. We don’t know the kid/parents well enough. They still have early bedtimes. My youngest would be anxious and we’ll just end up getting a call in the middle of the night anyway. All valid excuses. At least that’s what I tell myself.
But truth be told, I don’t do sleepovers.
I grew up not ever sleeping at a friend’s house. We only did sleepovers with family. Never friends. I thought that was just a family rule that I didn’t question. But as I grew up, I realized that it’s not a family rule but more of an ethnic way of life. Puerto-Ricans and other Latinos/Hispanics don’t usually allow sleepovers to non-family houses. I don’t know where it stems from but I do want to continue it because that’s what I know. I hate to exclude my kids from things but I really don’t want my kids to do sleepovers.
So how do I continue a Hispanic tradition when my kids barely know 2 Spanish words and the words they do know in Spanish, they probably learned from Dora and Diego? How can I enforce a no sleepover rule due to my Puerto-Rican upbringing when their idea of a Spanish meal is an Old El Paso Taco kit?
I suppose the benefit is that MJ agrees with me. He doesn’t want them sleeping away from the home just yet. And we’re their parents so we only want the best for them. It’s just something they have to trust us on.
In the meantime, our house has an open door policy in which friends can come and go as they please. My kids are allowed to have friends sleepover at any point. All I ask is that I’m given a few hours warning so I can have airbed out, clean sheets ready, and dairy/gluten/whatever free food the child needs available.