Should I allow my child sleepovers or overnight trips?
Khurram Fuaad Ahmad, Oshkosh Majlis
Let’s consider a couple of critical questions that we may be faced with our children:
- Should I allow my children (boys or girls) to go for overnight field trips? Or
- Should I allow my child (boy or girl) to sleepover?
Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) states in his book, “The Way of Seekers”:
"A child should not be allowed to choose his own friends. This choice should be made by the parents. They should choose well behaved children as associates for their children. The parents too will benefit from this arrangement. They will come to know the parents of other children whom they have chosen as associates for their child. It will lead to a kind of inter-parent cooperation. Also when they choose playmates for their child, they will watch over their behavior."
The children need an environment that is most suitable based on their age and the values that are specific to their family and religion. This means that the same environment cannot be provided elsewhere. The question above is not to be taken as a one-time occurrence and be shrugged off by saying that it will not be harmful. The question asked above becomes repetitious, the more we give in to the initial inquiries. In comparison, if we have raised our children with an enriching environment, then it will be their friends who would like to spend the night; thus we have solved both of the concerns: providing our children with a safe environment and choosing who they play with.
One can raise the argument that it is easy to talk in absolutes when one is not faced with the situation, that there are bigger things to worry about in the Western environment so it would be fine to give in to these smaller issues. After all, other parents are also caring for their children so the environment would be safe enough for our children to spend the night. What we fail to recognize in this line of argument is that raising children is a constant effort. There is no timeout and there is no looking the other way for a few minutes. Consider your toddler playing near a campfire; how much of your concentration is on watching the child? The fire is always with them and our vigilance needs to remain high.