Q. I'm ready to ban my 11-year-old from going on sleepovers because she invariably calls us in tears and begs to come home. What should I do?
A. I'm assuming your daughter is going to sleepovers where the host has invited her and at least one other girl, because that's when one of the girls often ends up crying and wanting to leave. For that reason alone I think parents should allow only one guest. But they usually let their daughter invite three or four. The girls hang out by the computer and IM or text. Inevitably someone gets cyberbullied or the girls push each other to do something or see something they shouldn't.
So here are some rules. Take a sleepover break of two to four weeks. Then your daughter should go only when she is the sole guest. Role-play with her what she will say to her host if she's unhappy. Choose the next sleepover with a girl your daughter feels secure with. And then tell her she can call you only if she's bleeding, vomiting, or in physical danger. Drop her off and tell her, "See you in the morning!" And mean it.
Originally published in the March 2007 issue of Family Circle magazine.