What is an Appropriate Age for Sleepovers?

Recently, my 8 year-old second grade daughter was invited to another sleepover birthday party. These invitations are always the cause of renewed disappointment for her because she knows that she will probably be the only girl who's parent's will pick her up at 9pm because we have a family rule against sleepovers. The only "sleeping over" our kids do is at their grandparents, their aunt's house and one very close family friend who is kind of like an aunt in their life. The bottom line for us when it comes to sleepovers at friends' houses is that it can become very dicey when it comes time to making decision regarding which homes we feel comfortable letting her spend the night at. Even though we live in a small town, in some cases, we simply don't know the families well. In others, we do, but do not feel that we share the same views on media and other things that will come into play at a sleepover. Here is a list of my rationale. I'd love to hear feedback from other moms.
1. If we allow her to spend the night at one child's house, it makes it much harder to explain if we have a legitimate reason for not allowing her to go to another family's house.
2. We are rather strict about what we let our 8 year old watch i.e. no Hanna Montana, High School Musical and other pre-teen/teenage shows. Most of my daughters' friends watch these shows, especially at sleepovers.
3. While our daughter wants to fit in and stay the night, we think that by 9pm she is getting plenty of birthday fun for an 8 year-old. We know the time will come when the "spending the night" part will become integral to the experience. We don't think that time has come yet, but we hope we will be wise enough to know when the time comes.
4. My husband is the District Attorney in our county. Needless to say, he is privy to the incidence of child sexual assault in our community. We know all to well that bad things happen, sometimes even in presumably "good homes". His access to this kind of information has made us a lot more protective (perhaps even paranoid).

As far as we can tell from our own experience, we are one of the only parents we know with a strict across-the-board rule about sleepovers, so I'm curious about how other families handle this issue.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.