I was reading an advice column in my newspaper this week where a mom was upset that at a sleepover her daughter ended up riding in the cargo hold of the family's SUV.
We used to ride in the back of the station wagon all the time as kids, but in 2011 that's not cool. Fine. I get that the mom should be upset and have a chat with the parents. However, the part that really upset me about the letter was her hyper-vigilance when it came to sleepovers.
Our 11-year-old daughter recently attended her first sleepover, a birthday celebration for her friend “Sandy.”
Before the event, my husband and I met and talked with Sandy’s parents, learned about the other residents of the home and conducted a “sex offender” search online to determine that no sexual predators lived in the area. [source]
Is that kind of pre-screening paranoia really necessary? Already, schools are requiring background checks before volunteering for any field trips or activities. A barrier to entry that has caused me not to volunteer with my son's school. I don't have anything to hide, it's just a piece of red tape that's a nuisance to eliminate when most of my availability is last-minute.
I asked the DadCAMPers what their thoughts on sleepovers were and @DadOnAMission jumped right in.
I rarely allow my children to "go" to sleepovers. If they are to be had, the sleepovers are at my house.
I may be overprotective but I am simply to afraid to allow sleepovers.
I have a 12 year old girl and a six year old boy. The statistics from sleepovers are horrific.
I know kids need some freedom, but... that's why I let them have friends over anytime they want. I'm overprotective.
I'm a chicken sure. But watch the video on this page. http://www.nosleepover.com/ I can feel more secure with them at my house.
The modern parental thinking method applies: Since a drugging/fondling incident DID happen once, and since it was ON THE NEWS, it must be happening ALL THE TIME, and it could POSSIBLY, even PROBABLY, happen to MY kid, so in order to avoid this fate, I must PROTECT my child by glue-gunning her to my side. (Ouch!) [source]
A few weeks ago one of the nannies from my school asked if my son could come over for a play date after school. My only question was whether she had enough car seats. I was immediately trusting that the environment would be okay and the caregiver would be qualified.
My wife wasn't so sure. She was more nervous and asked to speak with the nanny and her employer but was still hesitant. In the end, our son went and had a great time. I may have been a little lax, my wife a little tight, but in the end we met in the middle and our son has a stronger friendship with one of his classmates.
What about you? Do you allow sleepovers? Do you do background checks on babysitters, other parents and neighbourhoods?