Police Checks For Sleepovers?

I was reading the 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 familiy’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.

Paul pointed me at the following news story covering the Mom On A Mission. I pointed Paul to Lenore Skenazy‘s blog, Free Range Kids.

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 playdate after school. My only questions 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, her employer and was still hesitant. In the end, or 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 neighborhoods?

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  1. Ellen November 9, 2011 at 7:31 am

    I agree that background checking your kids’ friends’ parents is over the top and I can’t imagine not letting my son go on sleepovers (although I know most of his friends’ parents, so they’re not strangers), but I have to say your resistance to the background checking at school is also a bit over the top. At my son’s school you fill out a short form once every three years and you’re set. It’s really not a barrier to “last minute availability.” I think you should give up this moral battle and fill out the form. Field trips are fun, and your kids’ school needs your support!

  2. Silver Fang November 9, 2011 at 7:37 am

    I grew up in the 80s. I rode my bike by myself, wore hoodies with drawstrings and slept over at the friends’ houses. I wonder how I survived from then till now.

  3. Beth November 9, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    “The statistics on sleepovers are horrific”? What statistics are these, exactly?

  4. Nerd-Faced Girl November 9, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    11 for a first sleep over? My first was when I was in 1st grade, and I was so embarrassed that my mom insisted on walking me to the door and spending 10 minutes chatting with my friend’s parents instead of dropping me off like everyone else’s. My little girl was a similar age, and her friend’s birthday was on Valentine’s day, so my husband and I went out. Oh, and her friend lived in the middle of nowhere, on a ranch, with animals. So scary and irresponsible.

  5. Robin H November 10, 2011 at 7:40 am

    I can’t tell you how many times my kids have slept at friends houses and them at ours. If we trust them to visit why is sleeping over such a problem? If I remember my own sleepovers well, we all stuck together in a knot of kids, access to one of us would have been impossible.

  6. JM November 10, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    I had lots of sleepovers as a kid and hosted alot of slumber parties…. my first sleepover was at age 5 with the girl that lived a few houses down… but i slept over everywhere and nothing ever happened to me… Later when I was about 23 and my little sister was in 4th grade we had a neighbor that was a single dad had a son 9 and a daughter 6 they had just moved into the neighborhood but the kids would always be sleeping over he would send them over with pizza money they were good kids so I didn’t mind but he really didn’t know us… What I would be more worried about are high school sleepovers but I might have a different experience… As a teenager I was sleeping over my girlfriends house all the time starting at age 15 and we weren’t just sleeping and i know that was the case for a lot of my other gay friends boys and girls we used to stay in the closet and pretend we were just best friends…. I’m just saying…

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