A friend shared an interesting article about whether or not you should let your kids spend the night at friends’ houses or even family members’ houses for that matter.
The article is featured on a Mormon lifestyle website (LDS Living), but I don’t think people should disregard the information because it comes from a religious publication. I think it should be viewed as a conservative parent publication.
Here is what the mom argues. From LDS Living.com:
“For us, the sleepover issue actually began at a stake conference fireside in late 1995. Our stake president at the time, Larry Lawrence, counseled our stake to beware of sleepovers and slumber parties. He explained that many children have drunk their first beer, sworn for the first time or lost their virtue “on a night when they did not have to look their parents in the eye when the night was over.” He advised us to take comfort in knowing our families were safe under the same roof at the end of each night.”
“His own children (he had six) were allowed to go to sleepovers but he would pick them up around 10:00 P.M. or so instead of having them spend the night. Many times his children would be disappointed because they could not stay. They would be angry or in tears when he picked them up. Yet each child, as an adult, thanked him and his wife for that rule. As they grew older and found out what had gone on with those friends at those sleepovers, they realized and appreciated their parents’ wisdom.”
I am summarizing her main heading points:
“One weekend nine years ago, Annie* from Vallejo, California had close relatives come to stay with her family. In the middle of the night, while she was sleeping upstairs, her daughter was molested by a visiting cousin. The girl was too shocked and too scared to call out and didn’t relate the incident to her mother until several years later. The family was devastated that someone they loved and trusted would do such a horrible thing. Incidents like this occur every day. The typical child molester does not “look” like one; most are at least marginally adept at concealing their crimes. Studies report that over eighty percent of children are abused by someone the family knows and trusts. In fact, in a September 14, 2007 _New York Times_ article, “Disturbing Facts about Sexual Abuse,” author Steve D. Levitt reported that only eight percent of abusers are strangers.”
The author goes on to say that they are fine with their kids going over to play and stay until maybe 10 but just not sleeping there. (It kind of makes you wonder though what would change between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.?)
My first two never really want to spend the night out so it hasn’t been an issue, but now my 6-year-old wants to spend the night with friends terribly! She wants to host and go to their houses too.
So far she has only had one little buddy spend the night – her teacher’s daughter. We just love her teacher and her little girl. They are lovely people. Lilina had a late play date at her teacher’s house while I took the big kids to see the second Hobbit movie but didn’t end up spending the night. They had a very early vet appointment the next morning. She seemed pretty happy spending all afternoon and evening with her friend. (God bless the poor teacher. She must have been sick of my kid having her all day and then taking her home.)
Michael has been gone pretty much since mid-October so it’s just been us girls (oh and Walsh but he has no interest in even talking to 6-year-olds.) She would love to have a bigger sleep over with all her little buddies.
I am OK hosting because I know I am safe but it is scarier to send them to someone else’s house even if you feel like they are nice people.
Rose came how last week from school where they have been having health and human development classes. She told me they talked about sexual assault and gave statistics that really made an impression on her.
So what do you think: Is this very conservative parenting and finding the worst-case scenarios in the media or are these real threats that aren’t worth taking a chance on? Is there peace just knowing your kids are sleeping under your own roof?