You’d Let Your Kids Go on a SLEEPOVER?! Isn’t That Like a Death Wish?

Readers — I not only appreciated this letter one of you just sent, I found the Rosetta stone of parental worry in the article she links to!

Dear Free-Range Kids Do you let your kids have sleepovers?  Shame on you!  Yes it’s time for the latest movement in overprotective idiocy, the Ban Sleepovers movement! Look: “7 Reasons to Say No to Sleepovers”

Oh my God what were our parents thinking, letting us have SLEEPOVERS!  We can’t let our kids might be tired the next day!  They might not do well on all that ridiculous busywork from school.  Um I mean homework. (Yes, I’m being sarcastic. Insert evil grin.)

The sad part is I know families who really have banned sleepovers. – A.H.

Lenore here, who thinks she understands what’s REALLY going on, thanks to this quote I found in the No Sleepovers article:

Letting your kid spend the night away means giving up control of what she’s doing, eating and watching.

That, my friends, is the crux of the matter. We have gotten so used to total control of  our children, that giving it up for even one night is too much for us to bear. Control each bite, activity and TV show we must. Otherwise, all bets are off. Our lovely child will turn to stone, or Go-gurt, or something else disgusting. We love our kids so much, yet we think they are nothing without us. – L.

Why, kids on sleepovers might even make pizza! That has cholesterol, is fattening, and could conceivably lead to a life in the Mafia. (Photo by woodleywonderworks)

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190 Responses to You’d Let Your Kids Go on a SLEEPOVER?! Isn’t That Like a Death Wish?

  1. BMS August 7, 2013 at 9:52 am #

    I saw this article and rolled my eyes so hard I had to go to the optometrist.

    And now there is the story of the two Canadian boys who were killed by an escaped python during a sleepover. Better make it 8 reasons not to ever let your kids do something fun.

    My kids have had sleepovers, and I had one mom who was all concerned that her kid was going to stay up all night. I lied and told her that I would enforce lights out at 10:00. I said nothing about flashlights though, buahahaha. Somehow her kid survived.

  2. Gary August 7, 2013 at 9:55 am #

    I need to know now how pissed off I am going to get before I even think about clicking that link…

  3. Gary August 7, 2013 at 9:57 am #

    s&*$ I CLICKED IT!!! I CLICKED IT!!!

  4. Gary August 7, 2013 at 10:00 am #

    sooooo…

    sleepovers will apparently get your kid fat, high, molested and/or laid.

    That about cover it?

  5. SKL August 7, 2013 at 10:03 am #

    Oh, brother. 😛

    I liked the way they said [paraphrasing] “if your kid gets invited to a sleepover, demand an in-person meeting with the parent and interrogate him/her about his views on all matters you might care about as a parent – you gotta make sure you are on the same page.” And then it finishes with “don’t worry about what other parents think.” LOL.

  6. Papilio August 7, 2013 at 10:08 am #

    “Control each bite, activity and TV show we must. Otherwise, all bets are off.”

    I actually think that’s quite true. When you’re a prisoner, wouldn’t you enjoy every second of freedom to the fullest? Even it that means you’d go further than you otherwise would’ve gone? I mean, what does it matter, Mom will be angry anyway…

  7. Tana C August 7, 2013 at 10:10 am #

    So I’m thinking, ban sleepovers at houses where there’s an escaped python- definitely check with the parents first. No pythons. Otherwise, my take on sleepovers has always been, “I don’t really care what he eats, or how much, or how much bad tv the kids watch, or how sleep-deprived he is. One night won’t scar him for life, and I’m just so grateful to have a night alone with my hubby that as long as the kid comes back relatively unscathed, we’re good.”

  8. Beth August 7, 2013 at 10:11 am #

    The last one – increased risk of being molested!?! That whole list makes it seem like parents just send their kids to a stranger’s house every weekend. Yes make sure they are old enough, yes make sure the parents are safe law abiding folks, those are all duh things.

  9. TaraK August 7, 2013 at 10:14 am #

    The only thing I worry about on a sleepover is if my kid will wet the bed. Discreet conversation with the mom, voila, no problem. End of concern.

  10. Scott August 7, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    I need to make an appt. as well BMS…

  11. Candace August 7, 2013 at 10:18 am #

    I think the article linked here is incredibly silly and downright laughable. When handled properly, sleepovers can be a good way for kids to practice making the right decisions when they’re at other people’s homes. It’s up to kids to make good decisions when they are away from Mom and Dad and to practice the values they learned in their own home. If you’re too overprotective of a kid, what kind of adult will they turn out to be? Helicopter parents really do a disservice to their kids.

  12. Natalie August 7, 2013 at 10:18 am #

    Lol. Oh Gary.

    A sleepover was the first time I saw Dirty Dancing (4th grade) because my parents didn’t let me watch it. Awesome night. My younger sisters were allowed to watch it too after I broke the rules.

    So unfair.

    I also played Atari (hey! Remember Atari?) for the majority of the night at a sleepover. First time I saw Little Shop of Horrors. Sleepovers are just fun.

    Why deny your kids the enjoyment?

  13. Christine August 7, 2013 at 10:26 am #

    I read it…I know I shouldn’t have, but I did. What’s even worse, I wanted to see if the whole website was like this and read the article “Worst Parent Ever? 7 Sticky Situations and How to Deal”. Trust me, do NOT click on that link. Any confidence you had as a parent will be stripped away as they confirm that yes, you are beyond the worst parent ever when you compare what you have actually done to your kids compared to these 7 examples of child endangerment….The language in these articles is down right scary!!

  14. Gary August 7, 2013 at 10:26 am #

    oh yea? well *I* Dirty Danced at my first sleepover, and then we got stoned and killed a guy we met at the pizza place that we snuck out to go to…

    ahh to be 7 again.

  15. SKL August 7, 2013 at 10:27 am #

    I guess my kids are doomed. They have already had sleepovers and they’re only 6. They probably had their first at 5. Which was how old my sister was when she & I had our first. Amazing the human race hasn’t died out.

  16. Gary August 7, 2013 at 10:27 am #

    “I wanted to see if the whole website was like this and read the article “Worst Parent Ever? 7 Sticky Situations and How to Deal”. Trust me, do NOT click on that link. Any confidence you had as a parent will be stripped away as they confirm that yes, you are beyond the worst parent ever when you compare what you have actually done to your kids compared to these 7 examples of child endangerment….”

    dammit Christine now I gotta go look.

    Someone cover me.

  17. CR Moewes August 7, 2013 at 10:31 am #

    AAAAAA.. I can’t keep reading that article my head will explode. But to save other people I will summarize the 9 slides

    1. Things are different now (so if you did sleep overs and are normal your experience doesn’t invalidate our assumptions)

    2. The kids will be too tired the next day from staying up all night. And your house will be dirty…. except that since there was no sleep over (or maybe it’s ok to host one, but then who would come over since you woulnd’t let your kids play with someone whose parents would let them sleep over) how is your house gonna get dirty.

    3. Some kids aren’t ready for sleep overs so no one should have sleep overs.

    4. You don’t like/trust some parents so you should just not let any sleep overs happen rather than explain to your kids that some things are ok and some things aren’t.

    5. This seems like a repeat of #2 but instead of just a sleepy kid you will wind up with a stupid kid because one night of sleeping over will leave them so exhausted they will fall behind in their school work.

    6. They might watch or hear something that you don’t approve of. Movies, TV, etc. If they are at someone else’s house they may experience something outside the controlled environment you have at home.

    7. They might do somehitng else you don’t approve…. i.e. DRUGS!!!! bumbumbuuummmm. Because since you can’t select whose house they sleep over at (see #4, all-or-nothing) you will have to let them sleep over at the neighborhood crack-mamas house and you know what that means.

    8. Rape and Molestation… ‘nuf said here.

    9. But it’s your call…. if you love your kids, you will not allow any sleep overs, but that’s only if you really love them… like we do our kids, so you decide for yourself…

  18. John Sousa August 7, 2013 at 10:31 am #

    It’s funny. My parents were generally what we would describe today as “Free Range.” My brother and I left the house on our bikes or whatever came home when we were hungry or it got dark.

    The one exception was sleepovers. My dad had this weird thing about it. He always said he didn’t want us to get sick. 7 times out 10 of time my mom would talk some sense into him and we could go. But those other three, forget it. He had a real hard on about it…

  19. Natalie August 7, 2013 at 10:40 am #

    Okay, I just read that ridiculous article.
    Is it just me, or is the number one concern of the author that kids are going to engage in homosexual/lesbian activity? I mean really, they’ve said experimentation like 50 times.

  20. Mike in Virginia August 7, 2013 at 10:41 am #

    My favorite is “Between team sports, music lessons, mountains of homework and the Internet, modern kids have enough stuff competing for their time and attention. Frequently spending the night at friends’ houses is guaranteed to leave your child tired, irritable and without enough time or energy to focus on studies.”

    I guess there is some truth to this. Kids are exhausted from all of the forced, managed activities they put through every day. Letting them have some free-time is just going to exhaust them further. Ugh.

  21. Donna August 7, 2013 at 10:42 am #

    Good grief. Why did you make me read that, Lenore?

    My kid is serious doomed. She had sleepovers almost every weekend of 1st grade. It was what the girls did in A. Samoa on the weekend. A couple of the girls only liked sleepovers at their house, so my child was almost always the one going. She even had a few all weekend sleepovers and one unplanned 3 night sleepover due to the plane from independent Samoa breaking and me being stuck there (yes, I left the COUNTRY while my daughter slept over a friend’s).

    Miss M loves being back on the mainland. Her one major complaint – no sleepovers. I hope she makes some friends that allow sleepovers but I have my doubts.

  22. Albert August 7, 2013 at 10:43 am #

    7 Good reasons to say Yes to Sleepovers

    1. Your kids will get a chance to practice the manners you teach – it’s no good if they don’t, right?
    2. Your kids will get to do and try different things – food, games, travel, etc. they may not otherwise, which is all part of making it a treat, yes? If it’s good for you, why isn’t it good for them??
    3. Your kids will make new friends, and so will you, if you behave yourself.
    4. Your kids will get to learn social boundaries and custom – how to behave in someone else’s house, car, etc. is different than behaving at home – and they only way to learn that is “on the road”.
    5. You and your kids will have a chance to unwind and relax, away from the constant attention of each other.
    6. You and your kids will be on the path of mutual trust, which has to start early.
    7. Your kids will HAVE FUN. That’s what’s its about. THEM HAVING FUN.

  23. Mike in Virginia August 7, 2013 at 10:44 am #

    And Natalie, I think you nailed it. Number 6 specifically says “Most children wait for “lights out” at a sleepover to experiment with risky behavior. . .”

    What else could that mean except code for homosexual behavior?

  24. Maggie August 7, 2013 at 10:45 am #

    I must be one crazy mom.

    My one and only sleepover rule is “Their house, their rules.”

    When some mom would try to assure me of anything, I’d say “It’s your house, they will follow your rules.” Then I’d tell my kids the same thing.

    I live in a small town. I’ve known all the parents for years, why would suddenly assume they’ve become porn watching, drug dealing, child molesters overnight? And one night of junk food and no sleep won’t hurt my kid.

    As for drugs and sex, I kissed my first boy and smoked pot the first time at school. Drugs where rampant in my high school, and I know kids who had sex in cars in the parking lot. Maybe I should keep my kids from public school?

  25. Natalie August 7, 2013 at 10:48 am #

    Gary, at your own peril.
    I’m not cleaning up the mess when your head explodes.

  26. SKL August 7, 2013 at 10:50 am #

    Because nobody ever had sex in the daytime . . . .

  27. Sherri August 7, 2013 at 10:50 am #

    I like Albert’s 7 Good Reasons to Say Yes to Sleepovers much better than that ridiculous article!

  28. John August 7, 2013 at 10:53 am #

    That article was the biggest bunch of BS that I’ve read in a loooong time. I really believe these modern day child psychologists have some serious issues going on inside their heads!

  29. Gary August 7, 2013 at 10:55 am #

    ““Most children wait for “lights out” at a sleepover to experiment with risky behavior. . .””

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCwT0dj7WOc

  30. SKL August 7, 2013 at 10:55 am #

    Oh, and because none of those things ever happen at my house. Here there is never any cussing, no movies geared at the over-5yo crowd, and we never eat anything except whole foods (organic and vegan, of course). My kids (who share a bedroom and until recently shared a bed) have never gotten any ridiculous ideas into their heads, and never will. Oh, and my kids are always in bed at 8:30pm. HA HA HA …….

    I don’t plan on having any sleepovers at my house, because it sounds like too much work and stress – especially if I have to pretend to live up to those standards . . . .

  31. lollipoplover August 7, 2013 at 10:56 am #

    “Parenting is always going to be tricky; the best you can do is get the facts, weigh your options and choose what’s best for your kid—without worrying about what other parents think!”

    Holy sh@t! If you take this much time to think about one overnight sleepover for Junior, imagine what will happen when they go away to an overnight camp or worse, COLLEGE.

    We do sleepovers all the time bcause for some reason, the kids find them FUN. We trade kids with friends (sibling swaps anyone?) and don’t live in a crack house. But we do own a cotton candy machine.

  32. CR Moewes August 7, 2013 at 11:01 am #

    @lollipoplover you are the problem here…. COTTON CANDY MACHINE!!!! How can I compete with that ;)…. seriously, where do you get a cotton candy machine.

  33. John August 7, 2013 at 11:01 am #

    Now playing devil’s advocate here, if my kid’s friend’s parents were known boozers and drug addicts with a known criminal history for drug abuse and domestic violence, then yes, I might consider not allowing little Johnny or little Patty to stay over there. But those would be extremely rare exceptions so it’s just a matter of common sense. The problem is, this article implies that this is the typical American family whom your kid will spend the night with!

  34. Natalie August 7, 2013 at 11:02 am #

    Ah!
    There’s the obscure Family Guy reference! Do you have a photographic memory that you can just pull these clips out of thin air like that?
    Now where’s a YouTube clip from Scanners?
    That’s what my head feels like after reading this BS.

  35. Gary August 7, 2013 at 11:03 am #

    “seriously, where do you get a cotton candy machine.”

    The same place you get the pedophile clowns, bounce castle lined with razor wire, balloon animals filled with heroin and hand grenades from.

  36. Gary August 7, 2013 at 11:05 am #

    “Now where’s a YouTube clip from Scanners?”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HY-03vYYAjA

  37. Gary August 7, 2013 at 11:06 am #

    “Do you have a photographic memory that you can just pull these clips out of thin air like that?”

    I have a head full of absolutely useless…even though appropriate…pop culture references, it seems to be the cross I must bear.

  38. Karen August 7, 2013 at 11:12 am #

    Free-range sleepover at Gary’s!

  39. Gary August 7, 2013 at 11:13 am #

    “Free-range sleepover at Gary’s!”

    hell yes, gifts of single malt scotch are welcome.

  40. Natalie August 7, 2013 at 11:15 am #

    I’m in!
    I’ll bring a few bottles with me.

  41. Gary August 7, 2013 at 11:16 am #

    oh snap this is gonna be awesome…

  42. lollipoplover August 7, 2013 at 11:19 am #

    Cotton Candy machine was my daughter’s gift (from Amazon- and came with all the different flavors to last for years) from her favorite aunt, my sister. In a pinch, you can also crush up root beer barrels and peppermint candies stolen from restaurants.
    Best. Gift. Ever.

    For the record, I’ve gifted my sister’s children with ant farms, marching band kits, drum sets, real nunchucks, airbrush tattoo kits, and other *prize* gifts over the years. We have a unique sense of humor.

  43. Ali August 7, 2013 at 11:22 am #

    Oooops, I thought this was satire. The author was quite sincere.

  44. SKL August 7, 2013 at 11:23 am #

    Lollipoplover, if someone gave us a cotton candy machine, I think I’d have to make it accidentally die an untimely death. Lord have mercy. I only let my kids have cotton candy like twice a year.

  45. Emily August 7, 2013 at 11:35 am #

    If I ever have kids, my biggest rule about sleepovers would be……wait for it……reciprocation. After all, if I consent to host five six-year-olds this Saturday, then I’d really, really hope that at least some of those parents would think to return the favour at some point.

    As for the other stuff, I fully agree. Here’s what I thought about the list:

    1. Kids too tired the next day: Plan the sleepover on a weekend, and only allow your kids to attend sleepovers on the weekend, when there’s nothing major planned for the next day. Also, if you’re hosting a sleepover, start it off with a physical activity, like a trip to the park, the beach/swimming pool, or tobogganing or ice skating in the winter. All of these activities are cheap or free, and will wear kids out enough so that they’ll go to sleep more easily. Then, put the movie on right before the time you want the kids to go to bed, and most of them will fall asleep during the movie. I didn’t make this up; it’s in the 1981 edition of Miss Manners Guide To Raising Perfect Children, and it’s also how we did things when I volunteered at YMCA sleepovers, which were really popular, before they inexplicably stopped.

    1b. Dirty house the next day: Confine the sleepover (mostly) to one specific room, and put down either a tarp, or a dark or Scotch-guarded area rug. In the morning, after the kids leave, take it outside, and shake out all the spilled popcorn and potato-chip crumbs. Also, there are a lot of simple “life hacks” for this. Give the kids pretzels instead of Cheetos, because they don’t have that sticky orange powder that gets on everything, and Sprite instead of Coke or grape pop because it doesn’t stain, and so on, and so forth.

    2. Bed-wetting: Talk to the host parents in advance, and send your child with a pair or two of Pull-Ups, and a Ziploc freezer bag, with instructions to put them on (and take them off in the morning) in the bathroom, and seal any wet Pull-Ups in the Ziploc bag, for disposal at home. Problem solved.

    3. Anxiety issues: This is a bigger issue than sleepovers, but it really stuck in my craw, because I’ve lived with panic attacks since I was fourteen, and it shouldn’t warrant a house arrest. Work through it with your kids, and get them some medication if necessary. I keep St. John’s Wort (or L-Theanine) and Bach Rescue Remedy on hand. Both are completely natural, and I only take them when I need them. I live a basically normal life despite this issue, so why would any parent try to stop their child from doing the same?

    4. You don’t like SOME parents. First of all, figure out why, by getting to know those people, in a calm, non-judgemental manner. If it’s just because they practice a different religion, or went to a university you don’t approve of (or any at all), or make less money than you, or disagree on minor parenting issues (ear piercing, media, etc.), then do you really not like the people, or do you just disagree on a few things? Not everyone is going to agree with everyone on everything, but if we used that as a barometer for allowing overnight visits (or any visits), we’d all be pretty lonely. In the case of irreconcilable differences, sure, don’t allow the sleepover, but give the people a chance first.

    5. If your child has so much weekend homework, on a regular basis, that sleepovers and other normal kid activities are interfering with it, let’s flip that statement around. It’s not the sleepovers and other activities that are interfering with homework; it’s the homework that’s interfering with childhood. Talk to the kid’s teacher about this. Ditto extra-curricular activities. If every spare moment is filled with sports, music, swimming, theatre, Scouts/Guides, etc., etc., etc., then talk to your child and prune it down to the activities that he or she really likes.

    6. Unapproved media: It’s not possible to control everything your child watches, all the time, even without sleepovers. Who’s to say that your child won’t end up watching something you haven’t vetted during a daytime visit to a friend’s house, or even *shocker,* at school? I saw Twister when I was in grade seven, as a class reward for good behaviour. My parents had banned my brother and me from renting that movie earlier, but I got to see it anyway. What’s next? Are parents going to start interrogating their kids’ teachers, and going through the minutiae of each day with a fine-toothed comb, to make sure that nothing happens that doesn’t fit with Their Plan For their Child? I sure hope not.

    7. Drugs: Not all kids want to do drugs. Most kids don’t have access to marijuana in grade four. Some kids might experiment later on, but whatever happened to punishing kids AFTER they misbehave, rather than keeping them on permanent lockdown to prevent potential future misbehaviour? This doesn’t just apply to drugs, but to everything. Same deal with sexual experimentation. Most kids outgrow “playing doctor” before school age (which I think is a good cut-off for sleepover age), and don’t start becoming curious about sex again until puberty, at which point the answer isn’t to ban sleepovers; but rather, to create an open dialogue, so they feel comfortable coming to you (or someone) with their questions.

    8. A lot of the other arguments were just ridiculous. “You might not want your child going to a soccer buddy’s sleepover because there might be older teens in the house?” Umm……what? Do people automatically become “dangerous” at a certain age? This is just as bad as the “don’t let a child’s father supervise a sleepover” argument. How do “older teenagers,” by mere virtue of their age, represent a danger just by living in the same house where an adult-supervised sleepover with younger kids is happening?

    9. Does this article/list apply only to sleepovers in private homes, or to summer camp and Boy Scout/Girl Guide sleepovers as well? After all, summer camp and Scouts/Guides/Campfire Kids look awfully good on the all-important university applications, so you can’t have it both ways–you can’t enroll your child and not allow full participation, especially if it means that the child would be missing out on badges that are done at overnight events.

  46. Selby August 7, 2013 at 11:38 am #

    @Gary: I let my kids go on sleepovers so *I* can get fat, high and laid!!!

  47. Violet August 7, 2013 at 11:40 am #

    Albert offered the best reason to say yes. My son stayed a friend’s house whom he had met at tennis camp as part of a celebration that the friend had just become an American citizen. So, yes, my son was exposed to other food and stayed in a house where a foreign language was spoken. So much different than simply coming across immigrants in the Walmart.

  48. Natalie August 7, 2013 at 11:42 am #

    @selby
    You win the comment if the week award! (Prize to be distributed by Lenore at Gary’s sleepover)

  49. BMS August 7, 2013 at 11:48 am #

    I’m afraid to tell some of my hover-y friends that I’ve been trying a 2 week experiment in letting my 11 and 12 year old set their own bedtimes as long as a) they shut off all electronics at 9pm and b) they don’t make noise after I go to bed. Some nights they have stayed up until midnight, other nights they put themselves to bed at 10. The result: our house has been much, much happier. No fights and whining at night. We hang out together and talk. Husband and I want quiet? We go to our room to read. My kids had a craving for a grilled cheese at 10 last night, so they made one for themselves. Again, no whining, I got to stay with my behind planted on the couch reading, they cleaned up when they were done. I have to keep this quiet though, or no mom will ever let their kids sleep over at our house of iniquity again…

  50. Becky August 7, 2013 at 11:49 am #

    You know, if it weren’t for sleepovers, I’d never have gone to church as a child.

    Irreligious parents also too lazy to pick me up early on a Sunday morning.

  51. Angela August 7, 2013 at 11:50 am #

    This is just… crazy. I once sent a movie (Dr Horrible)with my 10 year old to a sleep-over she was attending at a friend’s house. It was one that my ex-father-in-law would have broken in half and thrown away, so I gave her mom a heads up so that, if she was concerned, she could review it first.

    Found out she left the girls in the living room, camping out on the floor, to watch what they wanted while she and Hubby watched TV in their own room. No big deal.

    As for the “Worst Parent” article – slide 4 quote, “…a safety slip-up like not watching your little one, forgetting safety gear or allowing her to take a tumble….” Seriously? So if my 2-year old trips and falls (taking a tumble), it is now representative of poor safety practices and my fault? So now I should never allow the child to walk on their own until they can do so without falling. I tripped over a curb, sprained my ankle and broke my foot about a week ago – at age 37. Damn. I can’t even keep myself safe, my children are doomed.

  52. K August 7, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

    What’s interesting to me is that so many of these points center around the idea that a sleepover will force you to, you know, be a parent. Your kid stays up late? You’ll have to deal with their crankiness, and it will be hard. Never mind that it’s an opportunity to teach them why they need to get enough sleep most nights – your job as a parent will be hard for a day. Same thing with the exposure to mature media. Assuming the kids aren’t watching porn or something, having your child come home slightly upset about seeing a movie they weren’t quite ready for can help you reinforce the idea that some things are only for adults, and that when you won’t let them watch something there’s a reason for it.

    From the tone the article takes, you would think that the whole point of having kids was to avoid having to teach them anything or inconvenience yourself at all. They wrap it up in the pretty package of parental martyrdom, but the advice basically boils down to a how-to guide for kicking the parenting can down the road.

  53. pentamom August 7, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

    Some of these concerns are reasonable concerns that some parents may have. That’s why we’re the PARENT. That’s what bugs me:

    “How do you say yes to some invitations, but no to others without causing hurt feelings? By saying no to sleepovers in general, you’ve eliminated this whole issue.”

    Yes, if you don’t actually want to be a parent, you can take this approach. Or, you can decide which settings or families you’re comfortable with, which ones you think might be inappropriate, and actually be an adult and say no when you need to, and yes when you want to.

    ‘Assuming the kids aren’t watching porn or something, having your child come home slightly upset about seeing a movie they weren’t quite ready for can help you reinforce the idea that some things are only for adults, and that when you won’t let them watch something there’s a reason for it.”

    Spot on.

  54. Emily August 7, 2013 at 12:28 pm #

    Oh, yeah, I forgot about the “junk food” concern. The solution to that is REALLY simple. If parents don’t want their kids eating too much junk food, they should feed their kids something healthy before sending them to a sleepover. They’ll still eat junk food, but not as much as they’d eat on an empty stomach. Also, again, from a “hosting” standpoint, if junk food is a concern, there are tons of recipes on the Internet about how to make common “kid foods” healthier, like grinding up vegetables in the pizza sauce or hamburger meat, sandwiches cut into fun shapes with cookie cutters, whole-wheat flour in the pancakes at breakfast, etc. Of course, even this advice errs on the side of overcautious, because I agree with everyone else–junk food on a special occasion (sleepover, birthday party, Halloween, etc.), won’t make or break anyone’s diet.

  55. Gary August 7, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

    I am gonna need a list of who is coming and what you are bringing…

  56. Brian August 7, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

    I will be distributing this article to all my kids’ friends when they are 6 (or whatever sleepover age is). I hope it will scare them into hosting all the sleepovers because a house full of 7 year olds who are not going to sleep sounds miserable.

  57. Brenna August 7, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

    @Selby – you just made me snort tea out of my nose. I totally agree with you!!!

    @Gary – count me in! I don’t have a cotton candy machine (and Lolliplover, you and your sister sound awesome) but I do have a nice stash of moonshine…

    My daughter is going into the second grade, and although she hasn’t had any sleepovers at friends yet, it’s not because I said no. She’s just got a really small class at school (only four or five girls) and I don’t think any of the other moms have worked up the nerve to invite everyone over yet, either. I have absolutely no problem with her going, if she wants to. She’s slept over at my mom’s with her cousins any number of times, and my mom is totally free range and a big proponent of the spoil-them-and-send-them-home camp.

  58. Amanda August 7, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

    Anyone else notice that the picture for the inappropriate touching “reason” has two teenage girls in what looks like a crib with a giant teddy bear as if they were babies or toddlers? Weird…

  59. Warren August 7, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

    Have had 2 different parents try to tell me what is acceptable and not for their child, during a sleepover at our place. Movie ratings, junk food, beverages, and where our dogs sleep, were things they wished to control.

    I never addressed any of their concerns, I just politely answer, ” Oh I am so sorry you son/daughter won’t be able to join us. Maybe next time.”

    Both of the experts quoted in this article are on facebook, and have received a message on this subject.

  60. Gary August 7, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

    I am totally having a Free Range mom sleepover at my house, this is gonna be epic.

    And Brenna, I hope it is in mason jars…

  61. Jess August 7, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

    I think one of the funniest things about this article is it NEVER mentions the most likely “problems” with a sleepover — arguments/hurt feelings between the kids, and illness/injury.

    For the record – I survived both of those things as a child; sleepovers where someone threw a hissy fit/got really upset and didn’t talk to anyone for the rest of the night (or locked herself in the bathroom and cried for HOURS). And my tenth birthday is particularly memorable as I had a bad allergic reaction to some face paint and my dad had to take me to the hospital at 2 in the morning for a serious asthma attack, while my mom stayed home with my sister and friends (who were SOUND ASLEEP and remained so the entire time I was gone).

    Not that I’m saying impaired breathing is a regular occurrence at sleepovers, or that it’s something to hand-wave away — my point is more that it’s way more likely to happen then, say, a kid getting molested, and a trip to the emergency room was way more severe than being tired the next day BUT we all survived! I remember having fun at that party before I got sick! And my friends got up in the morning, were told by my mom what happened (I had passed out in her bed when we got home, because sleeping on the floor wasn’t going to help my asthma), had breakfast and went home AS PLANNED. I bet they don’t even remember it happening, and if I reminded them would say “oh yeah! Yeah, your asthma was really terrible when we were little, I’m glad it’s better now.” NO HARM DONE. And had I been at a friend’s house? I would have had the parents call my mom and dad, and they would have come and gotten me. Which I think may have happened to a friend once who got a stomach bug at a sleepover? I don’t really remember anymore because, oh yeah, it didn’t scar me for life!

  62. JJ August 7, 2013 at 1:21 pm #

    If we banned sleepovers altogether we’d lose all our parental leverage. At the very least we say “no sleepover until your room is clean”.

    And yes regarding the last slide, yes it is “our call” (as the kids say, “der der!”). There is one kid’s house that I say no to because the situation makes my spidey sense go off. This is hard to explain to my kid but whatever. As Pentamom says, we are the parent.

    Wine and a cotton candy machine? Do you also have NetFlix? If so, count me in for the FRP sleepover.

  63. JJ August 7, 2013 at 1:25 pm #

    @Natalie, I saw that undertone too, the “experimentation”. If that is the concern, come out and say it.

  64. Gary August 7, 2013 at 1:26 pm #

    I do not have NetFlix, I have a huge yard and lots of woods, I can however get the bouncey castle…

    Whoever is circulating the sign-in sheet get it back to me ASAP.

    make sure you get your kids signature on the permission slip too.

  65. Holly August 7, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

    Sleepovers is one area where I don’t align with free-range. My kids walk to school, my 11-year old babysits her siblings, and I think my kids are perfectly fine sitting in the car if I have to go buy gum.

    We have chosen not to do sleepovers for a number of reasons. I am not particularly concerned that something horrible like child predators and abductions will happen, but I’m more concerned about other, smaller issues.

    Families with unlocked liquor cabinets, other parents who don’t monitor their kids’ internet usage, etc. R-rated movies for young children, etc. These things are common among my children’s friends and we’ve chosen simply to avoid them.

    We’ve also chosen not to be hypocritical and say, “I can’t go to your house, but you can come to mine.” Besides, I don’t really want a house full of screaming 8 year olds–we have four children and are bursting at the seams as it is. At the very least, sleepovers lead to cranky kids the next day, and who needs that? One final reason is that my husband often works long hours during the week and sometimes the kids go to bed before he gets home. Weekends end up being family time where we go on hikes, or bike rides or watch movies together. There just isn’t room for sleepovers.

  66. lollipoplover August 7, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

    Gary, I’m in for the epic sleepover. Can we turn the scotch into cotton candy? I also love homemade moonshine served in mason jars and would love to watch Animal House on NetFlix and Bachelor Party with Tom Hanks.

  67. Natalie August 7, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

    To each his own. Do what you have to do Holly, you know what’s best for your family.

  68. Natalie August 7, 2013 at 1:40 pm #

    Animal House?

    I’m laughing just thinking about it. Haven’t seen Bachelor Party yet.

  69. Gary August 7, 2013 at 1:40 pm #

    scotch into cotton candy? I feel woozy…

    maybe, but only if we use that blended trash like Dewars or Johnnie Walker.

    I also ask that everyone contribute $10 each so I can give it to the neighbors and send them to Dairy Queen or something cause it’s gonna get loud up in here…

  70. lollipoplover August 7, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

    We have a Bouncy Castle that hasn’t been used in years because someone peed in it. The kids call it the “Pee Castle” but after moonshine, wine, and boozy cotton candy I bet we won’t smell it at all. Plus after birthing 3 kids, jumping and drinking, I might just pee in it…

  71. Gary August 7, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

    can we make this like a whole weekend thing?

  72. Natalie August 7, 2013 at 1:52 pm #

    We have a projector. We can project the movie onto a screen outside, while all sitting/bouncing/falling over? in the Pee Castle.

    We do shots (eat cotton candy) every time John Belushi appears drunk in the movie.

  73. Gary August 7, 2013 at 1:54 pm #

    We can drape a big ass sheet from the trees and have a zipline from the deck to the yeard, not for ease of use but because it would be hella fun to zipline from the deck to the yard.

  74. Emily August 7, 2013 at 1:57 pm #

    @Gary–YES to your free-range sleepover. If you really did this, I’d bring my homemade, six-ingredient brownies. I don’t have kids, though, so could I sign my own permission form?

  75. SKL August 7, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

    As far as “inappropriate media,” I try to be proactive by choosing movies for my kids that push the “heavy” side. Generally old classics, so no overt sex and gross violence, but heavy nonetheless. I subject my kids to this stuff and we talk about it. So I am not worried about what they may see one time over someone else’s house. I do prefer for them to not watch teen- or adult-oriented stuff habitually, but then, are there really people whose kids have sleepovers every weekend?

    They have a special needs friend who is an adult. They visit with her and watch what she watches, and listen to the music she likes. Some of it is not what I would choose, but I have enough influence over the remainder of their lives to counteract the negatives – or so I hope.

  76. Natalie August 7, 2013 at 2:00 pm #

    @emily
    Nope! You’ll need to find someone under 18 to sign for you. Approach the neighbor’s kid. Hopefully they won’t think you’re a Predator!

  77. lollipoplover August 7, 2013 at 2:01 pm #

    Natalie-

    For you:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BplarHcB0Es

  78. Gary August 7, 2013 at 2:01 pm #

    @Emily…

    as far as you “signing your own permission form.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmzsWxPLIOo

  79. Gary August 7, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

    oh!!!! and bring your favorite mix tapes!!!!

    TAPES not those newfangled CD’s, we going retro up in here.

  80. Gary August 7, 2013 at 2:06 pm #

    “Hopefully they won’t think you’re a Predator!”

    omg we should totally have a Predator themed weekend sleep over…

    we can capture a helicopter mom and let her loose behind my house and we can hunt her.

    or we can use my helicopter mother in law…

  81. Natalie August 7, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

    Lol. My colleague is wondering what’s so funny about preparing samples for gas chromatography.

  82. Gabe Tetrault August 7, 2013 at 2:08 pm #

    I thought I was reading an article on The Onion (online satirical magazine) … but it wasn’t satire!!!

  83. JJ August 7, 2013 at 2:13 pm #

    And when the dean says “Mr. Blutarski. Zero point zero grade point average” we chug something.

  84. Havva August 7, 2013 at 2:16 pm #

    Okay, zip line does it. I’m in.

    I could dig up some mason jars if that hasn’t been covered. I know of what may be the most epically bad movie ever made. My friend who owns it likes to spread the pain and would probably let me borrow it for that purpose.

  85. JJ August 7, 2013 at 2:18 pm #

    Havva, Kentucky Fried Movie?

  86. Natalie August 7, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

    Wow.
    You mean, people actually watched that?

    We could also do a Monty Python marathon.

  87. Natalie August 7, 2013 at 2:23 pm #

    Papilio! Hineata!
    How are you doing over there?

    (We need something for the international folks)

    Ah! Mr. Bean!

  88. Gary August 7, 2013 at 2:31 pm #

    omg we could build large wooden badgers!!!!

  89. Emily August 7, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

    >>can we make this like a whole weekend thing?<<

    Weekend, schmeekend!!! How does "Camp Gary" sound to everyone? Well, especially Gary, but really everyone?

  90. Really Bad Mum August 7, 2013 at 2:48 pm #

    Next time I promise I will listen to the warnings, and not read crazy articles by people living in laa-laa land…

  91. Gary August 7, 2013 at 2:50 pm #

    “How does “Camp Gary” sound to everyone?…”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USvMWm-ZqvQ

  92. Really Bad Mum August 7, 2013 at 2:50 pm #

    Btw can we send husbands/boyfriends along to “camp Gary” ?

  93. Karen August 7, 2013 at 2:52 pm #

    Party at Gary’s! I’ll bring the seesaw! And a metal slide!

  94. Gary August 7, 2013 at 2:53 pm #

    “Btw can we send husbands/boyfriends along to “camp Gary” ?”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t155VPXwmNs

  95. Gary August 7, 2013 at 2:54 pm #

    @karen, make sure it’s the kind with twists and bends in it that we can climb up the wrong way.

    Also, since it is metal it can only be used between noon and 2pm on the hottest day of the year…

  96. Emily August 7, 2013 at 2:58 pm #

    >>“How does “Camp Gary” sound to everyone?…” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USvMWm-ZqvQ <<

    I take it that that means yes?

  97. Really Bad Mum August 7, 2013 at 2:58 pm #

    Oh wait why don’t ya put a paddle pool at the bottom so they have the added “drowning hazard” for extra fun… ( aka parental entertainment )

  98. Gina August 7, 2013 at 2:59 pm #

    I’m ultra-supportive of the Free Range movement and have defended this site and Lenore to MANY people. I understand the benefits of a Free Range childhood – both for me and for my children – and recommend it to just about anybody who will listen.

    But.

    I am anti-sleepover. I am thirty, so my sleepover days were in the late eighties and all through the nineties. At sleepovers, I received my first exposure to cigarettes, pot, cocaine, alcohol, and pornography. These “first” encounters all took place long before high school started. I know MANY girls who were molested or raped by our friends’ fathers, older brothers, or friends of the family who “coincidentally” stopped by the night that twenty pre-teen girls were in the house.

    We more often than not sneaked out of the house we were “sleeping” at and vandalized property, or made our way to more “mature” parties and sneaked back in just before sunrise. Parents attributed the sneaking-around-noises to the typical “there are too many kids in my house and they won’t settle down” behavior.

    I remember playing strip-poker (or strip-something-or-other) in a house with five girls and one very drunk father. THANK GOD nobody was hurt – he was passed out before things got out of control, but think how easily that could have gone awry?

    I don’t mind late-overs, and I don’t mind letting my kids be out of my sight for long periods of time. But I just can’t think of a reason to justify sleepovers.

  99. Havva August 7, 2013 at 3:01 pm #

    @JJ,
    Not that. Almost no one has ever heard of it. Anyhow I try to make sure no one looks it up until after seeing it. It’s not as much fun if you know what you are in for. And the faces you make won’t be as funny.

  100. Really Bad Mum August 7, 2013 at 3:13 pm #

    @Gina, that’s ur choice for ur kids, from ur post it seems u grew up in a paedophile ring, but not everyone is like that… It’s the exception not the norm

  101. Warren August 7, 2013 at 3:13 pm #

    @Holly

    Locked liqour cabinet? Really…….

    You may claim to be free range, and may be when it comes to yourself, but you definitely have major trust issues.

    You lock up your booze? Really? Do you lock the refridgerator when there is beer in it? LOL, if I locked up my booze I would have to get keys cut for the kids. They have been “bartending” at the house since they were 6 or 7. Really, you lock up your booze?

    You want a great sleepover movie…..The Rocky Horror Picture Show. My kids have been watching that since they were 10.

  102. Gary August 7, 2013 at 3:13 pm #

    “I take it that that means yes?”

    ayup

  103. Papilio August 7, 2013 at 3:17 pm #

    Eh – given the time difference I think I’ll pass.
    But of course I’m looking forward to the looong reports on everything that’s happened and the picture of the prize-giving ceremony :-)
    Gary seems to enjoy the prospect of being the only rooster with a bunch of (intoxicated) Free-Range chicks, and I wonder if the respective husbands now worry about some of the same things as the article on the blogpost mentioned… 😀

  104. Liz August 7, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

    You know what I loved? Allow your child to stay out late in lieu of spending the entire night away. That way, she can socialize with friends in a context that doesn’t make you worry. Sure. I’ll worry less when my pre-teen is out late rather than supervised at a friend’s house…

  105. Really Bad Mum August 7, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

    Also a reason to justify sleep overs… 1- so when they move out they will be comfortable sleeping somewhere other then mummy and daddy’s…2- if there is an emergency and they have to sleep over somewhere they don’t freak out…..3- they learn that not everyone is the same and just because people do things differently doesn’t make it wrong…4- parents can have some alone time at home…5- because if they are they only ones not allowed to do it you are setting them up to be left out and bullied,

  106. Gary August 7, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

    “Gary seems to enjoy the prospect of being the only rooster with a bunch of (intoxicated) Free-Range chicks, and I wonder if the respective husbands now worry about some of the same things as the article on the blogpost mentioned…”

    Now if I can only figure out what to do with the wife, in-laws and my two kids…

    You free to babysit that nite?

  107. LisaS August 7, 2013 at 3:26 pm #

    an observation: when I was growing up, it seemed that the kids with the most overprotective parents were the ones who behaved the wildest, and who completely lost their minds freshman year of college. I’m assuming things haven’t changed much.

  108. Havva August 7, 2013 at 3:34 pm #

    @Gina,

    Um… wow. I attended tons of sleep overs and nothing even remotely like that ever happened at any of them or to any of my friends. Granted my parents had a few rules to minimize the crazy. The number one rule being that my parents had to know and be comfortable with the host parents before I could have a sleep over. Number 2, if things started happening that I wasn’t comfortable with, or that I thought my parents would disapprove of. I should call home. Number 3, no co-ed sleep overs, no staying at co-ed sleepovers. Friend’s parents had similar rules so basically we quit doing sleepovers when we were teens. It was a ‘little kid’ thing, or at least we told ourselves that.

    Memorable things that happened at sleepovers: We discovered how to (over) clean a carpet after a soda spill onto white carpet. Watched MTV. Spent an hour trying to get the video paused on the most incriminating moment of Skywalker brush passing princess lea’s breast. We talked about recognizing and avoiding on line creeps, because one friend had her computer hacked after she rejected a dude. And non of us expected our parents to understand online chat sites or have useful advice on this. Bounced down the stairs in sleeping bags. And of course spent the next day with a headache or asleep because we got little sleep at the “sleep over.”

  109. Warren August 7, 2013 at 3:35 pm #

    @Gina

    For one, just because you had horrible times at sleepovers, does not mean your kids will.

    Secondly your accounts seem just as much urban legend as memory. Either that or you lived in a neighborhood that housed all of the city’s perverts and molestors.

  110. Michelle G August 7, 2013 at 3:39 pm #

    You have got to be kidding me???? That guy must have been a blast in school – I’m guessing he was the tattle-tale. Isn’t kids going a little bit crazy (eating junk food, playing video games, watching movies all night) what sleepovers are all about? Most kids have more than enough structure in there young lives. Give me a break…

  111. pentamom August 7, 2013 at 3:47 pm #

    These are the same people writing to advice columnists wondering why their in-laws get upset with them when they don’t let the kids stay over, because the grandparents give their kids too much junk food, don’t make them follow the same rules, and don’t discipline them enough.

    Duh. Within reason, that’s what grandparents are FOR. And within reason (not egregiously inappropriate movies and molestation, no, but junk food, getting overtired, and so forth) are what sleepovers are FOR.

  112. SKL August 7, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

    To Gina’s point, I was thinking earlier that this is one area where it’s probably safer to do this when the kids are younger rather than older. Of course, it depends on the kids and parents involved, but I heard a lot of stuff from sleepovers (and teen parties) that my kid sister attended. Myself, I don’t recall ever attending a sleepover as a teen.

  113. Natalie August 7, 2013 at 3:51 pm #

    @skl
    I didn’t have teen sleepovers either per se. It was more of a, crash at so and so’s house after we were done for the night or after the Cinderella drivers license laws kick in.

  114. Stephanie August 7, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

    My oldest has sleepovers sometimes with a friend whose behavior we’ve had to discuss. Said friend is 10 and has been caught smoking by her mother 3 times that I know of. That led to a big discussion with my daughter on that issue, especially on how to manage the friendship from that point forth. They are still friends, and I hope my daughter will use what she learned from dealing with this friend smoking to deal with friends drinking alcohol or doing drugs when she gets older. It’s not the age I wanted that lesson, but that’s when the lesson came.

    I actually prefer that future sleepovers with that friend be at my house. The friend’s mom is decidedly a part of the problem. The friend was “grounded” for smoking at the time of my daughter’s birthday party, so we didn’t even issue an invite there, as I knew things overlapped, but the friend found out and suddenly the mom is saying that she’s grounded except for birthday parties. Told my kids that if they’re ever grounded, it’s especially for fun stuff like parties, not except.

  115. lollipoplover August 7, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

    “At sleepovers, I received my first exposure to cigarettes, pot, cocaine, alcohol, and pornography.”

    Did you grow up on the Vegas Strip?!
    I grew up in the ’80’s too but our version of cool was calling the radio station all night to play more Bon Jovi and playing Bloody Mary in the bathroom while lighting candles. We were seriously badass…

    I second the vote for the college freshman gone wild- usually the ones who were denied sleepovers and other basic rights of passage during their childhood overprotective parents who wanted to control everything.

  116. Donna August 7, 2013 at 4:02 pm #

    “are there really people whose kids have sleepovers every weekend?”

    Yep. Us. Well, maybe not every single weekend, but a large portion of them. There were definitely months in the last year where my daughter spent at least one night of every weekend at a friend’s. And the number of times she went three or more consecutive weekends with no sleepover were less. There’s not much to do in A. Samoa.

    I also remember having sleepovers almost every weekend myself when I was in grades 2-4. My best friend would come to my house or I’d go to hers, and sometimes we’d do both in one weekend. The only weekends that we didn’t sleepover was when I was going to my grandparents’ and having a sleepover with my cousin there.

  117. Natalie August 7, 2013 at 4:03 pm #

    Re: college freshman gone wild…

    Some of the Iranian students I met in grad school were like this.

    There you go. We can compare helicopter parenting to an oppressive religious regime.

  118. Michelle G August 7, 2013 at 4:08 pm #

    Wait, maybe we should stop letting our kids go away to college, they would be much safer living at home and I wouldn’t have to worry so much :-) I am counting the days until my twins leave for school it just about 1 year!! And, they still have sleepovers, have a ton of fun and so far no major trouble. To think, maybe teaching them stuff while they are growing up (instead of locking them in the house wrapped in bubble wrap) might make them independent, responsible adults – go figure!! and Gary, date and time, I don’t have a cotton candy machine but I make a mean margarita!!

  119. Natalie August 7, 2013 at 4:11 pm #

    @lollipoo
    Also-
    Ouija Boards!

  120. Natalie August 7, 2013 at 4:12 pm #

    Sorry, meant to type lollipop. No, I have not had any cotton candy today.

  121. Papilio August 7, 2013 at 4:12 pm #

    @Gary: I’m an ocean away, that wouldn’t work. But in Lenore’s show a luxury hotel several hours away worked pretty well to get parents out of the way, why don’t you try that?

  122. Donna August 7, 2013 at 4:14 pm #

    I had tons of sleepovers all through high school. Once or twice we got our hands on some wine and drank it, once to the point of throwing up. And there was a night we decided to ride around country roads sitting on the windows of the car. That about covers the craziness.

    It seems to really be an issue with choosing your friends poorly, not sleepovers. You can’t choose to hang out with people who do cigarettes, pot, cocaine, alcohol, pornography and sneak around to older parties and then blame the sleepover for these things occurring.

  123. Dave August 7, 2013 at 4:26 pm #

    Back in the day my parents loved to send me to sleep over at my friends house. It was a free night for them to be alone. What normal parent doesn’t want kids free night once and a while?

  124. Natalie August 7, 2013 at 4:30 pm #

    Yeah, I agree with Donna. What your friends are doing has a big impact on what you’re willing to do.

    I didn’t go to a lot of parties where parents were absent (or allowed alcohol consumption) because my friends didn’t/weren’t invited. We did other things. Also, I waitressed Friday and Saturday nights a lot.

  125. Xena_Rulz August 7, 2013 at 5:19 pm #

    We played strip poker and went streaking in the park in the 70s, and we’re all still alive and functional.

  126. Donna August 7, 2013 at 5:19 pm #

    I’m not saying I was a saint as a teen but most of the pot smoking and drinking that I did was at school/team/club sleepaway functions and nights out where I came home. It was rarely at sleepovers/slumber parties at people’s houses since the parents were right there and bound to notice a bedroom full of drunk teenage girls.

    But I was also allowed to do things as a teen. The ones who tended to go craziest were the ones on the shortest leashes. We used to go to a local bar/club for the latenight disco (just the name of the event, no disco music was played) that started at midnight. The club then (and maybe still) allowed anyone in but you had to show ID to drink. We were going to dance and rarely drank. Of our little group of high school frequenters, the ones that seem to have faired the best in college and beyond as far as going crazy were the ones who were there with parental permission. The ones who had to sneak to go had some hair to let down in college.

  127. Kimberly August 7, 2013 at 5:20 pm #

    For number 5 the solution is cutting out all the lessons and letting kids be kids. Honestly staying up all freaking night is fun. You just plan your weekend so that the kids have down time Saturday to rest.

    I have a life threatening allergy – most serious problem I had on a sleep over was the cereal my friend liked reaked of peanuts. Wasn’t on the label (they didn’t have to break down the vegetable oils back then). Mom listened to me – and made me something else.

    The worst thing that happened with a sleep over when we were kids – Sis got a beaut of a shiner. She tripped over my friend and hit her face on a piece of furniture. We took care of her and only woke my parents because we were afraid she might have broken something. Sis has broken both wrist (separately), collarbone, her leg, her foot, and both knees (same time) – so valid concern.

    Sis had a slumber party for her daughter. There were three sets of kids
    Kids of childhood friends Most also went to school 1
    Kids from School 1
    Kids from School 2

    First 2 groups weren’t a problem. The parents from the third group – you could hear the roater blades. They dropped of their kids together. Were shocked that BIL was going to stay in the house with their daughters. The left together announcing that they would return at 10 pm to see if the girls really wanted to stay. Then they left.

    Sis called me Very VERY TICKED OFF. They had left in one car leaving 2 other cars blocking Sis’s drive way. There were several problems with this
    1. BIL couldn’t take my nephew to his grandmother’s house
    2. No one could go pick up the movie the girls had selected from redbox.
    3. Oldest niece couldn’t get to her job.
    4. One of the girls from group #2 has a life threatening allergy. Sis was one of the first parents that Mom really felt comfortable leaving her daughter with – because Sis grew up with me – and the same allergy. One of our rules is you NEVER leave people blocked in because as sure as rain falls that will be the one time something goes wrong and you need to get to the ER (happened 2x to us growing up – once at a family party, once when neighbor blocked our driveway.

    I went over to provide transportation.

    Sis was spitting nails. The parents showed up at 10 and couldn’t dragg their girls away with out looking like total jerks. The girls from group 1 and 2 basically had shamed group 3 into staying. They had a blast. But sis said never again with them.

  128. Joan August 7, 2013 at 5:22 pm #

    “What normal parent doesn’t want kids free night once in a while?” The key word here: “normal”

    Sorry to you anti-sleepover parents but you cannot control what your kid is exposed to every waking hour. I don’t recommend you try. My parents were big-time helicopters, back in the day when free-range was the norm. I smoked pot the first chance I got. Did other stuff too, just because I they would not approve. Kids do that to controlling parents to prove they have some autonomy. Had they not been so freaking controlling I never would’ve touched it. (no it was not at a sleepover)

    Please read Gavin De Becker’s “The Gift of Fear.” Too many parents are so busy worrying about the neighborhood single Dad, they miss the child molester in their own family. When you fear everything, you miss the things that are REALLY scary.

  129. Puzzled August 7, 2013 at 5:30 pm #

    Is the party open to everyone, or just the women? Also, I don’t have kids – but I do have 50 I treat as if they were my own…can I come?

  130. Papilio August 7, 2013 at 5:37 pm #

    @Puzzled: Emily had the same problem, but she could come as long as she found a minor to sign her permission slip. With 50 kids that shouldn’t be a problem for you 😉

  131. marie August 7, 2013 at 5:54 pm #

    I’m a little like Gina and Holly–Free Range, EXCEPT.

    While I don’t think little kids will turn blue and die if they watch an R-rated movie, I also don’t think it is okay (or entertaining) for adults to encourage that. There is a difference between 8-y-o’s sneaking The Hangover dvd and watching it after the parents go to bed and the parents giving them the dvd because “it’s a funny movie.” Many R movies are great. That doesn’t mean kids are ready to absorb what they see in them, whether it is sex or drugs or the violence.

    I believe in preparing kids for the world, but not all at once.

    Sleepovers can be fun because kids get to do things their parents wouldn’t allow; sleepovers can also be the opportunity for kids to experience something before they are ready. Little kids who see a very sexy or a very violent movie WILL process that new info in their head, even if they are processing it off-kilter.

    My kids are teens and I am still careful about whether they get to watch R-movies. I know they will watch them anyway at sleepovers or after I go to bed, but they will ALSO get the message from me that some movies have content that they need to be careful with. They tell me about the movies they watched, so there’s my chance to discuss stuff with them.

    Gina, I was invited to a sleepover like the ones you describe and my mom wouldn’t let me go. Even then, in the midst of my “you don’t understand” tantrum, I knew she was right. :-)

    In general, I approve of sleepovers. My kids have done more than I can count. As for those who pooh-pooh the idea that “older teens” can cause trouble, I’ll just say….some older teens can cause trouble. They are old enough to try risky things themselves and young enough not to understand that younger kids are probably not ready for it.

    Not YOUR older teens, I’m sure. :-)

  132. Emily August 7, 2013 at 6:46 pm #

    >>You know what I loved? Allow your child to stay out late in lieu of spending the entire night away. That way, she can socialize with friends in a context that doesn’t make you worry. Sure. I’ll worry less when my pre-teen is out late rather than supervised at a friend’s house…<<

    @Liz–"Out" and "late" are both subjective terms. I think that, when the author said "allow your child to stay out late in lieu of spending the entire night away," she probably meant, "Allow your child to stay at a friend's house until 9 or 10 p.m., at which point you pick your child up from the sleepover, thereby subjecting him or her to total humiliation, and rumours about homesickness, bedwetting, and general babyishness at school on Monday."

  133. Holly August 7, 2013 at 6:50 pm #

    @Warren, we do not drink and therefore do not keep liquor in the house. I do not expect other adults not to have alcohol, but I do wish to keep my children away from it.

    I don’t believe that means I have trust issues.

  134. JJ August 7, 2013 at 6:52 pm #

    Re: late-overs v sleep-overs. My older kid does lots of both, the former when he or friend has somewhere to be early in the morning. The drawback of the late-over for the parent? I hate to admit it but I look forward to my 2-3 glasses of wine on a Friday night. With late night pickup, one of us is S-O-L.

  135. Heather August 7, 2013 at 7:34 pm #

    I read this post this morning too about how horrible sleepovers are. Is there something in the water?
    http://www.lorialexander.blogspot.com/2013/08/molested-at-sleep-overs.html

  136. Gary August 7, 2013 at 7:48 pm #

    “I read this post this morning too about how horrible sleepovers are. Is there something in the water?
    http://www.lorialexander.blogspot.com/2013/08/molested-at-sleep-overs.html

    I got as far as this…

    “I have been married for 32 years with four grown children who are all walking in Truth…”

    This is as far as I got yet told me everything I wanted to know…

  137. JJ August 7, 2013 at 7:50 pm #

    Oh, Heather. That is one scary blog. “Now that I am older I understand why I wasn’t allowed to sleep over at my one non-Christian friend’s house”. Oh boy.

  138. JJ August 7, 2013 at 7:54 pm #

    Gary, don’t invite anyone from that blog to our metal slide high calorie non organic whiskey flavored cotton candy used car seat free range parent sleepover!!

  139. Gary August 7, 2013 at 7:56 pm #

    How about this doozy…

    “I love Jesus, training women to love their husbands…”

    training.women

    this coming from what I can only imagine is a frigid, uptight, holier than thou, scared that The Satan is errywhere fundamentalist thumper.

    And where are these training camps? Are they like in the Libyan desert like Al-Qaeda camps or more like pitchers and catchers first spring training camps?

    Can we take pictures? Get autographs?

  140. Gary August 7, 2013 at 7:58 pm #

    “Gary, don’t invite anyone from that blog to our metal slide high calorie non organic whiskey flavored cotton candy used car seat free range parent sleepover!!”

    you forgot porn laced, foul language spewing, meth cooking fest.

  141. marie August 7, 2013 at 8:07 pm #

    Wow, the comments at loriealexander tell some hair-raising stories about molestations. Never any details about what actually happened; it seems it is enough to use that one word, “molested”, to cover everything.

    I remember being “molested” a few times when I was young and never thought much of it. Because I was an idiot? No, because I knew the difference between molestation that could be truly harmful and that which is just stupid stuff that happens. An older man copping a feel? Oh, come on. That just is not traumatic, and even if it WERE traumatic, I have every confidence that I could have come through it without lasting damage. Today? That guy could do prison time.

    People use shortcuts when talking about this subject by using common terms–“molested” and “sex offender” are the two that come to mind–to cover such a broad range of behaviors that the terms are meaningless. Those words draw horrified gasps from the audience…but what really happened?

    Another thing I noticed in those comments about all the people who were molested at sleepovers is that most of them were NOT about how people were crippled psychologically by being molested.

    Before anyone thinks I approve of molesting kids, I most certainly do not. Just as I do not approve of letting kids ride in the back of a pickup or of letting kids eat cheetohs and ice cream for breakfast. Bad ideas, all…and yet people have bad experiences and survived them and gone on to be happy, productive members of society.

    There is so much eagerness to believe the worst anymore. People have too much time on their hands and not enough REAL worries to occupy them.

  142. pentamom August 7, 2013 at 8:51 pm #

    “Allow your child to stay at a friend’s house until 9 or 10 p.m., at which point you pick your child up from the sleepover, thereby subjecting him or her to total humiliation, and rumours about homesickness, bedwetting, and general babyishness at school on Monday.”

    Eh, maybe in fourth grade, but my teenage daughters have had friends come for parties and not stay for the sleepover part, and nobody thought anything of it — they just accepted that for whatever reason, staying the night was not going to work for some of them.

    I realize in the context of this paranoid article substituting “late overs” for “sleep overs” is all about thinking Sleepovers Iz Scary, I just think it’s not necessarily going to be the case that kids who come but don’t stay are going to be pariahs for it, depending on the age and maturity of the kids, and/or local customs about how sacred sleepovers are.

  143. Karen August 7, 2013 at 8:52 pm #

    OK, I think we can play a version of The Hunger Games where we release helicopter parents on the Gary Compound and hunt them down with wire hangers after our viewing of Mommie Dearest and Jell-O shots. Who’s in?

  144. pentamom August 7, 2013 at 8:59 pm #

    “As for those who pooh-pooh the idea that “older teens” can cause trouble, I’ll just say….some older teens can cause trouble. They are old enough to try risky things themselves and young enough not to understand that younger kids are probably not ready for it.”

    Sure, the potential is definitely there, and personally I wouldn’t “pooh pooh” it.

    What I would pooh pooh, though, is the attitude that the *mere* presence of an older sibling in the house is a giant red flashing danger signal. If you know the families involved, and you have a sense of whether they’re responsible enough to keep the older kids from doing things that the younger kids’ parents wouldn’t approve of, then “Evil Horrible Older Kid In Home” is not a reason to have a negative reaction or say something ridiculous like, “Well, you can go to Joey’s house for a sleepover, but you can’t go to Jimmy’s, because he has An Older Brother (ominous chord.)” Even if you don’t say it to your kid, if that’s your thought process, that’s not good.

    SO MUCH of this is about treating things like age, or inanimate objects, or stuff like that, as inexorable forces that will come and grab your children, infiltrate their brains, and ruin their lives. How about just using a little JUDGMENT about which people are trustworthy, which you’re not sure of, and which you think aren’t suitable to supervise your kids, and use DISCRETION?

    It’s the zero-tolerance mentality all over again. We don’t want to have to think about the specifics of the situation because we either don’t trust our own judgment, or have some kind of cowardice related to how other people will react to the judgments we make — so we just make up arbitrary rules because it’s the “safe, easy” way to do it.

  145. Gary August 7, 2013 at 8:59 pm #

    We have to be VERY careful to get them all Karen, they after all are raised in very safe and secure environments and if we do not “get them all” (lmao, HIGHLY unlikely) and some do “make it past the quarantine” the chances of them surviving are slim…

    And that there is just cruel.

  146. Donna August 7, 2013 at 9:06 pm #

    “I do not expect other adults not to have alcohol, but I do wish to keep my children away from it.

    I don’t believe that means I have trust issues.”

    No, the fact that you see a locked liquor cabinet as the ONLY way that your children will stay away from alcohol means that you have trust issues.

    I have a bottle of wine sitting on the counter. I trust that my daughter will not touch the bottle of wine. Apparently, I am correct in my trust since it has been open and on the same counter for a week with nary a swig taken.

    I now realize how wrong that is and am going to immediately go have a swig or maybe a glass or maybe the rest of the bottle.

  147. Erica August 7, 2013 at 9:13 pm #

    I think the link has been taken down. So I missed the opportunity to make fun of it, boo hoo!

  148. Gary August 7, 2013 at 9:19 pm #

    nope, still there Erica.

  149. Tsu Dho Nimh August 7, 2013 at 9:25 pm #

    I clicked the link and it’s not there.

    Did we ridicule it out of existence?

  150. JJ August 7, 2013 at 9:28 pm #

    Link still there. I found this gem of a comment:

    We also had a two year rule, they could play with kids their own age or two years older or two years younger . (Except for one friend who was three years when he had a birthday). No friendships with older teen boys when they were young and no boy babysitters were allowed

  151. Donna August 7, 2013 at 9:29 pm #

    Is the training of women to love their husbands and children big business because I always just kinda thought it was the natural order of life for most?

    And I have never worked on a case where a child was molested at another child’s sleepover. Sleepovers with family, yes; but not a sleepover at a friend’s. I’m not saying that it doesn’t happen but if it were so damned common that the quoted DAs and police officers were really dealing with it “all the time,” you’d have thought it would have come up at least once at my various public defender offices in the last 8 years.

  152. marie August 7, 2013 at 9:42 pm #

    pentamom, of course you are correct. If you read my comment at 8:07, you know that I dislike broad brushes.

  153. Warren August 7, 2013 at 9:43 pm #

    Holly,
    You do have trust issues, with other adults. You don’t trust other parents to watch your kid overnight, pure and simple.
    I just picked on the booze thing because I found it hilarious.

    I have never expected anyone to keep alcohol away from my kids. I trusted my kids to not drink. Making it taboo and hidden is no way to deal with it. Those kids end up with problems with drinking later in life. Never seen it, been exposed to it and when they are of age they have no idea of how to handle it.

    Donna,
    Red or white? And is it still conidered wine tasting after the third bottle?

  154. Tsu Dho Nimh August 7, 2013 at 9:43 pm #

    @Gina … my younger sister was having a sleepover for her high-school girls group.

    Without asking, because they suddenly got a weekend pass, my brother and a bunch of his fellow Marine recruits drove like mad from wherever they were to my parents house, lured by the promise of a swimming pool and all the home-cooked waffles they could eat.

    Marines arrived about 1AM, when the slumber/swimming party was in full swing. My brother knew where the front door key was. Much shrieking ensued, as did diving into the pool to preserve modesty.

    Marines retreated, double-time, to the front yard where they made do with a tarp and some grass to sleep on.

    He still blushes if we bring it up.

  155. Ray D. August 7, 2013 at 9:45 pm #

    Dang, the link doesn’t work. I missed it.

  156. Warren August 7, 2013 at 9:55 pm #

    my eyes are burning from trying to read Heather’s link. Got as far as the word evil, and her bragging about loving Jesus. Tells me all I need to know.

    Am not against any religion. Just do not have much time for those who have to put their religion out there all the time.

  157. marie August 7, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    Blogs don’t usually work very well as conversion tools, no matter what the topic. On the other hand, they work really well as gathering places for like-minded people and Lorie Alexander seems to have an audience. Just because it isn’t my cup of tea doesn’t mean she’s an awful person or a bad Christian. She’s probably like the rest of Christians (and Muslims and Jews and Buddhists and atheists…): imperfect.

  158. Lori August 7, 2013 at 10:28 pm #

    wow, I really wish I had time to see this earlier! I totally want in on Camp Gary, and I will happily bring some single malt scotch, if the kids haven’t found it on the top shelf of my pantry (unlocked).

    I was a kid who stayed over at a friend’s house most of jr high, where we smoked her parents’ cigarettes, drank their liquor, and snuck out to meet up with boys. Also, her older brother tried to molest me countless times. (I learned to always check the linen closet before I used the restroom at their house, and never slept alone.)

    Did it make me want to stop my kids sleeping over? No way – they’ve been spending the night with friends since they were 5 or so. It’s called having an age-appropriate conversation with your kids about what to do/not do.

    Also, R-rated movies? Our oldest wanted to watch Walk the Line when she was very little (she loved music & got really excited about the outfits Reese Witherspoon was wearing as June Carter Cash). We finally allowed her to watch it, having an age-appropriate talk about drug use, which boiled down to not taking medicine when you’re not sick. And guess what? Years later, she remembers this and as recently as a year ago (at age 11) told her sister not to take headache medicine if she didn’t really have a headache – “you know what happened with Johnny Cash…”

  159. Uly August 7, 2013 at 10:44 pm #

    Lorialexander!

    You couldn’t ridicule her out of existence if you tried. People snark her all the time.

  160. Uly August 7, 2013 at 10:47 pm #

    Marie, she’s a pretty awful person. She’s big on the Pearls, and even if you’re more or less pro-spanking they’re… really extreme.

  161. Michele in Playa August 7, 2013 at 11:32 pm #

    When my son was 7 he started flying ( as an unaccompanied minor) to Mexico City to stay for a week or two at a time with his best friend Gabriel and his family. So clearly, he is doomed. *sigh*

  162. marie August 8, 2013 at 12:10 am #

    Maybe she’s awful, but wouldn’t she be awful even if she weren’t Christian? I get my back up when people blame someone’s awfulness on the fact that they are open about being Christian. (I don’t think you brought up the Christian thing, Uly…that was someone else.)

    I don’t know what the Pearls are. Do I want to know?

    Years ago, a friend shared a book with me about “training up a child” and it talked about using a switch on babies. I found it horrifying and told her that, which didn’t deter her. In 20 years or so, I’ll compare her kids and mine to see who turned out better.

  163. Emily August 8, 2013 at 12:41 am #

    >>Allow your child to stay at a friend’s house until 9 or 10 p.m., at which point you pick your child up from the sleepover, thereby subjecting him or her to total humiliation, and rumours about homesickness, bedwetting, and general babyishness at school on Monday.” Eh, maybe in fourth grade, but my teenage daughters have had friends come for parties and not stay for the sleepover part, and nobody thought anything of it — they just accepted that for whatever reason, staying the night was not going to work for some of them. I realize in the context of this paranoid article substituting “late overs” for “sleep overs” is all about thinking Sleepovers Iz Scary, I just think it’s not necessarily going to be the case that kids who come but don’t stay are going to be pariahs for it, depending on the age and maturity of the kids, and/or local customs about how sacred sleepovers are. – <<

    Yes, but Pentamom, grade four (or sometime thereabouts) is when these things matter the most. By high school, I found that more of my peers liked me for me, and they were willing to look past the fact that I was overweight and unathletic, and on a shorter leash than most of them, because my parents were overprotective as well (although that leash got longer when I became involved in multiple extra-curricular activities). However, in elementary school, from about grade three or four through grade eight, all of the superficial things, that don't matter to older kids and adults, could indeed make you a pariah if you get it wrong. Appearance, clothing, toys/electronics, amount of freedom, etc.

    Now, the typical "adult" response is to say that kids who judge based on those things aren't really friends, and stand up to them, and eventually they'll grow up, and all kinds of well-meaning pearls of wisdom straight from an after-school special. Well, the truth is, elementary school lasts much longer than high school or university, and when that's your only realm of experience, it feels like an eternity, and it feels like things will never get better. Finding "real friends" is difficult, when everyone is at about the same maturity level, and when befriending the "pariah" will get you tarred with the same brush. So, at the risk of sounding unpopular, I think it's doing kids a real disservice to send them to school, and not allow them to be a part of its culture. This could mean forcing them to dress in a way that makes them stand out negatively (money can be a factor, but it's possible to get "current" kids' clothes at pretty much any price point, even cheaply at Wal-Mart), or, more importantly, by micromanaging their social lives to the point that they can't effectively socialize. I know that "safety' is a big thing for a lot of people, but I don't think it's really "safe" to throw kids into the shark tank that is public school, completely unarmed.

    So, every kid should have at least one or two "trendy" outfits (even if the parents hate them), have a chance to become "good" at something relevant to "kid culture," whether it's football, manhunt, cartwheels, tree climbing, video games, or making bracelets out of embroidery floss or Starburst wrappers, and be allowed a measure of freedom that's at least somewhat on par with his or her peers. That might mean that parents need to do some introspection, and think, barring a legitimate special need or behaviour issue, if their child is the only kid in the grade who isn't allowed to play at the park without an adult, or attend sleepovers outside the home, then maybe the rules need to change, and the reins need to be loosened.

  164. Emily August 8, 2013 at 12:57 am #

    P.S., There are some limits to the “arm your child for the shark tank of public school” mentality. First off, I’d never advocate deliberate cruelty, cattiness, clique behaviour, or solving problems with violence, and I never said anything about allowing your child to become a complete and total fashion victim, or to run wild and do drugs. However, if you know that bright-coloured skinny jeans are in this year, and you don’t have any moral objections to skinny jeans, grab a few inexpensive pairs at Old Navy or Wal-Mart. Likewise, if you know that, say, grade four, is the “parental back-off” year, in which parents customarily step back, and let kids walk to school (or wait for the school bus) alone, and begin to manage their own social lives, then it’s time to consider becoming a part of that tradition, at least to some extent.

  165. oncefallendotcom August 8, 2013 at 1:09 am #

    That is the ugliest pizza I have ever seen. The one on the right looks like a flattened raccoon.

  166. oncefallendotcom August 8, 2013 at 1:11 am #

    As an aside, when I was a kid, I wanted to try stepdad’s chewing tobacco. He figured the best way to shut me up is to give me some. To this day, I never use tobacco.

  167. Linda Wightman August 8, 2013 at 2:55 am #

    Well. You come a day late to the party, and already the link no longer works and there are more comments than time to read them. But that won’t deter me from making a general comment:

    Doesn’t it all come down to trust? And common sense?

    I never liked sleepovers much when our children were young, because they really are unhealthy in many ways: lack of sleep, junk food, television/movies. Worst, as far as I was concerned, were the church youth group-sponsored ones, in which I could pretty much guarantee the kids would be watching stuff I didn’t want them to see and getting little or no sleep (often the kids were deliberately kept up all night) which pretty much guaranteed they’d be sick the next week. But church or private, they didn’t do them every week! Sleepovers were for birthday parties or other special occasions, and on that basis a sugar overdose and a sleep underdose can be borne for the sake of the benefits. Life is ALWAYS a risk-benefit analysis.

    When our kids friends slept over at our house, though, they played and talked instead of watching TV, and we insisted on a decent (though much extended) bedtime. Guess what? The kids came anyway. Don’t they come for each other, not for an excuse for indulgence?

    When our kids were young, we freely let them sleep over with friends, because we knew the parents. And when they got old enough that we didn’t know the parents of all their friends, they themselves knew well enough to be aware of dangerous situations and that if they felt uncomfortable and couldn’t get home themselves we would always come get them. (As an example, I couldn’t know whether or not there might be guns in the home, but from an early age they knew they were not to stay if someone brought one out.)

    Either you trust your kids’ friends’ parents, or you trust your kids, preferably both. Intelligently assessing a situation before sending your child into it is not helicoptering, it’s responsible parenting. But preventing your child from being exposed to situations where he has to use his own judgement — whether sleepovers or crossing the street or any other situation he’ll eventually have to handle on his own — is both irresponsible and ultimately dangerous.

  168. Really Bad Mum August 8, 2013 at 5:04 am #

    @Linda Wightman, well said… Totally agree but I believe it is more about some people thinking they are superior to everyone else and believe that others should do as they say and believe what they believe, it’s the same as pro choice – I may not agree with what u do/believe but I agree that it is your choice not mine.. If people don’t want their kids sleeping over that’s their choice for their kids, but don’t take away my choices for my kids.

  169. hineata August 8, 2013 at 6:08 am #

    Oh, I miss all the fun, LOL! Gary, I so want to come to ‘Camp Gary’. but will have to settle for hearing all about it….

    But…..

    Am off to the tropics for three weeks in about three weeks time, so will have to have my fun there! Leaving the three kids (nearly seventeen, fourteen and twelve) at home together for two of those weeks – my mother will have her own sleep-over for the first week or so, to cover Midge’s hospital day etc. So a bit like an extended sleepover, really, as I know they’ll eat heaps of junk food and no doubt frequent the fish and chip shop, in spite of being perfectly capable of cooking, LOL!

    Only incident we have had so far with sleepovers is when I was mad enough to allow my son’s best mates (two brothers) to stay over on the same night as my youngest was having her tenth birthday party. While I was out of the room – stupid, irresponsible me :-) – Bro no. 1 decided the Family Guy song ‘A Bag of Weed’ was appropriate listening material for ten year olds, and Hubby spent the following week at the girls’ school camp trying to stop them singing it around their teachers :-)

    Terribly catchy tune….

  170. pentamom August 8, 2013 at 7:50 am #

    Emily, I only meant that the issues aren’t the same at every age.

  171. Gary August 8, 2013 at 9:33 am #

    “wow, I really wish I had time to see this earlier! I totally want in on Camp Gary, and I will happily bring some single malt scotch,”

    you are SOOOOOO in…

    “Oh, I miss all the fun, LOL! Gary, I so want to come to ‘Camp Gary’. but will have to settle for hearing all about it….”

    you want it in print, picture or video form…

    “Maybe she’s awful, but wouldn’t she be awful even if she weren’t Christian? I get my back up when people blame someone’s awfulness on the fact that they are open about being Christian. (I don’t think you brought up the Christian thing, Uly…that was someone else.)”

    That would be me…

    yes, she probably would be/have been awful, but when you wrap it up in religion it is even more craptastic, especially when that religion is the ever so lovely wayyyyyy out there fundamentalist christianity.

    And there is a difference about being open with your faith and sitting on someones chest trying to jam it down their throat like a plumber trying to unclog a toilet.

    Gary, CEO of Camp Gary, Fort Kick-Ass.

  172. BMS August 8, 2013 at 9:39 am #

    There is a family in my town whose oldest daughter is going off to college next year. She has never gone to sleep away camp, has never gone to a friend’s house for a sleepover. She has stayed at her grandparents’ house a few times, but otherwise has never been apart from her family. How is someone like that even remotely prepared to live in a dorm with a roommate?

    I do not want that for my kids. I’ll take the risk that they might see something I don’t 100% approve of. And actually, my kids are much more likely to warp their friends than the other way around. My kids know how to use dremel tools and power drills…

  173. Christina August 8, 2013 at 11:14 am #

    WTF? My kids started doing sleepovers and the grands at around 4 months thanks to an emergency trip out of town. At 4 years, they started doing sleepovers with their besties. Having been a camp counselor for the 6-7 years old house, I do think sleepaway camp will wait until the summer the Horde turns eight, but no way am I going to deprive my kids (or myself, frankly) of the glorious freedom of NOT being tucked into their own beds every night.

  174. Christina August 8, 2013 at 11:15 am #

    Oops – “at” the grands.

  175. Christina August 8, 2013 at 11:22 am #

    I totally want to go to Camp Gary!

  176. Gary August 8, 2013 at 12:44 pm #

    “I totally want to go to Camp Gary!”

    It is THE place to be…

    I want it to be so epic that it makes the lorialexander blog.

    “Satanist Free Range Moms and The Camp Gary That Leads Them on the Path of Wickedness.”

  177. Emily August 8, 2013 at 1:57 pm #

    Oh, Hineata, that’s a shame that you can’t come to Camp Gary. Hey, Gary, how would you feel about making Camp Gary less of a camp, and more of a permanent state of being?

  178. Christina August 8, 2013 at 2:23 pm #

    I don’t have any single-malt scotch, but I am happy to contribute Redemption high-rye bourbon.

  179. Uly August 8, 2013 at 2:33 pm #

    Train up a child IS the Pearls. I think you can read it online, but no, you wouldn’t want to.

    And yes, although she’d probably be an awful person no matter what, her particular brand of awfulness is very much influenced by her religion. Christians aren’t the only ones like that, but they have greater capacity to annoy, probably because there are so many of them.

  180. Natalie August 8, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

    Because it’s tied to politics. There’s the same dynamic with Turkey and Israel.

  181. EricS August 8, 2013 at 5:39 pm #

    LOL! Just got to this post from Lenore. And oddly enough, when I clicked on the link to the article. The page tells me it no longer exists. Guess who ever put it up, got an earful from people who use common sense.

  182. EricS August 8, 2013 at 5:44 pm #

    Just from the posts here, it sounds like the author of the article was basing his/her views on how inconvenient it would be for the parents to allow their children to have, or go to sleepovers. Again, most issues with parenting these days, is because the parents are more concerned about THEY are going to feel, how other people will see them. Rather than what is truly best for their child’s development.

    Parents can argue they know better than their children. But saying those things, using no common sense, clearly shows some parents don’t know any better. In fact, their kids have a better frame of mind than the parents. Kids learn and no more than parents give them credit for. They are not the weak, and vulnerable people parents see them as. If you treat them weak, or treat them like they don’t know anything, then that is how they will grow up. After all, that is what parents teach them.

  183. Puzzled August 8, 2013 at 5:59 pm #

    I think the pizzas look fine – especially if they were actually made by kids.

  184. Gary August 8, 2013 at 6:23 pm #

    @Emily & Christina…

    yes and yes.

    :-)

    The minute hipsters try to glom onto it though…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffUEnqy0_Cs

  185. Puzzled August 9, 2013 at 2:24 pm #

    Exactly Eric. From the teacher perspective – history teachers will spend 20 minutes lecturing their classes about MLK and civil disobedience – then turn around and enforce some dumb rule, knowing how absurd it is and how hurtful to kids it is, because they don’t want trouble with the school.

  186. lsl August 10, 2013 at 6:57 pm #

    fr lollipoplover:

    ““At sleepovers, I received my first exposure to cigarettes, pot, cocaine, alcohol, and pornography.”

    Did you grow up on the Vegas Strip?”

    I grew up 5 blocks from the Vegas Strip, classmates in elementary school lived in the “Naked City” (the other side of the Strip). Our sleepovers were small groups, I think the largest was 5 girls. I didn’t even like daytime visits at houses where someone smoked, I was NEVER exposed to pot or cocaine, & the other 2 only in college (Colorado, Utah, & Europe).

  187. staceyjw August 14, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

    I noticed they leave out a BIG worry, one totally relevant to the USA, and one of my only concerns about letting my kids in other peoples houses: unlocked, accessible, GUNS.

    Guns are found in so many homes here, and kids do die everyday from shooting each other while playing around.

    Now, I wouldn’t keep my kid from going to other kids homes because of this, but you bet I will ask about guns and avoid those that have them, while my kid is too small to know better, anyway.

    The molestation thing is also a worry simply because it IS common, and it happens among people you know well and family. I guess that means you should let your kids stay with strangers, LOL.

    Still, I would never ban them, and the other things are just ridiculous.

  188. staceyjw August 14, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

    lsl and Lollipolover:

    I also had my first exposure to alcohol, drugs (just pot and pep pills), and sexual contact at sleepovers.

    However, I don’t think that I would have NOT had those experiences had sleepovers been banned, we just would have done this stuff and went home instead. We very VERY determined to get into trouble, it did NOT find us by accident.

    FYI- I lived in a very safe, suburban suburb in Ohio, and had friends with nice, safe 2 parent homes. We did NOT have broken homes, and did NOT have parents that drank, smoked, or did anything illegal.
    If your kid wants to find trouble, they will.

  189. pentamom August 15, 2013 at 10:01 pm #

    “Guns are found in so many homes here, and kids do die everyday from shooting each other while playing around. ”

    Do you have a source for that? I Googled quite a bit and saw this idea asserted repeatedly without stats or source, but the only actual stats I came up with were about 1 death per week for *all* accidental deaths of children by firearm for 2009 and 2010 — it didn’t even distinguish between “kids shooting each other while playing around” and other kinds of accidental shootings.

    The concern about unsecured guns is valid, but should no more be based on vague, fear-based non-statistics, than molestation fears should be.

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