No More Sleepovers?!

The latest victim of parental terror? Sleepovers. According to this AP sfkaekhhft
by Kelli Kennedy, parents are afraid of everything from junk food to “inappropriate” movies, to Internet surfing, to the possibility of  their children being drugged and raped. 

The modern parental thinking method applies: Since a drugging/fondling incident DID happen once, and since it was ON THE NEWS, it must be  happening ALL THE TIME, and it could POSSIBLY, even PROBABLY, happen to MY kid, so in order to avoid this fate, I must PROTECT my child by glue-gunning  her to my side. (Ouch!) 

Now, as I hope you know, Free-Range Kids does not say that horrible things never happen. It does say (I does say?) that basing our parenting decisions on worst-case scenarios does not make us better parents. It makes us the parents of kids who don’t get to do much. Who think the world is crawling with creeps. Who say things like the 9-year-old I just heard of: “I can’t go outside! Someone will kidnap me.”

How can you keep your kids safe on an overnight? The AP article quotes Michele Borba, author of “12 Simple Secrets Moms Know,” who gave pretty simple advice: Get to know the family. If they seem normal, let your kid go. Remind her (or him)  that she can stand up for herself if something gross happens. And that she can always talk to you about anything weird or upsetting that she did and you won’t be mad.

There. Now I, too, am talking as if going on a sleepover at a friend’s house is like spending the night in Attica. From what I remember, there’s a lot less throwing chairs and a lot more throwing pillows. — Lenore

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36 Responses to No More Sleepovers?!

  1. MFA Grad August 5, 2009 at 11:11 pm #

    Oh for Pete’s sake. This is parental over-reaction to the nth degree.

    Junk food and the occasional scary movie were par for the course when I was a kid going to sleepovers because it was fun! I probably wouldn’t have watched Psycho by myself when I was 13, but watching in a roomful of 12 other girls, all of us munching on or trading our trick-or-treating booty, is one of the best memories I have of childhood. It’s a lot easier falling asleep after movies like that in a room scrunched full of your friends (not to mention the inevitable crash from ingesting all that sugar).

    Aside from informing the host parents of any food allergies or health issues, nixing the possibility of a sleepover because a parent wants to exert that much control over a child’s diet seems silly. It’s one night – a bag of Doritos and more pop than usual isn’t going to hurt anyone (again, unless there are food allergies or health issues like diabetes to consider – in which case, the host parents should be informed). Sleepovers can be a good opportunity for kids to try something different. Two of my best friends in grade school were Indian and I probably wouldn’t have gotten around to trying things like chicken tikka until college if it weren’t for the occasional sleepovers at their homes.

    Getting to know or at the very least meeting the parents hosting a sleepover is just common sense, rather than dismissing the invitation out of hand because “we don’t know who these people are.” Doesn’t seem like there would be anything wrong with asking the host parents, “Hi, I’m the parent of your daughter’s friend who’s been invited to your sleepover. Mind if we get a cup of coffee and get to know each other a little?” Seems like the courteous thing to do – and how do the invitee’s parents know that the host parents don’t have any concerns about the kids they’re hosting either?

    Honestly, how much of this “sleepover anxiety” is because many of these families, in an attempt to “protect” their kids from practically everything, rather than interacting and getting to know each other at places like the playground or school activities, etc., have become so isolated and insular that everyone, even parents of their children’s friends, are viewed as untrustworthy strangers?

  2. Ender August 5, 2009 at 11:36 pm #

    What’s the point in a sleep-over if you’re not going to have junk food midnight snacks and inappropriately scary movies?

    And what’s the betting that pillow fights are considered too dangerous these days…

  3. Kymlee August 5, 2009 at 11:39 pm #

    My kids have never been to a sleepover. But if they were to attend a sleepover, it would be at the house of a regular playmate whose parents had met and communicated with repeatedly. I completely understand not wanting to let your kid go to the house of a practical stranger, but even then the likelihood of anything truly dangerous or inappropriate happening is slim to none.

    People really need to stop tripping. The solution is simple: don’t let your kids sleep with strangers. Common sense, simple common sense.

  4. Kevin August 5, 2009 at 11:40 pm #

    You also have to think about how to handle the delicate issue of catching the kids, you know, Playing Doctor. And sometimes kids do even weirder Sex Stuff when alone together and it’s almost always totally consensual and *normal*, no matter how much it squicks the parents out.

    Come on, you know you did it when you were 7, and you turned out ok. 🙂

    Still, a delicate mixture of issues here… I recommend reading a book such as “everything you never wanted your kids to know about sex (but were afraid they’d ask)”.

  5. Kevin August 5, 2009 at 11:42 pm #

    also, last paragraph of first comment is brilliant.

  6. Stacy August 5, 2009 at 11:44 pm #

    This is one of those situations where the sexual offender registry *can* work as intended. My dad was one of those exceptional pedophiles who makes the papers. By the time I was 6 he had a record (that had nothing to do with me, though I was being abused at the time) and I knew better than to invite kids for a sleepover. But my dad was the *exception* in this regard. I was never afraid of going to other people’s houses for sleepovers, and they’re one of my favorite memories of childhood (including Grandma picking me up early from one the morning my brother was born!).

    If you’re concerned about the safety of your child, know the parents well enough to at least have names to check for in your local registry. If they’re listed, there might be cause for concern (though it might be equally true it was a charge about them sleeping with their similarly underaged paramour in high school). But seriously, odds are against there being a problem, especially in a big party sleepover situation. I don’t anticipate having trouble letting my 3-yr-old go to sleepovers when that age comes around.

  7. Michael August 6, 2009 at 12:34 am #

    I think part of this is because “Parents” are a much wider range of people than in the past. There is more diversity in parenthood.

    I know my parents, who were really late having kids in their day, had trouble making friends with my parents friends because of it. Now, at 39, I’m more often asked if I’m keeping my grandkids than my kids by the parents of my children’s friends from school.

    But if we don’t make the effort to reach out and get to know one another, we get these kinds of scariness. This is less a symptom of overprotection and more a symptom of increasing isolation of people in general.

    Still silly, though. Heck, don’t forget the sneaking out and toilet papering the cute girl down the street’s yard.

  8. Denise August 6, 2009 at 1:48 am #

    I got into a heck of a lot more trouble during hours that my parents deemed appropriate than I ever did in the hours that were off limits.

    We allow sleep overs…but there are limits and if I don’t feel good about the family…my kids don’t spend the night.

    But we know a lot of families who are fanatical about this one.

    Just another childhood tradition dying a slow and painful death.

  9. Nicola August 6, 2009 at 2:01 am #

    2nd-ed on the brilliance of the first comment’s last paragraph. It’s exactly the truth.

  10. sonya August 6, 2009 at 2:14 am #

    I wouldn’t allow a sleep-over unless my daughter had first spent several occasions at the friend’s house during the day, and we had met and got to know the parents. But after that, no problem, although I do always hate the day after a sleep-over because she gets very bad-tempered when tired! FTR she’s had multiple sleepovers at 3 different friends’ houses, but in all three cases we are friends with the parents too. That was pretty much the same when I was growing up.

  11. Tom Accuosti August 6, 2009 at 2:52 am #

    A few years ago, my daughter’s Brownie troop had a mother/daughter sleepover at a local planetarium. She and I liked going to the science museums, and her mom really did not want to participate, so I suggested to the troop leader that I come along. I even offered to sleep in a different room.

    You’d have thought that I had offered to get the girls drunk and tattooed.

    I didn’t put up a fight, but I did make the point that if the idea was to have bonding time, my daughter (who was about 8) would have gotten a lot more out of it with me attending, especially since I have a little science background.

    Slightly on a tangent: A couple of years later, they had a camping sleepover in the troop leader’s back yard. I went there early to help set up the tents, and was told that the girls were not allowed to be in the tents with me alone.

    “But I’m not even in the tents with them; we’re just setting them up.”

    “Yes, I know, but those are the rules. Don’t feel bad, even I’m not allowed to be alone with them in a tent.”

    Sheesh. I felt so dirty when I was finished.

  12. name withheld August 6, 2009 at 3:02 am #

    abuse does happen. it happened to me, but not at a sleepover. In my own home. It was a horrific horrible experience that I still suffer from 25 years later. I would do anything to keep it from happening to my own children.

    But you know what? My kids do sleepovers.

    There are things we can teach our kids that will help them and keep them safer even at sleep overs.

    Teach them they don’t have to do everything an adult asks them to do, teach them what’s wrong, and most of all teach them to scream their head off if anyone asks them to do something wrong like that. Make a big fuss. yell NO as loud as they can. Make a big, big, big deal about it. Leave the room as fast as they can. Teach them that whatever happens they aren’t the one that’s wrong and they need to tell. Tell them that by making a big, big deal out of someone asking them to do the wrong thing, it will scare that someone, and maybe, just maybe, that someone will think twice before trying it on someone else.

    if every child screamed instead of just quietly taking it and trying to hide what was happening, life would be a lot harder for the abusers.

    Teach your kids to stand up for themselves and follow their gut. If it feels off, it probably is. Get out. Get home.

    This is of course,, not foolproof and by writing this I am in no way saying any child who doesn’t speak up is in any way at fault if such a thing happens to them. or by standing up and screaming they can always stop the abuser. But if we can teach our kids to react differently than my generation was taught, we might be able to keep some abuse from happening in the first place.

  13. Daniella August 6, 2009 at 3:07 am #

    I am trying to give my children freedom to explore, but I am not a fan of sleepovers. We have allowed individual sleepovers, but have ruled out slumber parties. By accident, my son did have a slumber party experience just recently. He was supposed to be slepping with some trusted friends in their tent at a church camp out. My husband and I were unable to stay so that was a good compromise. The family let the boys as well as several other unsupervised boys stay in the church instead of the tent. There is just something that gets out of hand when there is a group of boys (as opposed to just an individual sleepover.)
    I am thankful that our son talks to us candidly, but it was very disappointing to here the latest inappropriate joke, all about talking to dead people (which we spiritually do NOT believe in) who is fat, whose sister is a lesbian etc… I feel so misunderstood sometimes when it comes to my convictions on this one. I am not nearly as concerned with my son’e safety in a situation as I am his purity. They do not need to partake of gossip, and inappropriate behavior and talk to know what evil lies out there. He does know what is out there, by the way. Just like he does not need to do drugs to know they are out there or that they are harmful. My husband was introduced to pornography at sleepovers and that nearly destoyed our marriage. My son knows that there are inappropriate ways to view women out there, but he does not need to see it to know it is harmful. Some situations lead to a temtations in life that do in fact harm a child into adulthood. I a little tired of other parents (even trusted friends) that do not respect our wishes on certain things either. My husband and I are very selective about what we even watch, so it is a little frustrating to have to another parents disregard our wishes that if a movie is pg13, we need to approve it. We have built a trust with our son though to where he actually checks the rating of the movie and calls us to ask if it is a pg13 movie he has not been given permission to watch before. Some may think that is over the top, but again, even my husband and I are careful what we watch. There is nothing beneficial watching some of the smut and or over the top violence in some movies. I also feel like it is teaching him to be responsible for himself. If he calls, we look up the movie on to see what it says.
    Also, I want my children to get a proper understanding of sex, not some twisted version that comes from teenage boys at a sleepover. Again, those sorts of attitudes do carry over into adulthood.

  14. LindaLou August 6, 2009 at 3:20 am #

    Oh, brother! What’s childhood without sleepovers? My 4 & 1/2 year old just had his first one away from home last night.

  15. justanotherjen August 6, 2009 at 3:56 am #

    This is what I hear on the parenting message boards:
    “My kids can’t ever spend the night at someone else’s house but their kids are free to come to our house for a sleepover.”

    Okay, but almost every parent has that opinion so if no one is allowed to go to another house how do they ever have a sleepover? I don’t get it and it cracks me up that they won’t trust other parents but expect others to trust them.

    My oldest has been sleeping over at her best friend’s house since she was 5 (and we all wonder why we didn’t allow it earlier). But I’ve known the family for 20 years and the girls have been best friends since they were babies.

    My other kids have never stayed at anyone’s house which has nothing to do with me worrying about what they eat or watch or any abuse they might have. My son had a chance last summer but I said no because he was still wetting the bed and I figured he’d be embarrassed when they found out he wore pull-ups. My 6yo dd still wets the bed, too and probably wouldn’t do good at a sleep over because she is nervous to be away from me (she is constantly checking to make sure I’m still in my room if the door is closed).

    With my son I also have to watch where he goes because of allergies. The party he went to last year we had to call and ask if they had cats because my son is severely allergic to them. Last week he spent a few minutes at a friend’s house where they have a cat and came home with his face swelled up, his eyes blood shot and hives popping up all over. And he wasn’t any where near their cat. He can’t even go to this kids house to play.

    And, personally, we don’t allow sleepovers in our house for various reasons.

  16. Tracey R August 6, 2009 at 6:02 am #

    My daughter was molested at her very first sleepover, at age 6, at the home of a trusted friend. What I didn’t know was that my big-hearted friend also invited her next-door-neighbor’s child, whom she *knew* had been molested by her own grandpa. That child molested every child at the sleepover and then blamed my daughter (fortunately, the rest of the girls, all friends of hers for about 3 years, independently blamed the molester).

    My friend knows to never, ever invited that child to anything again–not even an afternoon birthday party, unless it’s in a wide-open park.

    My daughter doesn’t remember the event now, thank God. I do let her do sleepovers, but the parents and I now have long talks ahead of time about the other guests.

    I sure would have never figured what happened to my daughter on her very first sleepover would have happened. It was really my friend’s poor judgement that set up the situation. Now all those girls have that situation in their pasts, at ages 6-8.

  17. Shannon August 6, 2009 at 9:14 am #

    Oh, for god’s sake. The whole point of sleepovers is to eat crap and stay up way past your bedtime to watch movies that you’re probably too young to see. I saw The Exorcist for the first time at a church group sleepover when I was 10, and while it made me very afraid of The Exorcist, it hasn’t left any other permanent scars.

    Why do I get the feeling that the “eating crap” part of the deal is the sticking point for the Mommy crowd? “OMG, little Madison has a gluten allergy (she doesn’t, of course–bored Mommy invented this for her to inflict her own body image issues on little Madison, as celiac disease is actually more rare than the representation of gluten free products at the grocery store would lead one to believe) and can’t have any milk, milk products, anything that’s been kept in the same refrigerator as milk…well, I think it’s best if she stays at home inside her bubble.”

    Or it’s the “a PG-13 movie might turn my kid into an atheist or serial killer and I’m not sure what’s worse” Christianist crowd. Whatever. It’s all equally insane.

    My parents always knew the people supervising overnight events and always told me that I should call them immediately if something happened that made me uncomfortable. Period. It’s probably a good teaching opportunity. The only sleepovers they ever objected to were at houses where the parents smoked, because my belongings and I came home reeking. Besides, I don’t know why people are kidding themselves on this: if anyone’s going to molest little Madison, it’s probably Creepy Uncle Jerry. But in the statistically unlikely chance that Creepy Parent of Classmate’s going to do something creepy, it doesn’t need to happen in the context of a sleepover party. It can happen at an afternoon playdate just as easily. Better that there are plenty of witnesses at a large sleepover party than at some one-on-one playdate.

    OF COURSE NONE OF THIS IS AT ALL LIKELY TO HAPPEN. I feel a need to re-stress this point. Just because it could happen and it would be bad if it did doesn’t mean it will.

  18. MaeMae August 6, 2009 at 9:29 am #

    I have no problem with sleepovers or slumber parties. I don’t mind my kids going there or their friends coming here. It’s a rite of passage. I trust that my children know what they are allowed to watch and they know that gossiping is frowned upon in our house. Do they always adhere to my rules while at other houses? Probably not but that’s life. As a Christian mom I filter what my kids read and watch to a degree. But all I can do is try to teach the garbage in/garbage out rule. At some point they have to decide for themselves. Besides, one scary movie or romance book is not the end of the world. I trust my children’s judgement and I know what I have modeled for them. The rest is up to them.

  19. Krolik August 6, 2009 at 9:58 am #


    Was the young girl who “molested” the other children around the same age as them? What is the definition of a molestation when the perpetrator is six? Did this child hold this large group of girls at gunpoint?

    I understand how upsetting it can be for a parent when you realize that your young daughter has experienced something that made her feel dirty and confused. But sexual pay among children is a fairly common occurrence. This group of girls let this one child, who may or may not have been acting out her own abuse, involve them in a sexual game of some sort. They could have just ignored her, or told the grown-ups, but they did no such thing until a grown-up walked in on them and acted upset. Some of them may feel icky about it afterward. Some may initiate a similar game at the next sleepover.

    You cannot prevent this from happening to your child by talking to parents (unless you require them to stay in the room with the children the entire time, and what fun would that be) or by taking detailed histories of every child present and excluding anyone who has ever been a victim of molestation or violence or comes from a family that is dysfunctional in any way. The only thing you can do is teach your child to stand up to peer pressure.

  20. Tracey R August 6, 2009 at 10:27 am #


    She was about 2 years older. She trapped them in a closet and forced them to perform cunnilingus on her and then did it on then. Later, they were all watching a movie on the couch, and she kept fondling them through their underwear. No parent walked in–this was in the middle of the morning after the sleepover when they’d all had breakfast. Finally one of the girls managed to get out of the room and told the host and asked to be taken home. The hostess then asked her own daughter what was going on in private. Her daughter told her, so she asked the neighbor girl in private. The kid then blamed my daughter. After everyone had left, the hostess then called every parent, calling me last. Every other child said my daughter was the one who fought back the hardest.

    There two autistic kids in this family who make a lot of noise, so I have to believe that, and the fact that it was a second-floor bonus room the things happened in, is the reason the hostess didn’t realize anything unusual was going on.

    My daughter was very young. She definitely felt icky about it. She suddenly didn’t want to go over there anymore (who could blame her). She was in a group of friends she’d been with for several years, and she felt safe. You can say “teach them to stand up to peer pressure” but it was ONE kid in this case, and again, she was very young.

    Do I think this is going to happen every time I let her out the door? No. I sent her to Manhattan for a week without me this spring at the age of 10 for an international ballet competition. And I think at 10 she’s a lot better equipped to withstand “peer pressure”, or outright molestation, than she was at 6.

    But I do think parents have to have a little sense. If you know a child’s a victim of sexual abuse *recently* as this child was, for Pete’s sake don’t put them in a situation that allows them to act out. Let your kids play with them, sure–but not in a bedroom or behind closed doors.

  21. karla August 6, 2009 at 10:29 am #

    I don’t want to offend anyone, but heck, half the fun of sending your child to a sleepover is the stories you can tell after. I have two stepsons – one hardly stayed over at friends’ houses at all, but the other is a social butterfly. He almost broke his arn bc he and a bunch of kids were running around in the dark at a sleepover when he was about 9 and he ran into a table or something. Where were the parents? Asleep upstairs. Were they overly optimistic at best and nuts and irresponsible at worst? – yes, but my stepson lived and we have a story to tell. Ditto the time my ex-sister in law, who I really like, had to sheepishly confess that a bunch of kids at her house figured out how to get porn on Direct TV or something. The story about my darling, immature stepson and his embarassment at seeing naked breasts is priceless! And he was NOT scarred for life. Things happen, junk food is eaten, kids are grouchy as hell next day – that’s what sleepovers are all about.

  22. Tracey R August 6, 2009 at 10:30 am #

    Oh, and I should add: at one point the hostess *did* look in, and thought that the child was merely trying to shove her own daughter into the closet with everyone else (her daughter is autistic and slightly claustrophobic). She told her to cut it out and then went back downstairs. It was shortly after that that one girl managed to get out of the closet and tell her. It’s hard to imagine, but she didn’t realize that NO ONE wanted to be in the closet.

  23. MaeMae August 6, 2009 at 10:34 am #

    Well said, Karla!

  24. riverdaughter August 6, 2009 at 12:06 pm #

    My daughter was disinvited to a birthday party/sleepover. Why?
    She threatened to tell ghost stories and play practical jokes on sleeping guests. You know, the old swish their hands in lukewarm water? “I am the ghost of the bloody finger”? Imagine how heartless you have to be to call a kid up and tell her she can’t come to the party after she’s already RSVP’d because she might act like, um, a kid.
    I can’t stand to look at this other mother now. Oh, and BTW, her daughter is the most helpless, frightened, weepy kid I’ve ever met.

  25. Casey August 6, 2009 at 1:52 pm #

    My daughter is 7 months old and I already have a special sleeping bag in the closet for when she gets to have her first sleepover birthday party. I sure hope there will be some other kids that are allowed to come!

  26. AnonymousDad August 6, 2009 at 5:43 pm #

    I grew up having sleep overs at friends houses etc, never any problems. Normal life, etc. I guess I was a lucky one, by the time I got thru college several of my girlfriends confided in me that they were abused/molested as kids, usually by a relative/neighbor. Totally freaked me out, I had no idea things like that happened as regularly as they apparently did.

    Flash forward to today as a father. The stories I heard from those girls still haunt me and emphasize the fact that I wont let that happen to my daughter.

    I work hard to not let my daughter (6yr) be over protected. I let her try things, I let her fail, I let her even do some things where she could get hurt. I want hear to learn judgement, risk assessment, consequences and not to be fearful of everything.

    Since I know I cant be with her all the time, Ive tried to equip her with the right tools. Be confident, be assertive, stick up for yourself, your body is yours and no one elses.

    The thing we have done to explicitly add to that list, is that she takes Karate lessons. She loves it, and has been progressing up the belts etc. I know a 6 yr old girl cant stop a grown man, but hey by the time she is 16 with a black belt, Ill feel a lot less nervous about her dating…

    But for sleep overs at her age, Im still on the no side. Maybe at 10.

  27. sue August 6, 2009 at 7:07 pm #

    In our community, sleepovers have been so commonplace…”it’s what all the cool girls do!” Girls AND boys have sleepovers in our area as young as kindergarten. My daughter is just going into 4th grade, and is now what I consider an appropriate age to go on a sleepover–an age where she is not going to be homesick, will remember her manners, and will know boundaries of not only other people’s behavior but of HER OWN as well. Bottom line, however, is this: I don’t need to be on “best friends” basis with the other girl’s parents, but I want to know who they are and what they are like. My daughter knows my expectations, and while I know that she will be as sly as other people’s rules will allow her to be, when it comes to the end of the day I know her conscience will guide her so she doesn’t go too far.

  28. Dave August 6, 2009 at 10:27 pm #

    I echo the idea that people need to be in relationship with one another. The parents of children who play together should know one another. Growing up before cell phones if I was staying at someone’s house my parents called their parents. Now parents just call ther kids on their own cell phones. Maybe we should go back to parents calling parents.

  29. E. Michael Martin August 7, 2009 at 12:49 am #

    @ Daniella

    I fear for the development of your children. They are going to be very socially maladjusted if you don’t let them figure out what is right for them and what isn’t.

    After you teach them your values, then it’s up to them. You can’t make your children believe the same things you do, so don’t even try. It will just create a rift between you and your child.

  30. Krolik August 7, 2009 at 2:57 am #


    That is definitely more serious than anything I imagined, and I apologize for jumping to the conclusion that because this child was able to involve all the girls they must not have tried to get away or call an adult. I do agree that inviting an older, troubled child to a sleepover for 6-year-olds, some of whom are even less able to stand up for themselves because of disabilities such as autism, was not a good idea on the part of the parents. I also think that even children without anything as traumatic as being molested by a grandpa in their past sometimes act out in disturbing sexual or violent ways. The only way to protect your child from bullies of all kinds is to teach them to stand up for themselves. But I am sure you are doing that already.

  31. Daniella August 9, 2009 at 6:04 am #

    This is obviously not the place for me. I have not read the book, but I was under the assumption that it was written to the caring parent who needs to give healthy doses of freedom while guiding and training their children. It is for parents that want to teach their children to grow into happy, healthy, moral people; not people that could care less what their children are doing just so long as they don’t hurt anyone or come home pregnant (or get someone else pregnant.) Just for the record, both my husband and myself check before even WE watch a movie because there is a lot of BAD stuff that even we don’t need to be watching. As far as a rift between me and my children; I would like you to note that it was my son that came to us to talk about the talk at the camp out. I try not to gossip, therefor I teach my children not to gossip and that is exactly what happened at this sleepover. As interesteing as this website has been, I don’t think I will come here much anymore since I can see that parents will use this an excuse to let their kid do whatever they want: most likely because they themselves want to do whatever they want. Can’t be called a hypocrite for breaking your own rules if you don’t set any standards for your kids, right!? You are absolutely right though when you say that you can’t MAKE your kids believe what you do. You can however, lovingly teach them and that is what we do. Sorry Lenore, I see that flaw in this movement; while good for some, others will take it to the extreme to be careless and lazy about their parenting. As far as my children’s social skills; They are helpful, considerate, respectful as well as fun to be around. Enough said.

  32. Leonard Ewy August 12, 2009 at 2:01 am #

    I grew up in a small rural community and went to a one and sometimes two-room elementary school. There were maybe 5 or six families in the area that had kids and we often slept over at each other’s houses–sometimes for fun and sometimes out of necessity due to being trapped by bad weather. Every family was “different” in the sense that some were very religious, some (me) were from families that were very anti-religious. Some were very poor and some were miles away from the nearest paved road or telephone. Some families showed up in the area who seemed to be running away from something. The point is, we all trusted each other and nothing–absolutely nothing–bad ever happened to any of us kids. Families could count on each other. Just recently we had a reunion of kids (now in their 40’s, 50s, and 60s, who had attended this little school (now closed for 40 years). It was wonderful seeing those very different “kids” from very diverse families joining together in a celebration of our special relationships. We were taught to be afraid of no one unless they gave reason to fear them. We were taught to trust people even if they were very different. I treasure that life and what it taught me. I tried to raise my own son the same way.

  33. kristin April 5, 2010 at 11:36 am #

    i’m going to assume ender is a guy!

    I’m cautious about this kind of thing myself,it’s hard for me to trust anyone. My daughters grandma wants to watch my daughter for a night and won’t quit bugging about it. The father and i are no longer togethor and i haven’t seen a dime in child support.

    She’s kind of one of those people who just speaks her mind, i don’t really like some of the things she says around my daughter. For example she will talk about how her barbie looks like a hooker. Plus i know she has huge temper problems. Which will not go over well because my 2 year old is NOT a good sleeper,at all. I’ve tried routines but they never work. She is still nursing as well,she can’t sleep without it so thats also a big part of it.

  34. max January 27, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

    @Daniella you seem to be completly misinterprating the movement, the idea is not to let kids run rampart of do what ever they like as you seem to think it is. it is to prevent the current trend of fear mongering turning children like me into uncapable people who are then dumped into the real unsanitized non cotton wool world at 18 without any life skills. that is the idea.


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