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See Saw - Feedback From Our Parents

The discussion is:
Your nine-year old son wants to spend the night at a "friend's" house. You have never met the parents and only saw the "friend" once or twice at the school bus stop. How would you handle his request?

  • In my opinion, I would never allow either one of my children to spend the night at a child's house if I haven't met the parents, been over to their house, and know who all lives there. I have friends whose parents allowed this and it ended up with one friend being talked into having sex with her friends 14 year old brother. She was not told about sex, therefore she didn't know what was wrong with this situation. I have a male friend who lost his virginity this way as well but it was to a babysitter that the parents didn't investigate her thoroughly at all. I am a very loving and caring parent ( I'm considered the cool parent among all the kids at their school) so I have found that if I explain the reason why (they know about my friends situations and my kids are 7 & 10) and they realize I am doing this for their protection. There are so many smooth and loving ways to decline an offer to spend the night at a friends house. Invite the whole family over for dinner or an afternoon get together. The key to this is protecting your child without being harsh and unintelligent towards your child.

  • This has happened to me a few times with my oldest child. I simply explained to her that I can't allow her over to someone's house who is a stranger to me and I would insist that she get her friend's number so I can talk to the parent(s). Most parents understand my need to visit with them first so that they know me and I know them. This way the girls understood that there was open communication between the parents and they couldn't spring a surprise visit without the other parents knowing and agreeing. It's safe and sensible to know the parents first, let the child spend a few day visits, and then decide if they can spend the night.

  • Seeing as how my son has only just turned a year old, I don't have much parental experience to base my answer on. But can say that as an elementary school teacher, I have thought about this kind of dilemma often. I think my first response would be to ask my son to invite his friend to our house, so that I could get to know him. Maybe a phone call to the friend's parents--I'm sure they would be as curious about us as we would be about them. There will also be an automatic element of trust, because he obviously has several things in common with my son; I just don't believe one could be too careful, and as I stated, I'm sure he'll be a good judge of character, but he will only be nine, and it's not HIS responsibility to make sure that he's in a safe, healthy, appropriate environment.

  • If put in this situation, I usually turn it around and have the friend stay at my house a couple of times, to get to know the child better. Usually by doing this I also get better aquatinted with the other parents, then I know if we are of like minds about children and the limits we impose on them. After all of this, sometimes the answer still has to be, no! And the overnights are done at our home.

  • I would DEFINITELY make it a priority to meet this friend's parents. This way you get a chance to know them, what type of people and lifestyle they have. You can exchange phone numbers with each other. Before a sleep over would take place, I would rather have the new friend spend time in my home for a play date afternoon. This way I would have a chance to see how the two kids get along and whether this child is a good influence before you take it to the next level of sleep over.

  • I would explain to my son how important he is to me. I would tell him that we would need to have some time to get to know the people in his friends home. And that I would never hand him over to be cared for by a stranger so he can not sleep over someone's house that we don't know. I would also ask him to think about how he would feel being in a strange place if he awoke in the middle of the night. I would suggest the friend come over to play or have dinner and stop over to introduce myself to his parents.

  • I would not allow my 9 yr. old child to spend the night at a "friend's" until I had visited the home and met with the parents on a few occasions. I would allow them to play together first and get to know the child and his/her parents first. Once I had a feel for the family then I would make the decision for the sleep over. Our children are our responsibility and our responsibility alone. They need to learn how to learn about people too and make informed decisions on who they spend their time with.

  • We would most definitely want to meet the parents first... And arrange for them to drop by one evening.... on a casual basis... Nowadays it seems that we really do need to be extra vigilant about the safety of our children, and while 9 can be quite an independent age... it is also young enough to warrant parental interest in friends and play environment... I think I would suggest that the friend first visit my son at home.... and see how his friend's parents react to this invitation. It will give us a good indication if they are of the same mind as not.... our son will also see that our rules are not necessarily strange.... if they do not... well at least we will have gotten to know the young man a little better.....

  • I would not let my child spend the night with a friend whose parents I had not met. I have already had this situation with my 8 year old son and I told him that his father and I must meet his friends parents first and then it is no guarantee that he will still get to spend the night. He may briefly get upset, but most of the time I think he is relieved.

  • I would ask to meet the parents and see their house, if I still felt uncomfortable I would see the little boy could sleep at our house instead.

  • I would call the other parents to set up a time to meet them and go to their house to get to know them.

  • I would simply explain the facts - I don't know the child very well and I don't know his parents. I would be happy to set up a day for them to play ignored to meet the child and the parents. Then you can work up to staying the night.

  • My response with my 10 yr. old was that I had to meet a parent first, know where they live or see where they live if I was not familiar with the area. We talked about the friends personality, likes & dislikes, etc. I also explained to my child why I was concerned and how I felt about being cautious so that she could understand that my concern was out of love and for her safety and not because I was just keeping her from doing something. Over the years I have made her sit down and watch some shows on TV concerning incidents with children and families (and a discussion follows) so that she would know that bad things can happen in the real world and that one must overview a situation prior to making a decision.

  • I, like many parents, have been in this situation before. It would be rather foolish to allow your child to stay at a house when you do not know any of the people who live there. I would not let my son (or daughter) go unless I met the family first. NO EXCEPTIONS!.

  • If I don't know the parents or the other child then I don't consider them a "friend" and would not allow my son to sleep over. I would tell my son that I would like to meet the parents and the other child first and that maybe after that I would consider letting him sleep over (If I liked the parents & their child).

  • I would get the boy's phone number call the parents, find out where they live and if it is in an area of town that I would allow my child to be in then I would drop him off, hoping that I can trust his good judgment that he picked a good friend. I would also give him strict orders to call me day or night if he is uneasy at all!

  • Unfortunately those days are gone and we just cannot do that anymore. I would explain to my son that we would have to get to know the parents first and make an attempt to get together with them. I'm not afraid to tell my son the realities of our world. I would rather have him mad at me or even be thought of as unsociable by the other family than to lose my precious child.

  • No. If my son wanted to invite the family over for a cookout so we could all meet, I'd be happy to host the event, and then a decision could be made as to whether my child could spend the night. He will not be free to choose where he sleeps over until he is 16.

  • I do not know the parents. I love you too much to feel good about leaving you with someone I don't know.

  • I would ask for the friend's name and phone number as explain to my child the importance now days of speaking with the parents of his friends - Then I would call his friends parents and set up a meeting with his friend and his parents -

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