This morning I was reading Facebook and saw an article on why you shouldn’t allow your kids to go on sleepovers. Here’s the story.
The general idea is that if you let your kids go on sleepovers, they will be molested. You can’t trust anyone because molestation happens all the time and that if you send your kids to someone else’s house, you run the chance that they will be molested.
It’s this sort of parenting that drives me insane. What was worse, people I know on Facebook were commenting on the link and agreeing with it. I shook my head and realized that the world really is all about paranoia.
Dylan & Megan have been going on sleepovers for ages. Both at their family and friends houses. No, we don’t send them to places where we don’t know the people. Megan has asked to sleep over at another friend of hers place and we have said no because we don’t know the parents. But they have slept at a couple of friends homes, Tamara’s brothers home, and we don’t have an issue with it. Why?
Because we choose to live in a world where we aren’t paranoid about every little thing that could possibly happen. The reality is, bad things happen. Yes, they do. Do I want them to happen to my kids? Of course not. But if I try and keep my kids away from all of the bad things the world has out there, they might as well not ever leave the house. I know of abuse that has taken place on school property. Does that mean that I now have to home school my kids? People get hit by cars all the time so does that mean my kids should never be allowed outside to play?
Everytime I turn around, I am seeing yet another parenting article about things you need to do to “protect” your kids. More and more things to protect your kids because it’s “not safe” and “bad things can happen”. When did the world become so bleak that we have to be scared of everything out there?
I let my kids play. I let them drive their bikes around our block. I let them climb trees. I let them climb the monkey bars. I let them enjoy being a child and having fun and not worrying about what the world has out there. I do all of this while at the same time insuring that they are safe, but without being paranoid that they are going to get hurt. Do I wrap them up in bubble wrap everytime they go on a bike ride? No, I don’t. Because even with a helmet, kids fall of their bikes, get scrapes, cry, and get upset. I’m there to comfort them, protect them, and do what I can, but I’m not going to shelter them from every tiny little thing the world can throw at them. In fact, that’s the worst thing I can do.
I have to be comfortable letting my kids make mistakes because if I don’t, the real world will slap them in the face. I remember seeing so many college students who had no clue what the real world was like and it was because of helicopter parenting. Parents who insist that they do everything to protect and “help” their child while simultaneously making it so much worse for them when they have to deal with the way the real world actually is.
So for me, I’ll continue to keep my kids safe, be mindful of what they do and who they interact with, but I’m not going to keep them away from their friends or family because of something that “could” happen. I “could” be it by a bus tomorrow, but I’m still going to cross that street. I could be killed in a car accident and leave my kids without a father, but I’m still going to drive my car to work.
People need to stop being so paranoid and realize that shit happens and people need to learn to deal with it.