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Apparently Dads Can't Be Trusted at Sleepovers

Illustration for article titled Apparently Dads Cant Be Trusted at Sleepovers

Apparently divorced dads are all pedophiles. At least, that's the assumption a parenting expert makes — and it may point to bigger problems.

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In an otherwise unremarkable piece on handling kids' playdates, Parenting.com's Deborah Skolnik writes,

The Sitch: You've accepted a sleepover invite for your daughter, not realizing that only her pal's divorced dad will be home. You're not OK with it. What to do?

The Solution: "Call and say 'I'm sorry, and this is about me and not you, but I just don't feel comfortable with a man supervising an overnighter,' " says Paone. Offer to host the girls at your place instead, if you can, or ask to turn the sleepover into a "late-over," where your daughter stays only till bedtime. In the future, always ask who'll be on duty before you say yes to a sleepover.

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To be fair, this advice is only for parents who "aren't okay with" having a dad watch their daughters, and doesn't imply that all parents wouldn't be okay with it. But one "solution" to this problem would be to ask yourself why you don't trust your daughter's friend's dad. If it's because you think he's a bad parent — or you know he's a registered sex offender — then fair enough. But assuming that all dads, when left to their own devices, are potential pedophiles is a pretty depressing way to raise a kid.

As we discussed last year, most studies have found that the majority of child sexual abuse (especially against girls) is committed by men. But the vast majority of men will never abuse a child. And any harm avoidance strategy that paints half the adult population as potential criminals isn't a particularly effective one. Teaching kids that no one has the right to touch them inappropriately — and that they should let mom and dad know immediately if someone does — is important. Teaching them to be afraid of all men just muddies the issue. The lesson — and the precautions — need to be about abuse, not gender.

The new playdate playbook [Parenting.com, via CNN]

Image via Colleen E. Scott / Scott Designs/Shutterstock.com

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DISCUSSION

highglosssauce
HighGlossSauce

I got caught in the crosshairs of the MRA last year because I dared to publicly say I wasn't cool with volunteer men being alone in the potty with my 2-year-old daughter at her preschool co-op. I think the key difference was that my child was going to be alone with the man, which I want her NEVER to be a part of. It has nothing to do with the character of the individual men, I'm sure they're fine and dandy, I just didn't want my child feeling comfortable being in secluded places with men in case a bad one ever tries to take her somewhere. It was a real shit storm written about right here on Jez.

However.

In the sleepover scenario, the child isn't alone with the man. Again, it has nothing to do with the guy maybe being a pedophile, it has to do with arming the child with a set of concrete rules. Never Be Alone With A Strange Man is a fine rule. (The MRA would insist we add "Or Woman" but get real, who is sexually abusing kids?) But Never Sleep Over At Someone's House is a paranoid rule.

In this scenario, you need to arm your child with "Never Be Alone". Go to the sleepover, but never be alone with the dad. The second the dad tries to take you away from the group, scream that you aren't allowed to be alone with adults and call home.

If you child is old enough fro sleepovers, they should be abel to handle that. I hope. *shudder*

Then again, whatever a mother decides for her child is her own goddamn business.