In Defense of Nest

My college roommate picked a fight with a bunch of moms on Facebook today. Which actually turned out to be a jumping off point for she and I to spend an embarrassing large chunk of time first IM’ing and then talking on the phone about the whole thing. It’s a really huge parenting can of worms. Or at least it’s been turned into a huge can of worms for modern day parents. I don’t remember it being all that big of a deal for my parents when I was a kid.

It’s the question of how old your children should be before you allow them to have a sleepover at someone else’s house. I remember the biggest issue being whether or not I was ready to be away from home all night or not. I remember having to call my parents at about midnight my first sleepover because I just couldn’t handle it. It turns out now the biggest concern is one of trust. Trusting the parents and children at whose house your child will be sleeping. Mostly in terms of safety. Whether or not the parents can be trusted to provide adequate levels of supervision. Whether or not older siblings will introduce your child to inappropriate things. Whether or not your child will be put in a position to be hurt in this surrounding. And to be entirely honest, the whole thing baffles me.

See, these other mothers immediately jumped to sexual abuse and molestation as an imminent and real threat. And my mouth just dropped at this. I think it’s the imminence these mothers see that shocks me the most. They essentially feel like they won’t allow sleepovers at all until they feel their children are old enough to be their own advocates. Which essentially means their first night away from home will happen when they leave for college. I don’t mean to be flip, but seriously. Can anyone truthfully say they were completely equipped to be their own advocates, not to be influenced by questions of social or emotional pressures, much before they left the nest? Or more to the point, until they had to create (and perhaps defend) their own nest?

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

I also had a time when I was younger and needed to call my mom (I think it was only 10 p.m., which is very late in a little kids' mind) to come and get me at my friend's house, which was literally just up the hill. And I also did successfully spend many fun nights away at friends' houses for slumber parties or just for fun. Our bustling neighborhood of kids ran rampant around the mountains (far AND wide) of Green Mtn. Falls and our parents surely didn't ever know exactly where we were half the time...yet they had what I think is a different sense of trust "back then" than so many parents have now. So, a question begs, do we live in a more dangerous time now or are parents perhaps more hypersensitive than they used to be? And perhaps it's some of both. A thought-provoking and timely piece.