Anti-Sleepover Haikus

My thoughts on sleepovers - in haiku form: Sleepovers scare mom Is Michael Jackson guilty So not worth the risk Sleepovers make brats Why must I feed you breakfast You are not my child Sleeping, and yet not Playing tricks with warm water This is not so fun Partying with sleep It looks more fun than it is Why am I so spent


Blogger Andrea Wright said...

Amen, sister!

7/22/2005 10:50:00 AM  
Anonymous harpingheather said...

I'm sorry that you had such bad experiences with sleepovers. I was never involved in a sleepover where mean tricks-- like the warm water thing-- were played. Telling ghost stories was part of the fun and looking back, they were more stupid than scary. (Though I do admit that my aversion to being near mirrors at night stems from some of the more gruesome stories.) I don't remember ever playing Ouiji boards either.

I should add that I grew up in rural Maryland and was-- to the best of my knowledge-- the only LDS child at my elementary and high schools and one of a total of three LDS children at my junior high. So it's not like I was lucky to be surrounded by trustworthy LDS families.

I think there is some level of concern to be had about sleepovers but you can't keep your kids tied to your side all of their lives.

7/22/2005 03:24:00 PM  
Blogger annegb said...

My kids always had sleepovers (they would be 32, 29, 27, and 19, well, are), and I hated them. I hated not getting any sleep, the mess, the fights, the drama, everything about them. It seemed a rite of childhood.

My youngest always ended up wishing everybody would go home, crying, and if she slept over, she ended up having us come get her in the middle of the night. We outlawed sleepovers for her and made her come home from them about 11 pm.

I never worried about her being molested or abused, it was just a pain in the butt.

I'm with you.

7/22/2005 03:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Susan M said...

My kids have a single friend over to spend the night quite often. Practically every weekend. But group sleepovers are reserved for birthday parties. And even then we keep the numbers small because we just don't have room in our little apartment for more than 3 extra kids to sleep.

7/23/2005 12:28:00 PM  
Blogger Andrea Wright said...

harpingheather, I had many a fun experience with sleepovers and slumber parties. I don't think any of us has said they're not fun. I also agree that we can't protect our kids from everything and can't keep them by our side constantly. Obviously, part of parenting is weighing those risks against letting our kids grow up and have some independence; however, abuse is ot one of those risks I'm willing to take. I'm not saying that people who allow sleepovers are willing to, because at some point we have to trust people, only that that's one thing I can and will do to eliminate some risk.

7/23/2005 12:39:00 PM  
Blogger The Wiz said...

I can't keep my kids by my side constantly, but I can make sure they sleep here. I do let them sleep at Grandma's a lot, so it's not like they've never slept outside their own bed. And, in the current climate, I'm not the only one with the "no sleepover rule" so I may not even be depriving them of a lot of parties, because the sheer number of sleepovers are going down.

I always thought sleepovers looked more fun than they were, and the grumpiness and tiredness the next day were never worth it.

7/23/2005 01:15:00 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

I can't believe nobody has said how brilliant your haikus are! I especially love the second one.

7/23/2005 04:06:00 PM  
Anonymous JKS said...

1 in 4 girls are sexually molested as children (13 & younger).
1 in 6 boys.
THat is 20% of our kids.
Only 5% of reported child molestation is a stranger. That makes 95% fathers, stepfathers, brothers, uncles, family friend, teacher, scout leader, priest, etc.
"Knowing the family" never, ever makes them safe.
Most child molesters are married, law abiding, educated, religious, etc. completely average Americans. If 77% of men are married, 77% of child molesters are married. THe statistics of child molesters match the regular statistics of how much education, socioeconomic class that exists in our society, etc. You can't identify them by their clothes, their race, their age, where they live, what they do for a living, whether they go to your church, etc.
Take a look at your child's school class. 5 of them will experience the horror of it.
If your child has 5 friends, statistically, one of them will be a victim or has already been a victim, or is currently being abused.
You can think that your brother or best friends husband is safe. He's a good person. YOu love him, he loves your family. But if he actually experienced sexual desire for children, would he tell you? How could he say anything to anyone about it?
1 in 20 men is a child molester. Child molestation define as the victim being 13 or under and the attacker being 5 years older than the victim.
1 in 3000 women is a child molester.

7/23/2005 05:49:00 PM  
Blogger Kristen J said...

Loved your haikus, they are brilliant and so true. I also hate sleep-overs as a parent.

I let my 8 year old have one a few months ago for her birthday and I kind of regretted it. They stayed up until 3 am which really fried me for a few days and then one of the little girls (one I never would have thought would do this)told my girls their first nasty story about a naked kid.

I just don't think they're worth it especially in this day and age.

Oh yeah, I do not like to walk by mirrors at night because of sleepover stories growing up.

7/25/2005 12:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Susan M said...

I think it's really important to be aware of the statistics JKS posted. VERY important to be aware of what's going on around us and our children.

Of the many people I've known who've been molested, and I've known a lot, none of them were ever molested at a slumber party. Not to say it wouldn't or couldn't happen. Just that all the people I've known were molested by their fathers or a close family friend. Someone in authority who could easily intimidate them into not telling.

I've known a couple men who've molested children, as well. One molested his infant sons. Another molested girls who were strangers, I believe, but I'm not really aware of all the details.

If you get a bad vibe from someone, do not hesitate to keep your children away from them. It happened to me a couple of times when my kids were small--and each time, the person I got the bad vibe about wasn't an adult, but one of their playmates. And whenever I didn't act on it, bad things happened. It was really awful.

Since then I've always worried more about the children my kids are spending time with even more than other kids' parents.

7/25/2005 10:30:00 AM  
Anonymous claire said...

I think there is a difference in molestation risk between 'sleepovers'(spending the night with another family) and 'slumber parties' (lots of kids. Adolescent brothers are my (irrational?) fear, more than dads. And when a non-related male is in the house (mom's boyfriend is a definate risk!!!!!) no way.

7/25/2005 12:30:00 PM  
Anonymous JKS said...

One statistic I read said that 40% of reported child sexual abuse was by older children.
I would not say that older brothers are an "irrational" fear.
Children my kids age can also be dangerous in many different ways, like Susan M said. This is one of the reasons why I am uncomfortable with the idea of sleepovers.
I thought that with have kids be a little older, they need less supervision. But, your kids are in your backyard with the neighbors and you listen to what they are saying and it is scary.
Even my own child had issues with kissing tag--I don't know where she picked it up. She kept playing kissing tag. She apparantly was the instigator (at least some of the time) at a party at our house, and it bothered the boys that she kept bothering. We had lots of talks about it. I think it has gone away now.
I also agree with watching out for a "bad vibe" from someone. WHether its your own experience, instinct or the spirit telling you someone, you should listen.
But, be careful because so many people "seem" completely trustworthy. We have the extra help of the Holy Ghost, but, as you know, it does not always tell us everything. But if it does tell you something--Listen!

7/25/2005 02:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry this has nothing to do with sleep over haikus, but I hope you all saw the David Brooks column yesterday in the NY Times about flying with children. It's kind of long, so feel free to edit if you want to, but thought you all might like to read it, since I remember reading a post about flying with children a few months ago here.

July 24, 2005
Pain, Agony, Despair: Flying With Children
It's summertime, which means many people these days are flying with children, an experience that can be enriching and exciting, and is followed by memories that linger even after the shell shock, nightmares and trauma-induced facial tics have faded away.

Any airplane trip with children begins before boarding in the airport gate area, where the parents, dreading the next four hours of high-altitude agony, will be laying down a bed of psychic tension that will be the karmic foundation for everything that is to come. They will be coaching their children on how to behave, spreading maniacally upbeat good cheer and exuding the waves of anxiety that are almost clinically certain to produce a toddler meltdown.

The airlines helpfully have families with small children board first, which gives parents an extra 45 minutes to play peekaboo even before the plane takes off. As the craft fills up, it becomes clear they and their kids have been seated in a special sadist section, among Idi Amin, the etiquette committee of the Daughters of the American Revolution and a perfect 4-year-old wonder child who will spend the whole flight quietly reading The Economist.

Parents in these early stages of a flight usually devote their fevered energies to entertaining their children. Many parents begin by reading board books in that super-attenuated nursery school tone of voice, and then, sadly, singing to their children every song they know, beginning with age-appropriate lullabies and ending up with a medley of hits from the Spice Girls.

Toddlers sense when their parents are running out of first-rate material and begin squirming and rebelling. This causes the parents to frantically redouble their efforts to distract and entertain, and soon they are behaving like Jerry Lewis on a sugar high - acting out any desperately silly routine they think will occupy their little ones' minds and keep them from letting out their inner Damiens.

It is an iron rule of plane travel that the parents who are trying to hush their children are more annoying to their fellow passengers than the children who are being hushed. Accordingly, other fliers in the area begin to develop hostile feelings toward the desperately shushing parents.

Anybody who thinks it takes a village to raise a child has never sat near a crying baby in first class. In these circumstances, if it were up to the village, somebody would be stapling the brat's mouth shut and somebody else would be locking mom in the overhead storage compartment.

By this time the parents have given up on trying to entertain their kids and have resorted to bribery. They are pulling out any toy they think might occupy their children's attention.

But the kids are in such a lather, the faster the parents offer toys, the more furiously the kids throw them away so that the rows begin to look like Playmobil volcanoes, with little toy Vikings flying 20 feet through the air while the parents are frantically trying to pin their kids' arms to their chests.

The children are now completely out of control and are behaving as if they were raised by feral wolves. They will be pummeling the seat in front of them with their feet or else playing other manic airplane games, such as Tray Table Trampoline. Amid the frenzy, parents will observe that one child has turned green, which means that every passenger along the aisle between them and the restroom will be an unwitting participant in a contest called Air Sickness Roulette.

When things are at their worst, the flight attendant will unfailingly come by to offer insincere sympathy, in so doing sending the parents (who have by now reached the psychic state of the Robert De Niro character in "Taxi Driver") into a near-homicidal rage. If the F.D.A. approved a do-it-yourself anesthesia kit, mom would be using it on the little vermin, while dad contemplates scaring the kids into silence by showing them "The Exorcist"- let their future analysts worry about the consequences later on.

The final hour of the flight is aptly captured by Picasso's painting "Guernica." Parents are strewn about in heaps, hardened air marshals are weeping under the strain, the kids look like flesh-eating Beanie Babies, and the pilots emerge to complain that because of the kids' crying they can't hear the air traffic controllers (this actually happened to my family).

But then, just as human endurance reaches its breaking point, the plane finishes its descent and the plane door opens, offering an avenue for escape.

And at that moment the kids fall blissfully asleep.

E-mail: dabrooks@nytimes.com

7/25/2005 02:41:00 PM  
Blogger Demi said...

Elder W. Douglas Shumway Of the Seventy in his talk Marriage and Family: Our Sacred Responsibility said, “Loving, protecting, and nurturing our children are among the most sacred and eternally important things we will do. Worldly belongings will vanish, today’s number-one movie or song will be irrelevant tomorrow, but a son or a daughter is eternal.”

Loving, protecting, and nurturing my children is what I'm trying to do. It was said earlier that we do need to trust people. I don't feel the same. I was raised that trust is earned, not given. How many people do we know well enough to have earned our trust enough to love protect and nurture our most precious gifts.

When I was a child I was not allowed to have or go to sleepovers. As a grown adult with children of my own I don't feel I was deprived in the least by not participating in sleepovers/slumber parties, nor do I feel I was tied to my mothers side.

8/09/2005 11:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Jen said...

Your sleepover haiku rings so true!

2/03/2008 11:54:00 PM  

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