Wednesday, July 5th, 2017
According to Dr James Dobson, psychiatrist and founder of Focus on the Family, sleep-overs for children are out. Child abuse occurs so regularly and easily that one simply cannot take a chance. You cannot afford a single mistake because you will remember and regret it for the rest of your life.
Many parents feel that the number of negative things that could happen if their children are not in their own care for a whole night, weigh far more than any benefit that could be derived from it.
Most sexual abuse of children happens between the ages of seven and fifteen. One out of every five small girls will be sexually abused in their lifetime, and one out of every twenty boys. Children are usually molested by people known to and trusted by the family. Most children are not forced into sexual abuse. It happens after a time of preparation through attention, gifts and establishing trust in the child. That is why many children don’t tell their parents when it has happened. They feel confused and ashamed.
Another type of child abuse is without physical contact and consists of exposure to pornography, voyeurism and other inappropriate content. One cannot go to other people’s houses and secure their electronic appliances before your child’s sleep-over visit.
However, should you still feel that you want your child to sleep over, it would be wise to make sure of a few things. First get to know the parents and their child well. Make sure that you are one hundred per cent comfortable. Any uneasiness should be seen as a warning sign.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask whether there is a firearm in the house that is kept out of reach of the children and whether it is kept in a safe.
Make sure that you know who is going to look after the children: the parents, a nanny, perhaps an older brother or sister? Don’t just accept that the parents are going to be around all the time.
Is somebody keeping an eye on internet usage? Make sure that your children are informed about the dangers of the internet.
Who else is going to be there? Will other members of the family be visiting or some of the other children’s friends?
What are the children going to do? You don’t want to find out afterwards that your child watched a movie that you don’t approve of or perhaps was out all evening.
Where will the children be sleeping and who will be sleeping together in that room? Be specific.
If your child already has a cell phone or only uses one for sleeping over, you could have a code phrase. If she calls you and speaks the code phrase, you must go and fetch her immediately.
Also be sure to question your child in a friendly way after she has slept over: did everybody get along? Was there anything that made you feel uneasy?
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