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Trusting the parents of your kids' friends'???

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
(cross-posted in Special Needs Parenting)

I have twin sons a month shy of their 15th birthday, although they're only in 7th grade. They were born at 24 weeks and have mild Autism and mild-moderate developmental delays. They attend "regular" school, but most of their friends are other kids who need a Resource teacher, for Autism spectrum or other issues. One of their best friends right now is G., who is in their Resource class, but aside from immaturity and silliness, I'm not clear what his disability is. He and the twins are obnoxious and goofy together, but he strikes me as a basically nice, good kid and I like him.

G. is fixated on having overnights. I'm not opposed to that, per se. I mean, the twins (and, from what I can tell, G.) are on more of a 10-12-year-old maturity level. But the twins are also well into puberty and I feel it's becoming less and less age-appropriate for routine get-togethers with a friend to include spending the night (unless it's something out-of-the-ordinary like going camping, or to somebody's lake house). I enjoyed sleepovers with girlfriends right up through college, but I don't remember male friends having sleepovers with each other much past grade school. Regardless, every single time the boys get together with G., he begs for them to spend the night. (He's an only child, which may factor into it.)

The complication begins with my husband, who has a really bad vibe about G.'s Step-Dad. (G. lives with his Mom and SD.) My husband (who is not the twins' Dad, but has been in their lives since 1st grade) and G.'s SD both chaperoned an overnight camping trip for the class last year. Our 3 boys were in the same cabin, so the 2 men spent plenty of time together. My husband said G.'s SD says really mean, humiliating things to G.- and in front of the other kids. To be clear, my husband's no sensitive, new-age guy. He enjoys exchanging clever, lighthearted insults with male friends and with our boys. He tells the boys things like "walk it off" and "be tough". So, for him to be disturbed by how this other guy talked to his kid is significant, to me. I don't think he just misinterpreted something. According to the twins, G. also describes his SD as mean. I have not personally witnessed this. In fact, I've spent a fair amount of time around G.'s Mom and SD and the more I'm around them, the more I like them!

But it's unusual (perhaps unprecedented) for my husband to have such a negative impression of another parent. And it's more than the mean talk. He thinks G.'s SD is a bully, who feels bigger by picking on a kid with social disadvantages (G. is not only immature, but chubby). My husband's concerned our developmentally-delayed twins would make easy targets - and could be convinced not to tell anyone. He's also concerned such a person might not stop with verbal bullying, if you know what I mean.

Also, it turns out that after meeting his current wife and step-son, this guy fairly quickly dumped his previous life, across the country, and moved here to marry her. He took her maiden name. Which is progressive and all, but it also means no one here (except his wife, I assume) knows what his name was, before. I am not in the habit of looking up the parents of my kids' friends, to see if they have records of child abuse... but even if one wanted to, it'd be impossible, with this guy.

So, what do you think? Thanks to the constant pressure from G. and his parents, my twins are really keyed up about having overnights with him and it's getting more and more awkward, saying no repeatedly. But honestly, the more they press the issue - the parents, I mean - the more I wonder, "Why is it such a big deal to you that my kids sleep at your house, instead of just coming over for a while?"

In my shoes, would you follow your own instincts (I don't really have bad vibes about the SD), or would you respect your husband's concerns and think better safe than sorry? Am I overprotective?
post #2 of 9
I would go with your husband...perhaps solely because if I had a strong reaction about something like this, I for sure would want my partner to stand with me on it.

If this boy remains in your sons' lives, there will be more time to feel out the stepfather and decide how you feel about future overnight trips to their home. Also, the boys I knew growing up definitely had sleepovers through high school, they just would call it "crashing out" at each others houses instead of slumber parties!

I struggle with having my daughter (almost 11 y.o.) go to sleepovers when I am not familiar with the parents, especially the fathers. I do not think it is being over protective, I think it would be worse if you didn't question safety and the appropriateness of caregivers. My daughter only goes on sleepovers with families that I have met the parents of a few times...I have yet to get a bad vibe from anyone yet, thankfully.
post #3 of 9
But it's unusual (perhaps unprecedented) for my husband to have such a negative impression of another parent.

I would definitely say "no". Especially based upon your above comment. Why do they keep pressing the issue? I'd just keep answering "no".

I'd trust my DH's instincts, most especially since he spent a good amount of time with the guy and doesn't trust him. It's not worth it.
post #4 of 9
I don't have teenagers (or kids yet at all), but I would definitely trust your gut, and not let your boys spend the night there. That said, there's no reason, if your boys and G. really want to have a sleepover, you can't/shouldn't invite him to sleepover at your house. Maybe the pressure to have a sleepover at G.'s house if they sometimes get to have sleepovers at your house? At the very least the pressure from your boy's might deminish, since they get to have sleepovers.
post #5 of 9
I say to trust your gut when it comes to a someone else's creepy parent.

However, I have teenaged boys, and they have sleepovers all the time. Mostly male friends, but sometimes female friends and sometimes co-ed. I guess it might be different in that 99% of their friends are the kids of my friends, but still....it never occurred to me that it would be weird for boys to have sleepovers. They stay up half the night talking, consuming junk food, and playing video games. :::
post #6 of 9
I agree trust your guts and your dh's.

I have 15 year old son. Their are "sleep overs" if that is what you want to call them. More like stay up all flipping night playing video games.
post #7 of 9
My older son is a month shy of 14 and finishing 8th grade and still has sleepovers. How else can you watch movies with a buddy until 2am ? I would invite G to your house. Maybe use the excuse that since there are 2 of them you don't want to overwhelm, they sleep walk, weird bed time routines, your dh prefers it, whatever............
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks, everybody. It's good to know other boys their age are having sleepovers, so it's not that odd that they want to so much. The idea that they stay up playing video games instead of gossiping like girls makes sense.

As several of you said, though, I do need to trust my husband's instincts about this. I can't go back and undo it, if it turns out he's right and something happens. And, as bejeweled pointed out, it's not like my husband says these things about every guy he just doesn't like. I know he has the kids' best interests at heart. So, they can do sleepovers here!
post #9 of 9

Originally Posted by Jeannine View Post
So, they can do sleepovers here!
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