Trusting the parents of your kids' friends??? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 05-21-2010, 11:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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(cross-posted in Ages & Stages - pre-teen & teens)

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?

One woman in a house full of men:  my soul mate:  partners.gif  orfencing.gif... twin sons:lurk.giflurk.gif(HS juniors) ... step-son: guitar.gif (a freshman) ... our little man: kid.gif  (a kindergartener) ... and there is another female in the house, after all:  ourdog2.gif. 
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#2 of 14 Old 05-21-2010, 11:58 PM
 
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I think I would go with what my husband feels. If he's actually seen it happen and has concern about it that would be enough for me.

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#3 of 14 Old 05-22-2010, 12:04 AM
 
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My fifteen year old son and his friends still have sleep overs

If you have a bad feeling, invite HIM to spend the night. See what goes on...it'll make his day probably, especially if he has a sd who is mean.

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#4 of 14 Old 05-22-2010, 12:16 AM
 
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With respect to G's stepdad, I'd pay attention to the negative feelings. Maybe having G to your house overnight would be a good start, and see how things go?

However, with respect to sleepover, I really think times have changed. I didn't know too many guys who did sleepovers at each other's houses very often when I was a teen (and the few who did were usually trying to avoid getting busted for being drunk). But, ds1 and all his friends are sleepover crazy. Someone is always sleeping over at someone's house...ds1 thinks we're unreasonable, because we won't allow sleepovers on school/work nights.

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#5 of 14 Old 05-22-2010, 12:43 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HennyPenny View Post
I think I would go with what my husband feels. If he's actually seen it happen and has concern about it that would be enough for me.
This, absolutely 100%. Always, always go with the gut, especially in this instance where the boys would not only in this man's house, but perhaps unable/unwilling to tell you should something make them uncomfortable...or maybe they could? I dunno, the fact that your husband has seen how this man acts with his step-son first hand, I don't think I could do it.
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#6 of 14 Old 05-22-2010, 02:32 AM
 
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Your post basically listed a hundred reasons why sleepovers at G's house are a really bad idea. Trust your husband's gut, and trust your own gut. It sounds like both of you know there are some real red flags here, and it isn't worth taking a chance on your boys' safety and well being. It *is* weird that these people want your boys to sleep over so badly. The child, sure, but the parents... Give yourself permission to make decisions in your kids' best interest without worrying about how this other family is going to perceive you.
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#7 of 14 Old 05-22-2010, 02:36 AM
 
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I agree. I'd trust my Dh's judgement and not my child spend the night at the other house.

Do your boys want to do a sleep over? Would they like to have the other boy spend the night?

My neurotypical DD loves sleepovers and I'm very mellow about where she goes and whom she has over. She has cell and can call me anytime to come get her. She is sensible and has good judgment. I like most of her friends, and it's really fun for her.

My DD with aspergers (who is 13) does not do sleep overs, nor does she participate in them when her sister has people over. Staying up half the night eating junk food, watching DVDs, playing Wii, and not getting a break from other people or having her own space isn't fun for her. I would be very leary of her spending the night at some one else's house (even if she wanted to and I knew the parents well and really liked them) because she can easily become overwhelmed and shut down. I wouldn't trust her ability to ask for help or call me, or assume that someone else would understand what was happening. She can put on a poker face and just seem quiet, and then get home and freak out for hours or days.

I don't know if is an autism spectrum thing or if it's just her, but having a friend spend the night because the friend wants to and other kids enjoy it would be innappropriate for her.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#8 of 14 Old 05-22-2010, 03:25 AM
 
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Read Protecting the Gift.

You need to trust your dh's bad vibe.

There is a way out, which is that you can invite G over to your house.

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#9 of 14 Old 05-22-2010, 03:36 AM
 
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yup i would trust your dh. he spent time alone with the guy which is huge imo.

i never really liked sleep overs as a kid. i liked my own bed

mama to one '07 and one '09
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#10 of 14 Old 05-22-2010, 02:03 PM
 
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Absolutely, trust your husband. There are just enough little things that add up to a potential big thing, and would make me very uneasy.

Invite G over to your house.

If the parents press you for a reason why your sons can't sleep over at G's house, tell them that there are some other medical issues that are private and leave it at that. If your sons press you for a reason, tell them that your rules are that you get to pick who they sleep over with, and for now you're saying the sleepovers have to be at your house.

And then I'd also say watch for signs of any other issues. G may not be able to speak up for himself if needed, he might need friends to speak up for him. If you have worries, please speak for him.

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#11 of 14 Old 05-22-2010, 02:15 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post
Read Protecting the Gift.

You need to trust your dh's bad vibe.

There is a way out, which is that you can invite G over to your house.
:

I would not do a sleepover in this situation. I also don't know of any teenage boys that do sleepovers. My bro and his friends didn't. My nephew and his teen friends don't.

Trust what your DH is saying, OP. You don't need to justify anything to G's parents or G. You can say there are private medical issues that prevent an overnight stay at another house and leave it at that.

I wonder if G wants someone over at his house because he feels more protected having friends there.

Normal is just a setting on your dryer.
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#12 of 14 Old 05-22-2010, 02:23 PM
 
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Originally Posted by BookGoddess View Post
I wonder if G wants someone over at his house because he feels more protected having friends there.
Without going into any detail, I just want to say that this is definitely possible.

Trust me.

Enough said.

Please invite G over to your house.

Mommy to BigBoy Ian (3-17-05) ; LittleBoy Connor (3-3-07) (DiGeorge/VCFS):; BabyBoy Gavin (10-3-09) x3 AngelBaby (1-7-06)
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#13 of 14 Old 05-22-2010, 02:40 PM
 
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I would probably extend an open invitation to any of my childrens friends who could potentially be suffering abuse. I wouldn't want my children there but i'd want to help their friends as much as possible... the first step to getting something done, is seeing them more and finding out if your suspicions are true.

I'd definitely trust my DH's instincts here.

As an aside, my 16 year old brother still does sleep overs. I don't think sleepovers need to be gender specific only in favor of girls. He and his buddies just don't do make up and gossip.. they play xbox all night.
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#14 of 14 Old 05-22-2010, 08:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow! I really appreciate all these great responses.

It's interesting to me that some teenage boys do have sleepovers (the XBox instead of gossip thing makes sense), so maybe the twins' and G.'s interest in doing this isn't as odd as I thought.

I know the boys aren't as excited about doing a sleepover here, because I'm more restrictive than G.'s parents, about what they can watch and play. From what I hear, nothing is off-limits for G. But certainly, I will invite him! I mean, if they want a sleepover so much, they should be able to tolerate playing Teen games on the Wii instead of Mature games on G.'s PlayStation, right? I'm especially keen to invite him, after considering what 2boyszmama said - which I should have thought of on my own, but didn't! (So, thanks!)

APToddlerMama summed up what a lot of you said - and just what I needed to hear. If indeed we are unfairly judging this guy based on one bad, grouchy weekend he had with his step-son and his perfectly legal choice to take his wife's last name when he married her...then all that's lost are overnights at their house. The kids can still be friends. They can still have overnights here. But if my husband - who is my life partner for a reason, after all - proves right, I can't take back anything that happens to my kids, if I ignore his strong advice. And my own family is more important than potentially offending this couple. That's the bottom line. Thanks for the support!

One woman in a house full of men:  my soul mate:  partners.gif  orfencing.gif... twin sons:lurk.giflurk.gif(HS juniors) ... step-son: guitar.gif (a freshman) ... our little man: kid.gif  (a kindergartener) ... and there is another female in the house, after all:  ourdog2.gif. 
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