Some parents have decided it’s time to cancel sleepovers. In this clip, Pat and Stu discuss all the reasons why sending your kid away for the night contains too many risks for some families. But, does a lack of risk in children’s lives actually HARM their development into able and free-thinking adults…?
Below is a rush transcript that may contain errors
PAT: There's an interesting situation, I would like to know your thoughts on this, Stu. Because you still have young kids. My kids are grown now. So they don't do a lot of sleepovers. But I'm guessing that you -- yeah. They don't.
As adults, they don't sleep over friends' houses that often. It's weird.
But there is a thing apparently now, where a lot of parents are kind of giving second thoughts to sleepovers and not allowing them. For any number of reasons, one of which, I guess they're afraid of abuse.
STU: Is that --
PAT: I think that's one of the reasons. Because do you ever know for sure what's going on in somebody else's house?
STU: No. You never know for sure. But, again, this ties into the fact that despite the world being aimed statistically a much safer place from crime.
PAT: Then it was when we were young. Yeah. That's true.
STU: You know, this is -- Lenore Skenazy talks about this a lot, where we kind of put this bubble wrap around our kids. I'm totally guilty of this at some level.
PAT: Me too.
STU: Where my kids are young. And I remember when I was their age, you know, I would just wander out. The summer, my mom would go to work, and I would walk to my friends house, a mile away. And we would hang out and play all day. You know, this typical story, you come back when it gets dark. And maybe have dinner.
And people kind of new around the neighborhood. And people kind of kept an eye on you, a little bit.
But basically, we did whatever we wanted, which was most of the time eating Hostess products and playing Wiffle Ball.
You came back, and that was it. My kids don't do that. I'm not letting my kid walk around for a mile by himself with his friends. I don't do that at all.
STU: I know. Because we think this way a lot. I'm a guy who likes numbers. I can look at them and say, hey. I know intellectually, this viewpoint makes no sense. I know it.
I live in a safe area. We are in a low crime period. While we've seen it tick up. The 2020 period was a little bit different.
PAT: Murder rate has gone up in some cities.
STU: There are some problems. Obviously, some drug abuse issues have risen over the years. But generally speaking, we are in a low crime period.
We are -- the most profound example of this, is I was more than double -- or twice as likely to be killed, in a mass shooting, at my school, when I was a kid.
PAT: Than kids are now?
STU: Than kids are now.
PAT: It's double?
STU: And that blows people's minds. It's more than double.
PAT: Oh, wow. Really?
STU: When I was in high school, it was in the '90s. And crime rates reason higher. And the difference between mass shootings. School shootings, I should say, back then and now, is what we see now, are very disturbed kids who get guns and try to essentially out-- take the leader board on their video game. Right?
They come in, and they decide, they're going to try to kill as many people as possible.
So we see mass shootings. What we saw in the '90s, were two or three people being shot in a fight.
We saw people get gangs, bring guns to school. You know, like -- but it wasn't as much -- it wasn't 20 or 30 people dying. But people were shot, at school, all the time, back in the '90s. It just wasn't noticed as much. And I find it hard to believe, that a mom in the '90s, who loses their kid. Because one person is shot at school. Feels better about it, than someone today, who loses their kid in a mass shooting. But what this also means is more schools go without any shootings at all. Far more schools, when you look at the percentage of schools, go without mass shootings, because when we do see a shooting, it's usually one of these larger spectacle shootings. People looking for attention. And look, that's a whole different problem hard to solve.
But the bottom line is, when you send your kids to school, in today's era, they're much more likely to survive and not be shot.
PAT: It's safe.
Yeah, and they've taken a lot of precautions too, the schools. They're usually locked. It's usually much, much harder to get in.
STU: Yeah, that wasn't the case back in the day.
PAT: It used to be, you just walked into a school, if you needed to give a note to your child. Or bring them something that they needed medication, or whatever.
And you were not stopped or asked, or frisked or --
STU: No. No security guards.
PAT: No security at all. It's a much different situation now. So --
STU: If there was a fight that broke out in a school, the gym teachers are coming down the hallway to help break that it up. That's how it worked. That's not how it works now.
STU: So it is -- in some ways, it's so much better. And the sleepover thing I think is part of this.
We hear these terrible stories, and they do happen.
But generally speaking, these rates are a lot lower than they used to be. And that's positive.
STU: We don't need to bubble wrap our kids as much as we need to.
PAT: One of the concerns, apparently, in addition to the abuse. If you don't know the parents really well. And do you really know anyone well enough to trust your kids to be there over night?
I don't know. Because you just never know.
STU: It's so funny. We just talked about this. And it's not logical. It's not logical.
PAT: It's not. It's not. But here's how illogical I am.
My daughter -- my youngest daughter was 16. So this was a few years ago, because she's 22 now. When she was 16. She wanted to walk down -- my wife wasn't home. So she came to me and said, I'm going down to the pond. We have a pond like half a block from the house, she just wanted to go down there and hang out.
I don't know. Throw rocks, or whatever she was going to do with the pond. I'm like no. No, you can't.
STU: Wait. Wait.
Sixteen. She couldn't go to the pond, a half a block away?
Half a block away.
No, I don't want you at the pond. Because who knows?
PAT: So I'm illogical that way.
STU: I am too.
PAT: And I'm not sure why. Because logically, I do know that the crime rate is much lower. And what are the chances of being kidnapped or whatever, at 16? It's low. Really, really low.
STU: Very low. Very low. I think part of this is -- I can only speak for myself here. Part of it is I just don't want to be the one who approves the thing that goes wrong. It's almost selfish in a way. I know I would beat myself up until the end of time if I was like, yeah, sure, go down to the pond, and God forbid, something terrible happens. And so you just decide, no. Just eliminate every bit of risk from their lives. That's not how to build, you know, a healthy adult. Right?
PAT: It's not.
STU: I think we're seeing the effects of that. So I do try. When I realize this instinct in myself, I try to cure it. My kids do sleepovers.
PAT: They do?
STU: They do. However, I've noticed, there is their hesitance among parents now.
You know, I'm not in the parents group as much as my wife. But occasionally she talks to me about this, when she's talking to one of her friends. They don't really like to do sleepovers with their kids. Again, these are people that are friends.
And, you know, a lot of times, that they know. And I would think trust. But there is -- there is a hesitance. And I just -- I just think we jump to the worst-case scenario, a lot.
PAT: Yeah. We do. And according to this article, it's pretty prevalent now, where parents say no to sleepovers like this.
Yeah, they're worried about -- not only are they worried about crime. But they're worried about whether or not people have guns in their home, and whether they're locked away safe or whatever. So there's a gun fear.
STU: So let's say I'm a liberal. And my kid wants to sleep over at Pat Gray's house. Pat Gray probably has them all over the place.
PAT: I used to, of course. Yes. I leave them out on the kitchen counter. Yeah. AR-15s out there. A couple of 9 millimeters.
STU: Just hang out.
If you about it to the dog toy basket. There's an AR-15. And I don't want my kid in that environment. That's kind of the stuff you're talking about?
What else? Are there any other concerns?
PAT: COVID exposure.
STU: So I'm a COVID zero guy. I'm wearing a mask. Three masks to the gym.
PAT: Yep. I'm coming home. And I don't want my kid -- because you, as an evil conservative.
PAT: Not only do I have guns. I have the COVID virus, that's in petri dishes all over the house. All over the house. And they spill it a lot of the time.
STU: Instead of salt, you're sprinkling on COVID.
PAT: Yes. Also, are there alcohol or drugs in the home?
STU: Okay. Because, I mean, that's -- there's a -- some people have alcohol in their house.
Some people have it, and make sure that it's protected from their kids. And others, might just have an open liquor cabinet.
PAT: Might, yeah.
STU: I remember this back in the day. There were kids, that their parents would drink. Drank alcohol.
And they would -- they would have their ways of drinking some while the parents were at work. And filling the bottle with water. And trying to cover it. And like that stuff happened. That was a real thing.
PAT: Yep. What about older siblings? Is that a consideration? Did they have older siblings, where something could happen?
STU: Yeah, right. I could see that. Oh, my God. I'm never letting my kids go anywhere. Why are you scaring me like this?
Again, I think there are appropriate -- you have to think about these things as a parent. I think one of the big things is, do you trust that other parent? Is the parent going to be home?
PAT: Can they keep you safe?
STU: Are they going to make sure that things don't go awry in the middle of the night? You know, you don't want your kids sneaking out and vandalizing the neighborhood, right?
You want to make sure that they actually stay in the house. Maybe -- especially when they're younger. Do they actually go to bed at a decent hour?
We've had our kids sleep over their friend's houses a couple times, and they come back. And like, you said up until 2:00 a.m. I can tell. Because you're a different person today, and you look like you went on a bender for six weeks.
So you have to get that sense of not every parent has the same standards as you. You know, my kid, they will go to bed, basically at the same time every night. It's not going to be too late.
PAT: And speaking of that, some parents apparently, have come to a compromise, where you can stay there until, you know, late. Like 10:00. Or midnight.
STU: Yeah. And then go pick them up.
PAT: Yeah. They call that a halfover.
STU: A halfover.
PAT: Or a lateover. Stupid. Stupid.
STU: We are a weird group of people, aren't we?
PAT: Oh, man. It's amazing.
But I just find it interesting, because apparently a lot of people have just decided, it's not worth it. And so they just say no. Just because they don't want to mess with any of the risk. Who knows what could happen? Maybe nothing.
But I'm not going to take the chance. Which kind of makes sense to me. Being the -- probably oversensitive parent to those kinds of things as I am. So...