I’m an incredibly paranoid mom. All of the pedophile stories, school shootings and kidnappings that are being reported on the news on a nearly daily basis have my nerves on edge. I only have one child, and it’s my mission in life to protect her from all the crazies out there.
It’s been easy to keep my little one safe up to this point. I simply take her everywhere with me and guard her like a hawk. But now that she’s in elementary school it’s harder. She’s a very social kid, and at least once a week she comes home requesting a playdate with a friend. I have no problems with playdates – they are a fabulous way for kids to have fun. As long as they are at my house, not theirs!
I will happily provide the entertainment at my house, bake the cookies and supervise the playdate. Heck! I’ll even come up with some fun crafts to keep the kiddies occupied for hours. It’s all good, as long as the playing happens at my place.
The reason is simple. I have absolutely no idea what is going on at her classmate’s homes. I have no way of knowing if there’s a creepy, dirty old uncle that lives with them or if their parents secretly sell drugs from the back of their house. Maybe they run a porn shop in their basement. Okay –it may sound laughable, but the reality is I just don’t know!
So when my little girl gets that inevitable invitation to play, I always arrange for it to be at my place. Or I suggest a public, neutral place where I can hang out and observe. Playdate at the public park? Fabulous! Hang out at Chuck E. Cheese’s? Great! Your back yard? No, I don’t think so. Slumber party at your place?? Um, hold on while I do a background check on you, your parents and your grandparents.
Don’t get me wrong. I have some very close girlfriends and family members who also have children. I know them well and I trust them. My daughter is free to play at their house with their kids any day of the week. But that’s because we’ve built that trust overtime.
My little girl is so precious to me. Much too precious to entrust her to strangers all in the name of fun.
Am I wrong? Do you let your kids go on playdates without your supervision?
Words: Yolanda Darville
Yolanda Darville is a mom, writer, and blogger focusing on philanthropy and empowering women. Learn more about her on her blog www.bahamamommyinc.com.