Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Sleepovers sound fun, but they can be challenging for parents. Perri Klass, author, pediatrician and contributor to the New York Times Science Times, discusses the hurdles.

Listeners, what are your tips and tricks for a successful sleepover?


Dr. Perri Klass

Comments [27]

YZ from Brooklyn


What is so "extreme" about the guy's viewpoint? Kids are taught to accept and pardon all sorts of outrageous extremist beliefs in the world, and in fact there is nothing extreme about atheism except of course for its being taboo among religious Americans.

Kids are naturally accepting of ideas. You don't have to worry about them resisting indoctrination, at least not until they're told they have to fight for the beliefs that were assigned to them by their parents, the way radical Muslims, evangelical Christians, and Israeli Jews are. And at that point they either succumb to the indoctrination or they realize that they weren't believers when they were born and they never really became believers.

At any rate, the children of "outed" atheist parents are underrepresented, and they're lucky because they get to find out the easy way that their religious friends have all been systematically lied to by their parents. Does this mean they will be rude and shouldn't be allowed to sleep over? I don't think so.

Feb. 08 2011 12:40 PM
Samantha from Sunny Riverdale

I hope that last call was a prank as one commenter suggested. If not, though, it seems that the family hosting his children for a sleepover, however religious they are, is much more open-minded and tolerant than this guy is. I assume they are aware of his extreme viewpoint and yet still choose to allow their children to play with his. Sheesh! As your guest said, if his kids don't learn to be accepting of other ways of living apart from the one their father espouses, they won't have many more sleepovers.

Feb. 08 2011 12:09 PM

Crazy! If parents accept their child to welcome a sleep over, rules still apply. There must be a curfew, co-jointly determined with the children. Otherwise, there is the couch in the living room. The parents of the go-away child must also understand that they are still responsible for their kid: if the kid does not get along, his/her parents are picking him/her at the ready!
We never had problems with any sleep over in our home, from one to... 12 kids!

Feb. 08 2011 12:05 PM
RBC from FiDi

Sleepovers are not a problem, but they shouldn't be excessive. I personally had only a handful over time. But sleepovers these days aren't needed anymore with the advent of cell phones, text messaging and chat rooms

Feb. 08 2011 12:05 PM
Annah from bedford, NY

I'll never forget being 12 years old and allowed to go to an exciting sleepover with my best friend and her mom at a hotel. It turned out to be a Born Again Christian event of some sort and I found myself the only kid still sitting in the audience because the minister was calling up kids who were ready to turn their lives over to Jesus Christ or go to hell. My friend, used to this, went up to the podium and I was left all alone, completely terrified. The first chance I got I escaped to the hallway to call my agnostic hippie father and share what was happening, terrified that, because I was compelled to NOT go up to the podium that I was going to hell (whatever that meant, I really had no idea). He proceeded to ream my best friends mother out for allowing such a thing to happen and drove an hour to come and get me. I never slept over their house again and have not yet become a born again Christian.

Feb. 08 2011 12:04 PM
margot jones from sleepovers

As a child in a small CT town, sleepovers were wonderful for all the positive reasons your listeners stated. I'd like to add that it was our custom that if you spent Saturday night at a friends house, on Sunday morning you went to the host's church. In this way I learned about many different Christian religions first hand. With Jewish friends, if the overnight was on a Friday-Saturday there often was a candle lighting at dinner and once, a trip to the next town to attend a synagogue.

Feb. 08 2011 12:04 PM
Michele from Maplewood, NJ

While I'm a big fan of sleepovers for my only daughter (now 11), it irks me that other parents can't get the kids to actually sleep. The rule here is to lay out the evening's expectations for the kids, allow a slightly later bedtime than usual (maybe 15-30 minutes) and then do the bedtime ritual we typically do in our house. I then ask the kids to tell each other the "last things" they have to say for the day and then it's quiet and lights out. It's rarely a problem--it even works for birthday sleepovers. Yet, my daughter often comes home sleep deprived from "sleeping" at the homes of her friends...

Feb. 08 2011 12:03 PM
YZ from Brooklyn


why did it have to be a prank? what's so surprising about some parents shielding their kids from the religious indoctrination that other children are bombarded with from day one? NOBODY is born a believer, these parents simply decided not to start.

I'm with Robin, I found his comments refreshing.

Feb. 08 2011 12:02 PM
Anita from NJ

I feel that in the world of two parents working, it gives less time to spend with your children. So there is very little time to influence your values on your kids. With sleepover (or with any other too much social interaction), there is a chance of getting influence by the values, you do not appreciate. Hence I would prefer not to send my children for sleepover. In fact, if you look at the STATS, you will see that young kids from less social interaction are more achiever.
Don’t take me wrong, little social interaction is required, but make it minimum.

Feb. 08 2011 11:59 AM
Robin from NYC

that guy max is awesome. refreshing to hear a viewpoint like that on the radio.

Feb. 08 2011 11:58 AM
MP from Brooklyn

That last call HAD to be a prank!

Feb. 08 2011 11:58 AM
brenda from bronx

what did the tiger mom have against sleepovers?

Feb. 08 2011 11:58 AM
Alison from Bergen County

Sleepovers for my daughters were fine when they were little. Once they entered high school I would not allow sleepovers anymore. I wanted to be certain that a sleepover was not an excuse for a drinking party, and too many of their friends live in houses so big I don't think the family members even see each other. I am awake when my high school kids come home and they get a hug every night. I think I am an otherwise fairly permissive mother... but that's not their opinion.

Feb. 08 2011 11:58 AM

If a sleepover occurred on a Sat evening to Sunday, the only way I could go was if I went to Church the next day.

All of my friends were Catholic at that time, so that meant dragging all of them to Church with me so that I could go to the sleepover.

Feb. 08 2011 11:57 AM
Rose from Manhattan

When I was a kid, my dad didn't like to let me sleep over at my friend's houses. He's not from the US and he didn't understand why I would need to do such a thing. "Isn't this house good enough for you?" he'd ask incredulously. Thankfully, my mom, who did grow up here, understood my enthusiasm for the activity and advocated for sleepover priveledges, so I did get to have lots of fun sleeping out at other girls houses and having them over to mine.

Feb. 08 2011 11:57 AM
dboy from nyc

"Sleepover nightmares", isn't that redundant??? Sleepovers guarantee that your entire weekend will be destroyed. The sleep deprived fall out is the nightmare. Unfortunately, it's a great social activity for a kid. One gets to experience how other people and cultures live.

Amy Chua; Narcissism personified - who cares???

Feb. 08 2011 11:56 AM
CL from New York

This show is just one "journalist" shy of being a Monty Python skit. And Perri Klass's "discussion of the hurdles" merely anchors the tone in inanity. This segment deserves some sort of award for best waste of radio airtime.

Feb. 08 2011 11:54 AM
Amala from Washington Heights

In the suburbs of Louisville, KY during the early 70's, sleepovers were not happening. In fact, they were old fashioned at the time - like a holdover from the 50's. But as I grew older, I was allowed to stay over at a friend's home sometimes - starting with a nearby neighbor's home. They had two girls about my age; the older one, a teen, still wet her bed. Nobody dared to tease her about that but it was very embarrassing and I remember declining invites because it was plain uncomfortable!

Feb. 08 2011 11:54 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

What about boys vs girls in regard to sleep overs? Isn't this mostly a girl's ritual?

Feb. 08 2011 11:53 AM
Linda from Morristown, NJ

My 12-year old is an only child, and I've found the sleepover to be a wonderful way for him to experience something akin to what all siblings get to experience. I think it helps his socialization and adds a dimension to his life he doesn't otherwise have. This Saturday is his 12th birthday, and nine boys will be sleeping over. This is my fourth and last year for it, but it's always gone just fine. Organized games is the key...

Feb. 08 2011 11:52 AM
Steven from new york city

I love sleepovers because my kids love them. However, the one question I will always ask of the other parents before my children sleep over at other kid's homes is "Do you keep or own a gun?" If the answer is yes, then my answer to my kids is no.

Feb. 08 2011 11:51 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

My ex let one of my boys have too many sleepovers in my opinion. She allowed them to stay up too late and it disrupted his sleep patterns terribly for the entire week, and it had its effects on his school.

Feb. 08 2011 11:50 AM
MP from Brooklyn

Do we really need advice from pediatricians on sleepovers? And do we really need to invoke Amy Chua's name yet AGAIN? Enough already.

Feb. 08 2011 11:49 AM
yourgo from Astoria

Being so strict with children limits their sense of freedom and restricts their creativity. Thats why Americans create and design, and the Chinese just produce.

Feb. 08 2011 11:48 AM
YZ from Brooklyn

This is a tender spot for me...

A few years ago my grandfather kidnapped my little brother from my father's home in London while my little brother was visiting the States, and held him hostage in my grandparents' home in Cleveland.

My grandfather cited among his reasons for kidnapping my brother, suspicions that he was having co-ed sleepovers with friends, and possibly experimenting with homosexual sex. My little brother was 13 at the time.

As a result I couldn't be more supportive of kids having sleepovers, and more supportive of them experimenting with sex (and drugs) in a safe environment.

Feb. 08 2011 11:47 AM
art525 from Park Slope

Wow Brian, scintillating topic.

Feb. 08 2011 11:45 AM

I can't wait for this discussion! Sleepovers have begun for my 8 year old's friends, and she's ready, but I'm not.

The new trend is to have an "almost" sleepover, where all guests wear PJs and bring a sleeping bag, but go home at bedtime, while a select few are invited to stay for the REAL sleepover.

Feb. 08 2011 11:17 AM

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