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Dads: They Are All Sleepover Child Molesters

By mikeadamick |

At least that’s the message this helpful little “advice” column seems to send.

Someone wrote in to with a question: She planned a sleep over for her daughter but it turned out that the other kid’s divorced dad will be on duty. What to do?

This was the answer:

The Solution: “Call and say ‘I’m sorry, and this is about me and not you, but I just don’t feel comfortable with a man supervising an overnighter,’ ” says Paone. Offer to host the girls at your place instead, if you can, or ask to turn the sleepover into a “late-over,” where your daughter stays only till bedtime. In the future, always ask who’ll be on duty before you say yes to a sleepover.

I was going to get all knee-jerky and point out the ridiculousness and fear-mongering of thinking that all dads are out to molest kids given half a chance, but it occurred to me that the answer wasn’t actually all that bad … for someone who actually does have a problem with it.

But it begs a larger question: Why is there a problem in the first place? This is ostensibly your child’s friend’s dad. Do you think he’s not a molester in the day when the kid is over for play dates?

I like the way writer Anna North summed it up:

“If it’s because you think he’s a bad parent — or you know he’s a registered sex offender — then fair enough. But assuming that all dads, when left to their own devices, are potential pedophiles is a pretty depressing way to raise a kid.”


It seems better to talk about safety and touching and what’s appropriate and what’s not, rather than instilling the idea that all men are out to molest kids. How would you deal with this?

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About mikeadamick



As the “Daddy Issues” columnist for and a prime mover at “The Poop,” the parenting blog of the San Francisco Chronicle, Mike Adamick is no stranger to writing about modern fatherhood with wit and wisdom. He blogs at Cry It Out! Read bio and latest posts → Read mikeadamick's latest posts →

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10 thoughts on “Dads: They Are All Sleepover Child Molesters

  1. Annika says:

    For me it wouldn’t be about the gender of the parent on duty, but how well I know them. If I only know my kid’s friend and the friend’s (divorced) mom, but have only briefly glimpsed the dad picking-up/dropping off, then I’d say no sleepover. But I’d say the same thing if I knew the dad and not the mom.

    Of course, I realize even people you know could be child molesters, but it’s not a gender thing.

  2. Samantha Vanlandingham says:

    I was raised by a single father & just can’t believe people would assume that all men are molesters. Why can’t children of single (divorced or widower) fathers still have as normal a childhood as possible? If a oarent has reason to BELIEVE the man would harm their child, thie child should never be left with this person. Stop assuming every person is out to get you or your child. Also people need to realize that women can do just as much harm to a child as a man so the best thing is to know who your child will be staying with no matter if it’s a man or woman!!!

  3. Tammy says:

    Men aren’t the only people on sex offender lists. There are females too.

  4. Karen says:

    Since I wouldn’t even leave my daughter alone with my own father, I’d have to agree with Paone.

  5. Geneva says:

    I would say not judge the gender, but to get to know the parent instead. Also educate your children on what is inappropriate and what they should do if an adult tries to touch them wrong or do something wrong.My best friend in middle school and high school lived with her divorced dad. I spent the night over there several times and he was a good person and wasn’t a molester. My mom’s rule was always talk to the parent’s first and if you get some sort of weird vibe do not allow the child to sleep over there. Sadly anyone can be a molester so instead of assuming a single dad is possibly a perv, try to educate your children and know who they are with. Set up a meeting of sorts with the parent and maybe as a test run only allow your child to do short daytime visits until you are more comfortable with the idea of a sleep over.

  6. Mindy says:

    We are frustrated right now because our 5 year old kindergartener keeps get sleepover party invitations from families we don’t know. We are not comfortable with this, so she keeps getting disappointed. She has had one on one sleepovers, but with families we know very well. I think it’s important to set boundaries, know the family and home, and trust your instincts. I wouldn’t blanket say no to this situation you are discussing, but you should always feel out the situation for your family and do what feels right, even if it might offend someone.

  7. Lisa says:

    Oh my God, the person who wrote that solution has serious problems. What a perverted mind!

  8. Victoria says:

    In my family alone several girls have been molested or otherwise abused by family members, and I’m not talking about the side of the family or the same offender. Abuse usually comes from family, friends or people you know. You may think it’s a sad way to raise a child but whilst other moms hover over their kids at the playground because their afraid of a knee scrape I’m afraid of the terrors adults can do to a child. You’re right in one regard, I don’t trust women either, those stories I’ve heard too. I’d rather have my kids friends come to our house. I NEVER allow my sons to sleep anywhere else but home or with my mom or sister. Let’s place abuse aside, adults behave differently towards your child when you’re there, no one knows the deep dark secrets people keep. Many people marry psychos and pedophiles and never even realize it! Statistics don’t lie, abuse is wide-spread and it’s a REAL fear. Given that children usually keep abuse hidden because of fear or shame, I’d rather not risk my children’s mental health. There are so many ways for them to be ‘free’ and have a great childhood sleepovers aren’t a must to have a happy child but not having them is a sure fire way to avoid the risks involved

  9. Sarah says:

    I was shocked when I read their response as well and read it to my husband so we could talk about how absurd this is. I was thinking the woman was more questioning a dad’s competence in taking care of a little girl but clearly he’s raising her daughters girlfriend! I know a lot of single dads who are far more competent and I would trust with my daughter over their moms!

    This was seriously bizarre and sad that this type of offensive prejudiced thinking was supported.

    I like the response above….the situation should e evaluated the same as any other home you would sen your child to.

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