Dad Discrimination? Forbidding a Sleepover When Only Dad is Home

Would you let this man babysit your child? If your answer is no, you're missing out on a very qualified caregiver.

It’s a hot topic on the internet today.

Lisa Belkin over at the Huffington Post calls it Dadophobia.  I call it what it is:  Dad Descrimination.

What happened was this:  someone asked a question in the advice column over on  A mom was uncomfortable letting her daughter have a sleepover at the home of a divorced father.  The advice given by Tina Paone, Ph.D., a therapist, mother of three, and founder of Counseling Center at Heritage, in Pennsylvania: “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.'”

WHAT?  That’s what a woman with a Ph.D. has to say?

In the words of the great Joey Lawrence:  WHOA.

Okay, so maybe the advice is solid if you aren’t going to call the woman out for discriminating against dads.  Dr. Paone advised the woman of a polite way to back out of the sleepover, but, seriously?  The good doctor couldn’t mention that men are just as capable of caregivers as women before dispensing that other bit of advice?  Belkin notes that Matt Schneider of the NYC Dads Group, feels the same way as I do.  In fact, he rewrote the question and answer in a way that might give you a little perspective:

You’ve accepted a sleepover invite for your son, not realizing that the family is Jewish. You’re not OK with it. What to do?

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 Jew supervising an overnighter,’ ” says Morris, a PhD., play therapist, mother of three, and founder of Counseling Center at Liberty, in Columbiaville, NH. 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.

Schneider nailed it.  Not all men are child molesting creepazoids.  Many men, including my husband and several fellows in our group of friends, are excellent caregivers.  And hey.  Maybe mom is a pill-popping drunk who passes out by nine.  Who’s to say?  Point is, you should be familiar with everyone in a home at which you’d be willing to let your daughter sleep and not make a snap judgment based on gender.

Jezebel’s writer Anna North says it best:  ““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.”

Word to your mama. Word to all mamas.


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