My friends think I'm too overprotective.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-12-1998
My friends think I'm too overprotective.
Thu, 06-17-2004 - 9:21am
I've always been really protective of the kids. My oldest ds (10.5) has just started being able to ride his bike throughout the neighborhood to go to friend's houses. He is not allowed to just roam the neighborhood yet. The ironic thing is I sure was doing that when I was 10. All over the neighborhood. Mom hadn't a clue where we were riding.

I have started letting him go swim at the pool by himself, but I do go over very shortly. I'm still not comfortable with him over there for any length of time, even with the lifeguards.

ONe thing my friend's are teasing me about is overnight camp. My kids go to a day camp in the summer and next week, they are taking the 4th/5th graders to Wisconsin to a "real camp" with other groups. The counselors are high school/college kids. I don't know these kids at all. I don't know the camp. I don't know the facilities. I don't know what they do all day. Do they go canoing? Who is watching the kids to make sure they are safe. These seem to be the places that you are just asking for child molestation. I'm just not comfortable with it and I'm one of only 2 moms that aren't letting their kids go for the 2nd time this year. DS doesn't like it. My friends are saying that he'll probably just go wild when he's older because I'm controlling. What do you think? When is a good time to let them go to camps out of state.

I remember reading about the incident in NJ (?) last fall about the football camp where 13/14 year old boys were molested and sodomized by the 16/17 year old counselors in their cabins!!! And they were 13 and 14. Do you remember reading that?

Anyway, any thoughts or opinions?



iVillage Member
Registered: 06-08-2004
Thu, 06-17-2004 - 11:36am

I had not heard about the NJ incident, I'll have to check into that one.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Thu, 06-17-2004 - 11:58am
Why don't you ask the camp all the questions you aksed here? Get all the details from the camp as to who, what, where, why and if you can visit the facilities. How old are the counselors, what is their training. There must be a adult director of the camp and I am sure they can give you tons of details if you are persistant and ask. I do think it's reasonable to send 10 year old who wants to go to overnight camp. How far away is this camp. Is is close enough you could pick him up if there was a problem. I think distance rather than being in one state or another is more of an issues.

I am sending my DD (9 1/2) to Girl Scout overnight camp for the second year in a row. Now admitidly this is girl scout camp and all the counselors are young woman rather than men and it does make a difference. But honestly molestation is these situations is EXTREMLY rare. Molestation can happen just as readly at daycamp as in overnight camp. If that is your big worry then relax it's extremly unlikely. You can make sure to teach your son about what to do and how to react. Millions of kids go away to sleepover camp every summer and most of them come how with at most bug bites and a few bruises.

I am definatly of the opinion that we (as parents) are being more overprotective of our children and it's not always for the best. We are much more parnaoid about situations that have always happened but that are more in the news. My main concern of a camp would be that it's counselors are properly trained in CPR, FirstAide, and are certified Lifeguards. An accident in the water would be my main worry.

P.S. I am a lurker here... will probably be joining this board a bit early. My DD is 9 1/2.. 10 in the fall soon to be in 5th grade at a year-round school.

Sara & Tim
Diana (Sara 9 yrs, Timothy 5 yrs)

Sara, IVTimothy
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-08-2004
Thu, 06-17-2004 - 12:44pm

Hi Diana,

Welcome to the board and glad you decided to delurk!!

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-12-1998
Thu, 06-17-2004 - 1:24pm
Thank you both for your replies. I live in Indiana and the camp is in Wisconsin. You are correct that molestation can happen just as easily in daycamp. However, the feeling that if it happened and he was so far away from me for 3 nights in unnerving. I do agree with you that these things happen rarely. That is why I am so concerned about my paranoia to protect him.

I'm like Sherrie in this case. I try to minimize anything that can possibly happen. I know I can't always protect him, so I try to control what I can protect him from if it is in my power. Does that make sense?

I also am afraid of water tragedies. I know that I am going to have to let him do this at some point. I think it may be next year, although I won't feel any differently. He has asked me about it several times this year...why???? Even his unit head teases me, "we'll have to get your mom to let you go!". It's a moot point this year. It's next week and he has basefull championship playoffs. Next month I'm taking my vacation week that week.

Thank you for your candid response. I do appreciate it and did take it to heart. I do wish I were a bit more relaxed. I always think about the worst that could happen that control everything so that it doesn't happen LOL!


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-2003
Thu, 06-17-2004 - 3:20pm

This is my story. Last year, we decided to switch churches and go to a new one

(huge Baptist church near our home). The first week we were there, there was a flyer for church camp in Ny ( we live in VA). DD who was 9 at the time REALLY wanted to go. So, on a leap of faith, I told her she could. I had known the children's minister and his wife for only a few months,( the whole family went) and had only met the parents that were going a handful of times, so you can bet I was a bit nervous ( ok VERY nervous lol).

Dd had a blast and is going back again this year. Mind you, this was a church camp, the counselors were all college students doing this for mission work ( the kids are screened by their respective churches). And as I said, we had parents from the church going, and the children's minister and his wife.

Asking about the camp is a really good idea. It turns out that when I told my family where she was going, a cousin of mine called. She had taken a group of students to work as counselors there, and told dd all the things she would do there. It made me feel a lot better.

Also, my kids don't roam the neighborhood either. They are allowed to go down the street ( about 10 houses) to see one of my other dd's friends from K.

Avatar for cl_janetlh
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Thu, 06-17-2004 - 9:07pm

I don't think you're necessarily being overprotective, but I do think you need more information and the answers to your questions. I'm a strong believer in the overnight camp experience for kids, but I also believe you have to be very careful of where you send your kids! If your instincts are telling you this isn't right for your kids, then it's the right decision for this year.

Sam went to overnight camp for 2 weeks for the first time last summer, when he was 11. Rachel (also 11),


Jewish Family Life

Community Leader
Registered: 12-16-2003
Fri, 06-18-2004 - 7:52am
My kids do go away to camp. They love it. I am protective as well. My dd is about the same age. We live jsut blocks to town, and if she rides into town, she has to bring the 2-way radio. I think that it would be fair to ask the questions you asked here to the camp. Nothing is more important than safety. I also have my kids take martial arts and personal safety classes. I can't keep them in a bubble, but I can arm them with knowlege.

Ramona  Mom to 2 great kids and wife to one wonderful hubby since 1990!

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-11-2004
Sat, 06-19-2004 - 1:04am
My daughter (10.5 now) went away for an overnight camp last summer for the first time. But I knew the two GS leaders and all four girls (and obviously, it was a low kid-to-adult ratio).

This year, she'll be going to Girl Scout camp along the coast for two weeks. In fact, we're attending the open house this weekend (you folks had some great tips on questions to ask). As a former Parks professional in a system that operated two reservoirs, I get very nervous about the idea of water tragedies. My DD is a good swimmer and seems to know her limits. At the beach, she spends more time making sandcastles than being in the water, which is just fine with me. So, it's a leap of faith for me to send her to a beach-based camp this summer. However, she's as ready as she'll ever be and I can't protect her forever.

At her age, I bicycled all over town. Mom never knew where we were on summer days. But the world is different now. We live in a gated community, and my daughter is free to roam in our little neighborhood behind the gates -- but not beyond. She's not permitted to go to the park or the swimming pool or shopping center by herself. Not yet.

Overprotective? There's a "greenbelt" in our neighborhood (basically just a big long strip of grass). My neighbor won't let her kids run and play tag there because they might step in doggie-doo (I say let them be kids, and wash 'em if they get dirty). Her 8-year-old had never been to a public movie theatre before. I took them to a kids' tennis program (a three-hour deal in a protected public park) and they had to call in on the cell phone every half-hour to let mom know they were OK. To me, THAT'S over-protective.

You know your son and his level of maturity. You know enough to ask if the counselors are 16 or 22, and to ask about the other health-and-safety issues likely to face your son if he attends camp. Evaluate the answers, and see if it feels right to you. I believe in "trusting your gut". Your gut feelings are oftentimes a compilation of all the verbal and visual clues you've been receiving -- which your brain has been busily processing even when you're not aware of it. So find out as much as you can, then do a gut check.

-- Steph

Stephanie, CL of the Dating as a Single Parent board:

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-20-2003
Mon, 06-21-2004 - 5:10pm
It dosen't matter what your friends think...if something makes you feel uncomfortable then don't let him do it.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-15-2004
Thu, 07-22-2004 - 7:03am
Sorry my comment is not time;...Better late than never...

Does it make you feel better that I was the ONLY mom in my daughter's class who did not allow her to go on the 2 night trip to the nature preserve?

And it turned out I was right.

Supervision was poor, but everyone survived.

Do what YOU feel comfortable with...