Dear Dr. Bill,
What is your opinion on overnight group activities for grade-school children, especially those organized by a public school? We want our children to have fun and participate with their friends, but we're concerned about exposing them to inappropriate influences. We worry that they could be exposed to things like inappropriate movies or music or even drugs or alcohol. Are we overreacting?
In today’s culture every parent should be mindful about what their kids are exposed to when they’re in someone else’s care. The sad fact is that we live in a world that is increasingly dangerous and unhealthy for kids.
By the same token, we can’t keep our children in a safe little cocoon forever. Eventually they are going to have to deal with the dangers and temptations that exist outside the four walls of our home.
I would suggest you meet with your child’s teacher and principal and find out exactly what is planned for the overnight event. Where will it be held, what sort of activities are planned, and who will be supervising the kids?
If you know your child’s teacher well, and trust his or her judgment, you probably have little to worry about. On the other hand, if this event is being held in someone’s private home and other parents are providing the supervision, it’s a different story. If you don’t feel comfortable with the situation, volunteer to be a chaperone for the event.
Most teachers welcome parental involvement, and they often have difficulty getting enough parents to volunteer.
There’s another important aspect to your question. In addition to protecting our children from the dangers they may face in the world, we also need to teach them about making responsible choices.
Our kids need to understand that the decisions they make have consequences, and that there are times when they may need to say “no” when offered things that may not be good for them.
Thanks for writing, Dale. If you have a question for me about family issues or Christian living, click the “Questions” link on the Culture Connection page.