Unspoken House Rules

Raised by helicopter parents, several teenage rituals were totally off limits. Sleepovers were one of those ‘unsaid rules’, if you please.

My OCD helped, since I didn’t quite enjoy using people’s bathrooms and so it isn’t something I really miss. I however, did envy the lack of parental restrictions.

It was fun to listen to people’s stories at school, about all the fun they had during an overnight stay, or a day trip to a far away place. Up until college, it all seemed fascinating but then the signs started to show. Many of those bad ass kids got into drugs and all sorts of trouble and dropped out of college. Your typical bad boy story.

In my mid-thirties now, I see how all the bad habits picked up by the ‘sleep over kids’ are contributing to their continuous downward spiral. Many have mental health issues due to constant drug abuse, troubles with the police or plain accelerated aging. Some of them, with influential parents, managed to get jobs while others just hang around living a stagnant life. While I don’t totally condemn sleepovers, there are many people I know that were mature enough to just try things and never got addicted or got into trouble. I clearly see the risks of leaving kids in an unrestricted environment.

I’ve also come to realize two types of parental restrictions. First, as in my case, is restricting the things children do without parental supervision. There was no financial constraint and I got pretty much everything I wanted. Second is financial restriction; the children are almost free to do anything but have little money to buy anything worthwhile and thereby limiting purchase of anything that could be harmful. While the latter still has the risk of exposure to bad influence from affluent peers the former’s impact on independent thinking and materialism also cannot be negated. But one thing’s for sure, parental restrictions DO MATTER.

Whenever I raise a family, I may not follow in my parents’ footsteps, but there will be unsaid rules with ‘NO sleepovers until you have a job’ being one of them.

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