A Question About Dad Driving the Babysitter

Dear Readers — This letter got me wondering, too. Eagerly awaiting your answers. – L

Dear Free-Range Kids:  I found your blog recently and have been going through all of your past posts (driving my hubby crazy with “listen to this…..!”).  I have been a Free-Range mom for years now (10 years, 5 kids), and I am glad to now realize that I am not as alone as I had previously thought.  My son is 10 going on 30 and organizes his own lemonade stand, bikes to the library by himself, runs into the grocery store for me so I can sit in the van with the kids…. now my 7-year-old daughter is starting to follow in his footsteps.  It’s amazing the confidence that comes with these freedoms.

Now the reason I write is to ask you this:  In my community it is understood that the father NEVER drives the babysitter (typically a girl) home.  I am convinced that this is a conspiracy concocted by men who do not want to be the designated driver.  But, the mothers all say that this is just for the babysitters’ safety, and for the man’s safety because “misunderstandings” and false accusations do happen.  Plus, it’s awkward for a man to be alone in a car with a teenage girl, they say.  My driver’s license is recently suspended due to a seizure and I cannot drive the babysitter home anymore.  My son can’t take the babysitter course for another year, and I know he isn’t ready for these responsibilities just yet.  Is it really unreasonable to have my husband drive the babysitter home? And is this policy a universal one? Just curious! — Courtenay

Only mom can drive the babysitter home?

177 Responses

  1. This is interesting. I’m a parent now, but 15 years ago when I was babysitting, it was usually (but not always) the father who drove me home. Never had an problems, never occurred to me or my parents to worry about it.

  2. When the babysitter is the daughter of a friend, my husband frequently drives her home. (In the early days, this was mainly because I needed to nurse when we got home.) If the babysitter is someone whose family we don’t know know well personally, I usually drive her.

  3. I babysat all through my high school years. Until I was able to drive myself, it was usually the dad who drove me home. I will admit that a few of the dads “gave me the creeps” but I just didn’t babysit for them again or arranged for my father to pick me up.

    Now as a mother, I have a hard time driving at night due to my eye sight so if we need to take a babysitter home, my husband drives.

    I think this is another case of worst thinking first and perpetuating the view that ALL men are predators and the only thing preventing them from acting on it is the presence of other people.

  4. Eons ago when I was a babysitter, it was always the fathers who walked or drove me home. Now that I’m the parent, it varies. With our most regular sitter, my husband will walk her home, taking our dog along for his last outing of the night. With others, it depends on how we know the sitter – if it’s my husband’s colleague’s daughter, then my husband is more likely to do the driving. If it’s someone I found through a friend/neighbour, I’m more likely to drive. I have no idea what other parents in our neighbourhood do – it’s not something that has ever come up for discussion!

  5. Great question! Personally (as a man) I have never had an issue with “being alone” with girls other than my own, but I understand the risk that false accusations and misunderstandings can bring. In today’s culture “the man” always seems to be the defensive party in he-said/she-said situations, so it’s a risk that needs to be managed appropriately. So, in making this decision, I’d ask myself questions like this: “How well do I know the babysitter and her family? Do I trust them?”, and “Is this a 5-minute drive or a 30-minute drive?”. After that I’d try to reach out to the babysitters parents, explain the situation, and give them the option of picking their daughter up if they are uncomfortable. Finally, I’d make sure that there is a plan and that the plan is followed. i.e. Call the babysitters parents, tell them exactly when you plan on arriving (“it’s three miles so we should be there in five minutes”) and then follow the plan. If you get stopped by a train or experience some other delay, call the parents and tell them know. In other words, take an active role in building trust rather than leaving the situation to The Fates.

    In other words, I think every situation needs to be assessed independently, but there are steps that you can take to avoid misunderstandings and accusations. There should NOT be an overarching societal rule that men should never be left alone with girls. That’s sexist and highly demeaning.

  6. I find this interesting, too. As a teen in the 1980s I remember it was usually the dads who drove me home after a babysitting job. But when we’ve had a teen girl watch our kids, my husband was really uncomfortable with driving her home and made me do it. The sitters (or their moms) never said anything about it, but I think he just felt awkward and well… kind of vulnerable. If there were accusations made he wouldn’t have a leg to stand on. Plus I think he just didn’t want to go back out!

    If we knew the girl and her family it may not have been such a big deal, but these were girls we didn’t know at all.

  7. I didn’t babysit much when I was in highschool but the dad always drove me home. And, if we had a babysitter other than family members I’m pretty sure my husband would be the one taking them home. We live so far from town that usually if we don’t take our kids with us they are with a grandmother or aunt.

  8. Is our culture really at the point where no matter what we do, there’s the fear that sexual predation is a norm? Can we not sit beside someone of the opposite sex in a car for ten minutes while we drive them home without feeling “awkward”? Come on! Are we children? Is this a junior high school dance, with the two sexes lined up in a mix of hormones and embarrassment along opposite walls of a school gym?? Is the puritan-fuelled sexual apartheid so engrained now? People are mistrustful and fearful of EVERYONE these days, and if something as simple as someone’s GENDER is going to be cause for mistrust, then our society has had it. How much more basic can you get? Eye colour? Hair? Mistrust all redheads, people; they’re fidgety and unpredictable.

    Look, if it’s going to be an issue, then just call the babysitter’s parents as you’re about to leave to drive her home. They’ll know when to expect you. How much trouble can you possibly get in while you’re driving someone home for a few minutes? Geez. Grow up, America. Get over this sex obsession. The rest of us stopped feeling awkward around girls when we were adolescents.

  9. Just as long as there are no Gummi Venus de Milos in the car, everything should be fine.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homer_Badman

  10. When I was a babysitter in the late sixties and seventies I was always driven home by the fathers. One time I remember I rode my bike to my job in the afternoon, and the father followed me home in his car while I rode it back home that evening. He insisted that I not ride my bike home in the dark alone.

    Thinking about it now, these are very positive memories for me. These were nice men, and men who clearly loved and respected their wives. I clearly remember one man telling me that the moment he first met his wife he knew she was the one he would marry, and I just discovered on Facebook that this couple just celebrated their 46th wedding anniversary.

    These dads talked to me and treated me with respect during the years when my own father was awful to me, so I remember them especially fondly.

  11. 15-20yrs ago when I was a teenager babysitting regularly it was generally the dad who drove me home. However, these were often families I had known for many years and was comfortable around both parents. In retrospect, the rare occasion that I babysat for a family I didn’t know well it was generally the mom who drove me home. Our kids are still pretty young and are most often babysat by grandparents or adult friends of ours (one of whom is a man!) but the couple of times we have had teen girls babysit they have walked home. We live in a very small town and they were able to simply call their parents and let them know that they were on their way home. If it were very late one of us would drive them and I whoever did it would probably have more to do with whichever parent was most awake.

  12. As a man, I personally wouldn’t drive the babysitter home without another adult in the car. Lost in the outrage about pedophile men preying on young children is the fact that men, for whatever reasons, can be falsely accused of rape and sexual assault if they’re alone with a child.

    So I wouldn’t drive the babysitter home … for my OWN protection.

  13. I went to pick up the new babysitter one time. I was grungy, unshaven, and wearing my gym T-shirt. I got the weirdest look from her mom in the driveway, and only afterward realized that she thought I was the new boyfriend picking her up for a date. I was 27.

    Ahh, the joys of having a baby-face.

  14. I was always driven home by the fathers (this was….oh…25+ years ago…)

    We have 2 regular babysitters that we use and both live in walking distance, so one of us walks the sitter home. I’ve walked both the boy and the girl, as has Mister.

    Which lead to another round of weird looks from friends…when we announced our 2 boys (now 11 and 6) preferred the male babysitter (he’s now…umm…15?) to the female one. He’s been here a handful of times and they LOVE it! He’s just more on their level, KWIM, but I still trust him and he’s a great kid!

  15. Just a note. It’s interesting that in the Year of Our Lord 2012, the operating presumption is male guilt. . . rather than, “let’s be neutral, find the facts and make an assessment of the charge.” This opposes our traditional assumption of not guilty until proven guilty.

    I’m male. This hasn’t come up for me. I think our babysitter’s usually driven herself. In my book, I’d just rather not be bothered trying to make conversation with a teenager since it’s usually a tedious thing.

  16. It depends on how well you know the baby set and her family. We have long time family friends who baby sit for us and I wouldn’t think twice about my husband driving her home. But in other situations, mostly coaching, I would never let a male coach or my husband drive a girl by himself. The only reason is fear of false accusations. They do happen and even if the supposed perpetrator is totally cleared, it is nearly impossible for him or her to fully repair their sullied reputation. One option is to have your older child ride with your husband when he drops off the baby sitter… not so easy if it’s a late night I know.

  17. Another female babysitter who was driven home.

    Meanwhile, if the mothers are saying it’s for the babysitter’s safety, what kind of horrible men do they think they are married to?

    I can see how the mothers might say that it is for their husbands’ safety, so the guys don’t get falsely accused of something, but that is so rare an occurrence that it seems odd that there would need to be a categorical prohibition on their husbands giving the babysitter a ride home.

    But hey, if my community dictates that my husband has to stay home and put the kids to bed while I drive the sitter home and have a nice relaxing ride and chat, so be it.🙂

    But those men–they are dangerous!! /sarcasm

  18. I would probably just ask what the parent’s of the baby sitter prefer. Just say something like, “I’m not able to drive right now so I can either have my husband bring her home or we can call and have you come pick her up.” That way if the parent’s are uncomfortable they can back out. The danger in being accused of something you didn’t do is probably more if the parent’s didn’t like it in the first place. They might be more inclined to misinterpret something.

  19. Like many of the others above, when I was in junior high and high school I earned money by babysitting. It was usually the father who drove me home. When my son was young enough to need a babysitter, my husband was usually the one who drove or walked the sitter home. Most of the babysitters we had lived within walking distance of our apartment. Even though our neighborhood was perfectly safe, my husband walked the sitters home after dark for everyone’s (his, the sitter’s, the sitter’s parents) peace of mind. He was always thanked for walking the babysitter home.

    From Andrea: “Meanwhile, if the mothers are saying it’s for the babysitter’s safety, what kind of horrible men do they think they are married to?”

    I second this comment.

  20. I think there are a couple things going one here. One is definitely the new view that all men are predators and let’s just “play it safe.” You know, by assuming all men are evil. But I also think there is an underlying fear that, and yes this sounds silly, that they would fall in love? You know, the movies where the college coed or 18 year old high school student and the dad fall in love. Cuz that happens all the time.

  21. I was always driven home by the man if there was one (assuming a ride was needed). Of course that was before anyone told me what disgusting people men are.

    Actually, in all seriousness, I had been violated by men before, but never felt unsafe in this type of situation.

  22. 16-years ago it was always the dad, unless he has been drinking. I never had a problem with it and I never felt akward. My mother didn’t have a problem with it.

    When I was five I was in private school all the way across town. My mom and a single dad shared driving. He had a convertable with a broken top. In the winter, my mother added extra layers to keep me warm on his days.

  23. Just let the baby sitter know up front about the need to arrange their own transportation before hand. Teach the babysitter to be a little more independent. As a man who is large and burly, I would not risk going alone with anyone under the age of 18 because of the fear of a false accusation. It does happen, I have a cousin who is very strange, he was falsely accused of stuff. He was proven innocent! Everyone is so busy screaming child abductor or child molester that adults and children trying to make their family happy will bear false witness against someone.

    I walked into Baskin Robbins the other day to get some ice cream. I was upset and wanted some ice cream because my wife is having health issues and it is stressful. I know stress eating especially ice cream is not a good thing to do. A grandmother was in there with her granddaughter, the grandmother gave me a dirty look and pulled the girl closer to her. I was just there for ice cream nothing more. I am not a criminal. I wanted chocolate fudge ice cream not perverts delight from baskin robbins 69 flavors. Anyone who desires kids in that way is a sicko. The sad fact is children have less to worry about with adult strangers, than adults have to worry about children. Most of these kids now days don’t have any morals or ethics. I would not allow myself to be left alone with my own nephews and nieces because my sister’s in-laws was the ones who put one of them up to falsely accusing my cousin.

  24. I could totally understand if a dad didn’t want to drive the girl for his own protection. But should we be concerned that that is also a bit over-sensationalized? Is there any way around that, e.g., confirming in writing (email/text) with the minor’s parent that it is OK? Having her talk on her cell phone with her mom while being driven home?

    Otherwise you might need to hire someone who can get herself back & forth (walking, bike).

  25. I was a sitter in the late 80s. Usually the dad would pick me up and the moms would make a big deal about them (the moms) bringing me home. It would not have bothered me one way or the other.

    We haven’t had many take them back home sitters but I always drove them rather than my husband. He was just not comfortable with it and I respected that.

  26. This is, again, an example of misplaced priorities, and of exaggerating the minimal.

    For example: when I was in high school, a friend of mine had a babysitting gig. When it was done, the father drove her home. It was a very foggy night, and some idiot in an oncoming lane decided to try to pass. My friend was seriously injured in the head-on collision and spent about a week in the hospital…but, she wasn’t molested!

    And yet, we fear the molestation far more than we would the car accident.

    As for the fathers…like male teachers in elementary schools…I can’t really blame them for their paranoia–they have more grounds for it than a teen worried about being molested.

  27. Bad things can happen with fathers and babysitters, albeit relatively rarely. My mother, when she was young, had a father make a pass at her when he was dropping her off. She evaded it, opened the door, stepped out and never baby-sat for them again. But the default assumption that fathers can’t drive babysitters home seems extreme. I think it’s more of a fear of a false accusation than anything else.

  28. “As for the fathers…like male teachers in elementary schools…I can’t really blame them for their paranoia–they have more grounds for it than a teen worried about being molested.”

    Any stats to back that up? I’m curious. I would venture a guess that both are rare, but the false accusations are more rare than the actual crimes.

  29. My husband won’t pay the babysitter, he makes me do it. But, on occasion he has driven them home and I have never thought it was a big deal. If I trust the girl with my kids, I trust her with my husband and obviously I trust him. I think people are TOO scared now, in a way that makes everything creepy.

  30. The world (US maybe) is going to hell. It is a car ride! False accusations of random males you babysit for are extremely rare. Rape of babysitters on the way home are extremely rare. In YEARS as a public defender neither have occurred ever. I don’t deny that they could, but neither are so commonplace that we need to protect against them. I think some people watch too many Lifetime movies of the week.

    Since we’ve been in American Samoa, my daughter’s “babysitters” have mostly been male. This largely consists of drop-off play dates where dad is the parent home, but has also included my male coworker and my friend’s boy toy (who also was my kid’s swim instructor this summer). All summer she stayed with at a friend’s with the couple who watch her children. Last weekend there was a sleepover with a friend while her mom was off-island. I’ve never once heard anyone question playdates with Cora because she has a stay at home dad instead of mom. Nobody freaked out because I left my daughter overnight with Frank while his wife was off-island. Maybe it is because we have to be more reliant on friends as expats with no family or longtime ties or that we are just more adventurous by nature.

    I’m really glad that I don’t currently live in a world where I’m constantly being bombarded with these fears from other moms so that I start to think twice. Without my trying and with adult male friends and friends with mostly intact families, my daughter has internalized the view that “men are unnecessary” based just on our mom/kid only family. I hate it and try to combat it as best I can without turning our situation into a negative. What message are we sending our daughters about men when riding in a car with them is too dangerous? How do we expect them to form normal romantic relationships? How do we expect them to tell the difference between a good mate and a bad mate if we treat all men as potential danger?

  31. If I was in your situation, I would probably try to clear it with the babysitter’s parents ahead of time – explain the situation, including how you are unable to drive, and suggest that if they’re not comfortable with your husband driving their daughter home, would they be willing to come pick her up? (This is assuming that she is under 15… typically, I would imagine that for a 15+ teen, her parent’s might not be involved in her babysitting schedule. (Although perhaps that’s just me imagining that the world is how it was 25 years ago when I was babysitting.)

  32. We’ve always had the policy that I drive the young ladies who babysit for us home. This is to protect my husband from any false accusations. In this situation, I’d maybe pay the babysitter a little extra to find her own ride or hire a babysitter who can drive.

  33. Interesting question. When I babysat (okay, 40-odd years ago), dads routinely drove me home. I was always uncomfortable, but it’s because I was a shy, awkward teen, not because the dads were in any way a threat. My daughter has been driven home by dads many times, and has no problem with it. Playing into the odd belief that “all men are potential rapists” or that “all teen girls are crazed false accusers” seems like two sides of the same coin, to my way of thinking.

  34. SKL: “Any stats to back that up? I’m curious. I would venture a guess that both are rare, but the false accusations are more rare than the actual crimes.”

    The problem is, the price is too high. Even if it is less than a 1 in a million chance of something happening, the something that would happen is the complete destruction of a man’s life. It’s not worth the risk.

  35. Ann in LA, that could be said of sexual violations too, and a thousand other things that we try not to be too paranoid about.

  36. @Ann – Isn’t that the EXACT SAME argument against free range parenting? The murder of a child leads to the complete destruction of that child’s life, well beyond the ramifications of a false accusation. It also has a pretty big impact on the lives of the parents, grandparents, siblings and so on. There are stranger abudctions and yet most here advocate for free range parenting, not helicopter parenting, despite the risk.

    And before you try there is no benefit to having dad drive babysitter home instead of mom, every single time we give credence to this paranoia – that men are dangerous or that girls regularly falsely accuse – we change the fabric of society. We send a message to boys that they will grow to be untrusted. We send a message to girls that they are assumed to be either liars or prey at all times. We undermine normal male/female relationships. I think we’re destroying girls’ ability to decided good man from bad man by giving them the message that even though you think Mr. Smith is a good man, you cant trust your instincts and must treat him as a potential predator.

  37. I had a friend tell me my husband should never drive the sitter home. I was shocked and wrote her off as being crazy.

    So tired of all men being villified in regards to everything these days. I personally have never seen/read or heard of any babysitter getting molested on the drive home. Can it happen? Yes. Does it? Who knows, again…worst first thinking.

    As others have stated…everyone is guilty of horrendous things until proven otherwise. I hate that things are this way.

  38. My husband routinely walks home our sitters (they live on our street or one street over) expecially if it’s late or an icy walk (in the winter). This is called being a gentleman.

    I’ve never even heard of this nonsense, no men driving female sitters home.
    Anyone use male sitters? What’s that protocol?! Don’t want to be labeled a Cougar if I take them home, sheesh…

  39. @ Montana Jim: “Most of these kids now days don’t have any morals or ethics.”

    What a horrible generalization.

    I can see how your personal experience might color your worldview, but come on. This is a terrible statement to make.

  40. Give the babysitter and her parents a choice. Your husband can drive her home or they can come pick her up.

  41. The Dad always drove me home. The only time I had an issue with it was when we were delayed leaving. It was on family and 30 min after they got home I was still waiting for my ride. I could have been home asleep if they had let me walk. (They lived next street over.)

  42. When I was in junior high in the late 80s, the dad always drove me home. It was sometimes awkward, but only because we had nothing to talk about. It never occurred to me that he would even TRY to rape me and I don’t think it crossed his mind that I would accuse him of such.

    In general, though, I think that if the girl or girl’s family is afraid the dad might try something, that girl should not be in that house AT ALL. She does not sit for that family, period. If the man is afraid that the girl will accuse him, she is not the type of girl that should be watching the kids AT ALL, period. Find someone you can trust. If she’s not trustworthy in the very serious area of accusation, she is simply not trustworthy or someone you want in your home.

    I interview babysitters for my kids if I don’t already know them. It feels sorta awkward and lame to do, but I want to get a feeling of the person before I entrust my kids to them.

  43. I haven’t read all the responses, but my first thought was “Oh please, really???” Way back when in the dark ages when I used to babysit, the dad drove me home and the thought that this could cause a problem never crossed anybody’s mind. I won’t let my daughter babysit for someone if I find the husband creepy, nor will I have a babysitter in my home if I think she is likely to falsely accuse my husband of molesting her on the drive home. When did the world get so paranoid?

  44. I always make my husband take the babysitter home, simply because I am lazy! 🙂 And I look at it this way: I’m trusting a sitter in my home, with my child, all alone for an extended period of time. I expect that assumption of trust be reciprocated. I refuse to add any credence whatsoever to this ridiculous narrative that man + child + alone = sexual assault.

  45. Our experience has been shaped by our involvement in Scouts (two-deep leadership) and service in our church which requires two men present in each Sunday school classroom, etc. This is obviously to cover both organizations in the event of accusations. It also creates a culture which makes my husband very uncomfortable to be alone with a teenage girl. I don’t fault my husband, and almost always drive a girl home, unless my oldest child is available to go with them. A lot of this is due to the fact that the sitters we get are usually also from our church, so it is kind of a cultural thing. I don’t like it, and I don’t like that my husband feels like a pedophile if he drives girls, but I also want him protected.

    Interestingly, we often trade child care with another family with kids our same age. Sometimes all the kids come to our house, sometimes I go to their house after the kids are in bed. Interestingly (and frustratingly) this family has a policy that no men can sit their kids alone, so on the occasions when I am not available to be there, they won’t bring their kids to our house and won’t let him come to their house. It’s frustrating because there are times when it would be so much more convenient. And I don’t like him being treated like that, especially when anyone who knows him always comments about what an amazing dad he is.

  46. I didn’t even know this was an issue. As a teeanager I was often driven home by the dad and never thought anything of it. We have a boy babysitter for our 2 girls so have never run into this problem. Though many people think we are odd for having a boy babysitter. He is much more responsible than the girls in our neighbourhood. He has a younger sister the same age as my older daughter (9) so he is very used to entertaining girls. So according to this logic who is suppossed to drive him home because he is a boy? This is kinda ridiculous.

  47. Ideally, yes it is strange to not let the husband drive the babysitter home. He’s got a wife..he has no need to do anything with a babysitter, he already has someone who loves him and is probably willing to handle those needs. On top of that, most men tend to be pretty well on the opinion that they only want to do anything like that with the woman they are married to….not with just some other random woman.

    So the babysitter should have nothing to worry about.

    On the other side..the guy…well. Does the babysitter decide something is up and wants to cause issue? Cry rape, his word VS hers..and even if not in courts..in the public mind her word wins..he’ll be ruined.

    Did he just do something he’d do to any other guy? Any sort of physical touching thats normal among guys? She can cry rape, and its possible for it to stick.

    Maybe she is nice…he didn’t do anything wrong, he touched her in non-sexual ways (patting on the back, whatever), or even not at all. But her parents arn’t so nice..or are worry warts. They cry rape in their daughters stead..he’s still ruined.

    To put it simple..a guy driving a sitter home usually has much more chance to lose..and a greater risk of losing than the sitter being driven home.

    But in either case that’s a nasty bit of mistrust being built in there. So the guy with a wife…and kids…is unsafe around your own kid/around you? By the way remember the sitter is watching his kids for him and being paid money by him to do so.

    Or on the other side..you are worried the person that you have to babysit your kids…will tell such a nasty lie? If you trust her that little..why would you leave her with your kids?

  48. When my kids were young enough to need babysitters, both my husband and I took turns driving the sitter home. Now that my kids are the babysitters, they are frequently driven home by the husbands. It doesn’t worry me at all, and my girls think it is perfectly normal.

    What does worry me is the potential that their ride home may have been drinking. I know that as a teen, I frequently was driven home from babysitting jobs by a parent who probably was not safe to drive. A teen is in a very awkward position if the parents arrive home tipsy. It’s hard for a young teen to tell an adult that they won’t get in the car with them and then have to wait around awkwardly for a parent to come pick them up.

  49. I know two men who have been falsely accused of making passes at a teenage girl. Both men were cleared of charges, but it ruined both their lives. (One was a middle school teacher and the other was a hairdresser.)

    For my husbands protection, I always drive home the babysitter.

    However, in this particular case, I think checking with the girls’ parents before hand and seeing if it’s ok, then calling when you leave to give an ETA is the best thing to do.

  50. My husband always drove our teenage babysitter home, mostly b/c I hate driving. I had never thought twice about it because I trust my husband and have faith that he’s not some weirdo with a secret interest in teenage girls that I don’t know about and also because any teenager I would trust enough to leave with my kids would in theory not be someone emotionally unstable enough to make false claims.

  51. I am totally free range and also have the background that I was a public defender so I have a pretty accurate feel for the criminal justice system in my area (Southern California.) I would never, ever have my husband walk or drive a babysitter home. It’s just too huge of a risk. All it takes is one accusation and his life would potentially be ruined. You can never fully shake the dark cloud of an accusation like that. BTW I totally trust my husband to the fullest, and I also love our sitters, but you never know….you could get a girl at a confused or vulnerable time in her life when she is seeking attention, etc. It has unfortunately happened.

    One huge lesson I learned as a public defender is: once “the system” is involved, it is almost impossible to get extricated. So say there is an accusation that is later found to be completely false (which is pretty much impossible because DAs believe crime victims are “sideways” 75% of the time and that actually a sideways victim can be an easier case to successfully prosecute; juries are mistrustful of crime victims who might seem “too” eager.) How are you ever going to 100% clear your name? The DA is never going to completely drop it. Their version of “dropping it” might be to “let” the husband do some community service or take parenting or other classes. But probably it just wouldn’t be dropped at all. Sex offenses (even misdemeanor) are registerable for life, plus neighbors can find out, etc etc. It would just be horrifyingly bad.

    re: how to get the sitter home if you can’t drive — either have her parents get her, or your entire family rides in the car back to her house. Sounds like a huge pain and hopefully your oldest will be able to sit for you soon.

  52. Shhhh, don’t tell my wife. This is the best excuse to have that after dinner scotch. “Well honey, you have to drive the babysitter home anyway so it is just easier if you drive home too.”

    My question is at what age can the sitter walk home herself? (it is about 10 houses away). Does time (11pm v. 2am matter?)

  53. Most times our babysitter was within walking distance. When she was not, my wife drove or we both were in the car. My wife often drove home from our outings anyway (I may have imbibed a bit) so this practice made sense on several levels. Consistent with what several of your commenters have noted, this was not to protect the babysitter from me, it was for my own protection.

  54. When I was younger, all my friends and I got ourselves to and from our babysitting jobs. Looking back though, if a ride home from a father had been offered, I would tell my young self to decline. I have been sexually assaulted and raped more than once, the worst ones being at 12 and 16 years old. In both cases, after my first no was ignored, I froze like a deer in headlights. I couldn’t do a thing to stop those young men.

    When I was babysitting age, I did not have the necessary skills to deal with a sexual assailant – in spite of years of self defense classes and the ability to defend myself physically. Self defense classes never taught me what to do to protect myself from someone I knew well, and liked, and cared about, but who put their own desires above my autonomy.

    It wasn’t until I was 22 that the man who sexually assaulted me at 16 knew what he had done – and only then because I decided to tell him why I had broken off our friendship. How many other men must be unaware that they have been assailants? How many men out there have pressed on in spite of a no?

    Most men would probably never intentionally sexually assault a babysitter, not if it were framed to them in those terms. But plenty of men would look too long or too hard, would cop a feel if the opportunity arose. Some would take it farther. A person who wants something strongly can rationalize it until they cease to be able to see that what they are doing is wrong.

    I would prevent any daughter of mine from being in that situation until I was confident that she could protect herself against someone she trusted.

  55. We have 2 regular babysitters. One is a college student who drives herself. The other is a high school student who is currently learning to drive. More often than not, my husband drives her home, although I have on occasion. We’ve never really thought anything of it.

    When I babysat 20-some years ago, it was usually the dad who drove me home.

  56. What kind of message are we sending teenage girls about men? Do we really want them heading into dating life with the belief that men simply cannot be trusted to control themselves? We complain about a culture that doesn’t take rape seriously enough, but at the same time, we tell young women all men are perverts so you might as well get used to it. Is it any wonder so much actual sexual assault goes unreported when women reach adulthood expecting to be raped as soon as they’re alone with any man?

  57. I think that the fear men have about being falsely accused is along the same lines as the fear parents have about their children being abducted etc: that is, overblown. Yes, there is that risk, but just as parents have to assume a little risk when raising their children, so too we fathers specifically need to take on a little risk to break through this meme that “all men are potentially dangerous”. If we aren’t willing to do this, it’s only going to get worse.

    Feminists took on a lot of risk to help make the world a more equal place. It’s our turn now.

  58. By the time our kids are adults, opposite sexes will not be allowed to mingle at all. It will be just like Saudi Arabia.

  59. My gut reaction is NO, the father should not drive the babysitter home. This is not so much for my fear of what might happen to the babysitter, I am more concerned about the father, ESPECIALLY if the baby sitter is a teenage girl (age 13-18). The reasons being is that 1) You can’t shake the social stigma of the classic dad and babysitter “romance.” This can create some drama in both the household of the babysitter and of the father and 2) The father should always be weary of putting himself in a situation where he might be accused of sexual assault. This again goes back to the social stigma. Teenagers also have a reputation for being a bit dramatic and it is not unheard of that a young girl might have a crush on the father and may try to make a move while they are alone. If this happens, and he refuses her advances, she might take it badly and retaliate by making up lies about what happened. The father can drive the babysitter home, but he should take someone with him just in case.

  60. If the men are unsafe, then why leave the kids with them while the mom drives the babysitter home? After all, the majority of molestation and abuse is done by relatives. Better just load all the kids into the car so Mom can make sure everyone is okay.

    Why are these people letting their daughters go to the house of a dangerous man to babysit anyway? Mom should just stay with the kids 24/7 making sure they are safe. Then there is no need for a babysitter, it’s win/win.

    And wait, who is protecting the moms from these dangerous dads? We’d better make sure women are supervised around their husbands at all times. Then there probably won’t be any kids to worry about in the first place.

  61. As a man, father and husband I have two things to say. If you do not trust your husband around teenage girls, divorce him and get sole custody of your children. Secondly, if you do not trust that your babysitter will not make false accusations against your husband, then fire her ass and get one you do trust.

    Problem solved.

  62. I would also like to add that I was once that teenage female babysitter and I remember feeling uncomfortable one night when the father (who was intoxicated) was insisting on walking me home when I only lived 3 houses down. I told him that if he was worried he could wait on the porch and make sure I got home safe. He was really creeping me out. At the very least, I would wait for the girl to say that it was ok for the father to give her a ride home, I would not put her in the position of refusing an offer.

  63. Looking back at my baby-sitting years, I tended to sit within walking distance. But I do recall instances where I was driven home… usually by the father. Why? Because it was considered the manly responsible thing to do. It’s what a GENTLEMAN should do, make sure the babysitter gets home safely.

  64. @Julie, I was going to leave a completely different response to this blog, but you really summed it up nicely. I think you really need to know the child and the parents of the child you are choosing to be the babysitter, and the problem would pretty much be solved. I am in a similar situation as a public school teacher. We have hired nice looking young men in our department, and the first thing we tell them is that if a girl asks you if she can stay after school for help, LEAVE YOUR DOOR OPEN at all times. Not because these recent college grads would prey upon the girls (high school), but because many HS girls these days have no boundaries and there could be potential trouble or misunderstandings. I know this sounds a lot like worst-first thinking, but we are not telling them to turn down the request for help, we are just saying, be careful. Likewise, I don’t give rides home to athletes (I coach) unless I know the child and parents very well and it is somewhat of an emergency or planned beforehand. I guess it’s CYA in this society, which is sad. I certainly think that dads should be allowed to drive a babysitter home without worry.

  65. Huh. Depends on the girl, depends on the man who drives her. I suppose there are situations in which the combination of sexually mature female and sexually mature male might lead to something more than just an innocent ride home, but is that any reason to make a blanket “rule” that no man should drive a pubescent girl in a car alone, ever?

    As a teenage girl, I was something of a “predator.” I had an especially intense crush on one of my college professors, a young painter who had been warned by the administration to avoid any situation that might lead to sex (this was 1987 or so). Well, I managed to arrange a mentorship with him for one semester, and we had our meetings in my apartment. I kept daring myself to put the moves on him (I was 18), but never did.

    After our course had completed, I went to New York, as I frequently did, since the school was in New England. He lived there, and had invited me to come down to his studio to see his work space. (Want to see my etchings?) I met him at his apartment (a mess), and went to the studio in his car (a wreck), and after a while of awkwardly hemming and hawing over his paintings in the chilly, spare warehouse, he asked if I’d like to model for him.

    Well. Let me tell you. Supposedly, this was the moment I’d been waiting for! And yet when it happened, I was petrified. I will never forget that moment of unlacing my shoes, thinking, “Oh my God, this is going to happen!” Throughout the session, which turned out to be purely artistic in nature, he made a lot of chit-chat that belied his inner conflict, saying, “Do you go to the gym? You seem so… fit. And… you can’t tell ANYONE this happened,” as he made a fairly mediocre sketch of my pose. “Nothing happened,” I kept saying. “Well, that’s not how the administration would look at it,” he said dolefully.

    Looking back on it, I think hooray for both of us. If I had really, really wanted sexual contact with this man, I could have had it, even though he was in a committed relationship and was doing his best to resist. A siren, a harpy of the first order, go me. My common sense, or self-preservation, or something intervened, and I remained chaste (beyond being nude in an art studio, which, if you are an art student, is typically NOT an erotic exercise). And he resisted! Good on him! He certainly could have claimed that I was “asking for it,” especially by 1980s standards, and yet, he was not some crazed animal who had no control of his impulses. He had a good paying gig as an art professor at an esteemed school, and he wasn’t going to blow it, even though he responded to my overtures on some level.

    So when I think of these driving home situations with babysitters, they seem pretty tame compared to this experience I had—of purposely tempting a man, and over the course of months, not minutes. Of course, there have been cases of men giving in to babysitters’ invitations, and men who have raped young women in cars, but I like to believe that overall, it’s a safe bet that everyone is going to be protecting their own interests, and adhering to etiquette.

  66. My mothers first husband had an affair with the babysitter. I guess it depends on how well you trust your husband.

  67. Warren, some people are not so easy to read. Why even put yourself in that situation? Whether or not you are comfortable with it does not change the unfortunate reality that many people are not ok with it. Sometimes an accusation alone can be incredibly damaging.

  68. Hold on a minute …. are we all having strangers babysit our children? My babysitters have been neighbor kids, older children of families we know from work or our community, or college kids. Except for the college kids, we know the family and we know the babysitters from other arenas. We obviously TRUST them enough to leave our children home alone with them. Likewise, the babysitter’s parents TRUST us enough to let them babysit in our house. So, where is all the mistrust coming from? If you trust someone to care for your baby, why would you suddenly mistrust them for a 10 min car ride?

    And, if it’s statistics we’re all worried about … the LAST person you want watching your children, is your quirky brother or aging father as most children are molested by a close family member.

    I babysat a lot in high school and was driven home by a mom only once — the dad had gotten really really drunk at a New Year’s Eve party. She made him hide in the dining room in the dark so I couldn’t even see him!🙂

  69. Warren, re-read the comments. I haven’t seen a single one that is from a wife who has any second thoughts or worries about her husband. What you are seeing are women who are in my professional opinion having worked in this field *rightfully* concerned about unwarranted accusations. Even a wacko out of left field accusation can RUIN someone’s life. And no, it doesn’t happen daily, but again, this is a situation where the stakes are incredibly high and the payoff (the privilege of getting to be the one to drive the sitter home?) is low enough that it’s not worth the risk.

  70. My cousin was right around 15 years old when she and the married father of the kids she babysat for developed a sexual relationship. I don’t know how it developed (who initiated, if it was initially consensual, etc) but I do know the rides to and from home were their private time. Think about how much time is available when the father works a job with a variable quitting time each day…and he’ll swing by and pick up the sitter on the way home. Unless the sitter’s parents and the kid’s mom are communicating an extra hour to fool around can easily be arranged. His wife and her parents were blissfully unaware for some time. They were all friends from within the same church, etc. So its indelibily in my head to not give people a chance to hurt me like that. Who was going to drive who never was an issue, we brought our kids to the babysitter because we lived so far out of town.

  71. I was a teenager babysitting for a single father. He worked with my dad and my dad arranged the babysitting job for me, but yes he picked my 17 year old girliness up and dropped me off. This also happened a few times when I was a little older and it never occurred to me that it could be an issue…nor did anyone else care.

  72. Wow. I feel kind of fortunate here, we always have had college kids babysit – that can drive for themselves. That said… though I can see the concern – I never would have thought of this problem. And, in that I sometimes drink and my husband dislikes alcohol – he would assuredly be the one to drive.

    On the flip side, we almost never go out. By the time the work week is over, kids’ practices have been carpooled, homework is done, kids asleep and laundry folded – we are tapped out. And, living in a fairly rural part of the country carpooling is tough to arrange, our family isn’t local, and kids cannot bike or walk on our twisty, turny, no-shoulder roads.

    Is it just us?

    I enjoy my husband and our house. What I really want is to hire a sitter to take them away, so we can talk uninterrupted and enjoy each other’s company before we are so tired that we crash as well.

    And, to the fella that was wondering about babysitters at 11pm vs. 2 am – yowza – the only time I’m up to see 2 am is if someone wets their bed.

  73. Amazingly, we’ve never had this discussion in my house. We used to take turns taking the sitter home depending on who was the designated driver that night. (Now our 12-year-old can babysit our 9-year-old so we don’t need sitters anymore.) Sometimes my husband has walked a sitter home. We’ve also sent sitters home in taxis — presto, problem solved. But that might be a Free Range discussion for another day: the outrageous concept of sending teenagers around in taxis after dark! I would much rather my daughter came home in a cab than with someone who’d been drinking but thought he was fine (or she).

  74. I already responded with why my husband doesn’t drive our sitters home…for his protection. But after seeing comments from people about “don’t you trust your sitters?” I have to respond again. I trust my sitters completely. But an experience that my brother had has made us double down about these types of experiences.

    When my brother was 19, he was accused of rape by his then 20 year old fiancé. This was a woman who was practically family. They lived together. They were happy. She had some definite weird quirks that no one in our family could put our finger on, and she had hundreds of crazy stories about things that had happened to her in her life…in short, she had survived some crazy stuff.

    After a fight they had, she accused him of rape. The police arrested him and questioned him for hours. Since he didn’t know he had the right to request an attorney before saying anything (young kids are not necessarily taught what it means to exercise Miranda rights) he ended up thinking if he just said what they wanted to hear, the whole thing would go away. So he ended up saying something to the effect of “I guess if she said it happened, it must have”. (PS, her story was that she assumed he raped her because she woke up without underwear on).

    Long story even longer… During the investigation, we found out she had accused a number of people of rape in her life, and most of the stories of things that had happened to her were probably false. BUT, as others have mentioned, once the system steps in, it rarely steps out. My brother was able to plead to two misdemeanor charges, but since they were of a sexual nature, in Oregon he is required to register. Additionally, all of the original felony charges (like 10 counts) all still show up on background checks, therefor causing him continuous trouble over 7 years later in finding any meaningful work. And he can’t have those charges expunged because they were for sex crimes, even though they were dropped. It’s as bad as being found guilty for all of them (minus the jail time).

    So, to those who say its just a matter of trusting your babysitter… I’d say it’s not so simple. My brother trusted her implicitly and had never been so happy. But a fight, an accusation and a person who turned out to be crazier than any of us could have imagined (I would have trusted her to watch my kids before this), essentially ruined his life. I know it’s still rare, and I know as FRK’s we’re supposed to avoid making decisions based on rarity, but Lenore herself has done enough stories about the system and registry and how it ruins young people’s lives. I don’t know the statistics, but from my own experience I think being falsely accused and the potential fallout is more probable than having my kids be abducted by a stranger. And I’m not willing to risk my quality of life and my husband’s good name because it would be SO much more convenient (as well as a public statement) to have my husband drive the sitter. Even ones we trust implicitly.

  75. This has also never come up for discussion in our home.
    Our son does not care for babysitting, he would rather work on your construction project or yard – he is picked up by the father to help with chores.
    Our daughter babysits for people we know and people we don’t know. It is generally the father that picks up and brings home. Or if it’s in the neighborhood, she walks.
    Now, there was that one evening where she had been picked up by a father (family known to us) and he was pulled over for drunk driving. She was texting us and calling us wondering what to do. We calmed her and told her to just wait, if he was cleared, they would go on. If not, we would pick her up as I doubt they would be going out that evening. He was fine and they proceeded on. I am sure that trip lives in her memory!

  76. This has also never come up for discussion in our home. OUR babysitters, when the kids were younger, I would drive them home as I don’t care for alcohol and sweetie usually imbibed. Our kids are now teens:
    Son does not care for babysitting, he would rather work on your construction project or yard – he is picked up by the father to help with chores. Now he has his license so he drives himself.
    Daughter babysits for people we know and people we don’t know. It is generally the father that picks up and brings home. Or if it’s in the neighborhood, she walks. (she is now 17 and does not have a license)

    Now, there was that one evening where she had been picked up by a father (family known to us) and he was pulled over for drunk driving. She was texting us and calling us wondering what to do. We calmed her and told her to just wait, if he was cleared, they would go on. If not, we would pick her up as I doubt they would be going out that evening. He was fine and they proceeded on. I am sure that trip lives in her memory!

  77. My husband used to work in juvenile corrections in a maximum security detention facility for girls. It is ingrained in him even to this day to never be alone with an adolescent girl, so there would be no way he would ever drive a sitter home. But I think it’s just his quirk from working in a high risk environment for so many years. (He also still will not sit with his back to the room in a public place. LOL) We have debated this before with friends, and it seems that half the couples agree with my husband, and half the couples think that’s silly and the husband often drives the sitter home. I think if it’s a girl who you know well, whose parents know and trust your family and you feel you can trust the girl, it’s perfectly fine.

  78. To all those who are worried about their husbands becoming victim to false accusations……….again I say, don’t hire a babysitter you do not trust.

    And if you say that you cannot read people well enough to prevent an accusation from left field………..and therefore won’t take the chance of being in that situation. Then men, women and children around the world are screwed. Not being put in that situation also applies to a man;
    1. assisting a lone female on the side of the road.
    2. a lost female child
    3. a scared and or hurt female
    and the list goes on.

    To hell with appearances, to hell with the opinions of other’s, and to hell with all those women that have turned society against men.
    My wife, daughters, family, friends and the strangers I have changed tires for, given lifts, given first aid to will all tell you that this OMG man is the person you want to have around if you need anything.

  79. Are there really THAT many false accusations stemming from a 10-minute ride home, or is that just another overblown fear? What would be the motivation for a young man or woman, obviously well-known to the family, to make up a story like that, not to mention going through the interviews with police, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and possibly going to court?

    Seems odd that a teen would want to go through all this for a made-up story.

  80. Long ago, Frederick Pohl (I think) of Dune fame said something like “He who can destroy a thing controls it”. The problem is that the simple accusation of child abuse and rape, even if completely unfounded, can destroy your whole family, both socially and financially.

    So the power is in the hands of the accuser. S/He can accuse me (a middle aged white male) of “touching” and my life is toast. I don’t mind shopping, as the accusation of shoplifting, if false, is not fatal. But I avoid being alone with other children and especially attractive teen girls because the accusation can completely destroy and my family.

    The fear may be overblown, but it’s real. It’s not my actions, but the helicopter moms and their fears that can destroy me. And I have no control over that.

  81. If this is a big issue, then the babysitter shouldn’t be babysitting for that family to begin with…

  82. Father of two young girls here. I’ve driven or walked a half dozen different female babysitters home on many occasions each, usually quite late at night. Max ride so far has been about 25 mins. Most have been in the 5-10 min range. No one has ever even considered the possibility of impropriety, as far as I know. It’s just never come up. Why in the world would it?

    Some comments here suggest first asking the sitter’s parents’ permission. I think that is beyond silly. Should I also ask the parents if they’re comfortable with the fact that my home contains an ordinary gas oven, and it might possibly explode? You never know. It could happen.

    A commenter above pointed out that driving a babysitter home does entail a real-life risk (as opposed to made up risks): a car crash. That risk is magnitudes higher than that of either an actual father-on-babysitter attack or a babysitter-on-father false accusation. Worry about car crashes.

    Now, a conversation about the occasional awkwardness during these drives would be interesting. What do teens talk about? I have to fill every moment with conversation; any silence would get extremely uncomfortable. But she speaks a different language! I’ve found that any conversation that strays beyond the kids and the babysitter’s school gets awkward right quick.

  83. My understanding of this was that it has always been more about Dad not wanting to be accused of anything, than anyone actually fearing that a molestation would happen. To those who say “are we so afraid that every man is a molester that…” I’d say no, that’s not it at all. And we’re not afraid that “every girl” is someone who’d falsely accuse a man. But it only takes one and your family goes through Hell.

    However, I wouldn’t be at all concerned about this if the girl was from a family we knew well. Frankly we didn’t use babysitters much back when we needed them because we could rarely afford both a night out and a babysitter. But on the rare occasions we did, it was always a close friend where mutual trust had long been established — not for the specific reason of avoiding such accusations, but just because those were the kids we knew.

  84. In the 80s, I was almost always driven home by the father. Though, I did have a dad make a move on me once – I was college aged and above the age of consent, but it was icky. Here, now, dads can and do drive babysitters home.

  85. Oh for the love of Christmas! Really, people?!

    I babysat before I was allowed to stay home by myself (yeah, figure that one out!), and unless the dad came home 3 sheets to the wind, he always drove me home, from age 11 through college (didn’t have a car in college).

    It never once occurred to me to make a false accusation about anything, and I never felt uncomfortable. Honestly, it’s amazing parents even leave the house without their kids these days.

    And I don’t know if anyone asked (haven’t read previous comments) but I made $1/hour watching up to 6 kids at a time. When I was in college (early 90s), I was up to $5/hour🙂 Whoo-hoo!!🙂

  86. I had to drive home our previous babysitter many times. She was the daughter of one of my wife’s coworkers. Her parents actually divorced because her father had had an affair with one of her babysitters. Still, there was never any hesitation on the part of her mother to have me drive her home. To this day, I take it as a complement.

    Our current babysitter has her own car, but we have several lined up who are going to require rides home. They are all the daughters of my wife’s coworkers, and I have no fear about driving them home. In the end, the most dangerous part about driving them home is the actual driving part.

  87. Beth, ever heard of the Salem witch trials?

    Beth writes:
    “Are there really THAT many false accusations stemming from a 10-minute ride home, or is that just another overblown fear? What would be the motivation for a young man or woman, obviously well-known to the family, to make up a story like that, not to mention going through the interviews with police, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and possibly going to court?

    Seems odd that a teen would want to go through all this for a made-up story.”

  88. When I babysat, it was often the dad driving me home. I don’t see how the parents of the sitter could come pick her up, since you never know exactly when you’ll be home, and often it’s rather late.

    To answer the question about walking home a sitter who lives 10 houses away, I’d say that anyone who’s old enough to sit for you is old enough to walk it alone at any hour as long as it’s a safe neighborhood. I grew up in a residential, suburban neighborhood and walked home as late as 2AM from a sitting job further up the street. Aside from it being extremely creepy (my hometown gets REALLY quiet after a certain hour, even today when I leave my parents’ home at 10 PM, I usually only pass a couple of other cars in the 5 mile drive to the town line), I was fine every time.

    It’s sad that we have to think about this stuff. I’d suggest, though, that this is another case of “do what you feel comfortable doing.” In this case, I think the OP should talk with the sitter and her parents. Tell her the situation and see what they think. They may actually be fine with it, especially if your family and hers have come to know one another.

  89. @Katrina, no need to be snarky. I was asking about this *exact* situation. False accusations stemming from a father driving a babysitter home, and what the motivations would be for a teenager to make these accusations.

  90. @Lollipoplover – Didn’t you know, boys can’t babysit anymore. They are all potential predators. Seriously, I’ve heard women talk about how they could/would NEVER have a male babysitter.
    People are out of whack.

  91. @Beth, I didn’t mean it snarky, just picked the most effective example that came to mind of people making up things entirely and the fallout being devastating.

    Very plausible reason, teen girl has a crush on the father. The father rebuffs her advances. She is angry and hurt.

  92. Frankly, I think this is all insane. I had plenty of dads drive me home during my babysitting days, and none of them made me the slightest bit uncomfortable.

    My kids are old enough to watch themselves, but we used to have a teenaged girl – the daughter of our closest friends – babysit sometimes. I did drive her home, but only because I didn’t drink then, so I was the designated driver. I can’t imagine anyone having an issue with my husband driving her home; he was there when she was born.

    Of course, my kids’ favorite babysitter used to drive himself home. Another one of my husband’s close friends, he was in his 40s and single, but very good with kids.😉

  93. I had never given it any thought until a few years ago when we started using a teenage babysitter (before that is was a nanny with her own car). When my husband said “ok I’ll take you home” she gave us a look that said not “no I am not comfortable with that” but “oh no what do I do now, since my parents said only the mom should drive me home” (I could be wrong) I do think it’s worst case thinking but I don’t think there is much I can do about it short of saying “husband will be driving you home half the time–like it or leave it”.

  94. Again, we have choices…………..live in fear of those with small minds, and run scared from what they may say, or say to hell with ’em and just live our lives.
    Personally I will just live my life, the way I see fit. Which means that I will not give into the busy bodies, who think all men are pervs.

    I have kids from the neighbourhood, in the shop, all the time. We have our own tire shop, and we also do some mechanical for select customers. The kids here are into passing wrenches and rolling tires. I do not ever worry about appearances. They use the washroom here, watch TV in the office when there is game on, they play with the dogs and so on. I have had parents come over and speak with me numerous times. Only to say, either thanks, or if my kid is becoming a bother, sort of thing.

    More so now than ever, positive male role models are needed. But we are heading down a slippery slope that will see no men willing to put themselves into situations where they are able to be role models.

    If you trust some of the research done, lack of positive male role models can be a leading factor in one becoming a predator.

    So it seems in an effort to protect children from men, we are risking breeding more predators. Nice huh?

  95. When I was a babysitter the dad almost always drove me home. I think it’s ridiculous to think that dads can’t drive the sitter and I think that taking all of these extra percautions is just feeding the paranoia and worst-first thinking. I’m starting to wonder if this fear of false acusations is another in the long line of things that rarely happen, are awful when they do so we go to insane measures to avoid the possiblity of.

  96. Huh, its crime in New Zealand to make a false accusation, you can and will be charged for it. And the fact it was a false accusation will be entered against any arrest records of the person accused.

    Mind you, watching the FBI vs New Zealand legal system (sorry Kim Dotcom) is interesting, illegal search and seizure, with massive (like 99.9% of it) with holding of evidence and the FBI and US courts seeming to have no problem with this, and finding it strange that the New Zealand courts are, is a little scary, points to a break down of due process in the US justice system at a high level.

  97. I was always driven home by the dad. Mom got out of the car came in woke me up off the couch and I went out and got in the car, while she stayed home with the sleeping kids. I have 2 boys so I think I’d be more apt to have a male babysitter if i had to pick.

  98. If you trust your husband, then yes. If you trust the babysitter, then yes.

  99. My husband ALWAYS drives the babysitter home, because I am nursing the baby. To do anything else would be ridiculous. I am not about to turn around and leave my baby again after being away while I was out for a couple of hours. No way.

    If I had a teenage babysitter whose parents didn’t want my husband driving her home, I would ask HER parents to come pick her up after instead. No way would I leave my kids to drive her home.

  100. I make my husband drive the babysitters home precisely because of the stupid and insulting arguments against adult males being alone with teenage girls. I want the teenage girls I know and like and therefore employ as babysitters, to be able to trust the adult men around them. I like to think that the good experiences they have with adult men might outweigh the bad experiences they are bound to have as a normal part of life. We have one babysitter, now 20, who has been babysitting for us since she was 15yo. She has grown up in an all female household with a terrific mum but not a lot of contact with a pretty deadbeat dad or any other significant men. She and my husband engage in long, in-depth conversations about life, the universe and everything and I think I can safely say that he has provided an incredibly positive role model of masculinity for her.

  101. I had the dad drive me home from babysitting, never had a problem. However in this day and age maybe you could have your son accompany dad so that there is no misunderstandings etc.

  102. For Andrea and gap.runner: Just to be clear, it’s the mothers of the babysitters who are saying “for the babysitter’s safety”, not the mothers hiring babysitters.

  103. To answer the question about whether there are laws in the US about filing a false police report, yes, here in California where I live and practice it is a misdemeanor crime to file a false police report. I have to say, though, that theory and practice are two very different things. In most areas, DA (prosecutor) is an elected political position and to dismiss cases is to chalk up a “loss” — something no DA wants when it’s time for reelection.

    The more likely scenario is the threat of false police report being used to actually try to get a “sidways” witness to return to the original story: “You do know that if you change your story now you can be charged with a very serious crime, don’t you?!”

    This is a sad fact of life nowadays.

    Honestly though the chances of anything happening is fairly small so luckily probably wouldn’t happen to anyone here. I had an uncle (now deceased) who in his elder years was accused by a former student of improper touching. It was patently ridiculous on so many levels and just seemed like a totally made-up money grab. But, it tainted his last days, neighbors heard about it, caused a big rift in the family, and (I believe) ultimately contributed to stress that led to him dying earlier than he otherwise might have.

    Being accused of just about the worst thing a man can be accused of is nothing short of life altering, to say the least.

  104. This is just part of the war on men that has been going on for years. Men are not to be trusted. Virgin Airlines recently made a man move because his ticket had him seated next to a child traveling without parents. He simply could not be trusted. It is true that a man alone with a child could easily be accused of something, unless he makes use of a handy-dandy new invention, and digital camera! Just record the entire trip, and there will be proof if any sort of accusation is made.

  105. Just another urban legend…we really need to to stop catering to the sex obsession…and that is exactly what it is – an obsession where not even the most mundane of activities can escape it.
    As a society we are becoming paralyzed with this fear so that we are going to ridiculous lengths to avoid either an assault that almost seems to be expected or a false accusation…also seems to be expected. No wonder there is all this “discomfort” and “awkwardness”…we’ve brought it on ourselves.

  106. My husband isn’t comfortable driving the babysitter home so I don’t have him do it. That’s if we ever can afford a babysitter (with five kids, it’s a rare event to actually be able to afford one!). Most often, the babysitters we do get are employees from my husband’s job (he’s the manager of a fast food restaurant) and they can drive themselves (and usually babysit for free because they think our kids are so darn cute!). When I was a teenager in the 90s, the dad always drove me home and I never thought anything of it. I don’t think there is any law or anything about it, it’s just what you are comfortable with and what the babysitter is comfortable with. And yeah, a digital camera is a good idea, if only to protect against false accusations, but hopefully, if you know your babysitter and she’s a trustworthy person (which I assume to be so, since she babysits your kids!), then a false accusation would be unlikely to ever happen.

  107. When I was a babysitter in the 1970’s, the dad usually drove me home. Sometimes that was really scary, because sometimes they had had too much to drink. When I was hiring sitters in the 1990’s, I usually did the driving. Now I have daughters who babysit, and the moms usually drive them. I would just make sure the sitter knew up front that your husband would be doing the driving. If she isn’t comfortable with that, she can refuse the job.

  108. The father shouldn’t do it…. for his own safety.

  109. WTF is a single father supposed to do? People have become so ridiculous it’s not even funny anymore.

  110. My old boss once told me, before I had my own children, how his wife always drove the babysitter home for this exact reason – he didn’t want to be put in a situation that could be misconstrued. I hadn’t thought of that before, but I agree. Today, I do the driving. Though, we LOVE sitters that drive themselves! 🙂

  111. I’d be lying if I said that thought never crossed my mind. But as a father who was brought up right as a free range kid of the 50’s and 60’s, and the teenage girls who were brought up correctly in the 90’s I have and will continue to drive them home if needed. They only comment I have gotten from their parents is a “Thank You for bringing them home”. And I will continue to watch them get to their car and start it up, day or night, if they drive themselves. Max.

  112. Like most, I was also generally driven home by the dads when I was a sitter. I had one incident where the dad tried to show me pornography (he kept insisting he just wanted to show me how pretty the girls faces were…uh, yeah, right). I was pretty young (aka stupid) and didn’t tell my parents and continued to babysit for them. I don’t recall it ever happening after.

    I babysat for lots of other couples with nothing ever happening.

    My husband has also driven our babysitters home when they haven’t had a car (although most have). I’m familiar with the 2-deep scout leadership and while I get the “it protects you” line of thinking and scouts have had bad incidents, it still makes life difficult if you have a parent who needs you to help out by driving a kid home, etc.

  113. I would NEVER drive a babysitter home alone. Ever. I’m a 50 year old professional male, and ine Faldo accusation would ruin me for life. End of story.

  114. The dads drove me home when I babysat. Our sitters that we have had lived next door or across the street, so they walked home. If they couldn’t have walked, I probably would have had my husband drive, especially if it was late as I am not safe to drive when tired, and I tend to go to bed early. If mom of the sitter had an issue, I would find another sitter, or not go out. (Or change the time of going out so that we could have a “playdate” to watch the kids.)

    Fortunately, I am now at the point that my daughter is the sitter. Before she does sitting late for other people I will warn her that she can call me for a ride if she thinks the person is drunk, and what to do if porn is shown or he makes advances. Most men know they need to behave themselves (and are not generally attracted to teens,) and only the real cads will make advances on the sitter. And the real cads tend not to be the norm.

  115. Oh, and I will make it gender neutral about the advances. I have been propped by women too. And that is just as uncomfortable when unwanted.

  116. Juliet Grossman, said:

    ” I am totally free range and also have the background that I was a public defender so I have a pretty accurate feel for the criminal justice system in my area (Southern California.) I would never, ever have my husband walk or drive a babysitter home. It’s just too huge of a risk.”

    You aren’t the only one who has said something like that…

    But I find your rationale strange, because it seems to suggest you hire “potentially” un-trustworthy babysitters, and allow them in your house with your possessions and your innocent offspring — which means you just “hope” they won’t steal something or do perverted things with your kids. What am I missing?

  117. I am 22, so it’s not THAT long ago that I was babysitting and being driven home by the parents of the child I was sitting. It varied between families as to who took me home. Generally, if I knew the family well, the dad was probably more likely to take me home, but if I didn’t know the family very well, the mom usually took me home. I never really thought about it either way, and I never had a problem with any of the parents for whom I babysat.
    However, as an adult, I’ve spent a lot of time training people who work with preteens and teenagers at churches and camps , and I would never recommend an adult male drive in a car alone with a female youth, OR an adult female drive a young male alone, unless they had express (usually written) permission from the parents. And that really is not at all a reflection on the staff and volunteers I was training, but more a reflection of our litigation-happy society.

  118. @Katrina – There is a HUGE difference between the Salem witch trials (which were 100s of years ago by the way) and a teen willing to subject herself to an extremely invasive rape exam and spending hours discussing her sex life with total strangers. It is difficult to get actual victims to endure what is necessary to prosecute a rape case and a teen who willingly does this just because dad spurned her interest has serious mental issues.

    Most of the “rape” cases I’ve dealt with in which I strongly believe the allegations were manufactured involved young children manipulated by parents or police officers. None have involved teens.

  119. I just have to second Angelina. Amen:

    Angelina, on August 23, 2012 at 10:51 said:

    WTF is a single father supposed to do? People have become so ridiculous it’s not even funny anymore.

  120. I’d say leave it up to the babysitter and their parents – when offering the job, explain that the mom cannot drive, and ask if they are comfortable with the dad driving the babysitter home. If not, the babysitter’s parents can come get her, or she can turn down the job. Back when I was babysitting and couldn’t drive, I think it was usually the dad that drove me home. I was usually less comfortable, but just because making conversation with a man was more awkward than a woman for me. I was usually babysitting for families that knew my family, though, so I never felt “unsafe”. It might have been different if they were complete strangers, but who knows! I probably still would have been more preoccupied with making small talk than being worried about anything else😉

  121. I agree that this isn’t an issue about the safety of the babysitter. It’s about protecting the husband from false accusations. For that reason, I would choose to either have a babysitter who can drive herself, or one that our family is very well-known to her family and vice-versa. It shouldn’t have to be that way, but as many articles here demonstrate, we already live in a world where all men are considered potential pedophiles just because they are men. This isn’t about letting kids do something or not. It’s about keeping our husbands safe!

  122. I can totally understand why some say that it’s too high a risk for a man to drive the babysitter home in the current climate. But it immediately made me think that we should start a Free Range Men movement to go against this tide! The more men give in to this pressure to never be alone with a child/teenager, the more this will fuel the perception that this is justified and thus the the vicious circle continues.

    (Easily said by a woman of course…)

  123. um sorry but a single mother or father can’t really drive the babysitter home. The problem being there are laws saying you can’t leave you kids home alone even if they are asleep.

  124. As others have stated, the risk of a false accusation is smaller than the risk of an auto accident, and an auto accident can also “ruin you for life,” but we’re okay with that risk. Perhaps the one who drives the babysitter home should be the one who is a better driver? (Men are more likely to be in car accidents, right?)

    I understand the “gut feel” here, and in the interest of keeping peace with all parties involved I think it’s a minor issue to just have the mom drive the kid home. But … I wish we had the guts as a society to just stop giving up our sanity every time someone gets nervous.

  125. I have a solution:
    We should all just hire androgynous robots to babysit our kids. Then we can just unplug them at night and put them in the closet and no one would have to drive them home. Who’s with me?!

  126. “But I find your rationale strange, because it seems to suggest you hire “potentially” un-trustworthy babysitters, and allow them in your house with your possessions and your innocent offspring — which means you just “hope” they won’t steal something or do perverted things with your kids. What am I missing?”

    @View Point, there is always risk involved when you leave your child with someone. Yes, they will most likely do a good job. But they also might talk on the phone all evening, have a boyfriend over to make out with, be mean to your kids, etc. Anyone who hires a sitter and thinks they’ve got a 100% guarantee is naive. People do put on fronts and people do make mistakes. But we have to trust. However, if a male doesn’t want to take even a small chance of being falsely accused of something, I wouldn’t blame him. It’s not THAT big of a deal to have the sitter arrange their own transportation or have mom drive them home. And as long as you aren’t saying things like, “Well, I will drive you home because my husband can’t because he’s a man.” then you aren’t encouraging any bad thinking about men either. After all, all those girls who were driven home by fathers all those years while sitting , I doubt thought that the only reason was that mothers can’t be trusted or are incapable of driving at night.

  127. My husband refuses to drive female teenage babysitters home alone. It’s not an excuse to get out of the driving. I think it’s an act of self-protective caution on his part, and even if it’s likely an unnecessary one, I sympathize with his feelings on the matter. I’m just glad we now have a babysitter who can walk home, because otherwise I would never get to drink on date nights.

  128. When we had a sitter, usually a girl, for my son years ago (he is now 30), I often drove the sitter home. And yes I am one of those potentially evil males. One thing that might have helped is that I would go the sitter’s family’s home to pick her up with my wife and meet the parents myself. I would state directly to the parents that I would be bringing their daughter home when we returned from our evening out. I never had a problem but I know I could have been putting my reputation and future on the line should I have been accused of an impropriety. The problem with society is that the law and the media handle such accusations differently from any other alleged crime and they are completely happy to risk destroying the life of an innocent man just to “protect the children.” Of course I don’t see how destroying an innocent man protects children from real and rare pedophiles.

  129. I babysat from the time I was 12, until I was expecting my first child at 20. I actually tended to babysit for a majority of single moms (don’t know if it was just the area I lived in, or maybe the people who knew our family, b/c my mother was a single parent for many years). When I was too young to drive, often the mothers would pick me up from my home, and then my own mother would come get me…Or some similar arrangement. Each family giving a pick up or drop off depending on what made more sense.

    Once someone’s brother picked me up & dropped me off (he lived in the house & they were going out together with mutual friends…and actually I had known the brother for several years before I ever met the sister – b/c she was several years older).

    For 2 parent families, I think it just depended on the circumstances of the babysitting event. If they needed me during the day, it was typically the mother dropping me off b/c the father was at work. If it was at night, the father would drop me off b/c he’d have been the DD for their night out anyway. I remember one father was a really wealthy attorney (family money as well as his own) & owned a porsche. Of course the porsche was for ‘date night’ and was the last vehicle in the driveway the nights I babysat…so he’d drive me home in the porsche rather than the family mini-van. He loved to race & being only 14 or 15 I thought it was very cool that he’d get to 100mph on the very short trip between our homes (maybe 5 or 6 miles) in the middle of the night when the town stoplights went to flashing yellow lights instead.

    Once I could drive myself it was moot…though I always got offers to sleep over if I was too tired to drive myself home. Which I never took up, b/c I tended to be a night owl anyway. 🙂

  130. My High School Spanish teacher was arrested after assaulting the babysitter that he was driving home. He was also the schools soccer coach. Do I think most men are predators…..heck no! If I had a daughter would it make me pause…….maybe. I never had an issue the entire time I babysat with any of the father’s of the kids, but they are definitely out there. I work at an agency where we assist victims of sexual assault, so this is certainly more on my radar than others!

  131. “a teen willing to subject herself to an extremely invasive rape exam and spending hours discussing her sex life with total strangers”

    Good point, Donna, but couldn’t an accusation short of rape, something undetectable through examination, still make for a pretty horrendous scenario, where CPS shows up at your door, Dad has to prove his right to remain living with his own kids, etc.?

    As you say, it’s still not that likely a scenario anyway, but I don’t think you have to posit a girl willing to go through the full consequences of a rape accusation, to say that it’s just easier for Mom to drive to avoid any chance of that kind of ugliness.

  132. All of you who are suggesting the father is in greater danger of being falsely accused than the girl is of being molested are living a sick fantasy. It’s lovely that you all trust your husbands, but at least 1 in 4 women are sexually assaulted, and it starts in adolescence. If NONE of your husbands ever sexually assault anyone, then the population of this site is a huge statistical oddity. All those men who have ever grabbed you without permission in bars, or on buses, who expose themselves from cars, who get girls too drunk to say “no”…many of them are eventually someone’s husband, and at least a few of you are almost certainly married to one, though you don’t know it.

    Wake up. There is vastly more impropriety from men to girls than from girls to men. The difference is that men can protect themselves from girls fairly easily, but the same is not true for girls.

  133. Wow. When I babysat it was always the dads that drove me home. I remember one dad (a super nice guy) saying to me before we got in the car, “Well, now it’s time for the awkward drive home with the dad!” And of course it was awkward for a 15 year old to spend 20 minutes in the car with a guy in his mid-30s. Not because of creepiness, but because what would we possibly have to talk about? Once we’d talked about how long the baby had cried after he and his wife had gone out, and how easy or difficult it was to get the kids to bed, we usually ran out of topics.

  134. I really think that 90% of younger babysitters are comfortable being driven home by dads and 90% (maybe 75%) dads are comfortable as well. However, most of these teenagers are being told by their parents that they should go home with the mom. Unfair, overprotective and misguided yes, but I bet most of the babysitter’s parents, even if its not a big issue for them, think “well if there is a mom who can drive, why not play it safe”. The problem for us is you can’t tell a teenager that doesn’t belong to you that they or their parents are being unreasonable and that they need to change their mind. In the end, it is their decision not yours. (Are you going to stand in the foyer lecturing a 15-year old about the wisdom of freerange parenting?) Good babysitters that are available on weekend nights don’t just fall out of the sky (at least for us). When you find one, you keep him or her. I just don’t have the wherewithal to make this an issue when looking for a sitter.

    I think someone made the point earlier, and it is a good one, that the danger of someone, male or female, driving the sitter home after drinking is a MUCH bigger thing to be worried about. Teenagers don’t have the skills to assess whether someone has had too much to drink. I am very tuned in to the issue of drunk and “buzzed” driving and this is scenario is one that I would worry about if and when my kids are the babysitters.

  135. Speaking as a former babysitter, I don’t think I’d agree to work in someone’s house if I didn’t know and feel comfortable with BOTH parents, enough to trust either of them to drive me home. Speaking as a parent, I don’t think I’d trust someone to watch my daughter if I didn’t know them well enough to also trust they wouldn’t falsely accuse my husband. Seriously, where are these families and babysitters finding each other, that they’ll work together without having that kind of trust established??

    As for dads and teenage girls feeling awkward with each other, well, that kinda depends on the dad and the girl, doesn’t it? With several of the families I worked for, I had more in common with the dad than the mom – one dad, for instance, loved sci-fi and fantasy and we’d compare our favorite books the whole way home. It was great.

  136. Pentamom – CPS is only going to be involved if the babysitter accuses your husband of molesting YOUR children or your husband is arrested and they want to check the safety of his children. CPS is not involved in disagreements between babysitters and employers, regardless of what those disagreements are. The babysitter can’t call CPS and report her own abuse at the hands of her employer. She has to go to the police who will make a referral to CPS concerning YOUR children if necessary – CPS is never involved in her case.

    The teen who will come up with this plan and follow through against a man she babysits for is seriously disturbed. We are talking psychopathic. I’m sure the rare, very disturbed teen has formed an unhealthy attraction to a husband she babysits for such that she retaliates in this fashion, but it would be extremely rare and not something the entire parenting community needs to protect against. And someone THIS disturbed and THIS delusional and THIS willing to lie will just make up a story about your husband in the house. His only witness will be you and that is not a very strong witness. As much damage will be caused because the cops, CPS and DAs are more likely to believe that you are covering for your husband than that she is lying. In all honesty, if your husband is accused of something like this, you need to look long and hard at him because 99.9999999999% of the time there is some truth to what is being said. It may be exaggerated, but it will not be completely out of left field.

    Worrying about this is truly akin to believing that every child will potentially bring a gun to school and murder your child and sending him to school every day in a bulletproof vest. Do school shootings happen? Extremely rarely, but yes. Will a bullet proof vest help? Possibly. Should every kid wear one everyday? NO!!!!!

    Yes, it is easier for mom to just drive but it is also easier to keep your kids inside and never let them out of your sight. At what point do we stop and say “this is not the world I want to live in and I am not going to concede to the irrational fear anymore?”

  137. I’m arriving late in the convo – but if you have a babysitter that you don’t trust to NOT make false accusations, then perhaps you don’t know her well enough to be babysitting your children. My husband drives our sitter home from time to time. We make sure she calls a parent to tell them she is on her way when they leave and that way the parent knows they will be there in certain amount of time. But we know all the girls that sit for us very well, and we know their parents. Its not really a concern because of that.

  138. Haha I just glanced up and saw that someone else said what I did. Good to know I’m not alone!

  139. Sheesh! This is supposed to be about dads driving the babysitters home but I noticed there are a lot of jabs about how we are hiring potentially dangerous sitter that we don’t know well enough “perhaps if you don’t know her well enough she shouldn’t be babysitting your children”. Or “we only hire people we know very well” Come on–you get a recommendation, meet the kid and decide to hire. I have friends who won’t let anyone babysit who isn’t a relative and they have hardly any relatives. Are there really so many sinister teenage babysitters out there. Isn’t that a myth that we are playing into kind of like the myth that there is a creep on every corner just waiting to nab your kid?

  140. It’s good to know that every man that was ever falsely accused was ONLY falsely accused by someone he didn’t know that well and every girl that was ever molested was ONLY molested by someone she didn’t know that well. Oh wait a minute…….Back to reality. Sometimes someone you trust will do something to break that trust. Quite often, in fact, I’d say, was the perpetrator on BOTH ends is someone the other person knew well and trusted. With the reality that 1 in 4 girls will be molested by their 18th birthday and the fact that we all agree on here it’s not usually happening by strangers, means it’s USUALLY someone they knew. Quite often quite well and trusted. And where are all these men coming from doing the molesting? Everyone says it can’t be their husband, but a good chunk of the time it IS someone’s husband who thought they knew and trusted him well. And often he’s someone others trust quite well. We can’t live our lives in fear, but we also can’t naively go about trusting everyone and assuming nothing bad will ever happen. We need to use common sense. Leave it up to the babysitter and her family and to the dad. If he’s not comfortable, then don’t make him feel bad by trying to talk him into it. If she or her parents are uncomfortable, then have mom or her parents drive her home. I would think a girl nervous about it in the first place might imagine things that don’t exist easier. Maybe not actual sexual assault, but even a claim of “I think Mr. Jones was flirting with me on the way home,” could ruin a family man’s reputation.

  141. Maybe the moral of this story is not to worry unless the police are the ones driving your babysitter home:

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/mom-gambling-babysitter-passes-topless-florida-parking-lot-article-1.1142689

  142. Seriously, how many times do female babysitters accuse fathers of molesting them on the drive home? How many ACTUAL times has this happened in the history of millions of hours of babysitting around the world? And why aren’t we worried about mothers driving babysitters home? Women have been known to sexually molest boys and girls, but perhaps just not babysitters… I guess we know that a good babysitter is hard to find and we’d better not burn that relationship! Can we get a reality check?

  143. “It’s good to know that every man that was ever falsely accused was ONLY falsely accused by someone he didn’t know that well”

    In my experience it is extremely rare for someone to be falsely accused of THIS crime by someone that he doesn’t know that well. And, unless you hire a friend or family member – the very people most are saying are SAFE to drive home – your babysitter IS someone your husband doesn’t know that well.

    “Sometimes someone you trust will do something to break that trust.”

    Yep but when did that become a justification for treating everyone as though they are going to break your trust. And should we seek to live lives that are governed by arbitrary rules to avoid trusting anyone lest that trust gets broken?

    “With the reality that 1 in 4 girls will be molested by their 18th birthday and the fact that we all agree on here it’s not usually happening by strangers, means it’s USUALLY someone they knew. Quite often quite well and trusted.”

    Again, teenage (non-family/friend) babysitters and fathers are generally not a close relationship.

    Further, saying that girls are mostly molested by men who they know quite well is not actually the same as saying all men who know a girl quite well molests her. Even if you take the 1 in 4 number to be true (I think it’s pretty bogus), that still means that 75% of female children are NOT molested. The vast majority of that 75% have many males in their life that they know quite well. The vast majority of the 25% also have many men in their lives that they know quite well who do NOT molest them. So all this number says is that most girls are not molested at all, let alone by their babysitting employer, and the vast majority of men, including those who know girls quite well, do not molest.

    “we also can’t naively go about trusting everyone and assuming nothing bad will ever happen.”

    There is a difference between assuming nothing bad will ever happen and acting as though a certain bad thing will happen if you don’t do something to prevent it. Particularly when the particular bad thing has a really low likelihood of occurring at all.

    “even a claim of “I think Mr. Jones was flirting with me on the way home,” could ruin a family man’s reputation.”

    If a 14 year old girl claiming that she thinks you flirted with her ruins your reputation, you didn’t have much of a reputation to start with.

  144. I usually don’t comment on here but I love coming here to read Donna’s comments. You can tell she was the kind of kids that drove her parents nuts arguing, LOL. She will pick apart ANYTHING ANYBODY says no matter if right or wrong I think sometimes just for the fun of it. It’s a hoot!

  145. “If a 14 year old girl claiming that she thinks you flirted with her ruins your reputation, you didn’t have much of a reputation to start with.”

    Um, if you are a family man and have been accused of flirting with a teenage girl, then yeah it could ruin your reputation. I’m not sure what you mean by “not much of a reputation”. Everyone had a reputation for something. Either good or bad. So if you have a good reputation it could potentially scar it and make parents not trust their daughters around you. If you had a bad reputation to begin with I guess it wouldn’t hurt it that much, but then that would make what you said make no sense. :/

  146. Yeah, I agree. A guy would never want to be accused of flirting with a teenage girl. It’s would be extremely embarrassing and everyone would be looking at him like he was a pervert. As for the situation at hand, we can discuss all we want but ultimately it needs to be up to the individual family, the sitter, and her family. I don’t think it’s up to anyone else to make those choices for them.

  147. “but at least 1 in 4 women are sexually assaulted, and it starts in adolescence. If NONE of your husbands ever sexually assault anyone, then the population of this site is a huge statistical oddity.”

    Not necessarily. If you accept the 1 in 4 statistic (which, again, I think is bogus), that doesn’t mean that 1 in 4 men sexually assault women. Men who sexually assault women tend to sexually assault more than one woman in their lifetime. A single man could be responsible for hundreds of victims, particularly if you are including the very low level activities you mentioned (flashing, mooning, grabbing someone’s ass, etc.) as “sexual assault.” It is possible for both statements to be true – that 1 in 4 women are sexually assaulted and that no husband of anyone on this blog has sexually assaulted a woman.

    “who get girls too drunk to say “no”’

    Please tell me that you are talking about either men having sex with passed out drunk women or men slipping alcohol unwittingly into someone’s drink. This is a pet peeve of mine. A woman who willingly drinks alcohol is not being gotten drunk by anyone but herself. And a woman who says “yes” at the time of sex is not sexually assaulted no matter how out of character or unhappy she is in the morning. Women need to start taking more responsibility for their own choices in this regard. This does not mean that I think a victim is ever to blame for a sexual assault. I just think we’ve broadened the definition of “sexual assault” too much.

  148. @Lollipoplover–Why not take it a step further, and have the robots RAISE your kids entirely? That way, you don’t have to put your dreams of career, travel, and spontaneous date nights on hold. But seriously, my take on this is, why is it the neighbours’ business? The only time I even heard of a female babysitter suing a dad who drove her home, for sexual harassment, was in an old Simpsons epsiode (it was a misunderstanding; Homer was just pulling a gummy Venus DeMilo off the back of her pants), and, well, that wasn’t real–it was a cartoon. So, it seems like the real danger is the “what will the neighbours think?” factor, and as I said, my take on it is, if they’re watching that closely, they have too much time on their hands.

  149. Flirting is very ambiguous and subject to interpretation. Signals frequently get crossed in this area. There are times when someone tells me that so-and-so was flirting with me and I was totally clueless (or they were since no flirting was happening) and other times that I think someone is flirting and am totally wrong. So, if my daughter tells me someone may have flirted with her, I’m not going to freak, although I will probably watch the relationship more closely and volunteer to pick my child up from babysitting that family if she still even wanted to do it. If someone tells me that so-and-so flirted with a 14 year old girl, I’m not necessarily going to deem them a child molester. I would have a very different reaction to someone telling me that dad rubbed the breast of his 14 year old babysitter as that is not generally subject to interpretation.

    So, while I don’t think it would be pleasant and sought after, to be accused of flirting with the babysitter, I don’t think a single allegation is going to ruin a good reputation along the same lines as a single allegation of touching the babysitter would.

  150. “So, if my daughter tells me someone may have flirted with her, I’m not going to freak, although I will probably watch the relationship more closely and volunteer to pick my child up from babysitting that family if she still even wanted to do it.”

    So it WOULD ruin the man’s reputation enough that you would no longer trust him to drive your daughter home. Why wouldn’t you let him? Because you now fear he COULD cause harm to your child. Hence, his reputation is tarnished – assuming you or your daughter told others. If you didn’t then I guess it would be only your opinions of him that would have gone downhill.

  151. I’m another one that at 14 was sexually assaulted by a dad I was babysitting for. And it was someone who was friends with my mom, that she trusted so much that well into my 30’s she didn’t believe me, even after his wife told her it was true.

    It was one man out of a dozen or so that I babysat for, but it does happen.

    Would I let my daughter babysit? Yes. Would I let her be alone in the house with the dad? Maybe… I can think of a handful of men that I have allowed her to be alone with, and never even had a second thought about it but I’d have a hard time with it was someone I didn’t know well.

  152. A lot of good ideas. I don’t have time to read all the replies here, but most of them don’t seem to answer the general question: Is this rule about men not driving a general rule?

    I think it’s a general “rule” these days. (Using rule very broadly, because of course men do and should drive babysitters home, depending on circumstances, parents’ friendship, and so forth.)
    I went through a short seminar teaching parents how to prevent child abuse, particularly sexual molestation. I went to that particular one because the website did include that relationships are important and need to be given the chances to develop. But the key, in the seminar, to prevent sexual abuse was to have private conversations in a viewable setting — office with glass windows, somewhere outside where a man and child could be more or less seen. Not right out in public, but in a private space that could be SEEN.
    Men ARE getting stereotyped, to society’s detriment. But current statistics say 1 in 6 girls have been sexually abused by the time they are 18. And 1 in 8 boys. Clearly, something has to change. But not at the cost of the relationships we need and love in life.

  153. […] my blog. I posted a question from a mom about whether dads still routinely — or ever — drive the babysitter home anymore, and 150 comments later, the topic is still on fire. Some fear the man, some fear the […]

  154. Ross’ response is spot on.

  155. As an adolescent in the 60s, I received sexual advances from half a dozen adult men, of the couple hundred or so I came in contact with. Only one was a stranger to me and my parents. One was a dad driving me home (3 doors away!) from a babysitting gig. One was my high school principal. I was fortunate to have wriggled out of all the situations without being raped, and I didn’t tell my parents about any of them.

    Is your husband hitting on the babysitter? Probably not. Is your daughter getting hit on by a dad she babysits for or by some other adult you and she trusts? Almost certainly yes. Are you going to hear about it? Probably not.

    If you do not teach your daughter that there is a small but significant minority of the male population who are smooth, practiced, and prolific predators, and teach her how to live in the freaking real world where she WILL encounter some of them, your stupidity and blind trust is greatly increasing her chance of being raped.

  156. When I was a teenager and babysitting, it was always the dad who brought me home. Until I had my license and my own car. Once my husband and I had kids, most of our sitters were older women from the churches we attended (we were moving a lot back then).

    Whenever we did use a teenage girl for babysitting jobs, I was usually the one who drove them home. Part of this was due to my husband being in the ministry and the heightened awareness of avoiding all chances possible of impropriety.

    The other reason was back then we had two friends who had recently gone to jail after being accused of improprieties by a teen they knew. In both cases, it was a case of the teen’s word against the male friend’s. And the court went with the teen in both cases. Unfortunately, that was the environment then. Don’t know if it’s changed much since then.

    So glad both my boys are past needing babysitters. Now my youngest is almost old enough to be the babysitter.

  157. ” Is your daughter getting hit on by a dad she babysits for or by some other adult you and she trusts? Almost certainly yes.”

    I don’t think one person’s anecdotal experience is enough for an unequivocal “almost certainly yes” to this question. There is nothing “almost certain” about a teen girl being hit on by a father or other male she trusts – we’re right back to assuming all men are perverts and pedophiles again if that’s the case.

    Note that I’m not saying it never happens; I’m saying is doesn’t almost certainly happen to every girl.

  158. Don’t know if anyone else has said it, but why not get a male babysitter? Teenage boys can be just as reliable (or not) as girls and it would teach the son that boys can take on care giving roles too.

  159. Buffy said

    “There is nothing “almost certain” about a teen girl being hit on by a father or other male she trusts – we’re right back to assuming all men are perverts and pedophiles again if that’s the case.”

    I said that most men AREN’T predators, yet most girls are predated upon. This is because the predators are driven, prolific and efficient. A small number can cover a large number of targets. In my experience, they are not usually successful in achieving penetration, but they await their next chance or move on to the next target.

    Think of all the men your daughter encounters in everyday life – teachers, coaches, bus drivers, your friends, her friends’ relatives, neighbors, clerks, her relatives, clergy, etc. What do you think the odds are that there are zero bad apples among them? Even if it’s only one guy, he is always looking for chances with every target that fits his profile. That one guy is attempting dozens or hundreds of girls. Equip your girl to avoid or evade his attempts.

    The majority of snakes are not venomous. Do you therefore pick up any snake you can’t identify off the ground because odds are, it won’t invenomate you?

  160. My husband usually drives our babysitters home because I have terrible night vision and hate driving at night. Some of our teenaged sitters are hard to make conversation with, particularly the younger teens, but once they hit 16 (and we haven’t lost them to dating or part time jobs), they are usually pretty chatty. Our favourite sitter asked to use my husband for a reference when she applied for a summer position with the local police and another teen my husband was able to get hired on at a client’s company when he realize her skill set (at a young age) was something that could not be passed over. Grooming? Perhaps, but for THEIR own future CAREERS!

  161. Buffy:

    “I don’t think one person’s anecdotal experience is enough for an unequivocal “almost certainly yes” to this question.”

    Most of the commenters on this thread are providing their personal perspective as adults on the specific question of dads escorting babysitters home:

    “I trust my husband.” Good for you. He’s most probably OK, but you don’t really know.

    “I’m a man and I would never molest a kid” Great! I wish everyone was like you!

    “I’m afraid of being falsely accused.” How do you know that what you perceive as an epidemic of false accusations is not in fact an epidemic of guys vehemently and convincingly denying something they actually did? And you believe them because they don’t seem capable of it?

    “I’m afraid of my husband being falsely accused.” See above.

    “That never happened to me when I babysat.” Some adult man of your acquaintance made sexual advances toward the adolescent you. Maybe not a dad you sat for, but someone. I’m trying to recall a woman I’ve discussed this with who has NOT had such an anecdote. I can’t think of any, although I guess there must be some.

    “That never happened to my daughter.” That you know of.

    Men, instead of whining about the possibility of the most important person in the universe (that’s you) being falsely accused, why don’t you be a true gentleman and put yourself in the shoes of the girl or woman who has to try to pick out the minority of slimeballs wanting to harm her from the majority, like you, who do not. Help her by avoiding situations where she is alone and in your power, even though you have no intention of abusing that power. How would she know? Instead of your motivation for avoiding those situations being “I might be falsely accused,” how about making it “I don’t want to make her uncomfortable, even though I know she doesn’t need to be.”

  162. For the parents of the teens and others who think that fathers shouldn’t drive home teenaged sitter, I ask, “I have just trusted your teen to be alone with my child(ren) for several hours unsupervised. Please reciprocate this trust by trusting myself or my husband to be alone with your child for several minutes unsupervised while your teen is being driven home.”

    I also often use male teenaged sitters and my children love it when they come. Tends to be more silly antics and more mess but the kids have a great time!

  163. It’s not just the dad and the sitter. It’s the neighbors. I have neighbors with a few 10 year old boys. The boys get into the usual trouble, and when it pertained to me, I dealt with the boys directly and nicely, and never had more trouble with them. Other neighbors, however, have called the cops on those boys. A few houses away is a park. The teen girls living next to the park often hang out there before piling into cars with their friends. From this, there are other neighbors talking about how there is drug dealing going on in the park.

    I trust myself. Any teenager I trust to watch my kid, I trust not to make false accusations against me. But I don’t trust the neighbors. My wife will have to drive them home.

  164. We follow the rule that the same sex person drives the sitter home (we use boy sitters too)… although we haven’t worried about it in over a year because for a while we only used sitters that could provide their own transportation, and in the last 6 months it’s been hours-sharing with moms.
    We didn’t used to worry about it, or think about it at all. Our babysitters were always kids of family friends, who would trust my husband alone with their girls. But as my kids got older, and we started using babysitters we didn’t know quite as well, or didn’t know their parents I should say, we decided to follow that “rule” to protect my husband. I trust him, of course. And I trust the kids, too. But I’ve witnessed first hand a parent putting ideas into a kid’s head, which eventually caused a man to not be convicted of wrong doing but still he had to move out of state and essentially start his life over again. Having witnessed that… it seems silly to make Nick drive the sitters when I can do it just as easily as he can. Plus i really like the time in the car with our sitter, a bit of bonding, a bit of time to recap the night.

    I question this more and more because it’s the church’s policy that we not transport any minors of the opposite sex… but more and more teens are coming “out of the closet” and that really REALLY blurs all the lines on this stuff.

  165. I don’t find the suggestion that fathers should refrain from driving the babysitter home controversial. This blog spends a lot of time harping on the assumption that the worst may happen, but that’s partially in human nature. The idea that fathers shouldn’t drive the babysitter home isn’t anything new conceptually. I used to live in a predominantly Orthodox Jewish neighborhood, and if I went to visit a household of that community and the husband was not home, I knew I would not be admitted to the house until he was. This was not because of any lack of trust, but rather because of a command in the Mosaic covenant to avoid the unnecessary insinuation of scandal, and to live lives that are above reproach by gossips.

  166. “So it WOULD ruin the man’s reputation enough that you would no longer trust him to drive your daughter home.”

    I believe that I said that I would VOLUNTEER to pick my daughter up. By volunteer, I meant to my daughter. If she wasn’t comfortable riding with him but still wanted to babysit for the family, I would pick her up. I won’t teach my child that all men can’t be trusted alone in a car, but I will NEVER make her get into a car with someone who made her uncomfortable for any reason whatsoever – male or female.

    Truthfully, alleging that dad was “flirting” with her would make me think that the babysitter has a crush on dad and not vice versa. It’s too positive of a term.

  167. “Some adult man of your acquaintance made sexual advances toward the adolescent you. Maybe not a dad you sat for, but someone. I’m trying to recall a woman I’ve discussed this with who has NOT had such an anecdote.”

    Um. Me. That’s never happened to me.

    I’m not saying it never happens. It does. But please don’t make this into some universal thing that every girl experiences, because it isn’t.

  168. Lauren, you are spending way too much time and energy trying to convince us that men are bad; and if you don’t think that’s what you’re doing, go back and reread your posts.

    Like kristycat, the scenario you describe never happened to me, or anyone I know, nor my daughter (and despite your assurances to the contrary, since you know every daughter in the world?, she would have told me).

  169. Because many have posted how rare false accusations are it needs to be said that a false accusation doesn’t need to be an arrest, it can be as simple as saying the man is “creepy”. Gossip will take over and if you live in a small community, well… it’s damaging. For a man, there is no way to prove you weren’t creepy because it’s an opinion not an action. It’s easy to see how some of the people posting here would take a “creepy” label given to a man and blow-it out of proportion. This is far from being rare.

  170. Anecdotally, I definitely had the “inappropriately sexual comments from kids dad when driving home” experience as a babysitter – I dreaded the ride home every time, but continued babysitting for them (I needed the money!) and never said anything to my parents or the guy’s wife because they were family friends and I didn’t want to upset anyone. I don’t know how common that is, but I’m guessing it’s not UNcommon.

    I’m really surprised by how many people here either a) think false accusations are super rampant or b) are willing to give in to that meme and refuse to let an adult male drive a teenage girl home because they think there’s even a one in a million chance that such an accusation might be made. If someone suggested the opposite (“I wouldn’t let my teenage daughter go in a car with an adult male, there’s a one in a million chance she could be raped”) it would certainly be lambasted here – not very free range! But statistically, the girl is at greater risk of being raped than the man is of being falsely accused of rape.

  171. My husband and I just had this talk. We don’t have a teenage babysitter because of our teenage son, who watched his brother if we need it. But if we had either one of us would let the girls parent/parents know we which one of us was on the way to bring her home.. At this point in my kids life I’m not worried at all about her and my husband alone together, I’d be more worried about her and my older teenage son alone together. My oldest is 20 the middle teenager is 14… The youngest son is 5. He’s the one we would occasionally need a sitter for as he drives the teenager nuts and while they are great for 30 mins together I’d rather just get a sitter for little dude. It tend to be my mother in most cases becaus it avoids the awkwardness if having to realize my 14 yr old is into dating and such, that I choose my mom. But if we had a baby sitter for the kids either the hubby or I would drive her home. We would just let them know and clear it with them an the girl do everyone would be comfortable.

  172. I babysat quite often in high school (2002-ish) and I almost always was driven home by the parent that arranged the visit, mother or father. We chatted about their kids or their outing the entire time. Once, though, I was caring for the son of my male high school music teacher (my mentor). He was driving me home late (2 am) and we were pulled over by the police. The officer didn’t site any traffic violation, just leaned over my teacher, shone a light in my face and asked if I was okay. I couldn’t tell if it was racial (my teacher was black) or the late hour or what. We couldn’t even joke about it, we were both so upset.

  173. I suppose that this question would be posed, and would draw so many responses says a great deal about the times we live in. I am of the opinion that “society” dictates the behavior it prefers by the laws it passes and how it enforces them. Currently the environment is very anti-male when there is a female accuser of almost any act. Obviously for me there would be no question – the wife would drive home the baby sitter.

    Here is where you see an interesting divergence between what society indicates that it wants (by dint of its laws and its enforcement efforts) and what society says that it wants in “casual conversation”. By adopting the current anti-male slant in law enforcement, complete with “registration” as some posters above described, society has clearly indicated that it doesn’t want unsupervised interactions between adult males and females of any age, or even immature males. It says that it would like for men to continue in a protector/helper role, but solitary males do this at their own peril, because they are subject to ruination, if not incarceration, on the word of another individual with no other evidence.

    For me, I have chosen to behave as society indicates that it wishes me to behave, paying no attention to what they say. I go my own way, tend to my own business, and leave adult females in distress to change their own tires, see to their own safety, and kill their own snakes without my aid. At this point society has not yet persuaded me to adopt the same posture toward other’s children, but it could . . . it could.

  174. I hated having the husbands drive me home when I was a teenage babysitter. I usually knew the wife, but the husbands were usually people I knew from the neighborhood but never really carried on conversations with. Such unbearably LONG, UNCOMFORTABLE drives that were usually less than 10 minutes long.

    I think the protection here is for both parties. It reduces temptation all around and reduces chances that false accusations are ever made. I have learned many times in my life that the best defense is often to avoid situations where something uncomfortable or inappropriate could happen.

  175. Again everyone here is missing the point. That society and the world sucks royally. Why? Because we have gotten to the point where this is even a topic of debate.

    Taking in the comments above, it is only reasonable to conclude that the adult male population needs to be locked away. If not for the safety of women and children, but for their own safety as well.

    @self protecting male, You are a coward, and should be ashamed. Leaving anyone stranded with a flat tire, or ignoring someones safety because you are covering your ass, is the action of a coward.

    As for the rest of you, that feel we need to live our lives trying to avoid this, watch out for that, and on and on. You are all cowards. The more society makes you live like that, the more things you’ll have to avoid. What the hell is wrong with y’all.

    If you are a stand up, honourable person. All the time, not just when it is safe. Your community will know you as that, and false accusations wont do nearly the harm, that everyone is so freakishly afraid of.

    I honestly do not know how you all live with these fears. Maybe you should see someone about them.

    As for the father’s driving my daughter home, I have no problem. And you all have just proven why I don’t have to worry. Fear is a great motivator, isn’t it. And any of the males around my daughters all know, that if something ever happened to one of my girls………..well accusations, arrests, police, court and such are the least of their concerns.

    Maybe there would be less predators and pervs, if they knew the father had the right to beat them death. Just a thought.

  176. “Reduces temptation all around”???? You make it sound like neither dads nor teen girls, as a rule, can keep their hands off eachother. That’s certainly not the world I live in.

  177. @ Brian
    You really can’t fathom a situation where a single parent might drive the babysitter home? Maybe the kid’s asleep in the backseat. Just because they’re there doesn’t automatically mean nothing inappropriate will happen from the driver or the sitter. Maybe whomever the single parent brought home (date, sibling, friend) stays with the kid at the house while the parent takes the kid home. Oh hey, what about GAY PARENTS?? What exactly are they supposed to do? Two gay dads, one of them has to take the sitter home, right? The point is, all of these arguments against a dad taking home the babysitter are completely ridiculous. It’s “worst first” thinking. Is there a chance that dad might make some inappropriate pass at, molest, or rape the sitter? Is it possible the sitter might falsely accuse the dad of molesting him or her? Is it possible that a meteor will fall out of the sky and kill you stone dead? YES. But that doesn’t mean you should live your life in fear. Maybe talk to the parent(s) of your babysitter. Let them know you will be bringing the sitter home and give them your cell number. If they still don’t like it they can come pick up their kid. (Who, I might add, is old enough to be responsible for another human being but isn’t capable of knowing what is and what isn’t an inappropriate situation with another person?! Who can’t be trusted to tell the truth? Why exactly are these people being trusted with your children again?)

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