At a parent gathering, stories were flying about recent events that had parents reeling. Thought I would share them with you. File under "good kids, good families, and yet...."
Story 1: 7th grade girl comes home from school and tells her mom that at school that day her 12 year old boy...friend as opposed to boyfriend came up to her, and out of nowhere snidely said: "so you hanging with your boyfriend this weekend, are you gonna have sex? I mean maybe you'll have your period so you know you won't get pregnant." The parent who told me this knows that her daughter who does have a "boyfriend" hasn't even had a first kiss yet, never mind sex. The girl was upset, angry and disgusted. During a break in the school day, she told another boy....friend of hers, who happens to be quite a large young man, about what this kid had said to her. He decided to go to the kid, took him into the stairwell and kicked him the groin saying, "you better not ever say anything like this again to any girl in this school."(PS these kids are from good families and are good kids) On the one hand, this girl took matters into her own hands, or should we say the foot of her "male bodyguard" and felt proud of herself for "taking care of business." Do we say good for her? She is showing a confident, take no prisoners approach to boys who cross the line. I'm guessing most girls would not have been this assertive, and instead would have been intimidated, and humiliated, and clueless as to what to do.
Story 2: Three 9th grade girls and three 9th grade boys hanging out together on a Friday night at one of their houses. The six kids are in the basement, and parents are home and upstairs watching TV. Kids decide to play spin the bottle, but instead of kisses, the boys convince the girls that when the bottle comes to them they have to take off their tops and then their pants. The boys don't have to take off anything. By the end of the game three girls are sitting in their underwear in front of the three 14 year old boys. The girls reported this to a friend, and basically said they didn't know what else to do. They didn't want to do it, but felt they had no other alternative. By the way, these are all straight A students, in honors Math and Science classes and not considered to be in the racy popular kids group.
Why do I tell these stories? I just want to illustrate that it is often the kids you least expect, and who are therefore probably the least prepared to deal with situations they have never been in. Parents of boys, please discuss with your boys that "talking dirty" to girls is disrespectful and unappealing to girls, and could get them in deep "guano" if someone tells on them. Not all girls will be scared, some will run to their parents, some like the girl in the story will get someone to beat the crap out of them, and some might go to an authority at the school. This could potentially be a real deal breaker for them. Getting girls to take their clothes off, oy vey!! Here is your 'I get it" moment. "hey honey, I just heard these two stories from my friend at work/gym/book group. I was so shocked. (tell then the two stories from above) I know that you are hanging out with girls a lot now. I know that you might potentially be in situations where there is pressure to get girls to do things to you or for you,and for you to treat them in a way that I know you know is not right. I also get that you might not know how to stop it and/or get yourself out of it. You can always go to the bathroom, or start looking at your phone, text us and then say to everyone, my stupid parents, I just got a text from them and they have to come get me now, some emergency or something, I gotta go wait for them outside." Or if you feel confident enough you can say, "hey man, enough already, this isn't cool", which I get might be hard to do in front of your friends."Understand that just because parents are home, that all might not be well in the basement. Unless the parents are sitting in the room with them, kids will find a way to do whatever they want, and you need to get your head out of the sand and assume that there will be times that your teen will be present when the lights go out, and the pants come off. Prepare them!!
For your daughters, you need to get that boys are fearless and boundaryless these days. The good old days are over, and 12 year olds are definitely not immune to sex/drugs and rock and roll. You need to prepare your girls to take care of themselves. Here is your "I get it" moment. "hey honey, I just heard these two stories from (fill in the blank). I was shocked. Do you think you would know what to do if you were in a situation like this? I know I wouldn't have. I get that things like this could happen when you are hanging with your friends, and I want to make sure that you never have to do something you don't want to do just because you don't know what else to do. Lets come up with some contingencies so you are not caught off guard.
I don't why I am still shocked when I hear these stories. I guess cause I am old fashioned and long for the good old days when 12 year olds still had some time to grow up before they had to deal with all this sex stuff. But this is the reality of the world we live in, and as parents you are just gonna have to bite the bullet and have the kinds of conversations you were hoping to at least not have to have until your kid is in high school. Ah the good old days.