Monday, May 23, 2011

My Teen daughter Is An Exotic Dancer

Ok, so this girl is not working at a local strip club, but I think I have gotten your attention. I got the following letter from a parent: " We recently discovered our eighth grade daughter skyping and chatting with and dancing for the viewing pleasure of a 7th grade boy from her school. The dancing had a very sexualized aspect to it and the discussion on the chat was that the boy would masturbate while she danced." How about reading that letter before you have had your morning coffee. And before you roll your eyes, and thank god that you haven't found your daughter behaving in such an undignified manner, this is definitely not the first letter or request for help on this topic...hardly.

Everyone wants to be a star these days, and with the ability of a computer with a built in camera, everyone can be. Ask me, I have a bunch of video's up on youtube. ( I do not dance in any of them).
This particular 8th grader is a straight "A" student, star athlete, and all around great kid. Not exactly the profile of the kind of girl one would expect to be caught in this situation. But that is exactly the point. There really is no "that kind" of kid. Teens feel sexy, and look for opportunities to play out sexy scenarios. In my day, we mostly fantasized about them, but in this day there are a variety of tools that kids can use to act out these fantasies, and for the most part, nobody has said not to do it. Nobody has said not to do it, because few parents would even think that they had to. But guess what? YOU DO!

These are the kinds of videos that can get kids in trouble. First there is the shame aspect. Maybe not in that moment when the camera is filming, but maybe a few weeks later when that video has made the rounds of the boys in her school. As I have said many many times, teens live in the moment. When the boy asked or this girl offered to dance up a storm for him, she/he were not thinking of the consequences. Like for the boy, what if your parents see this video or read our chats, which thank god they did. How else would this young girl be able to have a conversation and discussion about dancing for boys in a sexual way. And that really is the point. Of course as the parent, when you "catch" your teen behaving in a way that makes you want to lock them in a convent or monastery, you have to have a consequence like limiting computer use to family common spaces, and in the presence of responsible adults. But more importantly is the conversation which absolutely should not start with a "how could you do such a thing?" This is not a conversation starter. This 'I Get It" is. You might start this way: " I get that you like getting attention from boys. We all like getting attention, that's totally normal. But when you make videos of yourself in a way that gives off the "I'm here to give you sexual pleasure vibe, that is very dangerous. Just because you think you are just having fun, doesn't mean that that boy, or other boys he will for sure show it to, think that. They probably are thinking, if this girl does this, I can get her to do whatever I want her to do to me. That is not safe, and I don't think that you really want to be sending that message. We love you, and we want you to be safe. Help us to understand what's going on here." Parents who have told me about these situations are surprised that their kids just don't get why you are making such a big deal about this. They say; "It was just fun" said with no embarrassment or shame. So don't be surprised if you get that response. Because that is the point. Getting caught is the best thing that could have happened to this girl, because it opens up the potential for conversation and learning.

But here is the thing, please don't wait until she gets "caught". Anticipate and understand that girls get themselves in these situations. Have a conversation about respect for oneself, and sexual safety before something happens.

No comments:

Post a Comment