Tag Archives: teenagers

The Games People Play (Part II)

I started thinking about this recently because of some of my daughter’s friends/former friends and the difficulties involved in being of the female sex and dealing with other females.  Thinking I might be able to help my daughter in some way, I started reading this book called ‘Odd Girl Out – The Hidden Aggression in Girls’ by Rachel Simmons.  Rachel interviewed various aged girls/women all over the country learning about the silent bullying females partake in against each other.  Anyone who has read ‘Reviving Ophelia‘ will appreciate this book as well.  I haven’t finished it yet, but I will let you know when I do if there are any solutions offered.  So far, there have been MANY stories of girls hurting other girls by excluding them, talking about them behind their backs, playing cruel practical jokes, gossiping and ruining reputations, the stares and looks of devious plans obvious only by the victim and the victimizers.    It’s actually depressing and frustratingly sad to read and it puts me in a bad mood after having read it.  The interviews detail points of bullying/abuse while the girls are in elementary, junior & high schools.  After all that misery, you would think grown women would know better than to re-enact those years.

Alas, that is not the case.  Which depresses me.  Every female I’ve ever known has agreed how hard it is to find a good female friend.  We learn in our youth that females (in general) cannot be trusted – because of unkept secrets, lies, the talking-behind-the-back-thing, phoniness and fake fronts, oh the list goes on and on.   The majority of women in the world will fully admit that it is easier to be friends with a guy because we always know where we stand with a male.  When it comes to women, most men complain that they can’t figure us out.  Guess what?  Women can’t figure women out.

Every female knows what it is like to be betrayed by a friend.  Whether it is a broken promise to keep a secret or a boyfriend stolen or a sudden dropped friendship.  And every girl has done one or all to a friend.    Some girls learn early that they do not enjoy doing wrong to a friend so they grow up to become women who are trustworthy, caring friends.  Some girls never learn.  Because of the hurts during our informative years,  when we become women out in the world we are less likely to trust each other and world-weary of female drama.  Yet, it doesn’t stop.  I’m lucky to have found a few good women friends and some lifelong ones that I feel comfortable enough to be myself with and trust them – and I truly cherish these friendships because the fact of the matter is – females must remain weary of their female counter parts – for the rest of their lives (check out what goes on in the Nursing Homes if you don’t believe that last part.)  Why do we do this to each other?

I had hoped that when I grew up the female games would be over.   That was back when I was young and idealistic.

I’ve worked in many different places.    In every place that involved more than two females, you can bet there was drama, angst, lying, gossiping, back-stabbing and general female catty-ness going on.  Like trying to make it through ‘Survivor’ you have to learn quickly all the stories and decide which group you will become part of – because one group will be staying while the others slowing disappear unable to take the game. (Just like in the television showOutcomes vary.)   (I am therefore ever so grateful to be a mostly stay-at-home-mom now, wink :-).

Another example of adult females acting juvenile happened to me when my children were in elementary school and I was nominated to be involved a particular school organization whose main goal was to raise money for the school so the children could have a better education.  Seems like a respectable volunteer organization right?  (Not).   I was new to it but learned immediately of the inner turmoil going on.  The VP and the Pres were talking behind each others backs but being ‘oh so nice‘ to each other’s face.  Other members were lobbying behind their backs to take over their positions the next year.  The gossip flowed about each different person in the group only when they weren’t around.  I quickly wondered what was being said about me when I wasn’t around.  (I made a special point to never say anything critical about anyone because I saw how quick they were to spread gossip.  I did listen to them though.  (I never took a stand and stood up to defend anyone – maybe that was my mistake?)  The back-stabbing that went on – for what?  This was supposed to be a do-good group.  Why would anyone want to turn it into the equivalent of a high-school popularity contest or ‘Mean Girls‘ episode?  I never spoke bad about anyone, maintained my rule of following the Golden Rule, listened and learned, and when my time was up I refused to re-join.  I’ve stayed back from any other kind of group activity at the schools because of that experience.  It’s a shame that the parents can’t be grown-ups ya know?  What happened to handling things in a mature fashion?

Why do so many females turn against each other?

If this book gives me some answers I’ll let ya know, but I haven’t seen any yet…

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Filed under Family, Kids, Psychological rabble dabble, Random Thoughts

Blissfully Unaware

A child or teenager still learning, growing up and maturing is expected to be innocent in some matters.  Some kids are more blissfully unaware of the true nature of things than others.  Naive perspectives abound in the halls of the public schools.  Their knowledge may vary to extremes.  Some kids might understand more about the deeper emotions of life, such as grief from the death of a loved one, while still remaining clueless to more basic life matters.

However graded, the guilelessness of youth is refreshing in today’s violent world.  And sometimes its just downright funny.  I treasure every moment that I catch my children in their innocence.  There are times when those moments aren’t necessarily the warm, fuzzy kind though.  It changes as they get older.  The teenage years.  Sometimes they are humorous.  Sometimes you have to laugh so you don’t cry.  Sometimes you just have to laugh because there is no other option.

Just last fall, after she turned 16 years old, we caught Tara saying something inappropriate.  I was watching football with my oldest son and my husband, when Tara entered into the room.  She caught the guys in the middle of a conversation about the particular cuteness of a cheerleader.  Tara glanced over at the television and said,

“Oh yeah, I’d tap that.”

!!!  Expressions of disbelief sprung onto all of our faces causing Tara to say “What?”  My husband gently explained to her the meaning of what she just said while her brother not-so-gently explained.    She was shocked.

“I thought that it just meant ‘cute’ – I’ve been saying that at school and nobody told me anything!”

That’s not all.  She went on to say:

“That explains the funny looks though.  Just the other day a girl had on these really cute jeans and she told me they were new and asked me if I liked them.  I said ‘Oh yeah, I’d tap that.'”

Oh Tara, my Tara.

She was definitely blissfully unaware.

So, it shouldn’t have been too surprising what happened last weekend.  I was sitting in the living room talking to her boyfriend while she was doing something in the kitchen. I was watching her as she was walking back towards us at the couch and she looked at me (in total innocence) and said,

“Twat?”

Her boyfriend covered his face with his hands as I said in my deeper, serious voice,

“What did you just say?”

Tara looked confused and answered me with a smaller voice, “Twat?”  As she looked at the incredulous look on my face she said, “What?”

I asked her if she knew what that word meant.  She thought it meant ‘What‘ and I had to tell her:

“No Tara!  Twat is a slang term for your Hoo-Haw!  Your privates!  It’s inappropriate to say.”

(confession:  normally I try to use the technical terms for the kids privates but they always get so embarrassed by the word ‘vagina’ that I knew if I said that word in front of Tara’s boyfriend her face might catch on fire from embarrassment.)  Her face turned red anyway as she admitted to saying it at school and nobody ever informed her of exactly what she was saying.  Evidently, she heard other kids at school saying, “Twat did you say?” She just thought they were playing around with the word ‘what.’  As her boyfriend and I laughed at her innocence, she said in her little squeaky voice,

“But I didn’t know!”

Well, now ya know.  Ain’t knowledge grand?

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Filed under Kids, Random Thoughts

A Future of Petulant, Priviledged Brats

Kids today are spoiled beyond the stinky, mildew laden, not even good enough for the dogs food.  ‘Spare the rod, spoil the child’ seems to be the popular theme for today’s parents.  At least that is my experience here in South Texas where every teenage girl must have at least one pair of $100+ jeans.  Where parents buy their children brand new vehicles as their first car (I even know of a girl who received a new Land Rover as her first car!  That’s almost $100,000!)  Children demand certain clothing items from their parents, they demand to have the latest and greatest cell phone, iPod, iPad, you name it – they get it.  Are we creating a society of lazy, irresponsible, indolent, narcissistic brats?  For the sake of the future I hope parents in other locales do not mimic the actions of parents here.

There are exceptions in everything, of course.  There are a few parents who I admire and respect.  And while my husband and I are not perfect parents by any means, we do try to do things to assist our children in the transition to become responsible, capable adults.  We want them to go into adult-hood knowing that nothing is free and if you really want something, you need to work for it to be able to fully appreciate it.  We want them to be able to understand the cost and be able to evaluate needs from desires.

Our children were the last in their schools to get their own cell phones not because we couldn’t afford it but because we believed most elementary school children had no business with one.  We wouldn’t get our children one until middle school when athletic events out of town necessitated it.  Just this year our youngest child received his first cell phone while most of his friends were getting the latest iPhone.  He keeps a good attitude and sense of humor about it though.  After football practice while other kids were removing their iPhones from their backpacks and bragging about their new iPhone 4GS (or whatever version) Chance says, “Oh yeah?  Well I’m gonna use my new iPhone FP!”  All the boys think it’s a new version of iPhone that they haven’t heard of yet and gather around to see it while Chance pulls out his cheap model cell, opens it and says “FP – Flip Phone!”  Even the coaches were laughing with him.  One day when he left it home charging and he had to borrow a friend’s everyone asked, “Where’s your iPhone FP?”

I just found out during a lunchtime conversation with my two older teenagers that they are the only kids that have a curfew.  Tara was talking about a large number of kids who didn’t get home until 6am because they stayed out late at parties after the Homecoming Dance.  I asked, (stressing the first 2 words) “That many kids parents actually let them stay out that late?”  Her older brother answers for her, “Yeah!  Why do you think I never want to go to parties?  I don’t want to be the only one who has to say, ‘It’s midnight, I gotta go home now because I have a curfew.”  This baffles me.  The only thing kids can do out between 12am and morning is to get into trouble and I voiced my opinion.  Tara started to argue but once again Trent cut in, “Well, that’s kind of true.  A lot of them have gotten MIP’s (minor in possession) tickets from the Police.”  (Point goes to Mom, hu-ah!)

I don’t want my kids to go out into the world totally naive and innocent but when they start staying out all night long I want them to be mature enough to behave appropriately and I don’t think anyone under the age of 17 is that mature.  Or smart enough to stay out of trouble.

Am I sheltering my children too much or protecting them?  Do other parents consider this stuff or are they just scared to tell their children “No”?

Maybe we’re not doing our kids any favors by utilizing curfews and rules.  But we are still going to go with the assumption that in the real world there are rules you have to follow (or you might go to jail) and times you have to be at work (or you get fired) and are trying to assist our children in growing into responsible, reliable, independent adults.

In another decade I’ll let you know how it worked out. lol.

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