Tag Archives: What chance do girls born in 2000 have to grow up with any innocent intact?

What hell is this? The brave new world we have bequeathed our children is more frightening than I imagined, and the remedy is gonna make me one of the most hated moms on the block. Boo fucking hoo.

24 Sep

Yesterday afternoon, I received a call from a friend who lives in a sleepy little town on the outskirts of a huge city – the sort of town where nothing bad ever really happens, and you can go about your life feeling pretty safe and removed from the scariness of the modern world.

small town

Daisy and I both had daughters within weeks of each other, and we have kept in touch over the years, comparing notes and sharing frustrations and just generally being good friends to one another.  What she related to me, she has told no one else, other than her husband, of course.

girls

Daisy’s daughter Pansy has matured faster than my own daughter, who is still very much a little girl, in both looks and interests.  Pinkie and her best friend GingerGirl spend their free time tending flocks of sheep on Minecraft, making muffins, doing their nails and they have recently developed an intense interest in rocks.  For Christmas, both the girls have asked for rock polishers and cutters.  The plan is to polish up quartz and lapis lazuli and make jewellery for themselves and their friends.

Very, very innocent stuff.

Pansy, who is the same age as Pinkie, is much more of a stereotypical “pre-teenager” and Daisy, quite rightly if you ask me, is working to make sure that Pansy doesn’t grow up too fast.  Daisy’s husband is a very involved father although he works long hours to support his family.  Daisy has lots of sensible rules in place for Pansy over what kinds of clothes she can wear, what kinds of music she can listen to, what she can watch on TV and she monitors Pansy’s use of social media pretty closely.

And none of that mattered one little bit.

A few weeks ago, Pansy brought home an older girl for Daisy to meet.  I’ll call her Peaches, because she really is a Peach, through no fault of her own.  Peaches is the product of a single mother, and has no relationship of any kind with her father.  She’s an academically smart girl, and seems ambitious and aware and despite being raised in poverty (as the children of single mothers tend to be), she really appeared to have it together.

Daisy spent some time watching the two girls interact and felt that Peaches was an acceptable companion for her daughter.  After all, she doesn’t want to get too judgy against a kid who had no control over the circumstances of her birth, right?

just-dance-3-wii

When Pansy asked to go to Peaches house for a weekend play date, Daisy drove her over, met the mother and did all the things vigilant moms are supposed to do.  She left Pansy and Peaches playing Just Dance on the Wii and thought nothing more of it.  The girls would spend the afternoon together and get some exercise and have fun!

Shortly after Daisy drove away, Peaches’ mom decided to go out and run some errands and she left the two girls alone at home.  Peaches has a computer in her room, and once SingleMom was out of the picture, Peaches introduced Pansy to some “friends” in an internet chat room.

Some male friends.  Considerably older male friends.

Pansy recounted, weeks later, to her mother, what followed.  Pansy fell apart in the bathtub, sobbing and shaking because she knew she had done something very shameful and wrong, and she knew it was wrong when she did it, but she wanted Peaches to like her and think she was cool and peer pressure worked to overcome everything she had ever been taught to believe.

Peaches took off her clothes and danced for her male admirers in front of the webcam on her computer, and she “encouraged” Pansy to join in the fun.  Pansy knew she should not be taking off all her clothes and dancing for strangers on the internet, but she did it.

At twelve years of age, Pansy has starred in her first child porn video.

Here is where the story gets really, really interesting.  Daisy, once she knew the whole story, called up SingleMom to let her know what her daughter is up to on the computer conveniently located in the privacy of her bedroom.

SingleMom didn’t think it was a big deal.  “Oh, they’re just having a bit of fun”.

scream

For.

Real.

SingleMom thinks it’s all just a bit of harmless fun. Videos of her prepubescent daughter dancing naked and pretending to masturbate are scattered god knows where across the internet, and she doesn’t care.

How do you deal with something like this?  That is what Daisy and I talked about, for most of our conversation.  How the hell do you react to something like that?  Obviously, Peaches will not be setting foot anywhere near Pansy again, and Pansy knows that what she did was wrong and dangerous and foolish and she feels wretched about her behavior.

Is that enough?

Should Daisy call Child Services?  Will the girl be better off in foster care? Will taking her away from her idiot of a mother have any impact on whether she continues to vie for male attention, because that’s what the poor girl is doing.  She wants to feel loved and beautiful and powerful and has no example of what a mature, loving man looks like or acts like, and reporting her to child services isn’t going to change that.

Daisy did call her cousin, who is a police officer, but there is nothing they can do.  Even if they had an IP address, which they don’t, it’s probably a proxy server or a temporary inbox that can’t be traced.  The police have neither the manpower nor the technology to track down every video of underage girls dancing naked in cyber space.

How can we, as parents, be vigilant about this kind of stuff?  Daisy did every reasonable thing she could do, and her daughter is still …. I can’t bring myself to call her a “victim” because the only thing she is a victim of is her own incredibly poor judgement.  She’s only a twelve year old girl, though, and twelve year old girls need help making the right decisions. It’s not enough to just know what the right decision IS, she has to have the confidence and maturity to follow through.

I know I will catch hell for this in my actual, lived reality, but one inescapable conclusion that I have come to is that children of single mothers have giant red stop-signs over their heads when it comes to interacting with my kids.

Obviously there are some single mothers who are doing a stellar job, but they’re pretty easy to pick out.  They’re older, financially stable, own their own homes and are surrounded by a loving family with lots of male role models. Those aren’t the typical single mothers, though.  The ones who are young and poor with no real job skills or accomplishments of any kind are probably single mothers as a result of sheer stupidity, and yes, I’m deeply suspicious of their children.  In no way do I blame the children – it was not their choice.

But I recognize them as a threat, and it won’t take all that long before people figure out that JBs kids do not go over to the homes of kids who have single mothers.  Those kids can come to my house, under limited conditions and they will be very carefully supervised, but under no circumstances are my children going over to play with any kid who sets my Spidey senses off.

Intellectually, I can see how unfair that is.  Emotionally, I don’t give a fuck.  Sorry, kid.  But my kids come first.

Something else I have decided is a deal breaker is kids who have computers or televisions in their own rooms.  My children use social media very sparingly at the moment, and I monitor every bit of it.  They play on Minecraft with other people, on a computer that is in our living room with the screen facing outwards, so I can see any interaction at any time.  My daughter posts pictures of kittens and cupcakes and puppies and newborn giraffes to Instagram, where she and her friends compete to get “likes” for who posted the cutest picture.  I see every picture that she posts, and every picture that everyone else posts, too.

The real question for me is do I shatter my daughter’s innocence by talking to her about what happened with Pansy?  My husband feels that it’s simply a lesson for us that we need to be absolute dictators when it comes to who our children are allowed to spend time with.  If other parents hate us, so be it.  Fuck them.

Obviously, we can’t protect them forever, but I really do believe there is value in letting children be children, and there are some things they don’t need to understand.  Sometimes “because I said so” is the right answer.

friends

I shared this story with GingerGirl’s mom, and we spent a long time talking about how we personally dealt with things like peer pressure and wanting to be liked and be cool and popular, and it really comes down to one thing:  you have a group of friends and you have each other’s backs. That is what has changed so dramatically in our culture, especially for girls.  The “strong independent” message has been translated into “abandon each other”.  Boys still seem to understand the concepts of loyalty and unity and that when your friends are about to make really bad choices, you step in and use whatever tools you have to prevent that from happening.  Mockery, aggression, insults, whatever – you keep each other safe.

How did young women come to lose that aspect of their own culture?  When I think of the Rehteah Parson’s case, in particular, what strikes me as so unbelievable is that she was with a girlfriend who could see that Rehteah was about to make a really, really bad decision, and who knew Rehteah was really, really drunk, and she just left her there to face the consequences.  Now, in fairness to the girlfriend, she did return to the house later with her own mother to try and persuade Rehteah to leave, but reportedly, to no avail.

I’m sorry, but what?!?!?!

A grown woman, the mother of one of Rehteah’s friends just left her there?

A young, drunk teenager is having sex with multiple men and gosh, I’ll just let her get on with it, then?

Unfuckingbelievable.

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/04/26/christie-blatchford-why-there-will-never-be-a-case-against-the-rehtaeh-parsons/

It’s not like I went to some prissy Christian highschool where the girls spent their time crocheting baby clothes for the local preemie unit (although we did that, too). We experimented with drugs and alcohol and made out with boys and dressed inappropriately in clothes we had to hide from our parents, but we never, ever just abandoned each other when dicey situations came up.

When the time comes, that is what I plan to teach my daughters, in particular.  When Pinkie is at a party and something like the Rehteah Parson’s situation is happening, you do NOT leave that girl.  You call me, you call your Dad, you call an adult to come and help you.  And I plan on letting my daughter’s friends know that in the horrifying case where it is MY daughter who is loaded out of her mind and about to do something really stupid that she will deeply regret, you do NOT leave her.  You call us.

I honestly think it’s pointless to try and convince kids not to drink underage and not to experiment with their sexuality and not to do all the “forbidden” things, because all that does is shut down communication.  If your kids know they are not allowed to drink alcohol and will be severely punished for doing so, they are not going to call you for help when they find themselves blind drunk at a frat party.

And the consequences of that are just too severe. One moment of poor decision making can be broadcast to every person you know or will ever meet, and that’s just too harsh a punishment.

I firmly believe that parents are not and should not be their kid’s friends, but that doesn’t mean we can’t protect our children.  I’m still a few years away from needing to negotiate parties and curfews, and it may very well be that when I step into the reality of teenage life, I am going to change my mind about all of this.

Maybe.

But one thing is certain: when twelve year old girls are making amateur porn because no one is watching over them, you can be damn sure I’ll be watching.

Privacy is something you earn, when you’ve shown repeatedly, that you can make good decisions. That usually happens after you’ve made a whole bunch of bad decisions.

But there’s bad decisions and then there’s bad decisions.

Twelve year olds dancing naked for voyeurs on the internet.

Jesus.

The teenage years are gonna be scary.  Any advice for me?

Lots of love,

JB

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