Where are all my parents of preteens and teens?
The other night Sam and I were watching Dance Moms. It’s a guilty pleasure that Alex, Sam and I have watched since the very beginning on Lifetime.
Anywho, they have these little commercial interview type things now where the girls are all sitting around on couches giggling, gossiping and sharing their experiences and wisdom.
In one spot, all the girls were talking about boys and Valentine’s day – since it’s this weekend I’m assuming. The girls were telling little stories of how various boys have given them gifts (most were laughed at or unappreciated); poured out their hearts to the girls and were rejected for various reasons and even laughed at; and how they were even embarrassed by the attention, gifts or affection they were given.
I was irritated. My son, who is is a super kind hearted kid who is a romantic, is watching these girls who are around his age, laugh at and mock boys who put themselves out there for these girls.
I asked Sam what he thought about their conversation and he thought they were being jerks – and he loves this show and has grown up with some of these girls (even though they are on TV).
It was disheartening to say the least and I’m only writing this today because it’s still on my mind.
What are we teaching our kids?
Why is this type of behavior and attitude accepted as ‘the norm’ for kids nowadays?
Why would my son want to even approach a girl he really likes if he knows this is how they are going to talk about him if they don’t like him in return?
Both our kids know that this is how kids react and each has already been on the receiving end of this treatment. BUT – because of all of our conversations with them they know it’s always a possibility but that it’s more important to put your heart out there to those you feel are worthy.
It’s taught them both humility as well as made them more careful with whom they choose to give their hearts to.
But, if we’d never talked to them about these experiences they might not be as evolved in this department.
All kids can be bratty. Sure, there will be a boy or girl who like them that they don’t reciprocate feelings for but do you even talk to them about how to handle those situations?
When Sam was in 6th grade (before starting online school the following year) he was inundated weekly with girls either throwing themselves at him; giving him notes via their friends asking him to let them know by Friday if he would like to be their boyfriend; friends working him on another girl’s behalf to see if he might like her, etc.
He was ALWAYS kind when turning girls down. He ALWAYS felt bad when he didn’t feel the same towards them.
No matter how kind he was when he turned them down, most caused drama. Gave him the evil eye (due to hurt feelings of course), talked badly about him or were now mean to him.
It was so unnecessary and caused so much drama in class, at lunch and in passing time that he dreaded when he found out girls that were friends liked him.
Sure, it’s a tough problem to have for the boy right? It was.
On the flip side, he has been turned down before and it sucked. He’s also had some girlfriends too.
Even if we hadn’t had long conversations with our kids about how to treat people they both are empathetic and kind enough to not make fun of those who put their hearts on their sleeve – for them.
If you haven’t talked to your kids about how they would react, or do react, to displays of affection or adoration from other boys/girls, I encourage you to do so. Now.
Kids take so much to heart these days. Some kids turn to violence, depression, anger, self-loathing and more. Some kids just move on to the next one and keep trying until they find someone who gives them a positive response.
When someone mocks you for caring about or liking them, I think that’s a pretty shameful thing. My kid doesn’t need to ‘like like’ you back but he/she absolutely needs to be respectful, kind and appreciative of your feelings.
If you don’t know the last time your kid reached out to someone they liked. Ask today. If they have never done it, have the chat to see how they’d handle rejection or even a positive response.
If you don’t know the last time your kid was asked ‘out’ or found out someone liked them. Ask today. How did they handle it. If they’ve never had this experience yet, find out how they’d react if it was someone they liked in return and especially how they’d handle someone who they didn’t ‘like like that’.
These are important conversations to have with your kids.
Share your stories with them from your youth. Kids LOVE hearing about your fumbles, mishaps, successes and especially all of your middle school silly ‘love’ stories.
It lets them know that you might actually know what being a kid felt like because – you were one.
I remember having a conversation about holding hands and how to make the first move. What if they don’t take my hand when offered? Do I do it when no one is looking? What about timing? How do I do it naturally? Oh, the fun and sweetness of that conversation was a real bonding experience for us.
Whatever you do though, make sure to put them in the other persons shoes. How would they feel if the roles were reversed?
Anyway, I wish those girls parents (not just the mom’s) watched that video clip and had conversations with their daughters about this.
‘do unto others as you’d have done unto you’
That’s how we treat others in our family. Teach your kids at an early age. All kids need guidance and these types of conversations, even the kids who you have always thought were kind and considerate – really make sure you know how they’d handle these situations.
We found out that our kids each needed some guidance from these chats.
Parent your kids. Don’t assume they know how to deal with these situations.