Increasingly, studies are showing that dating violence happens to 1 in 10 girls when they are in high school. HIGH SCHOOL. Ugh. Efforts are being made to introduce the subject earlier, before dating truly begins. You know, middle school. Where Girl Child is right now. I don’t think I’m quite ready to show her this video, and I don’t think she’s quite ready to see it, but I think it’s worth putting out in the world and sharing it. I believe both girls AND boys should watch when they are ready to take it in.
Ingrid Bergman in ‘Gas Light.’ Where we got the term gaslighting
I can even see, at this stage in her young life, some of her peers shaping themselves with a scary dynamic when it comes to these early stages of dating.
No one should lay a harmful hand on you, gaslight you, isolate you, or make you feel like you’re the only person who can save them from themselves. You will not die without them. They will not die without you.
Take the time to watch this, please. I think it’s one of the most important TED talks ever given.
Leslie Morgan Steiner on Dating Violence
Dating violence wasn’t anything I considered growing up. My parents said, “don’t let anyone hit you. Ever.” And while that’s excellent advice, it’s not enough anymore. From the first emotional manipulation to revenge porn and all that modern technology can bring, the conversation has evolved and our conversations as parents need to evolve with it.
Getting hit is the most obvious form of abuse, but the abuse begins long before the first fist is thrown. Arming our kids with the skills they need to navigate healthy dating relationships is not only a good idea, it’s necessary.
[fusion_text]Girl Child has reached an age where her emotional and mental maturity are starting to come together. And then you know what happens? Hormones. That’s what.
We are keeping an eye on what we think she is ready to hear and know about, and what she isn’t. This is harder than it sounds. We’re pretty open with her about all things human, but parsing out complicated details as we think she’s able to process them is a balancing act. She’s in the world. We want to help keep her innocence but not her naiveté.
Parenting is hard.
Growing Up Girl Child
So, I’m starting a little series on this blog to help me: Growing Up Girl Child. I’m combing around the internet looking or sites and videos that I post here, and will hopefully serve as a reference of sorts for her (and possibly anyone who stumbles on this blog) that she can utilize.
First up: “When Should I Start Dating?”
I’m going to let the good kids at Blimey Cow help out with this one. Blimey Cow is composed of two brothers and their friends (one brother is married, so she is part of the fun, too.) They post videos weekly on a variety of topics that are great for young people. They’re pretty good for older people too, because let’s face it, I need all the help I can get with this little project.
Visit their sponsor, while you’re at it, so they don’t send me a cease and desist order for sharing the video: Audible.com.
Stay tuned for more tween growing up fun. When she asks me tough questions, like, “Mom? Why did Adolf Hitler kill people?” Or, “Mom? I don’t understand what’s going on with me. Why do I feel like THIS?” I can actually come up with a half-way decent answer. Maybe. Hopefully.
I always read about helicopter parenting, and the extremes that some parents will go to make sure their kids never experience anything negative. I can’t relate. A few years ago, I read a guest post on Free Range Kids that was one mother’s lament that her daughter would not enjoy the same freedoms that she had as a child.
Then, this morning, I read this post on Free Range Kids, and I remembered this post I wrote in 2011. I’ve edited it and am sharing it again.
I stand by my original freedoms. I see more risk in trying to cloister and protect than letting go a little and allowing your children get a taste of independence.
Five Freedoms We Make Certain Our Kids Have:
1. Recess – During school, the kids get two or three recesses per day. If I can get them to school on time, they can have a short one before school begins, so that makes FOUR. Rain or shine, the children are outside; running, climbing, swinging, making up wild games like “Lava Monster” and playing.
2. Getting Hurt – Girl Child got a blister on her hand from all her monkey bar climbing, and it popped and bled at school. She told the duty teacher, went to the office, got a bandaid, and went right back out for the remainder of her recess. No forms, no injury reports, no inquisition, no phone call home….dealt with, done. Boy Child bonked his nose on the handle bars of his bike, bled all over the place, and we somehow managed to NOT sue the bike manufacturer. Kids fall down. They get hurt. 99.9999999999% of the time they come out of it with a good story. I’ve told Girl Child: scars are stories. So are small owies.
3. Playing outside – Playing inside – When the kids gets home from school, they are allowed to get a snack and rest their brains, and then allowed to go outside and play. They ride their bikes, run around, play with our neighbor’s children, and I stay inside making dinner or folding laundry or taking a deep breath. I don’t hover. They know their neighborhood boundaries. When they are at school, they are doing hands-on activities with computers, going on Urban Walking Tours; they are raising salmon eggs and watching them hatch, they go on trail walks in the pouring down rain….no one is having a hissy fit about this. No one.
4. Activities – The SubKids have lots of things they wants to try. We are incredibly fortunate that we are able to give them the luxury of test-driving several activities. That said, the kid’s activities this last school year were Mondays, Thursdays and Saturday mornings. They are not all afternoon/evening, every day. I’m perfectly fine with my kids NOT being Olympians before they’re 15, or a musical/dance/sports/blah blah blah protegé before they’re in high school. Somewhere along the line we’ve all bought into the myth that unless we keep them “busy” they will get in trouble. I wasn’t busy constantly. SubHub wasn’t. No one else that I knew was, and yet here we are, fully functioning human beings who learned as we grew. Not an Olympian in the bunch. My ego isn’t driving my children’s activities.
5. Long summer days with hours spent outside – There are days in the summer where I hardly see either one of my kids. They’re outside, playing with the neighbor’s kids, having water fights, riding their bikes, occasionally coming in to ask for snacks, something to drink, a towel, etc. The door is open, the neighbor’s windows are open so we can all hear what’s going on, and good times are being had, memories are being made, freedom is being tasted.
Bumper Car Joy
Things aren’t as horrific EVERYWHERE as the media would have you believe. A reality check is in order. Walking out the door isn’t an invitation for your children to be harmed. We harm them more when we try to account for every possible danger and keep them from experiencing life.
Note: no heads or necks were harmed in the making of the bumper car ride shown above.