• Wed, May 29 2013

Bad Mom Advice: Your Daughter – The Pre-Teen Slut Shamer And Your Ex Is A Lazy Sod

largeWelcome to my weekly Bad Mom Advice column where I attempt to answer all of your parenting questions as only I know how — with zero degree in early childhood development, but with the experience of raising four kids and not having any of them in prison – yet! Plus, I back all my advice on numerous scientific research, which may or may not include me making fun of your dumb kid behind your back and drinking a bunch of wine! Welcome to Bad Mom Advice!

I try and give me kids their privacy but when i was moving my daughters books off the dining table i saw a note that was from one of her friends. her friend wrote _____ snuck out to go to ______’s house and I think they had sex” and my daughter replied ____ is a slut. My daughter and her friends are all 12 and 13. What do I do? I don’t want my daughter behaving this way and I don’t want her calling other girls sluts.  

I find it charming that kids still pass notes in class, because I sort of assumed they harassed and slut-shamed each other via cell phone and social media these days. You want to cultivate a level of trust with your pre-teen. You want to her to have her privacy, and be able to express her feelings – you just don’t want these feelings to include thinking another female is a “slut.” If you haven’t had the slut discussion with your daughter, now is the time to do it. I have a zero tolerance policy in my house towards using derogatory language towards people based on their gender, race and sexual orientation. It’s just something I don’t let fly, because if my kids are comfy enough to talk that way at the dinner table than who the hell knows what they are saying in person to their peers or online? Because your daughter isn’t aware you saw her correspondence you should probably find a casual way to bring this up, and there are so many tragic and sad news stories that will give you an opportunity to have this discussion with her. As far as the fact her friends may or may not be having sex with each other, I hope that you have talked to her about what you feel is appropriate sexual conduct for her age and that she understands the ramifications, physical, emotional, mental of having sex. And how to keep herself safe if she is engaging in sexual activity and that she understands consent and all that good stuff. Another thing I’m going to urge you to do is contact the “slut’s” parents. I know some people will disagree with me but if this girl is being called this by two of her peers I can pretty much guarantee she is being referred to as a “slut” by a lot more. The parents need to be aware that their daughter is being bullied, whether if it’s just via a casually passed slip of paper or if it has reached a dangerous stage. You can explain to them in a nonjudgemental way what you saw and tell them that you don’t know the severity of it, but as a mom to a girl I can tell you that I would want to know. Not only so I could keep my own daughter safe but so I could make sure that if she is having sex she is being responsible about it – even though the idea of kids having sex at 12 and 13 is pretty awful to think about. What’s more awful to think about is a kid reaching a mentally despondent stage due to bullying or being harassed, and the horrific types of outcomes that can arise from that. We’ve reached the point as a society where we can no longer ignore these types of things and just pass them off as “kids being kids.”And God kids suck these days. It’s not just nasty kids who pull this shit but perfectly nice kids from good homes who have parents who talk to them about these things. It makes me want to ground them all forever and take away their internets and their social circles and make them spend all their free time doing volunteer work. We all need to be much more proactive about this shit because if we don’t we will just see more kids being bullied and committing suicide and all of this breaks my heart. Why did we all have kids? Can we give them back?

Or else we can all take our kids and move to a happy safe fun-time island where we all teach them not to be fuckfaces to each other and to treat each other with respect and kindness. Yay! 

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  • Alex Lee

    With you on contacting the parents about their allegedly-promiscuous daughter.

    That’s a hard truth to eat, but denying it would be so much worse.

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      It just scares me because what if she is being SUPER bullied and getting depressed?

  • Tea

    The only downside of the dirty laundry thing is that he may not realize the clothes are dirty, and just make her wear them and send them back dirtier. I tried this on my spouse… I caved after over a month because the lesson was not being learned and the whole sock basket smelled like corn chips.

    • Alex Lee

      It’s a good thing I’m not a lottery winner, else I would eBay-bid the hell out of your Frito laundry hampers.

    • Tea

      “Corn chip smell” is the unfortunate side effect of when socks have bypassed “Gross” and “Dirty” and have entered the realm of “Oh god why is it crunchy.”

    • Aldonza

      I’m just curious how much dirty laundry she can have after a weekend. I mean, if it’s Friday, Saturday and back Sunday, I don’t blame him for not doing it. That’s sort of ridiculous. Just throw it in the laundry basket with the rest of the dirty clothes and be done. Now, for a week long trip that would be different…

    • jomeara

      I’m guessing your not a female, or have never lived with one? Seriously, woman can go thru some laundry. Young girls love having a different outfit for even the most mundane chores. Sleeping, sitting around watching tv, going for a walk, a bike ride, each and everyone requires a wardrobe change. I can’t explain why, I did the same and I was a tomboy. All I remember is my mom going ape shit every sunday, about the vast amounts of lau dry she was having to do. The point of the letter, and advice was spot on. Life isn’t all fun weekend trips to daddys house, it should be shared responsiblities.

    • Aldonza

      Wow. Well, you’re wrong on both counts, but thanks. Despite what you seem to think, since I am female, I can say that yes, we can sometimes carry around excess clothes but if she’s going through so much in two days maybe she needs to learn to do her own laundry And also, I am and have known plenty of women capable of packing more sparsely when travelling, especially if this is something she does all the time. Or perhaps she should have some clothes she leaves over there that are exclusively Dad’s house clothes.

    • http://twitter.com/ptownstevesgirl Ptownsteveschick

      I change my clothes a lot during the day, but I am not usually disgustingly filthy, so my clothes I have only worn for a couple hours go back in the closet. No extra laundry generated.

    • Jade

      Actually, I am female and was wondering the exact same thing. How many clothes could there be, seriously?

    • Muggle

      I don’t know about you, but all the women I know wear the same number of outfits in a day men do, depending on their activity. What you’re describing is absolutely excessive and I don’t blame your mom for going ape shit.

      It’s pretty rare that I have to do laundry more than once a week, and that’s pretty much always been the case. An average girl shouldn’t produce an entire new load of laundry by herself over 2 or 3 days. Hell, I *overpack* and still manage to only have one smallish bag of clothes, which also holds toiletries and books for free time.

    • BGo

      I was thinking the same thing, and I AM a female, and have a teenage stepdaughter who stays with us every weekend [that she is free]. She shows up with ONE change of clothes. Much to my dismay and constant begging her to wear PJs, she sleeps in the clothes she came in and changes in the morning. So she has ONE outfit that is dirty, and since it is $3 to do a load of laundry at our apartment complex, she goes home with it. Now if she were like these young girls jomeara is talking about (and I know *I* wasn’t; my mom would KILL me if I changed my clothes more than once a day for no reason) or we went out somewhere and got dirty or worked out, then I would wash a load of laundry. But as someone who has experience on the other side of this and cannot imagine more than a few articles of clothing getting dirty over a WEEKEND, how many times are they letting this kid change? Maybe THAT should be addressed…

    • Aldonza

      Exactly. I mean, if I got my clothes sweaty and dirty or if I was going out somewhere nicer than I would change, but otherwise…And if it’s that big of a deal, teach the daughter to do her own laundry. I was doing my own laundry by the time I was ten/eleven.

  • kims

    my niece have clothes, toys, & beds at their moms house, & when they are at their dads, they have another set of clothes, toys, & each has her own bed. they’re not supposed to feel like they are going to a slumber party, they are going home. both houses are their homes. they are legally required to provide whatever the kids might need or want. at least, here in rhode island, that’s the law.