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! 

 My ex has my daughter every weekend and when he drops her off she always has a bag full of dirty laundry. He doesn’t wash her clothing. He is remarried and they have no kids. I think they should do her laundry. how do I bring this up? 

Bring it up by the next time he picks her up send her with a bag of filthy laundry for the weekend and see how he likes it. E-mail is your friend. Just send him a note saying that because you are the primary custodial parent and you take care of the majority of the day-to-day childcare you would appreciate it if he took the hour it takes to wash a small load of laundry and not send your kid back to your house with a bag of dirty clothes. This may seem like a small issue, but I can see where spending your Sunday washing yet another load of laundry isn’t that fun, and part of being a parent is doing the not-fun stuff, so not only should he get to engage in happy fun part time Dad fun with your kid, he should also get to deal with the not fun junk. I think all divorced parents who share custody should so things like this. Make him take her to the dentist or doctor on occasion. Make him chaperone a field trip. Make him do a load of laundry. All too often the parent who the kid sees who they don’t live with the majority of the time gets to be the FUN parent and it’s all about movies and museum trips and making up for the fact they don’t see the kid on a daily basis. This skews the viewpoint of kids seeing their parents as equal parents, even if they are no longer married. When she is with him, her care and well-being is up to him. Just because you are no longer married to him doesn’t mean he gets to treat you like a glorified laundry service. You don’t send her with a backpack of dirty clothes, he shouldn’t get to send her home with one.

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