Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Bigger Fish to Fry

Yes, I’m in a mood today. I hated the way the media covered last night- again, Clinton gets very different treatment. Exit polls are fine for North Carolina, but not Indiana.

Whatever. I give up. Hands in the air. It’s over.

Besides, I have bigger fish to fry.

My son, my twelve-year-old son, has a girlfriend. She asked him out, he said yes and the phone has not stopped ringing since.

My question to you all is… he wants to go out on a date with her. Go to the movies. I’m not sure if this is a group thing or not- I think it is but then something he said yesterday made me think it wasn’t.

I thought this middle school dating thing was that they asked to go out with someone, then they talked a lot on the phone and that was it. A few days later, they break up so they can ask someone else. I didn’t think they actually went and did anything together.

Like sit in a dark theater with no parents around, alone.

Okay, that sounds like a really really bad idea to me.

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Blogger Bob said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:30 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Sorry, finger trouble.

I remember a 12 year old kid I'd known for a long time in my job as a YMCA director, and he came to me and told he what he'd been doing with his girlfriend and that he was worried. I asked him a few biological questions and told him he might have reason to be worried I told him, you've go everything you need to be a father. Except an education, a job....

I remember a DJ in Baltimore called Fat Daddy who would close his show with, "Remember, little children, ro-mance without fi-nance is igno-rance."

Just a word or two to drop in his ear. I know you and your wife and friends have already had That Talk with him a million times, but remember, preachers in church say pretty much the same thing every Sunday, and their parishioners don't get tired of it.

He already knows you're more strict than most parents. Maybe you can use that.

If anybody can get through this, you can.

5:59 PM  
Blogger Seda said...

Yeah, bad idea.
Tell him even this transwoman parent would let her 12 year old out like that. Not without an interested, engaged adult in the seat right behind them.

10:39 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Sorry, I was getting hysterical. It's time for the Suburban Lesbian Houswife Support Squad to put in an appearance and all stare at the kid and his gf.

1:37 AM  
Blogger Ulla said...

Gosh, this is American. I wouldn't think twice about my 12 year old daughter hanging out anywhere with a boy. 12 year olds in Denmark do not want to have sex - really (average debut age 16). And if they did, no grownups imagine we would be able to stop them.
We have, by the way, very few teen pregnancies here. Possibly because of good sex ed, access to contraception and open minded parents.
12 YEARS OLD?? Why would they do more than hold hands shyly and maybe kiss a bit?

2:21 AM  
Anonymous Marie said...

I think if you drop them off and pick them up at the movies, they won't have opportunity to do anything more than hold hands and maybe give each other a little peck.

If it makes you feel better though, perhaps you could play the strict mum card and say if he's going to the movies with her, you're going too - but you'll sit at least five to ten rows away from them. That way they've got their privacy and you can't overhear what they're talking about... but at the same time you feel better knowing they won't try anything within your sight!

My son is 12 and he's been liking girls for over a year, but he's too chicken to ask them out. lol

5:05 AM  
Anonymous donald said...

i can't see how going to a movie would hurt. they would have to be dropped off and picked up by a parent, but what could they do there that would be bad?

would hate to see the tirade that ben would throw if you say no!

good luck.

7:46 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

allan is going.

it's been delayed a week and who knows if they'll still be 'dating' by then.

I did have a long talk with Ben. It was very interesting.

8:18 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

Ulla, the answer is, as usual, "it depends."

Many, many kids think holding hands or an arm around the shoulder is the appropriate limit. But some kids have different values, and some of them, like the kids I talked about, don't have all the advantages Sara' kids do: in particular, smart, educated, loving adults who've taken their parental responsibilities to heart for years and years.

One of the reasons some of the kids I worked with were "Y" rats is the lack of willingness or ability of their parents to be parents. And btw, the kid I wrote about, I was invited to his high school graduation, and he was still single and childless. He found other girls and had happy (or miserable, whatever) relationships with them and turned out very well.

Which is to say that imho parents who are parents don't have kids who act like little minks.

Does anybody here think that Sara and Jeanine and the Suburban Lesbian Housewife Support Squad aren't the real deal? Is there anybody here who wouldn't be overjoyed to have them as their own parents?

So if you guys are looking for an extra kid....

4:57 PM  
Blogger Ulla said...

I certainly didn't mean to impugn Saras mothering. I was shaken, and still am, that you seem to think that 12 year olds WANT to have sex. Either you have something strange in the water over there, or the culture has somehow sexed up children.
Of course, a few will always mature early, or a much older boyfriend/girlfriend might introduce sex, but otherwise, no independent drive for intercourse in 12 year olds. I can't believe it.

2:33 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

Ulla, it's exceptional, but it happens. Most of the 12 year old kids I knew at the Y were just as horrified as we are by he idea of their having sex. They might even handle the idea better than we do.

We want our children to grow up and become adults. Should they be kept entirely separate from kids of the gender they're wired to be attracted to until they graduate from high school and we give them a pin saying, now you're a fully sexual adult, now you can start kissing?

The pre-boomer generation was brought up like that, but the pin was a wedding ring. We all should have learned that that's horrible. But there are subcultures who want us to go back to the "good old days" like that. And they've got power and money and a lust for power that makes them want to enforce those beliefs, not only on their kidsw but on ours.

There's another set of influences. Every time a young girl buys a top or jeans or whatever, a whole network of cash registers go ka-CHING. And kids are driven by their own growth to dress as what they're becoming and dress like their friends do and do the things their friends do and do the things they're starting to become interested in.

So start here, maybe: Growing is what people *do*. The tween and teen years are when they start learning about their nature as sexual beings, which includes sexual expresssion. That brings us back to Larry King. Do LGBT kids get to grow and, step by step, express their gender identities and sex and affection drives? Or do only straight kids get to do that? Or does *nobody* get to do that: You must never grow, or you may grow only in the ways they tell you to?

And there's people without political power agendas who fear for their kids and are worried about the changes their kids are going through.

How do kids make their way through this maze with moving walls that push them this way and that way?

They manage. Some move in direcions that we know are lousy decisions, like that 12 year old I mentioned who started having sex way too early. And others who stifle their growth as sexual beings for a while. But they can get back on track, and a lot of the time they do get back on track.

"Don't feed he fundies" and "don't feed the corporations who market to kids" sound good, do they really work as fundamental principles, or are they better as things to keep in mind?

6:19 AM  
Blogger Nulaanne said...

I went with the strict mom card. I told my son that I did not want to have to drive his girlfriend anywhere and so he is not allowed to date until he can drive her places. I know that is a bit harsh to some people but I view dating as looking for someone to spend the rest of your life with and what does a kid need a spouse for?

9:12 AM  

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