The Wonderfully Horrible Adventure of Mothering Middle Schoolers
For years I’ve complained that my son never tells me anything. “How was school?” I’d ask every day and he’d give one of his two standard answers: “Good” or “Fine.” My daughter is answering all of my need-to-know questions before I even think to ask. Since the beginning of middle school, I’ve heard, “Mommy, what’s a whore?” and “This girl in my class was crying because someone wrote that she was, excuse my language, a ***king **tch on the bathroom door.” I guess I should have been thankful that after her story about the bathroom door she had to ask what ***king was, but that kind of led back to her first question which I answered by saying, “It’s not a nice thing to call someone and I don’t ever want to hear you use that word.”
Holy mother of God, where is the middle ground? I guess the middle ground is middle school—the boggy, find-yourself years between elementary school and high school. My son, God love him, shielded me from this kind of horror, which has only made it more horrifying to have to face it daily from my daughter. Was he protecting me or protecting himself by not asking? Or maybe he just didn’t notice. Whatever the case, I’m left wondering who answered these questions for him and how I’m supposed to answer these questions for her.
Our society is so focused on sex I have a hard time watching television—and I grew up in front of the TV. When I was a kid, the eight o’clock television hour was reserved for family shows like Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley. Remember the family friendly lineup on Friday night: TGIF? Now, here’s just a random sampling of a few of the family hour shows this fall: How I Met Your Mother (all about sex), Dancing with the Stars (have you seen those costumes?) Glee (don’t even get me started) Charlie’s Angles (need I say more?) and something called The Vampire Diaries (please). Is it any wonder I’m freaking out?
I should be thankful that my kids are very active in sports so they don’t have much time to watch television anyway, but thanks to cable and On Demand, they don’t have to worry about missing their favorite shows because with the click of a button, they can watch the entire series when they do have time. If I ban television completely, they will crave it like a crack addict and I’ll have shot myself in the foot.
If it sounds like I’m blaming television for the normal questions that arise during middle school, I’m not—not really. What television is doing is undermining the message I’m trying to send my kids: that sex is a personal choice between two adults in a loving and committed relationship.
Is it just me getting older and thinking that things were so much easier in the good old days? Have I really turned into my mother? What do you think? Do I need a sympathy hug or a good old slap in the face? Go ahead and tell me, I can take it.