I have one teenager and one on the way. My son’s preteen age of 12 lulled me into a false sense of security and I fell foul of the internet filter, I knew I should have had the parental restrictions on but never seemed to quite get around to it. Too late now, he caught me napping and now I have to delete his online dating account, oh the irony!
He is the easy one though. I may not approve of his antics, or his choice of agency (affairs.com isn’t even on our list of dating sites!), but the experiment into the ether of girls and the accompanying inquisitive nature is expected. Every male dabbles with pornography in some shape or form don’t they? For that matter I’m sure it’s the same for females too, correct me if I’m wrong! The internet does fill me with fear though, the amount of explicit material available is momentous. We keep telling both of them that once something is seen it can’t be unseen. How do you allow healthy exploration that surely is part of normal and natural development whilst protecting them from filth and quite honestly worse? Even facebook seems to condone the sharing of various decapitations as it doesn’t breach any of their standards, and after I personally complained about a group called ‘breast is best’ because it was a titty fest and not an informative support group for feeding mums I boycotted the site for a while, because guess what, despite the misleading group title they didn’t breach any of their standards.
Apologies, I digress, but if you do have any ideas how to keep him on the straight and narrow please share!
My bigger challenge is my daughter. She’s beautiful. I’m so proud of her. She’s clever and sassy, fun to be around and quirky. She’s exceptionally thin and tall to match. She’s probably to thin, our first warning sign. She’s also exceptionally vulnerable. How on earth do I protect her in these delicate years, mentally and physically? I can remember my own teenage angst, the hair that I couldn’t ever make sense of and look pretty, the clothes that I couldn’t make suit, the friends I always tried to please and the rebel I wanted to be.
When I look at my daughter she seems to have overcome these problems, she always looks amazing. She has style, her hair is crafted and moulded just so, her makeup is flawless, the girl has everything going for her. I will admit friends seem to be an issue, but I think the falling out and catishness is a normal thing for girls isn’t it? Plus we’ve had the boyfriend breakup trauma over the summer so the friends circle has become a little complicated, but she tells me this is settling now. She did say that if he asked her, she’d jump at the chance to get back together with him, bless her, it’s a fragile heart and he’s broken it. That’s all normal too though, we all have to go through these lumps and bumps in the road, some of us end up with bruises, others scars. It’s the scars that worry me.
It turns out she’s not as happy on the inside as she looks from the outside. I don’t know how to fix her.
How do I show her she’s not alone?
We try and have a positive outlook in our house. It can’t always be that way, we have our bad days and dark times, again a normal family, but for the majority of the time we’re proactive and engaging. We want our family to gel, we want to laugh, care and share. We want every one to feel secure and loved. We want our fledglings to fly, to succeed and see the world in all it’s glory. My daughter appears to be clipping her own wings before she’s even begun.
Is it a side effect of today’s society? Is it normal? She can never escape her friends for good and for bad, the social media is a constant drone in the background. When I was having a fall out with my friends they’d shout at me across the classroom, ignore me through lunch and be talking to me again by the next day in registration. Last night she received a flurry of text messages, in caps, full of abusive accusations and language. She assured me she had no idea why either. She’s no angel, but surely the ease of being able to send messages so fluently adds to their angst. They have no concept of consequence and the hurt that words can cause. I also think that seeing yourself being called a ‘BACKSTABBING FUCKING BITCH’ in words emblazoned across your screen embeds in your mind much more than a shouted word. It goes back to what I said before, what is seen can’t be unseen.
I do know that when I was having angst issues with the teen and pre teens dad, every message he sent me seemed like an invasion of my space, my phone was my world. It was where I stored my writings, how I accessed a world that had been previously shut off to me, my banking, my family, my everything. So when those messages flashed up from him I felt violated and resented him even more for that. Is that what it’s like for our teenagers? Do their phones represent more than just a phone? How the hell do I protect her? How do I help her see herself as I see her? How do I stop her from seeing the harm those attention seekers on KIK, Instagram and lord knows whatever else platform they use cause when they post pictures of their newly slashed wounds, exposed hip bones and please compliment me so I can deny them images on an hourly basis.
Tell me there’s a way to escape this teenage angst, I want to help them unfurl their wings and fly far away from all of the hurt and pain, the world is full of wonder and adventures waiting to be discovered.