This has been a week of being shocked by the world in which my children are going to spend their adolescence. There are some stories going around about some pretty outrageous behavior going on at the local high school’s homecoming dance ON THE DANCE FLOOR. Don’t get me wrong, there were teenagers having sex back in the 70s as well, but I don’t remember them doing it on the dance floor. Perhaps I was attending the wrong dances. I remember the raciest thing happening on the dance floor being my short friend-who-was-also-a-boy being unusually fond of slow dances….he was just enough shorter than all of us to make his view….um…interesting when he was dancing with us. “Stairway to Heaven” is a very looooooong song when you are trying to keep someone’s head off your chest.
Anyway, back to the 21st century, where they are doing things on the dance floor that have names that I can’t bring myself to type. OK, now I am really upset, because I actually tried googling freak dancing (there is another term that I learned this week that I can’t even bring myself to Google) and I started reading an article about someone’s opinions about children and this form of dancing. I found myself giving a hearty “Amen, brother” to the author. Then, I looked to see who the author was and….oh my gosh…I actually AGREED with Bill O’Reilly!! This is even more upsetting than body parts that rhyme with Venus being displayed on the dance floor at homecoming! Don’t those children have back seats in their cars? Agreeing with Bill O’Reilly…how did I get this conservative? I think I am turning into my father.
All joking aside, this is just one of many reminders that I am not going to be able to keep my children here in this bubble with me for much longer. Another example. My almost 14 year old daughter asked me recently if she could subscribe to Seventeen magazine when we were doing our part to further her education by supporting the magazine drive at school. In a moment of unusual clarity and wisdom, I said “I think I better see what is in Seventeen magazine these days before I let you subscribe to it.” So today, I am getting my hair colored…..wait, before I finish the magazine story, here’s a question for you. How do you know when it is time to get your hair colored? When your 11 year old daughter looks across the dinner table from you and says “Mommy, have you decided to let your hair go gray?”…..so, ANYWAY, thanks to my daughter’s suggestion, I am getting my hair colored today. Part of the fun of this beauty chore is flipping through all the magazines that I never get to read otherwise. Today, there happened to be a Seventeen magazine amongst the stacks. Being the good parent that I am, I chose to look through this magazine as research. HAVE YOU READ A SEVENTEEN MAGAZINE LATELY??????? Am I the only parent in this country who actually expects that their child will have a driver’s license before they have intercourse….with multiple partners??????
Let me give you a little background on me. I was not a perfect angel when I was growing up. I did stuff in high school and college that I PRAY my children will not do. I worked for 10 years with kids with substance abuse problems….these are not children who are famous for their good judgment and wise choices. I am aware that teenagers are hormone-driven, impulsive and ruled by their emotions. Teenagers have been making poor choices about drinking, sex, etc. for a very long time. I am not shocked that they are still doing so. What shocks me is that we adults seem to have decided that it is OK. We have given in and given up. In fact, we are in many ways almost condoning it. I thought our job as the adults was to keep them as safe as possible by setting boundaries and guidelines.
Here is just one example: apparently, many parents are allowing their teenage daughters to dress like 25 year old “professionals” for homecoming. Here is an example of the kinds of dresses we saw when we were out the other night on 14, 15, and 16 year olds….and many of the girls had on push-up bras to further accentuate the low cleavage. This dress is found on the first site that comes up when you Google “homecoming dresses,” under the heading “homecoming dresses.” Do you think this model is 15? I would guess no.
In case you don’t have time to look through a Seventeen magazine, the message within the pages I read basically assume that the readers are all sexually active. “Don’t worry if your breasts are different sizes when they are first developing, your guy will like them anyway.” “If you are “hooking up” and you get these particular STDs, here is what you should look for and what you should do about it.” “Here is how you get a sexy butt without exercising…it will drive your guy wild.” Again, I am not saying we shouldn’t give information to kids about STDs….kids will keep having sex, so they need to be educated. But a fun, fashion magazine for young girls should NOT make it sound like choosing to be sexually active with multiple partners is all just “part of growing up.” And, we shouldn’t be so comfortable with teens having sex that we don’t mind them doing it on the dance floor. This sounds like the “I’d rather them drink in my house” rationale.
This rant is getting long, so I won’t go into the quest for an appropriate Halloween costume for my 13 year old daughter. Ok, I will, but just a little. She is no longer able to wear the child size costumes at Party City, so we were forced to look at the Teen costumes. Again, 25 year old models in push-up bras dressed as Naughty Nurse and Sexy Pirate. Am I the only parent outraged that we are sexualizing our little girls? Personally I think it is really disgusting…..and sad. My 13 year old still brings her Bubba and blankie to sleepovers…could she wait a few years to start dressing like a seductress?
I don’t have any answers, if you were waiting for me to get to that part. If I wasn’t already struggling with Algebra, I might homeschool high school. Today, I just want to whine about it. Besides, I am still trying to get over agreeing with Bill O’Reilly….I may need therapy.
To end this on a humorous note, here are some pictures of me as a teenager. One is my mom and I before Homecoming (my mother was 38 in this pic.) The other is my husband and I at our Prom. I am so mad I can’t find the one of Steve and I at Homecoming. He has on a seriously sexy blue leisure suit and a silky white shirt with a HUGE collar. If I remember correctly, his dog is in the picture with us. If I find it, I will share! In the meantime, please enjoy my courdoroy jacket (it had suede patches on the elbows, if I remember correctly) and my lovely sky blue prom dress. My mom couldn’t buy groceries that month to buy me that dress. I loved it so much! Thanks, Mom!
What am I gonna do if the dress first-born LOVES next year for Homecoming looks like that one up there????? Besides say NO, of course??
And I do not want to hear one comment about the color of my hair in high school. The sun is very strong here in Virginia 🙂
You are beautiful!!
Can I just say AMEN and AMEN again. I think that the most upsetting issue that surrounds us today is the loss of parenting in our society. This attitude that “children are doing it anyway so just live with it” mentality drives me nutty. I will join you when you decide to homeschool your children – we can always employ someone to do the math portion 🙂
Robert D Watkins says
Perhaps you should send the magazine a link to your blog.
Lisa H says
I guess we just have to come up with an activity more fun (they are really not much fun according to Daniel) to the Homecoming dance……how about a beach trip the morning after the games…..mom’s and kids…..NO DANCE and NO DRESS and NO SHOES!! Just plain old fun!!
You make me laugh, girlfriend!!! And, gee, O’Reilly’s not that bad!!!
You make me laugh, girlfriend!!! And, gee, O’Reilly’s not that bad!!!