Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tween Girls and TMI

Fun at the water park this summer.  
You wouldn't believe the time we had finding a 
modest bathing suit for her that didn't look like 
it belonged on a senior citizen.

The Princess is a tween.  Oh.  My. Goodness. is she a tween!  Swinging wildly between girly and mature, horses and school friend drama, and all that goes with being a tween.  Only, I don't remember my tween years having such an awful case of TMI.  I mean, am I getting old (don't answer that!), or have things in our children's lives become so ADULT that it's hard to keep our kids, kids until they're ready to deal with grown-up stuff?

Now, I'll be the first to admit that the Princess is smart.  Well, no, she'd be the first, I'll have to be second.  Anyhow, she's one sharp kid.  Thankfully she's got a fair amount of common sense (which I'll also admit is an on-again, off-again thing at this age, but she does pretty well with it more often than not).  She's tall for her age, and a young lady that's already getting more looks from guys than I'm comfortable with.  She's not even 12 yet!  But I started trying to jerk-proof her early, as in discussing the things she heard in school and saw on TV and YouTube, and talking about relationships as the topic arose.  I mean, for Pete's sake, kids talk about "dating" in third grade now.  Really?  I mean, REALLY?

Anyhow, even with the preemptive idiot-proofing, even with talking about the ups and downs of physical changes and emotional changes and becoming a young lady, even though I'm pretty laid-back and not easily embarrassed or flapped, she still occasionally floors me with the questions she asks.  Like yesterday, when she asked me a question while we were in the car waiting for her brother to finish his fitness class.

"What is bestiality?"

WHAT the HECK is my 11 year old daughter asking me this question for?  I asked her where she'd heard the word, to buy myself a couple moments thinking space.  She said she heard it at school.

Speechless.  I'm just speechless what my kids are hearing from other kids, who heard it from older kids, siblings, parents, TV shows, and the internet.  Gobsmacked might be closer to my reaction.

So I gave her the simplest definition of the word (because I do NOT want her "friends" explaining it to her).  To say the least, she was grossed out.  (Thank goodness!)  And I hope I never have to go there again.

But now I'm freshly appalled at the things our children (CHILDREN, not young adults, not teens, CHILDREN) are being exposed to, despite the best efforts of many parents to keep them a little innocent a little longer.  When did it become acceptable to expose our kids to such filth and depravity as a rite of "growing up"?  When did so many parents stop keeping an eye on what their kids watch, and who they hang out with, and where they go?  I didn't have THAT sheltered a childhood, and I still didn't know what the F word was until sixth grade.

I'm grieving my daughter's innocence, which is being taken from her bit by bit by forces outside my control.  I've told her to guard her heart and her mind, and be careful what she watches, and she knows that I'm paying attention to what she's doing online and on TV.  I have asked her to stop watching certain things, change the channel, and move on, and I explain why I ask her to do that.  Why certain shows are just too disrespectful or rude or suggestive, why certain comedy routines have funny bits but you have to wade through a cesspool to find the comedy diamonds and it's not worth it.

I hate having to explain things to my beautiful girl that she shouldn't have to hear or think about or deal with yet.

But I'll keep trying to protect her.  That's what I'm here for.  Because I love her, and I want her to know she's worth far more than what the world would sell her for.