Teenage pregnancy

by L

Just saw this thread on Corporette and thought we could talk about teen pregnancy! (Controversy!) :) What would Totebaggers do if your teen got pregnant, or impregnated someone else?

Corporette teen pregnancy thread


174 thoughts on “Teenage pregnancy

  1. I don’t know what I’d do if DD got pregnant – but I’ve thought about telling her when she’s 16 (especially if she has a boyfriend) that I’d be fine with her going on long-acting birth control (something like norplant?). Although I’d prefer DD not have sex until I’m ready for grandchildren, I’d much more prefer that she not get pregnant as a teenager. I’ve read a number of studies that have found that access to long-acting birth control leads to a significant drop in teen pregnancies and abortions.

    I think the government should fund access to long-acting birth control for teens and women – it would lead to much greater savings down the line (fewer unplanned births, women more likely to graduate from high school, get a job, etc.).

  2. I think the boy in question needs a lesson on how to appropriately put on a condom – jeesh!

    I can’t think about this yet with my kids, but would probably do something along the lines of SSM’s idea. I remember being so careful with birth control in high school and college. Kids these days with the Plan B! And all of the comments are from people that have taken it a bunch of times. Is that really a thing?

  3. Oh, man, I should *not* have read those comments. I got down to the “she could have used her hands to take the condom off” and threw up a little in my mouth at the insanity.

    We are going to have to deal with this sooner rather than later (the BC, that is, I *hope* not the pregnancy part). We need to get DD in to the gynecologist and talk about BC options — I am 99% sure she is not there yet (no BF, but 1% reserved for the “you never know”), but I definitely want to get her suited up before that becomes an issue.

    If she got pregnant, we’d go to Planned Parenthood and talk to a counselor and evaluate all of our options. I don’t know what the ultimate answer would be.

  4. Those comments are pure insanity. And the original poster on that thread?? Seriously??!! Is she really that dense or just trolling the Corporette crowd. Craziness.

    I am curious what parents of older boys over here where people are mostly sane have to say though.

  5. I agree with LfB. I couldn’t believe how crazy the Corporette original poster was. So much slut-shaming the girl!

  6. I wonder if we will have other birth control choices for boys/men in another decade. There is an interesting, reversible injection that is in clinical trials in men (downside, needle in the scrotum).

    I would be happy to get IUDs for my daughters in their teens. For acne, of course. In all seriousness, I think the decision to be sexually active is different and somewhat independent from the decision to practice birth control. I hope I will raise humans who make the first decision in a careful and considered way, though ultimately I have little actual control. I can strongly encourage and facilitate a good choice on the second decision.

  7. I can tell you based on my knowledge of having a very similar due date and fertility treatments, she most likely did not “trap” the boy. And the thread just gets more and more ridiculous… That woman has a serious problem that has nothing to do with the 16 year old baby mama.

    Now, onto your question. Like everyone else, I hope that through education (not just abstinence only), we won’t have to face this. But if we do, we will support our child (and our child’s child) the best we can. I’m sure I’ll flip out and want to murder my kid, but that would only deprive the baby of a parent. And land me in jail. Not worth it.

    Unlike that poster, the first thing I’d do is blame both parties. But at that point, what’s done is done, and the families have to come together. That means counseling about options, and supporting the options chosen. No matter how much it’s “my child”, it would be his decision to walk down that road and his decision on how to handle the consequences. A huge lesson in “being an adult sucks”.

  8. So, let me get the story straight. The mom drove the kids to the pharmacy post coitus but the pharmacy was closed. Isn’t that when you ask the google for the closest 24 hour pharmacy?

  9. You know… I totally answered that as the girl… my son may not have a choice as to what the girl would do. And all I could do then would be support him as he reacts to her choices. And, if need be, legal action if the situation warrants it. I would hope that if my son were in a relationship where s*x was possible/thought about, then he and she would be willing to work together through the consequences.

  10. “Isn’t that when you ask the google for the closest 24 hour pharmacy?”

    Rhett – I asked the same question.

  11. I just remember when I was a teenager that I was equally scared of HIV and pregnancy wrt sex. I would probably have gone to Planned Parenthood myself if I had gotten pregnant (there would have been no telling my parents).

  12. L – me too. That was when HIV was really scary and so pregnancy definitely wasn’t the only concern.

  13. It is so interesting that my answer has changed now that I am the parent of a DD.

    The “old me” would have said abortion. this is the single, under 30, most friends without babies me. The “current me” would offer the choice to DD about abortion, or our support to help her raise the child. Or give up the baby for adoption, I’m unsure about the lasting emotional impact of giving up a baby, but I’ve seen the pure joy a baby has brought to the families of my friends that have been able to adopt.

  14. I have a 16 year old who currently has no interest in boys. She definitely knows how babies are made and that you can prevent them (mostly) if you rely on proven methods (condoms, pills, etc). We will broach again when we actually get to the date or alone with a boy part. Most of her friends are more focused on activities and school than boys. Not sure when that will change.

  15. One of the girls on the inlaw side got pregnant as a teen. When she applied to the state for benefits, the state wants to go after the father, so she had to provide a list of the possible candidates. So my kids got lots of talks about “in our family, we believe ….” My daughter had a serious boyfriend for over three years, but they both had plans for college, etc, which I think helps with responsibility. I would absolutely support my child in any way I could, but hope very strongly that they get to adulthood before bringing kids into the world.

    A Facebook friend from high school posted pics of the ultrasound with a happy announcement when her 18 year old got pregnant. I admired her approach to announcing it herself rather than let it be treated like a dirty little secret. I think I’d be upset enough that it might take me a little bit to come around to that. But obviously, you make the best of the situation and move forward.

  16. I left home with inadequate knowledge of how to obtain BC. I was however older so, I took myself to the college nurse who was able to help me out. I was going out with a guy who I slowly found out had two kids from different women. I really enjoyed his company but did not take things further because I had no desire to be the mother of his third kid. I think I dodged a bullet there.

  17. I admired her approach to announcing it herself rather than let it be treated like a dirty little secret.

    Are you sure she views it as something to be ashamed of?

  18. My kids are very young. But, my plan would be:

    For my daughter – encourage bcp or other form of birth control. Emphasize that the guy may not stick around for the long haul, so she needs a plan for herself. Let her choose and support abortion, adoption or parenting the baby. Provide assistance as needed.

    For sons – emphasize that this will be their problem, too, and they are as responsible as the woman, and if I have anything to do with it, they (and I) will be involved if and when the mother has decided what she wants to do (if she wants to parent the baby). Provide assistance as needed.

    Please, Jesus, don’t let me become a grandmother before I am in my mid 50s. Amen.

  19. At this point I figure my two oldest have been sexually active; oldest has had a girlfriend while in college; middle hasn’t had a GF that we’ve heard of, but he’s on a college campus and things do happen. No known pregnancies. Youngest is 16 and is not there yet.

    I have found that the supposed ‘difficult conversations’ re sex and sexuality have not been that way at all with my kids. I/we have simply been direct, even blunt about certain things. In HS it was ‘keep it in your pants’. When college came into the picture, we were both more realistic about things…while still working the “we’d prefer you keep it in your pants” mantra, we also acknowledged they were now legally adults and free to do anything they want in that realm, we really counted on them to think and act responsibly wrt to sex, as with everything else in life.

  20. My DSS and his then-girlfriend, now-wife were ridiculously responsible about it all. And now DIL tells me DSS is leaning on her to start a family! Like, immediately! He is exactly the age that his father was when DSS was born, so that probably plays a role. DIL’s parents were in their early 30s before they started a family so she thinks DSS can just wait a few years.

  21. A few of the relatives were in their early 20s and seriously dating but no marriage plans announced when they found out they were pregnant. It still threw everyone for a loop because the big weddings that the parents were expecting didn’t happen. Also, they had to now factor in life with a child vs. carefree singles. It was a big adjustment being the first in their peer group to have kids by a couple of years.

  22. I have found that the supposed ‘difficult conversations’ re sex and sexuality have not been that way at all with my kids. I/we have simply been direct, even blunt about certain things. In HS it was ‘keep it in your pants’.

    Does that qualify as a conversation?

  23. Junior gets pissed with me because I talk about sex matter of factly and, I think, as appropriate. He knows I have the same opinions as Cat with respect to sons. He also knows that babies are expensive, time consuming and can be career killers. And he knows that I think kids are to be wanted and appreciated and to grow up without any basic want in a good family. He knows well that I was absolutely not ready for a child until I was in my late 40s and that I led a full life before I married his mother, who I genuinely loved and knew would be a great mom.

    He covers his ears, but I hope he hears everything I say.

    Just in case, when Junior recently turned 14 I did what my sister did with her sons. She had a bowl of condoms put away in a cabinet. She said she would never count (she did) and replace them as necessary and each year in any event so they didn’t deteriorate and lose effectiveness. One difference, though. I keep our supply in a Cartier vase (I used to have money). Same one that used to contain the big fireballs. He knows where it is.

  24. Sure…we had talked about sex directly with them starting in 5th grade or so, when even in Catholic schools sex ed starts. So that line wasn’t a standalone, but when they were in HS became part of the conversational thread that occurred randomly beginning around age 10.

  25. I am glad that the most recent version of DD’s life plan which she has shared with me includes one child, when she’s around 30 or 31. Some of her previous plans did not include kids.

  26. I have a nephew who got a girl pregnant, refused to take financial responsibility until after a DNA test was positively definitive . He and his parents denounced the girl as a slut in church Etc . He eventually was forced by a court order to pay child support . The girl wanted to keep the baby, she turned me down as An adoptive parent although she Accepted all the support I offered. The worthless nephew went to work , finished college and finally stepped up the plate in terms of becoming a respectable parent by the time his daughter turned 10. My great niece is a lovely young woman planning to go flagship U . her mother a remarkably forgiving soul will also be going to flagship U next fall . Should my son be as irresponsible as my nephew someone will need to come up with a solution that doesn’t result in a nearly 18 year derailment of educational achievement for anyone . I hope my son keeps his pants zipped until the circumstances are appropriate . I love my great niece and respect her Mom.

  27. Since many men seem to be commenting today, how did we– I mean you– handle things in high school or college? And did you (to your knowledge) create a pregnancy? What was the result?

    My friend used condoms, but he had two scares– one in his last year of high school and one after his sophomore year in college. He was royally terrified and happily the scares were not, to his knowledge, actual pregnancies. Both experiences were lessons learned, or so he claims and will eventually confess to his son.

  28. I mentioned on a post about a month ago that I see her posts in several other places.
    She is not going to remain silent!!!

  29. Boy, the mom in that thread is a piece of work.

    My kids are not yet dating. My oldest is still nervous of girls — he spent a long time explaining to me recently that a scene he’s doing for theater where a girl is hanging all over him (Demetrius & Helena pre-Puck) would be extremely awkward if not for the fact that it’s all theater kids and they know each other. He sounded like he was trying to convince himself. My daughter is part of a large mixed group of girls and boys who are all circling each other but not pairing off yet. And my youngest is most impressed by girls/women 5 to 15 years older than he is.

    In the situation from the thread, I think that mother needed to be having more discussion with her son about whether he was doing the right thing in having a sexual relationship with a girl someone several years younger and from an unstable background (i.e. vulnerable) and whether he was prepared for the possible consequences. And a lot less discussion of his ejaculations, experience with previous girlfriends, etc.

  30. Since many men seem to be commenting today, how did we– I mean you– handle things in high school or college?

    HS – I think HANDle fairly describes it
    College – well, this was pre-HIV/AIDS being part of the lexicon, so really the only health issue (meaning disease) I worried about is what used to be called VD (syphilis/gonorrhea). And surely I didn’t want to create additional humans at that point. Condoms, even though both, count ’em both, women said they were on the pill.

  31. in my 20’s I was so terrified of getting pregnant/ getting an STD that i only had sex 5 times a year. I am not even making this up

    I read the comments on that thread (never read corporette before) and i’m pretty happy that people are telling the OP that her son is equally to blame and not to blame to 16 year old. that mom sounds awful!

  32. Of note, I would choose an IUD for my teen over an implant. Nuvaring or the patch would come in second. I was a good little pill taker (surprise) but wouldn’t want to leave something of that magnitude to a daily behavior. Ob-gyns, as a population, have a very high rate of IUD use. They are the most knowledgable about the options and side effects, so I would choose what they chose.

  33. Yeah, that’s why I couldn’t see her comments — I had to reload the page and then today’s comments came through.

  34. Trolling, trolling, trolling,
    Keep those posts a rolling!
    Trolling, trolling, trolling,

  35. I’m guessing she read the OP and headed over there. I don’t remember her being particularly into fashion.

  36. “I’m guessing she read the OP and headed over there. ”

    If she’s reading this: Hi, I hope you and your progeny are doing well.

  37. winemama: ohhhh I see it now! I don’t come here often enough so I miss a lot of stuff but i’m trying to check in every so often. but the few times i’ve been here lately i haven’t seen her comment!

  38. LA – I just meant I’m sure she read the post here today and then went over to Corporette to comment there (since her comments are from today and that thread is several weeks old).

  39. Ivy – IUDs are considered safe for women who haven’t been pregnant. You’re right, that is a change from the past. 15 years ago, a 24 year old friend had to visit a few docs before she could get one. Today, most will tell you it’s the preferred method.

  40. Ada – thanks for your perspective on IUD over implant – I will keep that in mind.

  41. OT, I picked up the Marie Kondo book at the library after someone mentioned it here, and I’m about halfway through it.

    Somehow I don’t think she has raised children. If I wait for my tidiness to “inspire” my kids to declutter their toy collections, well….

    Did anyone else find it disturbing that she would “tidy” her siblings’ rooms and toss their things without asking? It seems like an obsession requiring therapy to me.

  42. I agree with the overall theme of being proactive in matters relating to sex. Our oldest just got the HPV vaccine and I expect the others to do the same regardless of whether they are ready for sexual activity. I am filing away the condom jar idea.

  43. “Did anyone else find it disturbing that she would “tidy” her siblings’ rooms and toss their things without asking?”

    Umm, wow — she is SO off my reading list! If she were my sister, only one of us would have made it to adulthood.

  44. Sky – totally! I also think that if/when she has kids she will have another think coming (and probably another book)!

  45. Ada- Do the OBs tend to use/recommend the hormone or non-hormone (copper, I think) IUDs?

  46. Hijack – My mom is complaining about being freezing when her apt is set at 75. Everyone else who walks in is dying of the heat as it gets stuffy at that temperature.

    She has talked to another woman who keeps telling her about “cubbies” or “cubies” or “cuddlies” or some such that football players wear that helps them stay warm in winter and cool in the summer. I’ve asked my mom 3 times to ask the woman to write down the name for her. I’ve asked my mom who the woman is and I could call her, using the community phone list. Problem is my mom can’t remember the lady’s name and hasn’t seen her since. It has been 2 days and she has brought this up on the phone 4 times. I have tried to patiently tell her I have no idea what she is talking about, but she is insistent.

    Does anyone know what she is talking about?

  47. I can’t imagine how I would handle it. We are pretty open and frank around here and we talk about not wanting babies and about how people feel a lot. I talk to my son about that more than my daughter just because she is younger. I think we often focus too much on the baby/std outcomes and too little on the fact that this is a pretty intimate thing that may leave people with some pretty bad feeling if handled poorly.

    I miss Saac. Haven’t been around enough to really get what went down, but I do wish her well.

  48. Austin, has she mentioned this to a doctor? Could be indicative of a circulatory/heart problem I might think. Don’t know what she’s talking about. MY kids have Snuggies that are those blankets with arms. Maybe those little hand warmer things might help her. Sorry!

  49. Austin – don’t know re: the product, but also she should get her thyroid tested – if she is cold all the time it might be hypothyroid.

  50. I think WCE has it…Nike Pro Combat gear. Both football and hockey players wear it.

  51. On the issue of teenage pregnancy — we have discussed it before and my view is that people who are mature enough to have sex should also be mature enough to research, arrange and pay for their own contraception if they are not prepared to become parents yet. As a practical matter, our family beliefs are consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church — that sex is reserved for marriage and that contraception is seriously sinful. And that abortion is the taking of an innocent human life. Those teachings are more honored in the breach than in the observance for most Catholics, and I get that. So far, our kids are on board with these teachings. They have all participated (on their own volition) in the March for Life in DC. Most of their peers and close friends, both male and female, hold similar views, giving them support in living in accordance with Catholic teachings and avoiding “occasions of sin” — for example, they had female friends in college who would host a visiting girlfriend and friends out of town who would provide separate sleeping quarters so that they could stay overnight on a road trip. If a couple decides that they are not going to have sex unless or until they are married, it is not that hard to live in such a way that they don’t have the opportunity to give in to temptation.

    Anyhow, I know all of the arguments against this position, having made them myself back in the day. I would not provide condoms for my kids, or counsel their girlfriends about the best contraceptive devices. These kids have mastered the Internet and can find the information if they want it. In the event of an unplanned pregnancy, I could not in any way support abortion, but would be prepared to provide financial and other support for the child or support for an adoption plan. I think it would be hypocritical to claim to be pro-life and then refuse to help a couple who has made a choice for life.

  52. AustinMom, I have Raynaud’s so I am freezing all winter. I’ve had good luck with Danskin long underwear (Walmart) and Heattech from Uniqlo. I find my hands and feet feel better if I can keep my core warm; just wearing slippers and gloves isn’t enough.

    I wear fleece boot slippers in the house and use rice packs to warm the bed.

    Dehydration makes it worse, so if you can add to her fluid intake without affecting her meds or diet, an extra cup or two of herbal tea might help.

  53. We talked to our kids (me to DD, DH to DS) about it over the years.

    Junior high years it was more on the topic of respect for oneself and others. We also had the talk about none of the three options one is faced with when pregnant and a teenage are great – all have repercussions and will probably impact you for the rest of your life.

    By high school I was pretty confident that DD wouldn’t be hooking up randomly with guys, but knew that if she had a serious bf there would be trouble. When she got serious about a boy I talked to her about going to the ob/gyn just in case someday she would need birth control. She said she didn’t need it but thought that would be a good idea for the future. I left it there because I didn’t really want to know if and when it happened.

    I don’t know specifically what DH said to DS, but it probably involved conversations about respect for a girl and not having casual or unprotected s**.

    Maybe we messed them up forever, but we did the best we could and they have survived to adulthood (almost), sans pregnancies.

  54. Will check out those suggestions. She has fairly significant congestive heart failure with lots of dieuretics to treat (CHF also means she has poor circulation) and is in Stage III and almost to Stage IV chronic kidney disease (so fluids are limited).

  55. “These kids have mastered the Internet and can find the information if they want it” @Scarlett – not trying to be snarky but I read this as if they make a different decision then they are just completely on their own?

  56. I’ll bet it is Cuddl Duds. They have a product called Climate Right and you can buy it at Walmart.

  57. This topic resonates with something I was thinking about today. On a mailing list I was looking at recently for parents of adopted kids, there was a discussion of college sexuality. A number of the families have kids of college age. One thing that kept coming up in the discussion – on campuses there is really no such thing as dating any more. Instead, the parents were reporting, the kids just have sex outside of any relationship. The parents don’t seem suprised by that either. It is just the way it is. Do any of you with college kids see this? You would think I would know, as I am surrounded by college kids all day, but professors are the LAST people to hear about this kind of thing. And I am guessing my students have sex lives closer to the characters on Big Bang Theory than average college kid would.

  58. MM,
    Yes. I am not going to make it easier for them to engage in (what I believe to be) sinful behavior. All of my kids are legal adults, so they can make their own decisions and be responsible for the consequences. If they need Mom’s help to find or pay for contraception, they have no business having sex. As a society, we are so used to the rationale that has parents saying “we would prefer that you wait but if you are going to have sex, let’s visit the ob-gyn/here are some condoms.” It’s sensible and realistic and protective. But, from the perspective of the young people, they are claiming adult rights to engage in adult sexual activities, and at the same time requiring adult supervision of that behavior. I would not want to be the one taking that position with my parents.

  59. Mooshi, there was a thing about that in the New York Times in the past couple of years. Something about how kids are so busy working hard and planning their futures that they don’t have the time or interest in a relationship… Sounds kind of sad to me, but I’m just an old lady! ; )

  60. Mooshi,
    Yes, the hookup culture is pervasive on most campuses. Dating and getting “serious” about a partner would interfere with graduate school and career plans. Apart from formal events sponsored by dorms or teams or clubs, most social life is lived en masse with copious amounts of alcohol. And then they pair off and disappear into dorm rooms. And a few of the women later report that they were victims of sexual assault. Rinse and repeat every weekend.

  61. @Scarlett, I get where you are coming from but when it involves health and safety it would seem you might want to step in because there could be life long consequences from a dumb decision. It seems a bit like saying “well, we told you that it was a bad idea to take that boat out and now you are just going to have to row yourself back in even though there is a storm on the way.”

  62. But, from the perspective of the young people, they are claiming adult rights to engage in adult sexual activities, and at the same time requiring adult supervision of that behavior. I would not want to be the one taking that position with my parents.

    I actually agree with this. An 18-year-old I know got into a huge fight with her mother about wanting to be taken to the ob-gyn to get on the pill. Eventually Mom took her, but inside I was thinking, “Why don’t you get on your damn bike and ride to Planned Parenthood with the money you’ve saved from babysitting, like I did?” I didn’t ask Mommy’s permission or help. Kids today. Sheesh.

  63. “graduate school and career plans” ??? Not my students! Their career planning starts one week before graduation.

    I really wonder about my campus. We have so,so many students who are obviously religious, not just Catholic, but also lots of visible Muslims and Sikhs. Maybe I am wrong, but I just don’t picture them doing alcohol fueled hookups.

  64. Mooshi – from what DD told me, there is definitely less dating than there used to be. Sometimes in those party situations where you meet someone and have a connection the next step that the boys (or girls) expect is to have s*x, rather than exchanging numbers for a date in the future. You (the college student) have to make it clear that you aren’t going to be doing that. She had several experiences where she was hanging out and having fun with a cute guy, thinking “oh he likes me, yay” and then when she wouldn’t go off with him he moved on to another girl.

  65. But, there still are lots of boyfriend/girlfriends in college, so some of them do eventually manage to get to know each other!

  66. I agree with those that said there is less dating…it’s common among the 20 something year olds as well. There are plenty of boyfriend/girlfriend combos but until then there’s a lot of ‘seeing each other’ and ‘hanging out’. it drives me bananas. that’s one reason i struggle with dating…there’s no real dating!

  67. Well, I saw some of that even back in my day, roaming with the dinosaurs. But there was also dating, although little of the formalized dating of my parents era. And more so, there were *relationships* – you don’t have to date to have relationships. I had the same BF for my last two years of college, but I don’t think we went out on a date-date ever. There were also lots of strong friendships between men and women. But the random hookups – yes they happened but they weren’t the focus.

  68. @Moxie — I dunno, I kind of appreciate Scarlett’s consistency of belief. It sounds like they have created a family and environment that both minimizes the chances of an “oops” and means that the consequences wouldn’t have to be the death knell for life dreams, etc.

    I think we all do what we can to minimize our kids’ downside risks, within the framework of our values. It’s just that yours and mine include parentally-reinforced BC, whereas Scarlett’s is helping her kids deal with the potential consequences of no BC should the need arise.

  69. @LfB – I hear you and I hear her. Its just hard to undo a person or HIV. I get not endorsing it its just that one poor decision can literally last a lifetime.

  70. I think 75 is a perfectly fine temperature for the house! You guys would melt if you visited me at my home.

  71. Austin mom- so i asked my friend who is an equipment person for an NFL team- he says there’s no one thing. The players use thermals in the winter and dry fit in the summer. And they use hand warmers

  72. @Moxie — maybe we should switch spouses — you and DH would get along great. Me, I’ll move in with AustinMom’s mom . . . .

  73. I agree with Houston, 75 is comfortable, although too cold for summertime. Moxie, is your heating source broken?

  74. “It seems a bit like saying “well, we told you that it was a bad idea to take that boat out and now you are just going to have to row yourself back in even though there is a storm on the way.” ”

    Well, not exactly. It’s more like “it’s a bad idea to take the boat out now with a storm on the way but if you’re going to do it anyway let me make sure the lights and GPS (or whatever is on boats) are working and that there is a full tank of gas for the motor. And let me run and get the new life jackets because the old ones might be moldy and the straps are broken.”

    I have no problem with rescuing them when they get lost in the storm. I’m just not going to make it easier for them to take the boat out.

  75. We keep our house at 70 in the winter around 68 in the summer. The worst thing is that DH loves the fan all year round. I hate it. I told him that one day I would take a shotgun and shoot the fan.

  76. On the temperature hijack – older people, especially with a lot of ailments, have very poor perception of temperature. One reason the water in elderly residences is so tepid is that they can’t tell if it is too hot. My DH with all his ailments has what seems like a 3 degree comfort range, 70 to 73 or thereabouts. I solved that by have a couple of dyson fan/heaters in the office and bedroom, so I can avoid the cost of setting the house too low in summer or too high in winter. I am sure the item being suggested is Cuddleduds – not found in nature fabric inexpensive long johns. The best long underwear for something like this is thin silk, but not useful in a situation where someone is throwing the laundry willy nilly into a washer on behalf of the elder.

    My girls did not have intercourse in high school – I am not deluding myself on that fact. I am pretty sure they didn’t do much else either. They did do some drugs but that had little effect on their NMS status. My sex education for the girls included sitting down to watch fast times at ridgemont high with them at 12-13 and telling them sex in high school is usually as bad as it seems in that movie and just not worth it. My sons did have intercourse, from the age of 15 or 16 on. I found evidence, and I took individualized approaches with each one. Neither fathered any children while under my roof. But they were all capable of taking precautions on their own, and wouldn’t think of involving parents in something that private.

    I personally have a moral view against abortion that Rio and Scarlett would find congenial, and I fully understand, but do not agree with, the arguments that devout Roman Catholics and some evangelicals advance against any artificial birth control (that is NOT the same as quiverful) – restraint is a positive spiritual discipline and indiscriminate breeding not necessarily good stewardship. My children all know that, and their father feels the same way, so it is entirely possible that they did not choose to burden me with knowledge of any abortions that they had to deal with as adults. I hope not, because at my youngish age I would have certainly taken on any child that they did not wish to bring up themselves, but it is their life, not mine.

  77. Probably won’t surprise any of you regulars that I agree with Scarlett on this issue.

    I won’t be dealing with teenage children for quite awhile, but I hope that my kids buy in to our family views on these issues. If they don’t, I’m not going to shun them or anything, but I’m not going to actively participate in things that go against my deeply held beliefs. I do plan to get them the HPV vaccine, because I don’t view that as enabling promiscuity.

    FWIW, I was raised with these values as well and have held to them. But if I’d wanted birth control, I certainly knew how to access it (hello, Google). And that was a decade ago. I’m sure teens today are even more tech-savvy.

    Probably controversial, but I think a teen who gets HIV supposedly because his parents didn’t provide him with condoms was unlikely to be diligent enough to use them properly anyway. Like Rocky said, can’t they bike/walk/uber/drive whatever to the drugstore? If they can’t do that, then they REALLY aren’t ready.

  78. I also share Scarlett’s view of things, with the exception that I believe that the use of non-abortifacient birth control by married couples is permissible. As LfB’s comment suggests, if these are your convictions, then your job as a parent is to create an environment that helps your children understand why you believe as you do (and not just tell them “don’t have sex”) and to equip them to make decisions in line with those convictions so far as they choose to share them.

  79. I think prevention of pregnancy in someone with an active sex life requires a good deal of executive function. (In some ways, I think this is related to the conversation on food stamps, as I believe someone who has self-discipline, and good planning skills can probably eat quite well on them, but many food stamp recipients can’t get that together. )

    While many people can and do use the Internet and they’re babysitting money to access affordable contraception, many people don’t. Studies have shown that pregnancy rates go down if you make contraception free and easy to access. This implies to me that there are a number of women who don’t want to get pregnant, but for whatever reason don’t take the appropriate steps unless their hands are held. There are lots of people who make poor decisions about when and whom they have sex with. That should not result in new, unwanted humans if at all possible.

    We can all agree, I think, that 16-year-old “hooking up” with lots of different people is a bad situation. While I hope I have the ability to develop in my children the character that will prevent that from happening, I really divorce that from the pregnancy prevention aspect. And the mom at the bus stop that can’t keep her seven-year-old from running out into the street every day? I have a feeling that she is not parenting the same way you or I would.

    I also just want to add, that I really appreciate Scarlet and Rio’s voice on this. This may be the only place on the entire Internet where people engage in civil discourse around this issue.

  80. I appreciate the tone of the discussion on the OT. I appreciate the honesty from many of the posters, and I’ve also learned a lot from Scarlett and Rio.

    I’m jealous of your house temps. I had the annual heat checkup today and the guy checked both of our control panels. My husband programs each day and the temps for the two zones. EVERY temp was in the 60s! The heating guy told me that he keeps his house around 64.

    I grew up in really over heated apartments in NYC with steam heat. We kept the windows open all of the time, and I am always opening the windows when I go to see my parents. I am a little jealous, but they are roasting except for the really windy days.

  81. I just want to clarify that the young woman I was rolling my eyes about is very much a Totebag teen. I really just meant that Totebag teens, all of whom are NMSFs and have lots of discretionary money, should be able to get to the clinic without bugging Mommy for a ride. Women from disadvantaged backgrounds with low executive functioning are a different story.

  82. So, um, those of you who believe that artificial contraception is immoral, did you actually use natural family planning throughout all of your reproductive years? And since the Catholic doctrine suggests that self-service and using orifices other than the ol’ vage are also immoral, didn’t everyone get kind of cranky? Oh, what? Just me? Fine.

  83. “on campuses there is really no such thing as dating any more.”

    I was getting a post related to this ready to send to CoC, but if we want to beat it to death now, that’s fine with me.

  84. Austin, if you mom is ambulatory and complains about being cold. I suggest you consider getting her sliding pads or a football girdle. I’m guessing she’s at the point in her life where a fall is a real possibility, and a femur broken at/near the hip joint from such a fall can be a death knell, not to mention extremely painful, and the padding of those garments could prevent such a break in the event of a fall.

  85. “I think 75 is a perfectly fine temperature for the house!”

    When I use the AC, it’s usually set at 78 or higher.

  86. I’ll risk the TMI and answer Rocky’s question- though my reproductive years aren’t finished, hopefully, we have used NFP exclusively so far and have no plans to ever use anything else. It’s worked quite effectively for us. Keep in mind that those who are devout enough to follow Catholic teachings on artificial contraception were generally abstinent until marriage. So sitting a week or two out each month uses self-discipline that has hopefully already been developed and allows the couple to focus on other aspects of their relationship and then enjoy a “honeymoon effect” when the wait is over. Of course it isn’t always that easy in reality, but that’s the thing about having values or beliefs of any kind- sometimes following your convictions requires sacrifice.

    And we can always remind ourselves that Orthodox Jews have it worse- their family purity laws require no physical contact for 14 days a month, if I understand correctly.

  87. Lauren- I lived in a steam heated apartment for 3 years up north. I wish I’d had the chance to see what the temperature actually was in there, but I’m guessing low 80s at least. I lived in shorts and tank tops at home during the winter and was still too hot. And I’m one of those people who is usually always cold.

  88. Rio, you’re right about the Orthodox, and very Orthodox. It is a minimum of 12 days, but most Jews that are not orthodox or ultra orthodox would not follow those traditions. Also, most American Jews do not oppose abortion for certain circumstances.

  89. RMS, periodic abstinence for 3 years before trying to have kids, not for religious reasons but because of the hormonal effects of the pill. I’m sympathetic to the Catholic point of view but glad not to be Catholic, because NFP requires either risk or months/years of abstinence if you don’t have regular cycles.

  90. “I really just meant that Totebag teens, all of whom are NMSFs”

    No, some of them are too young to have taken the NMSQT.

  91. I appreciate Scarlett’s and Rio’s viewpoints. In the home country where the push was for artifical contraception and all I can say without getting too controversial is that growing up I didn’t hear that the Church there was against this. The focus there was on getting basic necessities and services to people through Catholic schools, hospitals, orphanges, senior homes. The vast majority of the population was/is as RMS mentions – women from disadvantaged backgrounds who were married young, malnourished themselves but giving birth to a child almost as soon as the previous one was weaned. There was a big difference in the lives of women who were smart enough and could get to a hospital for birth control (mainly IUD’s). Smaller family size meant breaking the cycle of poverty. Birth control was/is seen as a woman’s decision/problem.

  92. Scarlett, Rio et al – appreciate your voices on the subject. My parents (I *think*) had similar views but were not able to articulate it to me, at least, beyond saying “BAD, BAD” when a sex scene came on TV and telling me that sex was not great/enjoyable – it sounds like you were/will be able to communicate your views much more clearly.

    As a side note, the approach above was not effective for any of us kids if the aim was to have us avoid sex until marriage – 2/3 of us had had a partner before arriving at college, etc.

  93. “There are lots of people who make poor decisions about when and whom they have sex with. That should not result in new, unwanted humans if at all possible.”

    I have certain values and aspirations for my kids, but my overriding concern is for them not to bring unwanted children into this world. I find abortion troubling, but I will do and have done what I can to encourage other forms of birth control even if I think they should be managing that themselves.

  94. “If they can’t do that, then they REALLY aren’t ready.”

    That is absolutely, 100% true. But if you’re too immature to have sex, you’re likely also too immature to realize that you’re too immature to have sex. Being smart and privileged doesn’t even remotely mean you are necessarily mature and have good judgment. What’s that science about the executive function skills not fully developing until the mid-20s? I did tons of really stupid stuff in jr high and HS — it just didn’t result in making another human. But not everyone rebels the same way, and I think it would be rather stupid of me to assume that because I made it through ok and didn’t rebel in that specific way, my kids would as well.

    It’s also about DD. She has been charging toward being a grownup since the day she came out, always barely able to contain herself watching what adults do and trying to do the same. She has always worked her butt off to do everything before she’s supposed to, from walking to crossing the street by herself to now talking about wanting a car and learning to drive and wanting to understand how you file taxes and how much apartments cost. And in our society, sex is one of those omnipresent markers of being a grown-up. And on top of that she is ADHD and highly impulsive. It is a freaking recipe for teen pregnancy (as well as many other possible bad outcomes). This is not the kid you can corral and lead where you want to go, nor is it the kid you can safely trust to head out on her own path unsupervised. My job to date has consisted of being big, tall, deep, very bouncy but firm guardrails — she can veer off without going off the cliff, and bounce back and forth between them as much as she wants, but she’s always making some progress in the right direction.

    So, A, thank GOD she’s a geek and hasn’t yet realized that those boys following her around don’t just want to be friends. But B, it’s my job to keep her from making stupid, life-altering decisions before she’s old enough to know better (stupid, fine; stupid that will change the direction of three+ lives, one of them completely innocent, oh, hell no). And if I am going to do my job, I need to see her for who she is, not for who I wish she was. That impulsivity and immaturity is still there underneath, no matter how grownup and mature she is trying to look from the outside — she’s making a ton of progress and is really turning into a neat semi-adult, but she’s still a lot less smart and ready for the world than she thinks she is. And that means, yes, mommy will be providing transportation and money for the gynecologist, and in fact will be requiring it — and sooner rather than later.

  95. Reading all these comments has been enlightening. I grew up Catholic, but not devout enough to go full on NFP. My mom encouraged artificial BC and open lines of communication. DH’s family was, but his family wasn’t communicative enough to set up the road blocks like Scarlett described. It was more like L described.

    I do have a question for Rio and Scarlett, or anyone who may have thoughts about this. Let’s say you’re from a devout family which doesn’t allow artificial BC. Let’s say you have a child who has a developmental disorder (or even a severe delay) like Down’s Syndrome, severe autism, etc.. How would you prevent unwanted pregnancy in that situation? I guess I’m thinking of this like LfB’s daughter, but further down the rabbit hole. I envision a child who wouldn’t have the capacity to realize what’s happening to themselves combined with an outside world that may try to take advantage of that immaturity. I’m also probably not articulating it well enough… so I’ll leave it there.

  96. That is indeed a very tough situation, Rhode. My main concern would be preventing the child from being taken advantage of, since I do not believe someone with a significant intellecual disability to be capable of consent.

    I do know the Catholic Church actually allows non-abortive contraceptives in extreme situations of self-defense. The thinking is that contraception is wrong because it blocks the unity of the marital act, but if rape is involved then it is self-defense because there is no unity of course. For instance, nuns in war zones at high risk of rape have been allowed the pill I believe, and Plan B is actually offered to rape victims at Catholic hospitals if ovulation has not yet occurred. So while my focus would be on preventing a disabled child from being abused, there is potentially some leeway in very difficult situations.

  97. Louise – I read an article about her in People and came to that same conclusion… though I think it was more about how the family would “look” to outsiders rather than to protect Rosemary.

    Rio – Thank you for the insight.

  98. Rio – what if the child got married? I don’t know if a severely disabled person could consent to marriage, but let’s just say they could. Would BC be warranted if the couple in question does not have the capability to care fully for themselves?

  99. I went on the pill at 19 due to very heavy/painful periods (it wasn’t uncommon to have a day of throwing up)

    I wouldnt have known to go to PP in HS for the pill, but I wasnt having sex so bc wasnt an issue.

    My mom holds opinions similar to Scarlet and I went to Catholic HS.

  100. Rio – some catholic hospitals offer plan b to rape victims because it is required by law (in their state). The reason some states have required hospitals to offer plan b to rape victims because many religious hospitals were not. Plan B can prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus. There is no way to know if ovulation has occurred when you take it.

    I don’t know what a non abortive contraceptive is. If you consider blocking implantation of a fertilized egg as abortion (and I know many Catholics do), then the pill, IUD, morning after pill are all abortifacients. I have heard people lecture on this topic (cause I’m the kind of girl that goes to the “religion and abortion” lectures) and say the the Catholic Church, for the first millennium+ of existence thought that abortion was only a sin after quickening – 16 weeks or so. I’ve never verified this – and my sources are biased, but abortion as a centerpiece of region is a fairly modern phenomenon.

  101. OT: I need some advice.

    DD is in second grade and has been informed by the other girls that she is not, and never will be, “cool.”

    Their reasons that she is not cool are:

    – Her clothes are wrong (she’s been wearing Tea Collection, not Garanimals, but only Under Armour and North Face are “cool” – at the holidays she will be getting some new clothes)

    – She “looks wrong” – I don’t know for sure that the other girls realize this because most have not met DH, but she is half-Asian. They have told her that she is too short, her hair is too dark, and her eyes are too dark; only blue eyes are cool.

    – She doesn’t have enough “attitude” – in other words, she doesn’t roll her eyes and snark at the teacher enough.

    I have spoken to the mother of the ringleader of this clique, who spoke to her daughter and does not believe this is happening. My DD is not the perfect witness, but I’m hearing so much about these comments that at this point I don’t think she’s making it up.

    What should I do? I’m not sure if I should talk to the teacher or the school social worker, or the moms.

  102. Routine and legal surgical (or medical) abortion is also a fairly modern phenomenon. So is the pill. It is not particularly surprising that the Catholic Church did not focus on abortion until relatively recently.

    I agree with Rio on the difficult issue of protecting disabled women from potential pregnancies. And as far as a married, disabled couple — well, I guess my answer would be that people who are not fully capable of making their own decisions or caring for a child should not be permitted to marry in the first place. Haven’t researched this, but my guess is that they could not be married in the Catholic Church because one or both of them is incapable of consent; certainly their incapacity would be grounds for an annulment if a marriage somehow did take place.

    Of course, there are plenty of people who get married even though they are clearly incapable of being minimally competent parents. That is a separate issue, I think, from whether parents should provide their teenage children with contraception.

  103. Sky: Those b*tches. When my kids were younger, this sort of sh*t started in 3rd grade. The teacher mentioned that the girls do this because they can–it’s a power trip.

    I have no advice–just sympathy. You can take the high road and say the right things about finding better friends and who cares what others think. However, that doesn’t take away the hurt.

  104. Wow that’s awful, Anon. I’d report that behavior to the teacher for sure and also probably the school counselor. If what your daughter reports is even half-accurate there is a significant bullying problem in that classroom. Sorry your daughter is going through that. Hopefully she has one of those wise, experienced teachers who can work magic on classroom dynamics. At only age 8 or so, hopefully these mean girls’ behavior can be changed.They seem pretty young for some of what you’re describing.

    Also, can you get your daughter involved in some activities with a different group of kids than from school? YMCA soccer, swim lessons, Sunday School, whatever? To hopefully provide some better friendships and show her that she isn’t the one with the problem.

  105. Anonymous, I had a somewhat similar experience in fourth grade. My then-best friend decided that she wanted to be part of the “cool” clique (the vast majority of girls in my grade–I went to a small school) and informed me that they all thought I was hopelessly uncool because I wore the wrong clothes, read too much, didn’t act “cool” (i.e. disrespectful towards teachers), etc.

    Looking back it seems traumatic but I survived it quite easily because my parents encouraged me to be confident in my choices. They instilled in me a belief that plenty of people behave foolishly and meanly and just because they say something is true doesn’t mean that it is, and being “cool” is not the be all end all.

    I’m not saying greater intervention isn’t warranted here (especially with the overtones of racism–horrible), but in terms of helping your daughter survive and thrive I think focusing on building her up and teaching her to not buy into whatever b.s. is being spewed her direction will serve her best in the long term.

  106. This is probably hopelessly impractical, but I don’t suppose your daughter could somehow surreptitiously record this behavior, could she?

  107. @Anon — That sucks. Really sorry you’re going through this.

    IME 2nd grade is a tough time for girls — that seems to be when the cliques start to form and the mean-girl cattiness starts (about 4 years earlier than I expected). I think you did a good thing starting with the mother; a lot of moms do care and will listen. But since you got one of the “my angel would *never* do that” types, I’d go to the teacher to see what she has observed. Our school is very focused on bullying, including the non-physical exclusionary bullying girls tend to favor, and the few times I raised anything to the teacher, they were very receptive and helpful. Also, I’d lead with the “looks wrong” bit, as most schools are highly sensitized to racism (I have a feeling I got such prompt responses from our administrations largely because the two incidents I recall involved religious slurs and gay-baiting).

    I would help her not stand out in reasonable ways, e.g., if the “in” clothes are comparable to the stuff she wears, get her some outfits as protective coloration. Talk to her about why the girls think they have to be mean and snarky to be cool, and how that would make her feel to behave that way (if she’s like my kid, she may have better insight than you’d expect). Maybe find ways to hang out with the cool girls one on one (volunteer to take one to the mall and go to a “cool” shop? to a movie?), as the pack mentality can be a total killer to an otherwise fairly normal, decent girl — that way, you can figure out whether the kid is really a problem or is just going along with the crowd, and if you hear snark, you can intervene in a mild way and set a better example (it also helps if you do need to go back to the mom to have directly heard it yourself). Or, you know, don’t, and just keep your kid away from HRH Junior Queen Bitch as much as possible.

    Otherwise, just do what you can to love your girl and help her find her own place and friends and strengths. If these girls truly embody what it takes to be popular, she’s better off finding a happy place far, far away from them.

  108. RMS, we thought of doing that when she was having the crap knocked out of her on the bus last year (behind the seat backs so out of sight of the bus camera), and she does have a flip video camera :)

    Our state has laws against surreptitious taping and both the ringleader’s parents are also lawyers. So it’s unlikely to help here, unfortunately.

    Part of the problem is that I put her in kindergarten at 4 (12/31 cutoff) so sh turned 7 only last week, while 5 out of 10 girls in this year’s class are already 8.

    I’m having her write her own rules of how to be cool and trying to help her take the long view, but….

  109. Sky, my 1st grader is having a similar experience, but not to that degree. I know the mother of one of the mean girls and she has told me that her DD goes to a twice weekly social group that the school social worker set up (my guess is that her teacher discovered this girl is mean). And my DD actually works with the school social worker on social cues. I would absolutely ask your DD’s teacher if there is a social worker that would work with DD to help her navigate these mean girls. Perhaps the social worker will then start meeting with the mean girls too?

  110. Also, I’m glad you are back Scarlett. I really value your honest opinions (and Rio’s too) on such controversial topics.

  111. Ada, briefly re: non-abortive contraceptives–barrier methods and surgical (vasectomy/tubal). Many doctors who are opposed to abortion also counsel that combined hormonal bc that is extremely consistent (such as the ring) does not in reality pose abortive risk because it prevents ovulation when properly used. Others believe that though the risk is largely theoretical, it should still be avoided.

  112. Sky – I think LFB and Rio have great ideas. Helping her with the clothes (not too much or they will accuse her of copying them) and finding things outside of school are easy first steps.

    I don’t remember if this is public or private school – do you see a let up in the future through mixed up classes or different groups coming in to shake things up? If she was getting bullied on the bus in first grade (!) you may be in for a long haul. I am so sorry for you and your daughter.

  113. And Sky–I’m so sorry you are having to deal with this. What a hard thing for you and your daughter.

    The advice to find non-school activities is really good–having several social circle options is extremely helpful.

  114. It’s public, There are four second grade classes, and they don’t do ability grouping/levels until middle school. Usually only 2-3 girls from the prior year’s class join her in the next grade.

    She had softball and soccer in the fall and is still in Kung fu, but she has told me she won’t tell anyone about Kung fu because “being Chinese is embarrassing.” She also won’t include anything reflecting her ethnicity in her journal because they are asked to read entries aloud.

    I thought this would happen eventually, but not yet.

  115. Sky – wow. I’m so sorry. I remember being bullied from second grade onward (until at least halfway through HS). It sucked. I was also one of, if not the, youngest girl in my class. And smallest. You name it, I was bullied for it – size, glasses/braces, intelligence, clothes, hobbies, etc. Finding non-school groups helped a lot, as did switching schools in 6th grade and again in 9th. I have no other suggestions, so I hope others’ suggestions are more helpful.

  116. @Sky – I hope you can help her deal with the looks piece. She shouldn’t be ashamed of the ethnicity nor should she flaunt it. It is something she cannot change. I would concentrate on her “showing/selling” her strenghts including the Kung fu. Martial arts is cool and she can be Ninja girl. I have taken a similar approach when faced with these types of questions from my kids. Everyone doesn’t look the same nor has the same strenghs but be good at who you are and what you are blessed with.

  117. Scarlett – Rio – I appreciate your candor. I guess we can agree to disagree.

    @Sky – I’m sorry this is happening to her. I wouldn’t put too much effort into the clothes, they will find something else to pick on. You might want to look for Chinese role models for her like Lisa Ling who is regarded as beautiful and talented. Also not big on focusing on looks but if I had a nickel for every model who said she was made fun of for being different, I ‘d be rich. Maybe finding stories like that would inspire her and let her see a path ahead for her. Priscilla Chan is another Chinese American who is doing great stuff.

  118. I wouldn’t put too much effort into the clothes, they will find something else to pick on.

    They are targeting what they perceive to be the weakest member of the group. If she makes more of an effort to fit in, her stock will rise and someone else will then become the weakest member and the new target.

  119. Rhett, I agree with your general point but I disagree that changing her clothes is the solution. She is the weakest member due to her age, behavior and appearance, the clothes are just a convenient thing for them to comment on. If she changes her wardrobe, they will just find other things to comment on. She needs to fit in behavior-wise in order to move up the ladder.

  120. Agree with Rhett — you don’t need to go overboard or expect some new clothes to work a miracle, but protective coloration helps you blend in and not present an obvious target. Also totally agree with building her pride in her own heritage and strengths — it’s not an instant cure, but she will run into girls like this her whole life, and you want her to be able to realize at some point that people who are so small-minded as to look down on her heritage aren’t really the people to look up to and emulate. Plus, you know, it would be awesome for her to be able to say “don’t make me go Bruce Lee on your ass.” :-)

    Or, you know, just move next to us — my son would KILL to be a ninja. :-)

  121. She needs to fit in behavior-wise in order to move up the ladder.

    She needs to modify both her behavior and her appearance.

    In the mind of the Queen Bee everyone is ranked. She herself might be a 97, her court mid 90s down to maybe the mid 80. Then the rest of the kids down the line until maybe the 50s. If you can raise your status through changes in behavior and appearance to get into the 60s, the Queen Bee will begin targeting that new low girl on the totem pole.

  122. Sky, I’m sorry for your daughter. Where I grew up, bullying was bad and disabled kids were often the victims. My brother’s only fight at school was defending such a person in middle school.

    No one will be surprised to know that while I understand Rhett’s point, I was the type of person who didn’t fit in and, most of the time, didn’t really care. I did not want to be like those people.

    I think you will need to understand your daughter’s personality to know whether ignoring the problem, moving her to a different school, helping her find other friends or some other approach is right.

    By middle school, I was giving peers a tongue lashing on the city bus for making fun of the disabled adults who also rode the bus. This did not make me popular.

  123. If you can raise your status through changes in behavior and appearance to get into the 60s, the Queen Bee will begin targeting that new low girl on the totem pole.

    Yes, and IMO, clothing changes aren’t going to get her there. Behavior is much more important in the ranking than appearance, especially when a kid has already been placed at the bottom. Changing clothes can just change the nature of the taunting to something like “oh look, she thinks she’s so cool because she’s wearing xxxx now.” Plus it sounds like they also are picking on her for parts of her appearance that she can’t change.

  124. The clothes have been ordered, but nothing I do is going to add six inches to her height or make her look Scandinavian.

    WCE, it sounds like you and I have fundamentally similar personalities. Not giving a damn myself about what other people think is cool is making it harder for me to help her, because she really does care and I can’t understand why she doesn’t tell them to shut up.

    Denver, are you suggesting that she needs to act tougher, or more mature, or what?

  125. Sky, my sympathies. I don’t have any great answers, but I will second the suggestions of other activities that will give her a chance to meet other girls with whom she can get along.

    I’m guessing that she’s hapa, and if she is, and doesn’t know anyone else who’s also hapa, putting her in a situation where she can see or meet other hapas might help.

    I’ve written here before about my theory that one of parents’ responsibilities is to put their kids in situations that will facilitate their development of a good peer group. I’ve run into several families here where parents took that responsibility to the length of moving here, despite not having any ties here, primarily because they had hapa kids who would not be out of place because of that. I’m not suggesting you move here, just illustrating how far some parents will go for their kids.

  126. When the topics of bullying or mean girls come up, it is apparent that the typical Totebagger was more likely to be a victim than a bully. That was certainly true in my case, DH and, at various points, all of our kids.

    Sky, you have gotten some very good advice. Sorry if I missed this, but how upset is your child? How does she seem when you first see her after school? Is she crying about the mean girls? Does she get real or perceived stomach aches on school nights or in the morning and beg to stay home? What you are describing is awful, but perhaps it bothers you more than it bothers her, even though it obviously bothers her.

    FWIW, after having kids in school for a long time, here is my take on bullying:

    1. Do not hesitate to let the teacher know what is going on, especially for a second grader. Ask yourself, if you were the teacher, would you want to know about this situation? In your case, the answer seems to be yes. It might be the first time you’re dealing with a bully, but probably not the first time for the teacher.

    2. Try not to over-react in the presence of your child. She will take her cues from you. If you take a calm, matter-of-fact approach to the situation, she will be better off than if you get as upset as she is and start peppering her with anxious questions and angry declarations about the mean girls. The latter is the natural reaction of a tiger mom when her cub is threatened, and I have been there. But wait till you are alone with DH or a friend to vent those feelings.

    3. Let your child know that you have her back. Sometimes a child who is bullied comes to believe that no one cares or that EVERYONE dislikes her. It’s important that she knows you will be her advocate. But

    4. A fair amount of bullying takes place under the radar, and even the most alert teacher and sympathetic parents cannot prevent it. So you need to arm your child with the skills to cope with bullies.

    It’s a difficult situation and incredible (to me) that the mean girls thing is starting in the second grade. So sorry this is happening.

  127. Finn, we moved here in part because there are a few other Asian and Hapa kids in her grade; some of the other suburbs we looked at had no minority children at all in the 2000 census (we moved before the 2010 was out). None of the Asian/Hapa girls happen to be in her class this year, though.

    Scarlett, she is fine getting off the bus, and gets upset only when it’s time to get dressed in the morning in the dreaded “uncool” clothes. Unfortunately her behavior has deteriorated as she tries to imitate the “attitude” she thinks she is supposed to have.

    Thanks, all! I have an email in to the teacher and will see what she suggests.

  128. I can’t understand why she doesn’t tell them to shut up.

    The brain’s pain matrix controls our perception and experience of negative stimuli. The act of being ostracized or excluded from the in-group causes those regions of the brain to light up like a Christmas Tree. It only makes sense, if you’re part of a group of hunter gatherers and you’re excluded from the group? You die. As a result, in neurotypical people, perceived or actual exclusion from the in-group is perceived as extremely painful.

  129. If you can raise your status through changes in behavior and appearance to get into the 60s, the Queen Bee will begin targeting that new low girl on the totem pole.

    Rhett – young girls are a pretty complex bunch. By trying to be what they want her to be she is exhibiting even more how weak she is. I promise you all it does is make them see her as more lame and make her feel like who she is, isn’t good enough. She needs to find people who do like her and enjoy her for who she is.

  130. After seeing it in several posts, I had to Google “Hapa.”
    Is this a common expression? It’s definitely new to me.

    Sky, it’s a good sign that your DD isn’t upset when she comes home. Good luck with the “cool” clothes.

  131. Scarlett, it is very common in HI and CA; less so around here and probably still less in your geographic area.

  132. Sky, sorry you and your DD are going through this. I have no good solutions – hope the counselor and the teacher can help.

  133. Sky, I would suggest that even though she does care what they say, she needs to be able to act like she doesn’t. Could you perhaps acknowledge that it’s hurtful, but talk with her about how the reward they’re looking for is to see that she’s hurt and if she doesn’t appear to care, it’s not going to be fun for them? And then practice, practice, practice running through scenarios where you play the mean girl and she practices rolling her eyes at you and saying, “Are you still on about that? Get a life, geeze” or “You sure don’t know much about the world” when they act like kung fu or Chinese New Year or something is this weird unheard of thing, or whatever responses might work based on what the comments are.

  134. Sky, I guess the good news is that she gets a reset at the end of the school year, and will have a mostly new set of classmates next year.

    One suggestion based on Scarlett’s comment, which may be totally unnecessary (my suggestion, not Scarlett’s comment), is to remind her how it feels to be on this end, and not do this to any other kid.

    If the hapa look if a part of the problem, perhaps look for other hapas, especially females, who would be considered cool, e.g., Maggie Q, Olivia Munn, that you could point out to your DD.

  135. Sky, this won’t help change anything, but a friend’s 3rd grade daughter went through this recently, and she was surprised at how much it helped her daughter with perspective when she showed her all of the really crappy online comments that Taylor Swift gets. Because I guess for a girl that age, Taylor is practically perfection, and if she has to take crap, then it’s just a part of life. Hopefully the school social worker will help.

  136. I like the Taylor Swift suggestion.

    With my suggestion I forgot to note, the object for your daughter is to appear mildly amused (rather than annoyed) at the girls’ efforts.

  137. We had some problems this year – in first grade. It wasn’t mean girl stuff – more run of the mill bullying, some physicality, you’re “gross”. I was surprised how fast and firm my child’s teacher came down on this when I contacted her. She spoke to the class, brought in the school counselor to address the class and pulled my child put to assess things (and validated her for telling a grown up). My child is second to the bottom in the class hierarchy. I have been waiting for her to realize that she can put down the person who is at the bottom to gain status – I think that is the natural, lord of the flies evolution of the situation. This is how mean girls are made, sometimes.

    In any case, the school response settled things down quickly. I hope that is true for you, Sky.

  138. I have been waiting for her to realize that she can put down the person who is at the bottom to gain status

    Not waiting hopefully, I assume.

    Of course the real top-of-the-ranking kids don’t need to put other kids down. They have people to do that for them. Like the capo di tutti capi, they can act gracious and let their underlings do the hits.

  139. Just wondering– does anyone have any stories about how someone’s bullying behavior as a kid came back to bite him/her later in life?

  140. Yeah, Finn. The biggest bully in my sixth and seventh grade classes grew up to be bald, paunchy and sold insurance policies all his adult life. From what I heard from the last reunion his third wife and family had just left him.

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