What hell is this? The brave new world we have bequeathed our children is more frightening than I imagined, and the remedy is gonna make me one of the most hated moms on the block. Boo fucking hoo.

Yesterday afternoon, I received a call from a friend who lives in a sleepy little town on the outskirts of a huge city – the sort of town where nothing bad ever really happens, and you can go about your life feeling pretty safe and removed from the scariness of the modern world.

small town

Daisy and I both had daughters within weeks of each other, and we have kept in touch over the years, comparing notes and sharing frustrations and just generally being good friends to one another.  What she related to me, she has told no one else, other than her husband, of course.

girls

Daisy’s daughter Pansy has matured faster than my own daughter, who is still very much a little girl, in both looks and interests.  Pinkie and her best friend GingerGirl spend their free time tending flocks of sheep on Minecraft, making muffins, doing their nails and they have recently developed an intense interest in rocks.  For Christmas, both the girls have asked for rock polishers and cutters.  The plan is to polish up quartz and lapis lazuli and make jewellery for themselves and their friends.

Very, very innocent stuff.

Pansy, who is the same age as Pinkie, is much more of a stereotypical “pre-teenager” and Daisy, quite rightly if you ask me, is working to make sure that Pansy doesn’t grow up too fast.  Daisy’s husband is a very involved father although he works long hours to support his family.  Daisy has lots of sensible rules in place for Pansy over what kinds of clothes she can wear, what kinds of music she can listen to, what she can watch on TV and she monitors Pansy’s use of social media pretty closely.

And none of that mattered one little bit.

A few weeks ago, Pansy brought home an older girl for Daisy to meet.  I’ll call her Peaches, because she really is a Peach, through no fault of her own.  Peaches is the product of a single mother, and has no relationship of any kind with her father.  She’s an academically smart girl, and seems ambitious and aware and despite being raised in poverty (as the children of single mothers tend to be), she really appeared to have it together.

Daisy spent some time watching the two girls interact and felt that Peaches was an acceptable companion for her daughter.  After all, she doesn’t want to get too judgy against a kid who had no control over the circumstances of her birth, right?

just-dance-3-wii

When Pansy asked to go to Peaches house for a weekend play date, Daisy drove her over, met the mother and did all the things vigilant moms are supposed to do.  She left Pansy and Peaches playing Just Dance on the Wii and thought nothing more of it.  The girls would spend the afternoon together and get some exercise and have fun!

Shortly after Daisy drove away, Peaches’ mom decided to go out and run some errands and she left the two girls alone at home.  Peaches has a computer in her room, and once SingleMom was out of the picture, Peaches introduced Pansy to some “friends” in an internet chat room.

Some male friends.  Considerably older male friends.

Pansy recounted, weeks later, to her mother, what followed.  Pansy fell apart in the bathtub, sobbing and shaking because she knew she had done something very shameful and wrong, and she knew it was wrong when she did it, but she wanted Peaches to like her and think she was cool and peer pressure worked to overcome everything she had ever been taught to believe.

Peaches took off her clothes and danced for her male admirers in front of the webcam on her computer, and she “encouraged” Pansy to join in the fun.  Pansy knew she should not be taking off all her clothes and dancing for strangers on the internet, but she did it.

At twelve years of age, Pansy has starred in her first child porn video.

Here is where the story gets really, really interesting.  Daisy, once she knew the whole story, called up SingleMom to let her know what her daughter is up to on the computer conveniently located in the privacy of her bedroom.

SingleMom didn’t think it was a big deal.  “Oh, they’re just having a bit of fun”.

scream

For.

Real.

SingleMom thinks it’s all just a bit of harmless fun. Videos of her prepubescent daughter dancing naked and pretending to masturbate are scattered god knows where across the internet, and she doesn’t care.

How do you deal with something like this?  That is what Daisy and I talked about, for most of our conversation.  How the hell do you react to something like that?  Obviously, Peaches will not be setting foot anywhere near Pansy again, and Pansy knows that what she did was wrong and dangerous and foolish and she feels wretched about her behavior.

Is that enough?

Should Daisy call Child Services?  Will the girl be better off in foster care? Will taking her away from her idiot of a mother have any impact on whether she continues to vie for male attention, because that’s what the poor girl is doing.  She wants to feel loved and beautiful and powerful and has no example of what a mature, loving man looks like or acts like, and reporting her to child services isn’t going to change that.

Daisy did call her cousin, who is a police officer, but there is nothing they can do.  Even if they had an IP address, which they don’t, it’s probably a proxy server or a temporary inbox that can’t be traced.  The police have neither the manpower nor the technology to track down every video of underage girls dancing naked in cyber space.

How can we, as parents, be vigilant about this kind of stuff?  Daisy did every reasonable thing she could do, and her daughter is still …. I can’t bring myself to call her a “victim” because the only thing she is a victim of is her own incredibly poor judgement.  She’s only a twelve year old girl, though, and twelve year old girls need help making the right decisions. It’s not enough to just know what the right decision IS, she has to have the confidence and maturity to follow through.

I know I will catch hell for this in my actual, lived reality, but one inescapable conclusion that I have come to is that children of single mothers have giant red stop-signs over their heads when it comes to interacting with my kids.

Obviously there are some single mothers who are doing a stellar job, but they’re pretty easy to pick out.  They’re older, financially stable, own their own homes and are surrounded by a loving family with lots of male role models. Those aren’t the typical single mothers, though.  The ones who are young and poor with no real job skills or accomplishments of any kind are probably single mothers as a result of sheer stupidity, and yes, I’m deeply suspicious of their children.  In no way do I blame the children – it was not their choice.

But I recognize them as a threat, and it won’t take all that long before people figure out that JBs kids do not go over to the homes of kids who have single mothers.  Those kids can come to my house, under limited conditions and they will be very carefully supervised, but under no circumstances are my children going over to play with any kid who sets my Spidey senses off.

Intellectually, I can see how unfair that is.  Emotionally, I don’t give a fuck.  Sorry, kid.  But my kids come first.

Something else I have decided is a deal breaker is kids who have computers or televisions in their own rooms.  My children use social media very sparingly at the moment, and I monitor every bit of it.  They play on Minecraft with other people, on a computer that is in our living room with the screen facing outwards, so I can see any interaction at any time.  My daughter posts pictures of kittens and cupcakes and puppies and newborn giraffes to Instagram, where she and her friends compete to get “likes” for who posted the cutest picture.  I see every picture that she posts, and every picture that everyone else posts, too.

The real question for me is do I shatter my daughter’s innocence by talking to her about what happened with Pansy?  My husband feels that it’s simply a lesson for us that we need to be absolute dictators when it comes to who our children are allowed to spend time with.  If other parents hate us, so be it.  Fuck them.

Obviously, we can’t protect them forever, but I really do believe there is value in letting children be children, and there are some things they don’t need to understand.  Sometimes “because I said so” is the right answer.

friends

I shared this story with GingerGirl’s mom, and we spent a long time talking about how we personally dealt with things like peer pressure and wanting to be liked and be cool and popular, and it really comes down to one thing:  you have a group of friends and you have each other’s backs. That is what has changed so dramatically in our culture, especially for girls.  The “strong independent” message has been translated into “abandon each other”.  Boys still seem to understand the concepts of loyalty and unity and that when your friends are about to make really bad choices, you step in and use whatever tools you have to prevent that from happening.  Mockery, aggression, insults, whatever – you keep each other safe.

How did young women come to lose that aspect of their own culture?  When I think of the Rehteah Parson’s case, in particular, what strikes me as so unbelievable is that she was with a girlfriend who could see that Rehteah was about to make a really, really bad decision, and who knew Rehteah was really, really drunk, and she just left her there to face the consequences.  Now, in fairness to the girlfriend, she did return to the house later with her own mother to try and persuade Rehteah to leave, but reportedly, to no avail.

I’m sorry, but what?!?!?!

A grown woman, the mother of one of Rehteah’s friends just left her there?

A young, drunk teenager is having sex with multiple men and gosh, I’ll just let her get on with it, then?

Unfuckingbelievable.

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/04/26/christie-blatchford-why-there-will-never-be-a-case-against-the-rehtaeh-parsons/

It’s not like I went to some prissy Christian highschool where the girls spent their time crocheting baby clothes for the local preemie unit (although we did that, too). We experimented with drugs and alcohol and made out with boys and dressed inappropriately in clothes we had to hide from our parents, but we never, ever just abandoned each other when dicey situations came up.

When the time comes, that is what I plan to teach my daughters, in particular.  When Pinkie is at a party and something like the Rehteah Parson’s situation is happening, you do NOT leave that girl.  You call me, you call your Dad, you call an adult to come and help you.  And I plan on letting my daughter’s friends know that in the horrifying case where it is MY daughter who is loaded out of her mind and about to do something really stupid that she will deeply regret, you do NOT leave her.  You call us.

I honestly think it’s pointless to try and convince kids not to drink underage and not to experiment with their sexuality and not to do all the “forbidden” things, because all that does is shut down communication.  If your kids know they are not allowed to drink alcohol and will be severely punished for doing so, they are not going to call you for help when they find themselves blind drunk at a frat party.

And the consequences of that are just too severe. One moment of poor decision making can be broadcast to every person you know or will ever meet, and that’s just too harsh a punishment.

I firmly believe that parents are not and should not be their kid’s friends, but that doesn’t mean we can’t protect our children.  I’m still a few years away from needing to negotiate parties and curfews, and it may very well be that when I step into the reality of teenage life, I am going to change my mind about all of this.

Maybe.

But one thing is certain: when twelve year old girls are making amateur porn because no one is watching over them, you can be damn sure I’ll be watching.

Privacy is something you earn, when you’ve shown repeatedly, that you can make good decisions. That usually happens after you’ve made a whole bunch of bad decisions.

But there’s bad decisions and then there’s bad decisions.

Twelve year olds dancing naked for voyeurs on the internet.

Jesus.

The teenage years are gonna be scary.  Any advice for me?

Lots of love,

JB

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  • http://embraceyourfeminity.wordpress.com embracingourfemininity

    This is absolutely horrifying :(.

  • TMG

    Perhaps if most women didn’t have the moral compass of maladjusted toddlers, this wouldn’t be happening.

  • angelowal

    I want to shout it out off the rooftops, ” Do not allow computers in a private area of the home. Keep them in the kitchen, dining room or living room, where what’s onscreen is totally visible to anyone any time.” I never even allowed TV’s in my boys’ bedrooms – I felt it was too solitary an environment.

    Kids need our supervision, but it is a fine line between monitoring and smothering and that’s why parenting is not a task for the faint-hearted or the stupid, but sadly we can’t control others, only that which happens in our own homes. I find that keeping an open line of communication between parent and child is imperative – never make them feel inhibited about what they can tell you and never let them forget that they are loved unconditionally. They will undoubtably make mistakes, but that’s how they learn and feeling free to talk to a parent without fear of judgement is essential.

    This seems to have worked for me a decade or two ago, but it is a different world out there now and that parenting task is even more daunting, yet not dissimilar, with the advent of iphones etc. I don’t think that children under age 14 should have those either.

    • Liam

      You’re missing one important point, Angel: smartphones. Today’s phones ARE computers.

      So many good parents make sure their kids internet activity is monitored, and don’t even consider that the phones today have the ability to broadcast high quality video.

      I love the internet for so many reasons (among others, I would almost certainly never have heard of JB or gotten to read her wonderful take on so many things without it), but it has absolutely made parenting an order of magnitude harder… at the same time as disposable marriage culture has increased to an all time high the number of cases where that parenting is now done predominantly by a single individual.

      (For the record, although I am a single father, I did NOT initiate it. In fact, I tried to work to save things, even to the point of forgiving her infidelity. But the culture of “if you’re not happy, get out” convinced her that it wasn’t worth working at, it was better to cut her losses, and out she went.)

  • Liam

    You’re doing the right thing… says the single father.

    I have no idea how I’ll handle it when my 7 year old is old enough to be on his own. Right now, he’s at school, he’s with me, or he’s with a baby sitter. (Or his Mom, on the weekends). I imagine it’ll depend on how responsible he ends up being. My older two were very responsible (they’re in college now, and I’m as certain as a parent can be that they have not experimented with drugs or sexuality or sexting or any of that stuff… Almost to the point of repression, which bothers me a little bit, but at least they’re safe).

    I hate having to say this, but it is absolutely true, kids in single parent households are not going to be as good influences on average than those in married households. For several reasons. As you point out, there’s the craving for adult attention from the other parent. There’s only one parent, so there are more times when the energy is just sapped out and things slip that maybe shouldn’t. And there’s only ONE parent, so if that one parent makes poor decisions (“They’re just having a bit of fun…”), there isn’t another parent there to say “Um, what the hell are you thinking! Of course that’s not appropriate!”

    I feel for the children of single parents, particularly the parents who are not particularly involved in their kids’ lives, or who are so self-absorbed that they don’t grasp that their job as a parent is to be focused on their children, not on themselves.

    But as you say, my job is to protect MY son, to make sure MY son grows up safely and well, make sure MY son makes it to adult hood prepared to be a productive member of society without too many scars and skeletons-in-the-closet due to the mistakes of youth.

    I dated a single mother for a while. I loved her, I loved her daughters, but I could not get past (among other things) the fact that she had a child with a man whom she considered disposable. Never told HIM that, but she told me several times that she always knew that she wasn’t in it with him for the long haul, she had kids with him because tick tick tick…

    If her daughters (twins, by the way) do not end up dancing naked on the internet by the time they’ve even remotely begun showing signs of puberty, I’ll eat my hat.

  • Zach

    These things will only get worse until women (starting with little girls) once again live in a world where shame is allowed to coexist with pride; where there is no esteem without honor; where shifting sands of moral relativism blow away and the internal compass is allowed to anchor in absolutes. Sure, plenty of men need to be anchored and re-introduced to shame, but men are also not excused from reality nearly as often or as encompassing as women are in our culture. Shaming of men is a staple. The goalposts may be moved around according to the imperatives of the feminine, but the shame has remained.

    I rarely hear men say/write: “Don’t judge me…”. It is so common with women that it is practically one of the pillars of online dating profiles. Our culture his killed God, removing anything external from the discussion, anything absolute, anything that does not or cannot be immediately converted into something tangible or advantageous or gratifying.

    And it is not up to men. We can’t judge and thus cannot shame. We cannot exercise our moral beliefs or preferences beyond our own choices and (guarded) actions because the rhetoric has embedded those things in the Patriarchy. We cannot lead in this. We have no voice. Thought police and political correctness make sure of that. If there is a way out, it is up to women like you and your daughter. God Speed.

  • http://poisonedwell.wordpress.com genderneutrallanguage

    Welcome to the “real” world, the world for most people. Really all I can say is be very very grateful that you learned this lesson before it was YOUR daughter striping for strangers on the internet. You now have the knowledge and tools to protect at least one little girl from this.

  • SuperAwesomeGuy

    Well I don’t totally buy the idea that it’s single parents that are the cause of this. I grew up with both parents and I ‘chose’ to be a good kid and my brother and sister did not. My parents went half insane trying to corral them to no avail. My older sister ‘chose’ to straighten up later but my younger brother didn’t. My point is if you have a kid that doesn’t want to listen there isn’t much you can do to make them anymore (beating, etc).

    don’t know how useful any of that is, sorry not the best writer.

    • http://www.avoiceformen.com The Real Peterman

      I’m a product of a single mother too, so I’m probably biased. Unlike this poor girl in JB’s story I always knew my dad well. I really think that what parents model for a child is what that child will do. I never saw my parents drinking when I was growing up so I never had an urge to do that myself. On the other hand, both my parents are emotionally-stunted rageaholics so now I am one too. Peach’s mother is probably a floozy with no boundaries so she is too.

      • SuperAwesomeGuy

        My father is like that from a combination of PTSD, upbringing, and genetics. When I was a kid he’d flip out for no reason and I just learned to stay out of his way.

    • http://www.notboutthing.blogspot.com Goober

      Well I don’t totally buy the idea that it’s single parents that are the cause of this.

      Not THE cause, but the condition of single parenthood would create conditions under which things like this would flourish, no? No matter how much feminism would like it to not be so, little boys and little girls crave both a mother and a father. Kids without a father grow up without an understanding of what a man should be, and therefore don’t understand what male attention even is, much less which is positive and which is negative. They only know that they crave the attention, so they do things to gain the attention of men who enter their lives, by whatever means.

      Boys tend to gain that male attention by pushing boundaries and getting in trouble. Girls tend to evolve their trouble making into more sex-based attention getting schemes as they enter adolescence, once again as they realize that their sex has power, but are unable to understand that because they’ve had no male influence or example in their lives. IE, they become like Peaches…

      I grew up with both parents and I ‘chose’ to be a good kid and my brother and sister did not.

      Two things here. First, good parents raise bad kids sometimes. I have an aunt and an Uncle who raised two awesome individuals, and one absolute piece of trash loser. The biggest difference that I see in the lives of those kids all boils down to one thing – choice of friends. My aunt and uncle made the mistake of being too permissive about who their kids hung around with. Their son was into basketball, so he ended up hanging around with jocks – motivated winners who knew the value of hard work and responsibility to something outside of themselves. Their third daughter was quiet and withdrawn, so she didn’t have any friends other than a girl that lived two houses down who was also quiet and mousey, and so they spent their time playing quietly and harmlessly. The middle daughter met up with a bad crowd late in high school, tried drugs, and went from being a straight A student and a concert-level cellist, to a street rat meth head pregnant with the first of a couple unwanted kids about 6 months later.

      Second, bad parents sometimes raise good kids. I don’t know which is your condition, so I’m not casting judgment because I simply don’t have the data to make such a judgment, so take all this with a grain of sugar, please. Sometimes overly-permissive, non-disciplinarian, or downright neglectful parents manage to spawn a good kid on occasion. Did your parents know your friends? Did they require that they knew where you were (within reason) at all times until you moved out of their house? Were you required to check in at regular intervals? Did your friends ever come over to your house? From whom did you learn about the birds and bees? Did you own your own car, or drive one of your parent’s cars, the control over which they kept?

      My parents went half insane trying to corral them to no avail.

      Did they argue with them at length? Screaming matches? Threats?

      Or did they reasonably explain why things needed to be their way, and apply leverage via appropriate consequences to actions? Did your delinquent brother’s driver’s license ever get tossed in the shredder? Or did they just yell at him for being bad? Did he ever get his car taken away? Or did your parents just threaten and then let him go out again that night, because it was easier?

      You always have leverage over minor children, no matter how defiant they are, until they literally run away (and at that point, you’ve pretty much lost the battle, but you don’t have to give up – go find their ass). You give your kids things, as horrible as it sounds, simply so you can have something to take away if they fall out of line. Buy your daughter a car, go for it. But take that shit away as quickly as you bought it if she doesn’t toe the line. Next in line is her driving privileges. After that, her driver’s LICENSE (suspension, revocation, confiscation, then eventual destruction).

      My point is if you have a kid that doesn’t want to listen there isn’t much you can do to make them anymore (beating, etc).

      All of the USEFUL tools to raising a successful, well-adjusted child are still available to parents, even in these modern days. Beating a child was never a good solution – yeah, you may have terrified them into toeing the line, but you’ve also broken their spirit in the process, which is as damaging to a child as allowing them to run rampant. Spanking is still available and widely accepted by all but the most militant of idiots, but to be honest, I don’t think it makes a huge difference, either, for the same reason. “Do as I say, or I’ll hurt you!” does not seem like a very good parenting scheme to me.

      Reason with a child who can be reasoned with. Provide consequences for a child who cannot.

      And worst of all, when they turn 18, learn to let go. You’ve done all you can for them at that point, and if they still want to be a meth head, then you’ve got to find a way to unbreak your heart and move on, and be ready to be there for them if they ever come back asking for help.

  • http://www.avoiceformen.com The Real Peterman

    “The real question for me is do I shatter my daughter’s innocence by talking to her about what happened with Pansy?”

    You don’t have to tell her the whole story. Maybe it would be enough to say “I’ve told you not to talk to strangers, remember? Well that goes for computers too. I know a girl who was pressured into talking to some strangers on a computer and it didn’t go well and now she feels terrible about it.”

    • Liam

      I’m a strong proponent of telling kids things they need to know, and in my view, this would be something they need to know… but it depends on the child, his or her circumstances, and level of maturity.

      I tend to find that children understand more than we give them credit for, because our vision of our children always lags a year or more behind their current actual level of development.

      In other words, I would prefer to err on the side of talking about my son about drugs/sex/whatever too soon rather than being one of those parents who are just CERTAIN that their 16 year old is “much to young” to care about such things.

      I am also, however, very much in JBs camp in terms of trying to guide rather than forbid. I find that children are very much like grains of sand. You can hold them gently in your hands and they’ll stay put, but if you try to grab too tightly, they’ll start to slip through your fingers. Kids with an appropriate level of supervision and restriction (and, by the way, a CONSISTENT level) tend to be safe and happy and, even when they bristle against the restrictions, feel secure because they understand them.

      Children with overly strict parents tend, in my experience, to be the first to act out when they get away from their parents.

    • Diana

      Actually at 12 kids are a lot more mature than you think.I was watching porn at 12, discovered it on my cousin’s computer.By age 15 I tried what boys like to do, you know, the oneway…I felt bad and deviant, though it’s perfectly natural bla bla bla.And I was actually the good girl in high school, the boring and never does anything exciting or dangerous kind.So a there are bad people out there talk doesn’t really seem a kick in a kid’s innocence to me.I was killing hookers in GTA when i was 10, seriously do I need to give out worse examples?:))

  • zykos

    There are different degrees of single parenthood, and if you’re worried about being too harsh, it’s probably good to distinguish between widows, divorcees and SMbS (single mommy by stupidity). Widows are the minority, although with the current military actions the US is waging, there’s still plenty of them, and these women are probably pretty safe. Their task is much harder since they are alone to raise a kid, but chances are they would never think something like what happened to your friend’s kid was “just good fun”, especially if their late husband was military. Divorcees are a mixed bag, because it could be the husband’s decision, and even if they had been terrible wives, it doesn’t mean they’re necessarily terrible mothers, so I’d say use your judgement. But SMbS, hell no! If she doesn’t have enough restraint to not have a kid who hasn’t committed to her, she is likely careless, thinks with her genitals and sees promiscuity as totally ok, even for her kid. Your decision to shun these people is perfectly understandable.

    Now, about what to do and how to speak with your kids. I never had any desire to do crazy thinks as a teenager (there were some prank calls, some slightly dangerous activities, but for the most part it I was a clam kid). Maybe it was simply my nature, and you just can’t prevent some kids from doing some really stupid things, but I would attribute it also to two things. One, my friends came from good backgrounds, solid families that had an interest in their children’s education (private school, may not be for everyone, but consider it), so the kids who were really troublesome were the minority, and weren’t “cool” at all among our group, so nobody wanted to follow them or imitate their behavior. Two, my parents did restrict my movements a bit, but I feel like what really kept me from doing the very stupid stuff was simply not wanting to disappoint them. I think letting your kids know that you’re proud of them when they excel, and ashamed of them when they get in trouble is a very powerful motivator, so long as you yourself set the good example. They’ll still want to explore and will still make mistakes, but they will want to be the best they can until they’re old enough to have their own sense of worth, of where they want to be in life and what they want to accomplish. This sort of judgement is best reserved for the dad and the “conditional love” fathers seem to be good at, so that’s something your husband should keep in mind.

    • Liam

      The disappointment thing is an EXCELLENT point. In my daughter’s 18 years on the planet, the hardest I ever saw her cry was not when I grounded her or sent her to her room or (early on before I learned better) spanked her.

      It was one time when she lied to me, and I looked at her and said (more in surprise than anything else) “I am so disappointed in you!”

      She was inconsolable! I learned a very powerful lesson about being careful with my words that day, and also recognized that one of the best ways for me to make sure they would behave well was to try to always be a father they wanted to not disappoint, along with making it clear what behaviors would disappoint me. Not what behaviors would get them in trouble or were forbidden, but would make me disappointed.

      • Liam

        (Mild correction. I said “I am so disappointed.” I didn’t even say “in you.” Not that it matters, but I’m compelled to get the story right.)

      • zykos

        You sound like you’re doing a good job. Keep it up, and good luck!

  • Reuben

    Hi,
    So sad to hear this story. Here is an article you can read to find out about software (some free and some paid) you can use to monitor and manage your child’s Internet usage
    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2410924,00.asphttp://www.pcmag.com/category2/0,2806,1639158,00.asp

    Im hope these are helpful. I don’t have any kids but if I did I would try to install these softwares to block and monitor.

  • teemubergkamp

    At 12 years old, I’m quite willing to call Daisy’s daughter a victim.

    At 18, no – she should know better.

    I have no problem minimizing the agency of children below a certain age. You just have to make sure that you treat boys and girls the same way. (ie. if Peaches was interacting with 12 year old boys, we’d assign the boys the same lack of agency that the girls have)

  • James Thrice

    As someone who grew up on foster care, I’ve got to say you’re doing the right thing. A lot of foster parents I’ve known have ruined their relationships with their own children by taking in foster kids. It’s one thing to take in a new born infant and having the freedom to rear the child as you see proper, but the same doesn’t work for children over more than four or five years old.

    In regards to Pansy, she is still responsible for her actions. One thing I had to fight against growing up in a liberal society is this idea that the kid is always the victim. There were times where the child was the victim. I had a foster mother who was physically abusive. Having been a bed wetter, more than once I was stripped down and made to run circles around the house (they lived out in the country), often after the sun had gone down. And there are times where the kids are the ones at fault. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen a foster child steal from the people who opened their doors to them or do crazy crap like slashing tires. (One foster brother of mine tried to steal a car and run off, where to I have no idea but I don’t think he had much of a plan to begin with.) The kids would justify doing this crap the same way feminist would justify intentionally doing something harmful towards men: they deserved it, they have everything and that’s not fair, I’m the victim here and I’m just taking what’s mine.

    At a certain point in life you cease to be a product of circumstance and instead become a product of choice. That’s why I’m libertarian, I believe in free agency because the flip side of being able to do whatever you want is having to take complete responsibility for your actions.

    • Eric

      “When Pinkie is at a party and something like the Rehteah Parson’s situation is happening, you do NOT leave that girl.”

      How do you, as a young friend of the girl or a parent of that young friend, intervene effectively with another person’s daughter if you lack the clear mandate of that girl’s legal guardian (ie, single mom) to intervene?

      Many people hesitate to intervene as good Samaritans not because they’re uncaring assholes, but because of the fear of unintended consequences – blowback – of overstepping lines.

      • Eric

        * Meant as a comment to JB’s post, not to James Thrice’s comment.

      • http://judgybitch.wordpress.com judgybitch

        I think that blowback happens more to men than women. Men will catch shit for “paternalism” and will likely be accused of “thinking of the girl in a sexual capacity”, even though he has just dragged said girl out of a party after she blew five guys and was going for the full team.

        Speculation, of course, but I don’t think I would hesitate to physically drag a naked drunk teenager out of a party if I felt there was any chance she was making a colossal mistake.

        As a woman, I simply won’t face the same consequences as a man might in the exact same situation.

        Sad, but true.

  • Diana

    Girl meets pedophiles for the first time.I’ve met my first pedophile at 12 years old too by accidentally sex-chatting with him.I’ve stopped after I realized what he was trying to do but I felt beyond silly for being so friendly and naive.You feel dirty and betrayed.Actually if you have only good male acquaintances you never see it coming.I’ve had countless many others try to pick me up although I’ve told them I was a minor, 3 guys flashed their penis in public in front of me and one guy tried to grope me on a bus.You can’t really keep kids away from these guys all the time, you’ve gotta teach them to keep away from these guys.And all my experiences are mild.I’ve had a friend(when we were 8) that had a guy, a relative of her who was supposed to watch after her, make her to touch his penis.When I found out I was super mad and wanted to tell her mother to call the police on this guy but she begged me not to.Also I didn’t know what was true and what was her invention(she refused to give me details), therefore I was caught in between.I did want this guy punished but if she was lying I would aggravate things for her and that guy.All in all, meh you get used to them by the time you get 18.

  • Ed

    What. The. Fuck. That is terrible.

    ———–

    /Intellectually, I can see how unfair that is.  Emotionally, I don’t give a fuck. 

    You could apply this same logic to almost the entirety of feminism. Is it unfair to some women that men tend to like similar things in women, and many men have a preference for some race/hair color/whatever? Yes. But in every individual case the fact that it’s unfair doesn’t really matter.

    /when your friends are about to make really bad choices, you step in and use whatever tools you have to prevent that from happening.  Mockery, aggression, insults, whatever – you keep each other safe.

    Totally.

  • http://culdesachero.wordpress.com culdesachero

    Jb, I have one thing to say. Call the police. Don’t call child services. Don’t call your cousin who is a cop. Call the police department and file a report. Everyone reading this is now legally complicit until the report is filed.

    It astounds me how readily woman will accept the blatant exploitation of young girls if they believe it is sexual empowerment.

    • http://judgybitch.wordpress.com judgybitch

      Really?

      We’re not in the same jurisdiction. We’re not even in the same country. I’m not sure I understand what you mean by legally complicit? Which police do I report this to? The ones here or the ones where Daisy lives?

      I’m not being the slightest bit snarky. I really don’t understand how I am complicit and what actions I need to take.

    • Liam

      I was with you until the complicit. What can those of us reading do? We don’t know (most of us) JB’s real name. We certainly don’t then know the real name or location of HER friend, I’d wager money that neither the name of the friend nor the daughter is the actual name.

      We can advise calling the police department, but I’m not sure how you can consider us complicit because we simply do not have the facts nor the ABILITY to do something about it, and if I call my local police department and say “Hey, I read on the internet about a 15 year old girl who was pushed by an older girl into making child pornography (dancing naked on a web cam)”, they’re going to laugh at me. Really, somewhere in the world, someone who might or might not be named “Pansy” was coerced by someone who almost certainly ISN’T named “Peaches”, what exactly are we to do about this?

      I’m sorry, but I read a lot of stuff, a lot of articles about bad things that happen, a lot of stories, and I have neither the resources nor the time to sit down and try to investigate every one of them to the point where I can provide details to police.

      This is a horrible story. The mother in question should have her daughter taken away, the daughter should (depending on HOW MUCH older than Pansy she is) be prosecuted, at the very least this should be carefully investigated to ensure that the facts are as presented above (not doubting JB, but the story came from a teenager, through a mother, to a mother’s friend, to us. There was plenty of opportunity in there for mistakes in translation and other inaccuracies to creep in).

      • http://culdesachero.wordpress.com culdesachero

        I read this on my lunch break. I felt I had to reply, but I was trying to type quickly on a smart phone. As a rresult, I may not have chosen the best words. Complicit might be too strong a word, in the legal sense. Reading this, I get a knot in my stomach. It reminds me of the stories of rape victims screaming while neighbours hear and do nothing.
        The girl breaking down with shame while telling her mom, the young (Peaches) girl craving attention and getting it from the wrong places and her Mom ignoring her parental duty. It’s just too much.
        The purpose of Police is to investigate crime. There certainly was a crime here. JB, you have brought it to my attention and I feel I have an obligation to advise a police report.

        • http://judgybitch.wordpress.com judgybitch

          I’m not so sure I agree there was a crime committed here. I mean, in the strictest legal sense, yes, absolutely. Peaches is a few weeks away from her 14th birthday, so she is definitely underage.

          There just seems to me to be such an obvious difference between raping a four year old on film, and encouraging a couple of preteen girls to strip naked and dance. Yes, they should probably both be criminalized, but they should not be in the same category. There is a huge difference in magnitude, by my estimation.

          And I just don’t see how criminalizing the men who were watching, registering them on a lifetime sex offenders list, sentencing them to jail, destroying their lives is going to change Peaches behavior one little bit. If anything, it’s likely to make it worse by demonstrating that someone else can be punished for her poor judgement.

          No police report in the world is going to make her mother start to care for Peaches the way she should be cared for. That’s the real problem.

          Criminalizing the men in this scenario does nothing to address the central issue: Peaches is willingly and knowingly taking off her clothes in a misguided attempt to garner positive male attention.

          Should the men know better? Probably. I refuse to cast them as “pedophiles” though, because in my mind there is a world of difference between being sexually attracted to children and to very young women. An almost 14 year old is biologically almost certainly capable of reproduction, which means she is going to be sexually appealing to lots of men.

          We can have social strictures in place to protect very young women who really don’t know what they are doing, but I highly doubt criminalizing what amounts to normal human desire is going to have any positive or lasting effect.

          It’s Nabokov’s Lolita, played out in real time. Men should be sanctioned for taking advantage of psychologically vulnerable young women, but criminalized?

          I’m not convinced that’s an appropriate or particularly efficacious response.

          • http://culdesachero.wordpress.com culdesachero

            I would say it’s a tough call. Perhaps it’s my sense of helplessness. I really want the mother of Peaches to answer for her actions. I just think that if it was my daughter, distraught and confused, I’d be calling someone with some authority.

            I am not a strong proponent of police intervention, unless it’s absolutely necessary. I see that the affect of charges could be negative.

            This woman has basically “hosted” the session by allowing the girls to do it under her roof and not taking action once it came to her attention. The attitude just astounds me.

  • http://culdesachero.wordpress.com culdesachero

    Caveat, I am no lawyer.
    I think the responsability lies with Daisy to report the activity. Isn’t she obligated to report a crime with a child victim? Morally, I would feel it is my responsibilty to put a stop to it in any way possible. Peaches is encouraging others to be victimized. How many others have been or will be included in her little game. It should be stopped. Where else can this lead.

    I think this has more in common with the Penn State case than Reteah Parsons. Joe Pa didn’t do enough to stop something and he could have prevented further damage.

    • Eric

      There is such a thing as legally mandated reporters in child abuse cases, which is a question that came up with the Sandusky case and Penn State officials. Otherwise, outside of special categories with heightened legal duties, criminal or civil liability generally falls to acts of commission, not omission.

  • http://www.notboutthing.blogspot.com Goober

    A couple of points:

    Re: Looking out for your friends: I always thought that this was implicit in the friend contract. You don’t leave your buddy to the wolves. Amazingly enough, I thought that this was even more strongly reinforced in female circles, but I’ve been proven wrong on more than one occasion, and my wife has also told me that I’m wrong, and that my pals and I have a lot stronger “wingman” rule than her and her friends ever had.

    You. Don’t. Leave. Your. Wingman.

    Ever.

    I’ve taken some of the biggest risks of my life in sticking by my friends in their time of need. The only time in my life I ever got behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated was to drive my buddy away from a situation where he’d gotten drunk, belligerent, gotten in a fight, and had a half dozen dudes gunning for him. I got him the hell out of there. I also punched one of my buddies in his face one time to keep a couple of other dudes from beating the hell out of him when he got mouthy. My way of looking at it was a careful punch to the face from a friend was better than hospitalization (he agreed, and actually thanked me the next day).

    As for kids in stupid situations, my Dad had a rule with me, and I will do the same for my kids. The rule said that no matter what, no matter where, no matter what time, if you needed help, or just a ride home, you WILL call me, and I WILL be there. Period. That may not preclude a massive ass-chewing and some consequences after the fact if you were doing something stupid, but the consequences will be far less severe than what you’d face if you hadn’t called for help.

    Also, on the single parent front, I know from the experience of my wife that one of the most psychologically damaging things that a single parent can do (and most of them DO do) is to parade the next in a long, endless string of fuck buddies in front of your kids. These kids crave a Dad. They’ll try to size up any old shitheel that you bring home for the job, and when he leaves forever, a little piece of the hope that they had to having a Dad leaves with him, and each subsequent “him” that leaves takes a little more. This young girl, “Peaches” wants a Dad, too, or at least a solid, stabilizing male presence in her life. She is completely confused as to how to obtain one (and who can blame her, what with her Mom’s example?) and so she’s doing it entirely wrong. But that’s all this is – a confused kid with Daddy issues, because she never had one, trying to fix those issues by getting male attention and not understanding that the male attention that she’s getting won’t fill the void in her life, and is negative as opposed to positive attention.

    This will likely continue with Peaches until she either gets knocked up by some turd and continues the cycle, or she figures it out on her own (unlikely, given the example she’s living under), or some guy comes along that gives her that male presence that she craves, and can put up with her Daddy issues, which will likely make her a goddamned basket case with any guy she eventually hooks up with.

    She has no basis on which to base her model of a healthy man/woman relationship, so how the hell can anyone be surprised when her model turns out to be hopelessly flawed?

    To that end, THAT is why you have to be careful about letting your kids hang out with the kids of single parents – because those kids are almost certainly basket cases in some way or another, and will be a destabilizing influence on your kids. Sorry to come off as so rough, but it is really the truth.

  • feeriker

    The teenage years are gonna be scary. Any advice for me?

    Other than doing what you’re already planning on doing by keeping her away from daughters of single mothers (absolutely GOLDEN advice), buy Pinkie a chastity belt, slap it on her, and don’t give her the key until she’s at least 25 years old and has demonstrated that she can exercise adult common[?] sense. (Not to rain on anyone’s parade, but I’ve found that even 25 is a bit optimistic for that expectation).

  • theshadowedknight

    The Internet is a technological and cybernetic New World. There be dragons, savages, wild beasts, and more. It falls to you to let your children know just how dangerous the Internet can be if you are not cautious. It is not an electronic library, it is a nation of anarchy and secrecy. I second the recommendation to prohibit computer use away from public areas and to monitor it closely.

    If you read the Little House on the Prairie and in the Woods series, the girls knew about attacks from the Plains Tribes, the dangers of men, and other threats at a very young age. Kids are resilient, and they can handle it, but they need to be told, first.

    No kids of my own, so there is that, but knowing what I do about the internet, I stand by my suggestions.

    The Shadowed Knight

  • digitalscream

    My daughter spent the first 4 years of her life as the child of a single parent; it was a case of “father wanted an abortion, mother didn’t”. When he found out, he went out, got drunk, drove home and killed himself and the other two passengers in the car. Also, he was an asshole.

    Anyway, I came along 4 years later, and my daughter has had a computer of her own ever since then. Until she was 12, she was closely supervised and educated as to safety on the Internet. At 12, we gave ourselves a reality check based on her own maturity and decision making, and decided it was safe enough to let her build a computer for her own room. She was, however, fully aware that I had full access to everything that she sent or received (yes, I’m a techie). The only times that I ever had cause to use that access were at her own request, when she thought that people she was talking to seemed suspicious (she’s really rather proud of the fact that one of those times, the information she’d given us helped law enforcement catch a sex offender in breach of his release conditions).

    What’s the point of this? Proper education by parents FROM AN EARLY AGE can mitigate against the natural conditions and tendencies of the modern teenager. The problem inherent in this is that parents need to know enough to educate their kids from such an early age; far too many seem to think that ignorance of the Internet is something they should be proud of, and rely on inherently flawed software filters to do their parenting for them.

    As regards banning alcohol/sex/etc, I’m in full agreement. When my daughter came home in tears at 13 because her friends were ragging on her due to the fact that she’d never been drunk, we decided on an alternate approach: I took her to the supermarket and bought one of every kind of alcoholic drink we could find. We ordered pizza, and proceeded to get drunk trying every single one, so that she could find out what she liked and what she didn’t.

    Aside from making me the coolest dad in the school, this had one important effect: it taught her that there was nothing she couldn’t talk to us about. It also showed her where her limits were, and to this day she’s never been past the point of being tipsy because she just doesn’t like it. In other words, she’s acquired an awareness of self that it took my generation an awful lot of mistakes to learn.

    As so many have said before me…education, not intimidation. That’s the key. At least, it has been with my daughter. She’s 18 now, and despite all the people telling us how irresponsible it was to give her a computer in her room, get her drunk, allow her to have sex with her boyfriend at 16 (which is the age of consent here)…she’s never been groomed by a paedophile without catching them in the act, she’s never been arrested, she’s never been pregnant, and she’s got a far clearer idea of what she wants to do with her life than I ever did.

    It can work. It just takes a lot more effort to make sure that all the danger spots are navigated with education and a clear knowledge of the consequences of poor decisions.

    • http://judgybitch.wordpress.com judgybitch

      I love this response. It comes down to knowing your child and being willing to put in the work of teaching them all the things they need to know.

      I mostly operate on the principle of “respond to questions honestly”, but wait for the child to ask. That’s kind of where I’m tripping on this one. I want to give my children the information they need to make good choices, but I also don’t want to show scary information on them before they are ready.

      When my daughter asked me what a “blowjob” means, I told her and she was quite hilariously disgusted. She heard the word from a boy in junior high, who said another girl gave good blowjobs.

      Her response at that moment was “well they can both stay far away from me”.

      I lean towards the truth, but only when asked, and I only give the minimal response. I could have turned that into a big long discussion about sex, but all she wanted to know was the definition of one particular word. I trust that when she wants to know more, she’ll ask me, because I’ve set the precedent for truth-telling.

      That’s my hope, anyways. That she will ask me.

      • digitalscream

        Funnily enough, we had the exact same blowjob conversation, with exactly the same result :)

        Frankly, the only advice I can give you is to not second-guess yourself. The process of helping your child navigate their teenage years – especially daughters, these days – is fucking terrifying from one day to the next. Yes, you have to trust that your education and guidance will prompt them to come to you when necessary, but I personally don’t think you should just wait for her to ask you. Sometimes, you really do need to give her thought process a hefty nudge in the right direction.

        A great example of that was when three of her classmates fell pregnant at age 14 – 15, and all the girls went gooey and broody, including ours, and started hunting down boyfriends to provide them with offspring. At that point, we had to force the issue and show her what had happened to her mother, when she became pregnant at 18: she had to abandon her education and her career, lost all of her friends, and missed out on a very important part of her own personal development.

        On looking at the other side of the coin, she suddenly became very un-gooey, and started to feel pity for everything that her friends had lost.

        Ultimately, I believe that the role of parents is to help their kids to avoid the mistakes they made and make better choices. I’m not saying we’ve done it perfectly – hell, we’ve screwed the pooch big-time on occasions – and our daughter has made some very questionable decisions. That in itself is important, but learning from our bad examples has helped her to dodge the situations which could’ve led to long-term consequences.

        Aside from that…all I can say is: good luck, hang on tight for all your worth, and you might come out the other side with your hair and sanity intact 😉

        • Master Beta

          “when three of her classmates fell pregnant at age 14 – 15, and all the girls went gooey and broody, including ours, and started hunting down boyfriends to provide them with offspring”

          Of course what you meant to say was:

          All the girls were brainwashed by men and patriarchy into believing that they wanted to be mothers instead of lumberjacks, and you had to save them from these men and their wicked, wicked patriarchy.

      • feeriker

        When my daughter asked me what a “blowjob” means, I told her and she was quite hilariously disgusted. She heard the word from a boy in junior high, who said another girl gave good blowjobs.

        And of course, being Judgy Bitch, I’m sure that you also told her that there was 99.99999 percent chance that this boy was lying and that he probably wouldn’t know a blowjob from a blow dryer. :)~

        • http://judgybitch.wordpress.com judgybitch

          Ha! I didn’t even think to say that. We got as far as “my mouth goes where?!?!?!” before the conversation was over.

          She is still fairly disbelieving that we have any children born at all, given the actual mechanics of it.

          It’s one big “gross” to her.

          It’s funny that my son, who is seven, also knows exactly how babies are made, and his reaction isn’t disgust, it’s laughter.

          He finds it completely ridiculous and hilarious, but not necessarily disgusting.

          My daughter, on the other hand, is just completely revolted by the whole idea of sex. I wonder if that a difference in age at play, or gender?

          Guess I’ll find out when LittleDude is 12. We’ll see what his reaction to “cunnilingus” is.

          • Liam

            Heh. When my daughter asked how babies got out of “mommy’s tummy”, she laughed for most of a week, absolutely certain we were pulling her leg. It was terribly amusing.

          • feeriker

            My daughter, on the other hand, is just completely revolted by the whole idea of sex.

            Having raised a teenage daughter (who, despite our best efforts to ensure otherwise, became a single mom at 23), I would say that you should consider yourself lucky. I know that you don’t believe in prayer, but I’m sure some part of you is hoping that this attitude lasts till she hits her mid 20s!

          • Master Beta

            “Guess I’ll find out when LittleDude is 12. We’ll see what his reaction to “cunnilingus” is.”

            I should warn you that when I was 12, I was a long way into fantasising about cunnilingus amongst other things. I certainly didn’t know what cunnilingus meant when I was 12 mind you, but dang I wanted to do it (and still do).

  • http://www.notboutthing.blogspot.com Goober

    Do I shatter my daughter’s innocence by talking to her about what happened to Pansy?

    Short answer? No.

    Long answer? That doesn’t preclude talking to her about it in a way that won’t shatter her innocence. Change the names to protect the innocent, you know? Tell her a story about this person you know, who was pressured into doing something she didn’t want to do. You’re a smart cookie, you get the picture.

    Also, long answer even longer…

    …Pinky isn’t as innocent as you think she is. You won’t shatter that which doesn’t exist, and she probably already knows about incidents like this one, if not this one, already. She’s just smart, and you’re equating one (intelligence) into the other (innocence). She’s heard about things like this. Maybe she hasn’t heard about this particular incident, but she knows people who’ve done similar things. She’s felt the pressure to do them, herself. Because she’s smart, she doesn’t do them, and because she ‘s smart, she doesn’t tell you about this stuff because it probably doesn’t even occur to her that you would even want to know, one, and two, she is probably protecting you on some level from what she knows will sort of freak you out…

    …Obviously, given the tone of this blog post…

    …so, if I have any advice at all, you need to present this on a level that lets her know that you WON’T freak out, and that she can come to you to talk about things like this without the consequences being too great for her to bear (and that includes you taking any action at all, assuming no one is in imminent danger, because if you do, then everyone will know that she told you). My guess? You won’t reveal anything to her that she doesn’t already know, EXCEPT for the fact that you are worldly enough to know about things like this, and able to help her deal with them if they ever come up in her life. THAT’S what you’ll teach her by having this talk, and THAT is the most valuable thing you have to offer her in this situation.

    Leave well enough alone. Your only action beyond what you’ve already done is prepare Pinkie for the inevitable day when she’s dealing with something like this, and part of that preparation is that you’ll always have her back, and that you’ll know what to do. Because she probably doesn’t know that now. Mom’s are just such, fuddy duddies, you know? They just don’t UNDERSTAND….

    Show her that you understand, JB. Do it now.

    • http://judgybitch.wordpress.com judgybitch

      Some wise advice. I think I will take it. I’ll let you know how the conversation goes. We’ll probably discuss it tonight when I brush and braid her hair before bed. It’s our little daily ritual that usually involves some conversation about things that are on her mind.

      A favorite character in her book died, though, and she may be more focused on talking about that. So it might take a few days before the topic comes up.

  • http://blackpoisonsoul.blogspot.co.nz Black Poison Soul

    Excellent advice from Goober. Remember that children aren’t as “innocent” as you might think: like your post about the 14yo duck face photos on Facebook, here we have a starter stripper-and-whore at 12yo. One who almost started Pansy down the same life-track.

    From the CDC: 40.7% of all children are born to unmarried women, between the ages of 15-44 years. That’s a whole lot of very poor character being passed on to their bastard offspring – that you have chosen to fight, good luck in it. Peer pressure can be a near-impossible thing to fight amongst Herd Woman™.

    Interesting that this statistic is on the CDC website, the Center for Disease Control. Despite the mealy-mouthed media and lunatic feminist rantings, society still considers this behaviour to be a disease and reports it accordingly. It almost gives a small glow of hope that there is still common-sense and values out there.

    Nah.

    This is why nobody in the Manosphere considers anything with a solo/single mommy to be serious. We know that they’re feral, they pass it on to their children, and that will include your children too if you marry them and have more kiddies. Say no to single mommies, both as love-interests and as friends and their children being friends to your kiddies.

    • Master Beta

      “This is why nobody in the Manosphere considers anything with a solo/single mommy to be serious”
      “Say no to single mommies”

      I do hope this disdain for single mothers doesn’t include widows like my poor mummy.

      • http://judgybitch.wordpress.com judgybitch

        Widows are NOT single mothers!

        • http://blackpoisonsoul.blogspot.co.nz Black Poison Soul

          Exactly. I’d be vastly more receptive to a woman who had the misfortune to have her hubby killed in an accident or the like.

          That is not a poor decision, it’s an unlucky result of the vagaries of life.

  • http://antimism.wordpress.com Jeremy

    …you have a group of friends and you have each other’s backs. That is what has changed so dramatically in our culture, especially for girls. The “strong independent” message has been translated into “abandon each other”. Boys still seem to understand the concepts of loyalty and unity and that when your friends are about to make really bad choices, you step in and use whatever tools you have to prevent that from happening. Mockery, aggression, insults, whatever – you keep each other safe.

    Ah, but you see, sex isn’t something that boys need protection from. So, in essence, by convincing girls to treat their sexuality with no seriousness whatsoever, you are turning girls into boys. Boys are still loyal and whatnot, but they protect each other from what they know can harm other boys, and sex and exposure to sex is not one of them.

    Most modern, developed-world women have been fully convinced that they are no different from men, so why do they need protection from a sexual encounter? That’s where this disconnect is, with women believing they’re the same as men. What this leads to is exactly what your story with the single-mom describes… namely, single mothers who think nothing of letting their daughters sexually interact with all kinds of strangers on the internet, giving away the goods before they’ve even stopped baking.

    That, by the way, is a horrific story. Frankly, I want women to start excluding single moms again. Kick them out of your parties and playdates and social clubs… There *should* be shame in raising a child by yourself. Women *should* realize that it harms children to do so.

  • http://dkofmirkwood.wordpress.com moseszd

    We had a problem with a young boy (7 years old*) who came over to our house and went to some porn sites on my daughter’s computer. It wasn’t in her room, but was in the den where I don’t normally hang-out.

    She got pretty upset and let me know as soon as he left. He was, of course, banned from the house for life though I never explained why to his single mother.

    One change we made after this incident is that now all of our computers are in the front room which is a relatively high-traffic area. Not because we don’t trust our daughter, but after Adam the Porn Dog did his thing, I decided there was no way I was going to be unaware of what my daughter’s friends do on the Internet while they’re at my house.

    And this includes the computers of my wife and myself. What’s good for the children is good for us.

    * He got this habit from his teenage brother. Figures.

  • Tunga

    I’ve only skimmed the comments so apologies if I am repeating advice given earlier.

    Having a frank discussion about the consequences of choices (and submitting to peer pressure is a choice) doesn’t shatter innocence. I’ve read most of your entries and I know JB that you are a parent that takes preparation for the real world very seriously. At 12, a discussion about the consequences of choices, and the power of peer pressure is age appropriate. Your daughter hasn’t entered the rebellious teenage stage but that phase of trying to grow apart and establish an independent identity can start at any time now. More importantly it can start at any time for one or more of her friends.

    I’d recommend starting that conversation with a discussion about the teenage phase of rebellion. Explain that it’s normal, that you and Mr. JB expect it. That nothing she does will surprise the two of you during that phase. That you love her even when she’s trying to establish new boundaries in the relationship between you.

    It’s important that Pinky know her feelings are normal, but it also plants the seed that her choices aren’t going to really drive you away and create the distance she’ll instinctively crave. It may sound like an odd message, but from my own personal experience growing up, knowing that what I contemplated doing wasn’t going to have the “piss my mom off” effect I wanted, short circuited that whole process. I still developed a healthy distance emotionally without doing the sort of bad things with nasty consequences that I at first considered looking for that emotional payoff. Plus, I can’t see any downside at all to letting your daughter know that you love her that much. It’s important to plant that idea early, before she enters that rebellious phase so it isn’t tuned out as parental noise etc.

    Such a conversation also naturally segues into a discussion of peer pressure. Explaining that it’s not just normal for Pinky to feel that way, but that all the kids her own age do feel that way too, or will feel that way eventually. When other kids, even her friends want to do things, or pressure Pinky to do things her parents wouldn’t approve of, she’ll know why. She’ll have a good foundation to resist the temptation and be more likely to intervene for a friend about to make a terrible mistake. Because Pinky will have learned from you, that it’s not going to have the consequence desired. Explaining factors like a child of a single mother’s need for male approval and bad decisions that spring from that, are probably beyond Pinky’s frame of reference right now, as she has two loving parents and so it would be hard to relate. But I think having a discussion about normal rebellion will give her the tools to deal with the situation even without a firm understanding of the other kid’s motivation.

    This leads to the final point I think it’s important for a young person about to transition toward adulthood to understand. That all choices have consequences that we cannot always see in advance. That parents, even loving parents like yourselves can’t protect their child from all the consequences of their actions no matter how much you would like to. So it’s important that Pinky know that it’s o.k. to refuse to do something, until she understands and is willing to bear the consequences of her choices. That when another person pressures her to do something, that other person doesn’t have to bear the consequences of the decision to do it, only she does.

    All that may seem like a lot for a 12 year old to handle, but I don’t think it is. I think modern society has lost sight of the fact that a couple centuries ago, with less education and no social safety net, society at large expected 14-15 year olds to be adults, to even start getting married and be parents. So 12 in my opinion isn’t too early to start understanding consequences and responsibilities.

    Just some thoughts, I hope it helps in some way JB, lots of love for all your hard work.

    • C

      Wow… I don’t really ever read here, but I followed a link… and all I can say is I hope I remember this comment in 8 years when my children start going through this…

      Because all the fears and terrors I have of raising teenagers now-a-days were just put in their rightful place.

  • http://sunshinemaryandthedragon.wordpress.com sunshinemary

    One of our older daughters’ best friends comes from a single mother home, and the rule is that she can come to our house but our daughter can’t go there. The mother was furious when our daughter innocently said that to her (we had to have a conversation about not repeating everything mom and dad say), and I was sorry to offend her, but that’s just the way it is. My advice is that you are doing the right thing by forbidding your children to play at the homes of single mothers, but have a talk with your kids first about not mentioning that fact so that you don’t have to deal with an angry single mother who’s not used to anyone judging her.

  • Dominic

    Intellectually, I can see how unfair that is. Emotionally, I don’t give a fuck. Sorry, kid. But my kids come first.

    Nope, intellectually it makes perfect sense. If I may steal a quote from Zippy Catholic:

    One of the things that modern people who hate stereotypes don’t comprehend is that information costs money.

    Thus, Information gathering cost resources, money and time to accumulate. And since no one on earth has infinite time or resources to determine in exactly detail what a person is “really” like, and as a busy mother I’m sure you don’t have time to do extensive background checks on every child who wants to play with your daughter, generalisations and stereotypes are necessary “cost-efficient” information processing mechanisms for weeding out the wheat from the tares.

    Sure, it is not perfect and necessarily includes a margin of error. But after a certain differential point, the cost to information ratio increases exponentially and it is simply not worth the astronomical amount of resources one needs to spend just to acquire that smidgen of information.

    I’m sure it offends the educated literati to no end to learn that the acquisition of truth and enlightenment is not the exalted spiritual endeavor they imagine it to be actually requires all too earthly resources entangled with all too material considerations. But welcome to the real world I guess.

    • Dominic

      Sorry, I forgot to put the end block quote at the end of Zippy Catholic’s sentence, after the “information costs money”, can you edit it for me? Thanks. :)

      • Exfernal

        “I’m sure it offends the educated literati to no end to learn that the acquisition of truth and enlightenment is not the exalted spiritual endeavor they imagine it to be actually requires all too earthly resources entangled with all too material considerations.”

        An argument for satisficing and exercising the right to rational ignorance? Generally correct. Yet… in personally important matters, isn’t it better to make an informed decision than an ignorant one? The ability to read Wikipedia articles is hardly “exalted” or ever less “spiritual”.

        Gathering information on any subject was never easier than in the age of Internet that we are living in. The problem isn’t that too little information is available, but TOO MUCH. On the other hand, using the Bible as the main source of guidance regardless of how tenuous its connection with the actual situation seems equally counterproductive. An example – various religious objections to transfusion of blood, stem cell therapy, or organ transplants. How sound and relevant are they, in general?

  • http://gravatar.com/emceelucas Emcee

    This blog will be very interesting to look back on if I ever – stars forbid – become a father. This is all an intriguing look into parenthood.

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  • Mina

    Much as the manosphere made of staying away from batshit crazy horse women recently, my girls were both in the US Pony Club starting at 9 years old until they were 19 years old. Most of their primary friends were other pony clubbers. All farm kids, all horse kids, lots of wholesome, outdoor activities as well as being a competitive team sport. Virtually none of these kids had trouble with sex, alchohol or drugs. None. IMO: There’s a lot to be said for getting your pre-teen daughter into riding lessons.

  • https://www.facebook.com/roccim Marlo Rocci

    I’ve always told parents that having a computer in a kid’s bedroom is like letting every pedo on the planet stare through the bedroom window. It’s always a bad idea. Sadly, this advice has a technological limit that’s already been reached.

    What do you do when the smartphone is just as good as a computer, which they already are?

    What do you do when the next smartphone is the size of a wristwatch, which Samsung already released?

    As a computer geek, I would love to offer you some words of advice, but you are already seriously, seriously screwed. There are too many electronic eyes too many places to count.

    The only bulwark against this is the behavior of the girls themselves, which is not going to improve until we start giving the real punishments for bad behavior. We need to stop seeing them as victims and start offering real consequences for their actions. THIER actions. That has to be the starting point, the acknowledgement that THEY acted.

    • http://emceelucas.wordpress.com Emcee

      Can’t you still get shitty non-smart phones? I was phone shopping the other day and I swore that I saw old flip-up cellphones.

      And since the parents are presumeably paying the phone bills… The kids will just have to deal with it.

      • https://www.facebook.com/roccim Marlo Rocci

        And what about her friend who has the latest iPhone? You can control what phone you buy your kid, but you cannot control what other parents do.

      • feeriker

        It seems to be getting harder and harder to find any wireless plans that still support these. My wife and I have been with a pay-as-you-go provider for the last two years (we’re just cheap that way and really don’t need all the “bells and whistles” that the major carriers bundle into their overpriced services) and we’re both using Android phones now because even this PAYG provider discontinued supporting iDEN phones nearly a year ago. The trend seems to be inexorably moving toward Smart phones whether you want them or not. I occasionally still see a few iDEN phones in the stores, but they’re becoming fewer and farther between.

        Yes, this has some pretty frightening implications for parents who want to control their children’s access to the internet but who also want them to have their own mobile phone for emergencies.

      • angelowal

        Yes, there are still just straight, cheap, cell phones – I have one. It’s internet capable, but I don’t buy that plan. Just because your kid wants a phone or ‘because all the other kids have one’ doesn’t mean you have to give them one – just say NO.

        • http://judgybitch.wordpress.com judgybitch

          When I upgraded my iPhone, I gave Pinkie the old 4. It’s on a data plan, though, and can only be used with the wireless in our house.

          She has a passcode on it to stop her younger siblings from selling off valuable frogs in a game she plays, and she texts her friends, but she can’t use it outside our house. Obviously I know the passcode and she doesn’t hesitate to show me cute jokes or pictures she texts to her friends.

          It’s a really nice way for her to stay in touch with a friend who is France at the moment, and she texts her grandparents and uncles.

          Keeping her off a data plan has also kept her from being tethered to her phone. It only works in proximity to wireless, so there’s not much point carrying it with her at all times.

          I’m happy with how it’s working out so far.

          • https://www.facebook.com/roccim Marlo Rocci

            Do you check the iPhone her friends bring over? Nope? That’s the problem. You can police your daughter’s technology, but you have a limited reach regarding her friends and classmates.

            Just make sure you occasionally update “don’t take nude selfies” talk with her from time to time.

  • Modern Drummer

    I’ve got no advice for you, JB,it sounds like you’re doing everything right.
    I will say that it really pisses me off that some guys do this because taking advantage of young emotionally vulnerable girls is sick to say the least. Not to mention it gives the feminists ammo to bang the “male=bad female=victim” drum. This is what our fearless leaders can use to say the State needs more control of the web which is then used to control even more stuff on the web,like speech. Stuff like this is exactly what our feminist/Orwellian controllers will use as a reason to censor or outright shut down free speech ie. speech that doesn’t comply to the feminist/politically correct narrative. I heard a politician only a few days ago say we need an Internet more like China’s. They will use hate speech concerns or say “it is to protect the children” and the American public will fall in line like sheep.

  • http://gravatar.com/macaodh MaccAodh

    My advice? Be computer savvy. My parents could barely set the time on their VCR (which they still have), so when it came time to get the Internet, they left it to me. I set up the content-blocker myself – meaning I had effectively unlimited access to porn and anything else since I was 13, even though my parents were convinced it was all cordoned off. Thankfully, it was early enough in the history of cyberspace that I couldn’t get into any real trouble (you had to really know what you were about to get into the crazy stuff, and social media barely existed). If my folks had known just a little more about computers, they could have kept me out of the early chat rooms, away from the porn, and whatever else. With so much else out there these days, you should at least be able to handle content blockers.

    You’re right about the way to approach drugs and alcohol. My folks did the same for me – “If you’re drunk, stoned, or hurt, just call us – we’ll come get you and straighten everything out later. We just want you safe.” I only needed to call them once, and they handled it very well. I would not have hesitated to call again if I needed it.

    I can’t help much with peer pressure. I was a nerdy, introverted kid who got picked on or beat up a lot before my big growth spurt, but that had some upsides. One of those is that by the time high school rolled around, I didn’t really care about fitting in. Refusing to partake in drugs isn’t so hard once you’ve refused to give up lunch money a few times. Maybe that’s unique to me; either way, I can’t say how to replicate it for your kid, other than to support her when she stands up for herself (kind of a no-brainer).

  • Sir_Chancealot

    Judgybitch,

    Look up a piece of software called “Cyberpatrol”.

    It allows you to set ALL KINDS of limits on internet activity. Not only that, if you wish, you can monitor ALL traffic, IM’s, etc. It’s very good software. It’s like $50 a year, and you can put it on up to 3 PCs (if I remember right).

    The only way I know to remove it (outside of the uninstall, which requires a password), is some heavy hacking that will take several hours, and likely break the box. As far as I know, there are only 2 ways to bypass it: with a proper password, or by booting with a different OS (via CD/DVD/USB).

    If you live in the states, your friend can call the FBI, or your local state police. They take those kinds of things VERY seriously.

  • http://lostsailor32.wordpress.com/ LostSailor

    Should Daisy call Child Services?

    Probably, just based on SingleMom’s response. Perhaps a run-in with Child Services will snap her out of her very dangerous and seeming non-existent parenting skills. Not to mention that Peaches induced Pansy to join in–how many other of her little friends will be introduced to the pleasures of producing child porn.

    Daisy should probably also call the police, since that the “considerably older men” were and are doing is a serious crime. If the local cops don’t think they can do anything, then kick it up to the next level, up to the national law enforcement if necessary.

    And I plan on letting my daughter’s friends know that in the horrifying case where it is MY daughter who is loaded out of her mind and about to do something really stupid that she will deeply regret, you do NOT leave her. You call us.

    Yes. This. I recently visited an old and dear college friend in Maine. She went through a difficult divorce but kept custody of her two boys who are now just over 20. She was left with few resources and still struggles. The boys are good kids, but the divorce did a lot of damage. The younger one has managed to turn himself around, lost a lot of weight (the whole family is quite large) and started to work out, finished a GED, and worked to save money for several lengthy “working” trips to Europe, instead of drinking at night and playing World of Warcraft by day, as his brother still does (though in talking with him, it seems he’s starting to realize that he, too, needs to make some serious changes in his life).

    But one thing my friend always insisted on was that she had an open door policy and knows all the boys friends well. And she’s made it clear to all of them that if they are in trouble or find themselves in a bad situation or even are drunk and need a ride home, they will call her, no matter what time of night. And they have. Both her boys and their friends. And it’s undoubtedly saved some lives.

  • http://gravatar.com/ghostof503 Ghost of 503

    Yeesh, and I used to get grounded for being online after my parents went to bed (Because cyber predators are going after 13 year old males playing Command & Conquer Renegade on dial-up at the only time the house won’t get called).

    But onto possible solutions, this was some grade-A parenting from this day and age. Parent-control-monitoring software is the way to go.

    I’d also… consider… reminding… SingleMom that stripping/masturbating on webcams for older male attention was sort of how Amanda Todd got started.

  • http://nb.gravatar.com/emmatheemo Emma the Emo

    I’ve never been a parent, but I’ve been a kid. I think my parents did well to restrict some things. But I wouldn’t want to relive those moments when I did something inappropriate and was made to feel dirty for doing it. There would be a way to restrict a child’s behavior without making the connection “sexual stuff = bad”. Else you’re inviting sexual hangups into their adult life.

    • http://nb.gravatar.com/emmatheemo Emma the Emo

      *should* be a way

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