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Friday, February 24, 2012

Does Beating me = Loving me?

Choosing to be beaten

Last week while I was scanning my Google-plus timeline, and I came across a relatively small post by a friend, Sherree W. , about Chris Brown and some girls tweeting about him. The Grammy Awards had been held recently, and he made an appearance. I did not watch the show.

During or some time shortly after the show, there were a string of tweets, which were translated into piece on Storify entitled, "Women on Twitter Saying Chris Brown Can Beat Them". Sherree’s question was about whether the sentiments and desires of these girls could be real or not.  It was purely rhetorical, but I took up the challenge. We had a short discussion as to how this would happen. Part of my job is dealing with women, young and old, on a daily basis, so I am usually up-to-date with what's going on in the world. However, on the possibility that I was being generationally-challenged, I double checked with my youngest daughter.

A few of the girls were obviously interchanging the words and concept of being beaten with the act of sexual intercourse…with a stranger.

A few were clearly indicating that they would willingly accept a beating in exchange for love or sex or something…

Who teaches us about love and life?

So the questions we must ask ourselves, as parents are these:
  • How have we raise a generation of girls who feel free to declare publicly that this or any other man should feel free to beat them at will?
  • How can they believe that this behavior is okay or normal?
  • Why do they feel that beating, disrespect or degradation are  part of what they/ we must accept in order to be loved?
Parental Responsibility

I have read that it is at about the age of  13 when most girls get firmly planted on the path to their adult lives. It is around this age that we begin to see where we fit in, and start to make changes if we want to fit in somewhere else. This is the age when we begin to see ourselves as cool/ not-so-cool/  jocks/ cheerleaders/ fans/ band girls/ leaders/ followers/ geeks, etc. We begin to choose the kind of people we want to be like, and those we want to hang around with.

We, parents have abdicated and abandoned our primary parental responsibility of being the most important role models in our children’s lives. We have given it to “people” like Sponge Bob Square Pants, Jeremy Lin, Chris Brown, Adele, Michael Jordon, Charlie Sheen, Tiger Woods, Donald Trump, Michael Jackson, etc, etc. And then we have the audacity to get upset when these people do something bad in their own “private” lives. We feel that they should do better because, after all, they are the role model, and publicity demands that they always be on their best behavior. Really? Is this how we think?

We leave our children to TV shows like, “The Real Housewives of ….wherever,” “Toddlers and Tiaras” and “16 and Pregnant” and expect them to act.... how?

If we don't leave them to television, we throw money at the problem. We drop them off at the mall to hang out with their friends. Again....to do what? What is it that a group of teenagers left on their own at the mall are supposed to do?

What can we do? I have a few thoughts about it....

When was the last time you invited a group of your teenager’s friends to your house?

Sure we let them go to someone else’s house, but when was the last time you made time to step up to the plate and do it yourself?

When was the last time you went to a game, performance, competition for the sport or activity that you have safely ensconced your child in to cover their “free time?”

When was the last time you met personally with a coach or choir leader, or even a teacher when your presence wasn’t demanded?

When was the last time you sat down with your child, of any age, in a quiet place and had a real conversation?

I know what you are going to say. “Well, I would, but they won’t talk to me!” No, they won’t talk to you. Just as with anyone else, it takes time, and energy, and love, and demonstrating that you care, and a little transparency to build trust in a relationship.

No, they don’t trust you…they don’t know you!

And more importantly, they don’t know that you value them. Or love them!

Don’t we owe our children a little of our precious time?

So, man-up or woman-up! You are the role model.

Just do it!!!

Our children's futures are at stake…

What do you think?

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