lying thread spin of on control

justnotmarthaFebruary 1, 2009

Nicksmom said "I think you and DH would have a more relaxed, honest girl, if you had a more relaxed approach. If you continue to smother her with all the things she CAN'T do/have/play with/wear, etc....she will continue to be deceitful." and I have to say I agree, and just recently learned this lesson.

DH and I are very big on raising kids who do not take everything for granted and always stress most things are privileges, not expectations. This applies most to SD as she is the oldest and asking to do the most. We would base most answers to the "can I do _______" question on grades, behavior, if we thought it appropriate, safe, etc.

We also worry a lot about SD growing up to fast, and that many of the things girls seem to want to do now are way past what we think should be happening. If you combine this with the fact we don't want SD to be overindulged it seemed like there was pretty much always a reason to say no to whatever was requested.

Recently we learned SD had been sneaking and lying about something. Then we learned about something else. Then one more. Suddenly we had a rebel on our hands. We talked at length to SD, and then between ourselves. To sum it up, we decided we were controlling too many things and making too many things a privilege. Not meaning a sleepover is an expectation, but that it's not a huge deal and even if SD did something wrong Tuesday it didn't mean she shouldn't have a friend over Friday. We figured out we needed to pick one consequence for the 'wrong' and stop with that. Saying no to the sleepover also was overkill. We thought we were making the point that privileges needed to be earned, but we were also making it too hard to earn them. We figured we would try giving in on more of the easy things to counterbalance those we just couldn't say no to. So yes to the heavier eyeliner. Yes to a boyfriend. Yes to more sleepovers and friends over. Now she doesn't bug about dying her hair because the eyeliner made her feel older. She can "go out" with boys at school (ah, 8th grade love!) which makes her feel equal to her peers so she doesn't do something drastic to find another way to be. The boyfriend and other friends can hang out at out house and we don't have to worry about them being out. We've picked our battles and relaxed a little. We've realized teenage girls are going to be self centered, but over all her expectations are not over the top. All in all she's a good kid, and maybe we weren't giving her enough chance to prove it.

We spend so much time grooming and teaching and training our kids. We have to give them some time to show off what they have learned . . . and some time to fail. It's how they learn to get back on the horse.

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I love your post.

I had parents that really put nothing into raising their children except expecting unattainable goals and being extremely strict.....on everything. I grew up learning to lie really well and not having parents that I could go to when I needed them. I couldn't live up to their expectations because they wanted perfect and I wasn't it.

When they died I felt so cheated. It left a big void in my life. You only have one life and the part about being openly loved and respected by my parents was over. No more chance for that. I knew that I wanted to leave my kids with so much more than that.

I would not want to grow up in this day and age for anything. I've been around the block a few times and consider myself to have a reasonable amount of street smarts but these kids are up against a lot. To give them a sanctuary, someone to love them unconditionally and a chance to be a kid is priceless.

Being a good parent is what we owe these kids. Being a great parent is such a gift. You are a gift to yours.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2009 at 10:21AM
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great post JNM and great job in parenting/stepparenting SD. Now I want to add that not only children should be allowed to make mistakes and sometimes fail but also adults can make mistakes in parenting wihtout beating themslves up.

We weren't born experts on parenting and sometimes it is a path of trials and errors. And I think it is OK for kids to know that we aren't perfect either and if we aren't, then they don't have to be. And a lot of times our kids are who they are and certain things cannot be controlled and cannot be changed, they could be accepted.

and great post believer.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2009 at 11:37AM
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I agree with your efforts to not be so strict, with everything being a no, or making it so difficult for them to earn privilege's. But are you swinging too far the other way by allowing her to go out with her boyfriend while only in the 8th grade? If she is going out with her boyfriend in the 8th grade, what will she be doing by 9th? Or 10th grade (the age many start to have a boyfriend)?

As the books careful about letting the horse out of the barn too soon, because once out, it is very hard to get it back in.

In other words, once you start allowing certain things, it is hard to go back (like allowing her to see boys, etc.) What happens next year when she is used to going out with her boyfriend, and the next boyfriend she meets in high school is someone you dread? It is hard to go back, and no longer allow her to date, because you fear where this one will go.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2009 at 1:19PM
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When I was in 8th grade, "going out" with someone meant that you held hands in the hallway at school and maybe went to a movie or to the mall with that person and a group of friends. Dating was done in groups at that age.

I think justnotmartha and her DH are wise to recognize that having a "boyfriend" in 8th grade does not have to mean that SD is going to be having sex. Allowing her to have a boyfriend while controlling when and where she spends time with him is the key, and it sounds like they're doing that well.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2009 at 1:24PM
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It is still called "going out" when kids like someone but are not old enough to date. I would always here this from my kids, ages 20 and 16. They would say ...."So and So is going out with So and So." They would be in 6th or 7th grade.

It just means a crush.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2009 at 1:51PM
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I don't imagine justnotmartha has anything to worry about, and yet we are told in the studies that many middle school kids are sexually active, as hard as it is to believe. An OB-GYN friend tells me that this is indeed true. Many of these kids are growing up too fast, and are sophisticated beyond their years.

So while we each have a hard time believing that it is anything more than hand holding, or going to the mall with friends, remember, that there are many middle school kids that are involved in much more than we would imagine, apparently.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2009 at 5:12PM
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I agree with bnicebkind, things are WAY different today and my kids (who are now 18-22) would tell me about kids having sex at lunchtime on school campus in middle school and the first couple of years of high school. That was 5-6 years ago. The most shocking part for me is when the kids told me that most of the kids having sex were not even boyfriend/girlfriend... they are happy to be 'friends with benefits' or just doing it for fun, like it's a game. And they don't even consider oral sex as the same as having sex.

My step niece is 16... a great girl. She isn't rebellious, always cheerful and pleasant. She gets good grades. She does her chores, works in the family business and has always acted very responsibly. However, a few months ago, she got a boyfriend. She was SOOO trustworthy, her parents allowed her to hang out at her boyfriend's house on a Saturday. They had only been boyfriend/girlfriend two weeks, they had met him and he seemed nice, they also met the parents... good people. Well, that Saturday when none of the parents were the least bit worried or concerned, they decided to have sex. He dumped her two days later and the fallout at school was too much for her until she finally felt she needed to change schools. She is still a good girl that made a BIG mistake and is paying the price for it. So, I guess my point is that no matter how well we think we know what's going on, ya never really know. There is so much pressure on kids today and I agree, I'd really hate to be a teenager today. It was tough when I was one, but today... well, my 9 year old SD has already talked about having sex with a boy in the third grade. We (DH & I) would love to believe she has no idea what that means at her young age, but we just don't know how much these kids are being exposed to... not just from her mom (who we think is exposing her to things) but from peers, movies and society.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 12:41AM
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bnice is SO right. There are SO many things going on in middle school that make my head spin and heart drop. SD comes home often with a story about a girl giving oral, or a couple having sex. Fortunately, we have a very open policy with regard to these topics, and she asks enough questions and we have enough candid talks that we are reasonably sure she is not looking to be involved in such acts for some time and understand why it would be unwise to. . . but we still keep an eye and ear open.

At her age 'going out' is nothing more than holding hands when walking home and a sense of belonging at school. The group will all play b-ball in our cul-de-sac and come in to hang out, but we have yet to allow SD to go out with them. She's working on it, but at this point we are limiting it to activities we can monitor.

Thanks for all the kind words, ladies. It's nice to feel like were doing something right when we question ourselves daily!!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 12:45AM
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yes things are going on, drugs, alcoholol, sex etc. I think the only way to protect your children is to raise and educate them properly. If we assume that we can protect our children by prohibiting them all these actitivities, it is pretty naive...It is not going to help if you just watch them all the time, they'll find the way. It is also well known that children with very strict and controlling parents are the ones who end up in more trouble. Educate your children, that's all you could do.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 11:39AM
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if your niece had no house to have sex she would have it on the back seat of a car, at friends house etc. she probably did it because she assumed that's what he wanted, and that's what girls should do so boys stay with them. They do it because they look for love (don't have enough at home). I don't think they have sex because they have a house available.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 11:47AM
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finedreams: there are a lot of teens or pre-teens who have plenty of love at home, who are sexually active. They are sexually active because they want to fit in socially at school, and have a boyfriend (or girl friend) and that is what the boyfriend wants, and these teens "think" everyone else is. A friend told me her daughter did, because of the girls after her guy, who were freely offering it. And she felt if she didn't, she would lose him to the girls who would.

Guess what...she lost him anyway.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 1:18PM
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that's true bnice,

but...not being able to do it at home does not mean they won't do it. That's what I meant. You can't always sit home at watch them.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 3:42PM
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FD, I guess you missed the point... what a surprise! But, I am not going to waste my time trying to explain it to you. I think others probably get it.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 4:16PM
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yeah...on a roll today.

And yes, ima, the rest of us get it!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 9:39PM
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And just another thought...

I think most of "our" kids (bio or step of mom's here) get lots of love, etc. They certainly have concerned SMs that are here trying to learn from one another, share experiences and broaden horizons.

However, I think we (moms & stepmoms and dads, too) really need to keep in mind that what our kids really need is the "tools" to deal with difficult situations. They need to learn "To thine ownself be true" (Shakespeare?), and really be encouraged and taught to apply it to every area of their lives. It seems that there are plenty of our kids who struggle with that basic concept. That they would rather go to court than actually have to be honest with their parent, when it means being true to their own (kids) wishes/desires.

It's something that needs to be taught starting at a young age. And if we (the adults) are living by that rule, they will learn some of it. The older kids that missed that basic life-lesson need more "instruction" in being assertive, standing up for themselves...being true to themselves.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 9:58PM
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nicksmom...I agree with your last post.
Everything should be taught at a young age. Older kids that miss these lessons sometimes never "get them", or when they do, they are long gone from your home lol.
This is what we are trying to teach my sd. Be yourself, not what you think others want you to be etc. Find what you like, stick with it and grow from it and blossom. It is difficult for her however, because she has picked the wrong kids to be friendly with, and it is biting her in the ass so to speak.
Her bm just wants to be the kids "friend" though, and just let them do whatever they want. As long as they don't get angry with her. Which is how they get their way with her. Just get mad, and she caves. Lots of lessons being taught in her home. NOT!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2009 at 2:26AM
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Here's what I think is sad:

No one says that the GIRLS are having sex because they enjoy it.'s always because of peer pressure, some boy wants them to, they might lose their boyfriend, looking for love, blah, blah, blah.

I lost my virginity at 14. After that, I was date-raped twice; once I was drugged by my best friend's brother and the other I was held down. I met my X when I was 16. Got pregnant and married at 19 and divorced at 23.

Basically, throughout that entire period of time, I believed sex was just something that a woman did for their man. I never knew it could be enjoyable and pleasureable until I met my SO. Everyone else just "took" what they wanted from me. My SO changed all of that. For the first time in my life, I didn't feel like a means to an end. I felt like a partner in something wonderful.

I know that sounds sappy. But what are we teaching our girls when they have sex to make someone else happy? Are we afraid that if we let them know how wonderful it really is that they are going to run out and do it? I really don't think that's the case. No one ever bothered to tell me that I would get to feel connected to someone at a spirt level when that person was right for me. I think that if a girl knows how great it is to be "partnered" with someone in every way, I think they will treasure their innocence more so they have it when they meet that right person.

I would give anything in the world if I could give my SO the gift I gave away so freely to someone who didn't even care. I wish I could take away all my baggage and sexual hang-ups.

Did any of you ladies have the same view?

    Bookmark   February 3, 2009 at 4:45PM
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