I have mentioned it before (and tomorrow is "N" day on the A to Z challenge, so you might just hear it again), but it is worth repeating how much I love my nieces and nephews. My sister's girls, in particular, are just the apples of my eye. This normally manifests itself in my constantly seeking to get together, spoiling them rotten whenever I can, telephone or Facebook conversations about what they are up to...all very positive and supportive. But last night, I was scrolling through Twitter and found a tweet from my 16 year old niece that brought out the "mom" in me.
She took the ACT yesterday. And since I have taken several of those types of tests over the years, so am well aware of what a pain in the butt they are. We had been texting about it earlier in the day - commiserating. But then I saw her tweet about the test...long and painful, to be sure but she included the tag "#rapedme" and I had a "oh no no no no no, you cannot say that!" reaction. My niece is extremely smart and kind, and well understands that there are things not to be used as a joke (there was a double suicide in her very small school just a year ago, for instance). So I know she knows that certain words carry a lot of power and should not be used so flippantly - but somehow sexual assault didn't get caught in her teenaged filter! Do I correct her on Twitter? On FB? By text? I considered it all and had a text message written - but then decided I'd better rat her out to her mother first (who does not FB or twitter herself, and relies on those of us that do to tip her off if the kids cross certain lines). She agreed with my assessment of the situation and had already called my niece before she and I finished texting about it. I'm going to apologize for ratting her out next time I see her, which will give me an opportunity to broach the subject.
I had another parenting teenagers discussion earlier in the day when our visitors told us that their 14 year old, very pretty, daughter, desperately wanted her belly button pierced. My first reaction was "she'll still have a belly button when she's 18", which was applauded by the father. But the mother commented that she didn't really see the big deal, since you can take out a piercing - it's not really permanent like a tattoo - and that she had one back in the day. Well true enough but for what purpose does any 8th grader need a belly button piercing? And we got talking about the message put out by certain things - like belly button piercings - and whether a 14 year old can actually comprehend and weigh the pros and cons about such things. I know I couldn't when I was a kid, but the world (and the kids) are not the same as when I was 14.
Can't hide it - I'm a mom and I don't back away from getting involved with more than just my own kids when given the chance.