From my kids point of view, I was their age eons ago. There are some days it feels that way, like when a creepy little teen hits on me and I realize that teen is a tiny handful of years older than my son. Then I think, “Oh god, my kid is almost a teenager!”
It’s a good thing I’m not prone to panic attacks.
Yesterday the elder two minions were discussing classroom events. I’d like to think that education occasionally takes place at school, but sometimes I wonder. It seems Mr. Smarty-Pant’s class took a poll on which boy had the softest hair, who was most attractive, etc.
Want to guess who won?
Mr. “I’m the bomb” Smarty-pants.
Miss Diva informed us that her nickname is “Special”, and not in a derogatory sense, which I first thought. No, she’s “Special” because she’s smart and nice, and all the boys like her, and she always gets picked first for everything.
I have a sneaking suspicion I would have loathed her on principle when I was a kid.
I try to wrap my brain around these things, but at ten I was a social pariah. At twelve I had bad hair, big boobs on a yet-to-fill-out-body, and clothes a decade out of style. I had two friends. By thirteen that number began increasing, but seventh grade was a miserable year.
You know how most kids go through an awkward phase? To be honest, once I got past the adorable pre-schooler age, my childhood was one long span of awkward that didn’t end until I hit my twenties.
My kids will likely go through one, but as of yet, they aren’t there. A part of me is greatly relieved that they do not have to face the pain of being the social outcast. Another part of me is panicking. How do I keep their egos in check? How do I negate the herd mentality of the popular crowd?
By the time I reached Mr. Smarty-pants’ age I’d given up on being one of the crowd and decided the people in the crowd were mostly all idiots. I just wanted them to leave me alone. Here’s where I watch Miss Drama’s progress with equal parts fascination and dread. She follows her own little drum. So very different from me in so many ways, and yet in this respect I feel very connected to her.
What disturbs me most about all of this is the insane level of competition in regards to looks and whether they are attractive in the eyes of the opposite sex. They aren’t even thirteen! I read a post earlier about the double standard for men and women, which was written in response to a blatantly misogynistic rant about how women are all sluts now days.
Given the number of comments on the original post calling the man out for his idiocy and women-hating, I think the double standard is fading. The bigger issue, in my perspective is the superficiality of society. Society is shouting to both males and females that your physical attractiveness is your worth. Kids want to be seen as possessing value the same as any adult, so is it any surprise that they too have picked up on the sexualiztion?
The next time one of them mentions this I think a talk on the definition of personal worth is in order. I fear their battle will be harder than mine ever was. Since I didn’t fit in, more from personality than looks, I escaped the torture of peer pressure in many respects. I didn’t know it at the time, but being an outcast had its perks.