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Addressing sexual harassment with your teen

Posted by on Nov. 29, 2017 at 2:40 PM
  • 26 Replies

Every morning I watch the local news until 7am.  At 7am, I watch the "Today Show" until I leave for work.  My daughter (14 years old) comes in and sits on my bed.  I told her that Matt Laur was fired. She asked "What happened?"  I told her it was for inappropriate sexual conduct. 

She is very mature and, from what I'm aware of, has not even tried to date a guy.  She always says "they are so stupid."  In her transition to high school, I asked how it has been and she HATES when guys are saying things like "Hey, come over here" or "Can I get your number?" (even though they don't even know her name) or they comment on how "good" she looks.  She gets really annoyed about it and I told her that respectful boys and men will not approach her that way.  If they respect her, they will approach her with genuine interest but without being aggressive or superficial.  As for these boys, ignore them for the most part - don't give them the attention they want - but if they start to get more aggressive than to speak out to them.  If its on-going or even more aggressive where she starts to feel uncomfortable, then to tell someone.

I also told her that, unfortunately, it's been this way and it's about power and control but a real relationship is collaborative and respectful.

I will fully admit that when I was younger, the catcalling was flattering to me.  I really did think "oh, he likes me" until I got older and realized that it shouldn't be this way. 

Have you addressed this topic with your teen?

by on Nov. 29, 2017 at 2:40 PM
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Replies (1-10):
atlmom2
by Susie on Nov. 29, 2017 at 2:52 PM
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The thing is the things the boys are saying to her are not wrong or harassment unless they continue day after day after day and harass her.  

That is normal teenage behavior.  

I am worried no one will be able to hug or tap someone on the shoulder or tap a leg for fear of harassment.  

lovingladyo4
by New Member on Nov. 29, 2017 at 2:54 PM

Yes and no - yes in the sense that it's a fact of life, and no, in the sense that my three girls had no room in their self identity to need the attention from immoral conduct coming from immature and self serving hormonal kids. When girls self identity, self worth, and self esteem are in tact (which by the way originate from their father - Dads you are on the line here) they are secure in who they are and can spot sinful depraved behavior far off in the distance and will have nothing to do with it.

Good job raising your daughter momma! I would like to meet her - she sounds very mature and sensible!

M4LG5
by Bronze Member on Nov. 29, 2017 at 4:10 PM

I didn't call it harassment but I reminded her that it isn't respectful if they are truly interested in her to approach her that way.  She is a very pretty young woman so she does get a lot of attention but when its ongoing and none of it seems sincere, it's very tiring. 

Even though it's "normal", doesn't make it okay.

Quoting atlmom2:

The thing is the things the boys are saying to her are not wrong or harassment unless they continue day after day after day and harass her.  

That is normal teenage behavior.  

I am worried no one will be able to hug or tap someone on the shoulder or tap a leg for fear of harassment.  


M4LG5
by Bronze Member on Nov. 29, 2017 at 4:17 PM

I do believe dads are such a major part of this which is actually part of my worry with her. 

Her biological dad hasn't been in the picture.  Since she was 1.5 years old, she has seen him for a total of 7 hours.  The last time was when she was 6.5 years old.  I married my now ex-husband when she was almost 4 (she was 2.5 years old when we met).  She started calling him "dad" about that time we got married (on her own).  He has been there for her even after the divorce which was a year ago and, for that, I'm thankful, but at the same time he always treated her just a bit different than our twins....often times making a sibling spat her fault and a big deal.  Now that we are divorced, I gave her that option to go back and forth with her sisters but she didn't want to (he never adopted her).  He goes to her games most of the time but doesn't make much more effort that than.  She will go to his house every once in awhile and stay there.

So, I hope that she doesn't have a "hate" towards men because of her experiences.....I don't see that really.  I do think she is very mature for her age and is thoughtful in how people should act.  She sometimes avoids hanging out with certain friends because some of the things they find funny seems immature to her. 

Quoting lovingladyo4:

Yes and no - yes in the sense that it's a fact of life, and no, in the sense that my three girls had no room in their self identity to need the attention from immoral conduct coming from immature and self serving hormonal kids. When girls self identity, self worth, and self esteem are in tact (which by the way originate from their father - Dads you are on the line here) they are secure in who they are and can spot sinful depraved behavior far off in the distance and will have nothing to do with it.

Good job raising your daughter momma! I would like to meet her - she sounds very mature and sensible!


Sydel
by Group Admin on Nov. 29, 2017 at 4:51 PM

 My girls and I started having conversations about how a young man should approach them at a very early age.

My girls are very fortuante to have numerous strong male role models. My husband, father in-law, father, brother, and uncle have talked to them as well as to what is acceptable.

I think communication is incredibly important. I think young men who blurt out dumb cat calls possibly lack communication skills and confidence needed for a more direct approach. But I think after they are told NO and understand that it's not acceptable if they still continue to do so then they are crossing the line into being a disrespecting asshole.

I think it's good you and your daughter had this talk. Degrassi opened up a lot of conversation topics for me and my girls.


M4LG5
by Bronze Member on Nov. 29, 2017 at 6:08 PM

It's definitely been an on-going discussion but sometimes it's also my own reaction or creating a learning lesson with something that happened.

For example, yesterday we were in the car listening to the radio and the DJ was talking about Jennifer Lopez.  He had a female caller on the air and they were talking about her being the face of Guess jeans.  The DJ must have said "booty" about 5 times or so.  The woman on the phone was just like "uh-huh" and was not feeding into the conversation.  I turned it off and said "that was stupid."  She laughed.

Quoting Sydel:

 My girls and I started having conversations about how a young man should approach them at a very early age.

My girls are very fortuante to have numerous strong male role models. My husband, father in-law, father, brother, and uncle have talked to them as well as to what is acceptable.

I think communication is incredibly important. I think young men who blurt out dumb cat calls possibly lack communication skills and confidence needed for a more direct approach. But I think after they are told NO and understand that it's not acceptable if they still continue to do so then they are crossing the line into being a disrespecting asshole.

I think it's good you and your daughter had this talk. Degrassi opened up a lot of conversation topics for me and my girls.


MissAndree
by Member on Nov. 29, 2017 at 6:12 PM
I have been talking to my daughter about this for several years. About what is acceptable and what isn't, and that even though rape culture has normalized a lot of bad behaviour, to not accept it and how to deal with it.
ljmom24
by Silver Member on Nov. 29, 2017 at 6:55 PM
1 mom liked this
I watch the news everyday and rarely censor it. Even my 9 year old has heard about what’s been going on. I only have boys but I’ve talked to them about respecting girls and there own bodies. When it’s ok to hug and when it’s ok to refuse a hug. Off topic a bit my oldest has social issues, under old standards he’d be on autism scale but we didn’t test him until after they changed it. He’s not touchy feely and for years I battled this with dh family. He doesn’t have to hug and kiss EVERY relative, especially the ones he rarely sees. My mom is a sec abuse survivor so we didn’t grow up hugging. Now with my own kids I’m balancing.

I’ve alsi explained to my oldest the old boys club mentality and how it’s changing but also I’ve expressed my concerns over the current standard for dealing with complaints and lack of due process. I’m not excusing what they did but some of what is being demanded and careers and lives and families are on the line and are these claims being investigated or can anyone just say he did this and companies ar worried of looking bad so pulling the trigger.

As someone who was sexually harassed and said nothing I would never expect punishment at this point decades later. I think what started as woman speaking up that we won’t tolerate it anymore is becoming a witch hunt. I should have told what happened to me when I happened but I blocked it out for a long time. I was ashamed and it was a small school and it was only good by to make things worse in my head and probably in reality of that time. My hope is no one else suffered at the same persons hands. I don’t think things would have been easier if I spoke up but my hope of the me too craze was to change the culture so there isn’t another young girl sitting there tryin to forget what happened.

And I supposed i should tell my boys what happened (well the teen) and I would hope if he ever witvhess harassment he spoke up. In my case there were witnesses. If one of them spoke up and said stop. I think it’s a good conversation starter, simply punishing past actions isnt the solution. We need to change the culture and it our kids generation that hopefully will.
chicken13
by Silver Member on Nov. 29, 2017 at 7:04 PM
2 moms liked this
When I worked, I was in an all male industry. I’ve seen sexual harassment that’d make your toes curl and I’ve been on the receiving end of some really nasty stuff.

So yes, we’ve had many conversations about what is right, what is wrong and unfortunately how the world really is.

But the most impactful messages have come from her father. Even though he saw what was happening to me, he never realized how sexist a society we have until he had dd. It’s everywhere. And it’s small. And it starts when they’re little. It infuriates him and he’s quite vocal about it.
M4LG5
by Bronze Member on Nov. 29, 2017 at 7:40 PM

We need to change the culture at a very young age for both boys and girls for sure.  "boys will be boys" or "they hit you because they like you" is no longer an excuse. 

I do understand what you are saying about consequences before it's proven.  I'm actually seeing it first hand through a friend's experience of being accused but there is no evidence that it actually happened BUT because there is not evidence that it didn't happen, he is still getting consequences.

I think it's a fine line and should be treated on a case-by-case basis.

Quoting ljmom24: I watch the news everyday and rarely censor it. Even my 9 year old has heard about what’s been going on. I only have boys but I’ve talked to them about respecting girls and there own bodies. When it’s ok to hug and when it’s ok to refuse a hug. Off topic a bit my oldest has social issues, under old standards he’d be on autism scale but we didn’t test him until after they changed it. He’s not touchy feely and for years I battled this with dh family. He doesn’t have to hug and kiss EVERY relative, especially the ones he rarely sees. My mom is a sec abuse survivor so we didn’t grow up hugging. Now with my own kids I’m balancing. I’ve alsi explained to my oldest the old boys club mentality and how it’s changing but also I’ve expressed my concerns over the current standard for dealing with complaints and lack of due process. I’m not excusing what they did but some of what is being demanded and careers and lives and families are on the line and are these claims being investigated or can anyone just say he did this and companies ar worried of looking bad so pulling the trigger. As someone who was sexually harassed and said nothing I would never expect punishment at this point decades later. I think what started as woman speaking up that we won’t tolerate it anymore is becoming a witch hunt. I should have told what happened to me when I happened but I blocked it out for a long time. I was ashamed and it was a small school and it was only good by to make things worse in my head and probably in reality of that time. My hope is no one else suffered at the same persons hands. I don’t think things would have been easier if I spoke up but my hope of the me too craze was to change the culture so there isn’t another young girl sitting there tryin to forget what happened. And I supposed i should tell my boys what happened (well the teen) and I would hope if he ever witvhess harassment he spoke up. In my case there were witnesses. If one of them spoke up and said stop. I think it’s a good conversation starter, simply punishing past actions isnt the solution. We need to change the culture and it our kids generation that hopefully will.


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