I Need Advice From Any of the Moms at Sorabji...

sorabji.com: Sex: I Need Advice From Any of the Moms at Sorabji...

R.C. on Sunday, November 29, 1998 - 08:26 pm:

    ...I certainly never thought I'd be putting my family business out here on the Internet for the world to see/but I am at my wits end. And I know there are a lot of mothers who hang around this place. I implore any of you with any advice to offer to please help me sort out this mess...

    Anyway... I spent 4 hrs. on the phone last nite talking to my girl in NY abt her kids (my 2 goddaughters).The oldest (we'll call her Jane) is 13. The younger one (call her Mary) is 11. Their parents have been divorced for a little more than 2 yrs. And my friend Cheryl recently became engaged to a terrific guy she's been dating for a while now. (No/he was not the reason her marriage broke up). He is also divorced w/a young son the same age as Mary.

    These kids have a very good homelife/despite being in fractured families. Cheryl's fiance (call him Rob) treats them as if they were his own. There's is nothing he wdn't do for those girls -- financially or otherwise. In fact/when he proposed to Cheryl/he told her that one of the reasons he wanted to marry her was becuz it brings him such pride to see what an excellent mother she is/that she always puts the interests of her children before her own needs & desires. But they are shacking up at this point/which I know sends a conflicting message to the kids abt commitment & premarital sex. And both of them are seriously churchified -- they spend 3 or 4 nites a week at church/plus all day Sunday. (Which is why I'm not into church -- too many folks make a big deal abt attending/but they don't walk it like they talk it away from God's house.) But what can I say? It's not what I wd do as a parent/ but I don't criticize her becuz I know she's a good woman w/good morals. And it made no sense for her & Rob to both pay rent at separate apts. when they were always over at her crib.

    Last nite/I found out from Cheryl that Jane had sex a couple of weeks ago. Cheryl had asked her some time before that is she was sexually active/& Jane told her no. But Cheryl ended up busting her via her phone system. She as some weird dual-line phone system that allows the answering machine to activate on one line if someone calls in on the other line. And while Jane is apparently a little fast-ass/she isn't devious enuf to have figured out she shd've gone to someone else's house to that call/or at east gone in her mother's bedroom to check & see if the machine was on. Cheryl found the tape of Jane discussion her rendezvous w/her boy when she came home from work/& all hell broke loose.

    Jane knows abt condoms & how to use them. Both her mother & grandmother married & had children very young. Cheryl married when she was a Senior in h.s./altho' she wasn't pregnant at the time. Her mom got pregnant at 17 & was sent to France to stay w/realtives. She had the baby/came back home & married Cheryl's father/then they altered the DOB on the birth certificate (which caused major problems later when her Dad got transferred overseas & Cheryl needed a passport/but I do digress...). They both know now that having children when they were so young created a lot of problems in their respective lives/& they've tried to keep their own children from making the same mistake. So Cheryl has always been honest w/her girls abt her past/using birth control/etc. And while Cheryl's mother was ultra-conservative when she was younger/now she is the director of a community youth organization & teaches young people abt birth control & condoms & avoiding AIDS. So Jane certainly had access to condoms -- for free & w/out parental permission.

    So one day/this fool calls her mother at work to tell her she'd been given detention. She was running her mouth a mile a minute & hung up before Cheryl cd ask any questions. So Cheryl went into Inspector Gadget mode & called the school to confirm all this. But no one answered the damn phone!

    Last year/bot the girls were in private school. But Jane was asked not to return last June/becuz her grades were awful & her behavior was even worse. She wd roll down the waistband of her little uniform skirt to make it into a mini. Then she'd unbutton her little white blouse & tie it in front so her navel wd show. To complete her Catholic-school-hooker look/ Miss Thang wd buy white thigh-highs/roll them down to look like regulation knee socks/then pull them up when she got to school. (She is tall & well-developed for her age/so it wd be easy for males to mistake her for a 15 or 16 yr-old.) On top of all that/she had a very nasty attitude towards the teachers & staff whenever they called her on her behavior. But her sister Mary also attended the same school & was doing fine. And Cheryl had been to the school for numerous conferences (along w/Rob)/so the staff knew her. Basically/come June/they gave her the old "We know yr children were bought up better than this (trans: we can see you aren't the usual no-account niggers) but Jane's grades & deportment aren't up to our standards." They have her a passing grade in all her classes & told Cheryl she cdn't come back in the fall.

    So now Jane attends a sub-standard public school. She has cut 15 classes this quarter/& no one ever called Cheryl at work/or sent a letter home/to notify her. Anyway/the day Jane claimed to have detention/she stayed after school to watch a football game. (She was not allowed any extra--curricular activities until her grades improve.) Her 15-yr-old 'boyfriend' (& she's not allowed to date or get calls from boys/becuz of her grades) plays on the team. After the game/when the guys went back to the gym to shower/this boy propped a door open so Jane cd sneak into the school/& they had sex on the premesis/in a storage closet or someplace! With no condoms!? How tacky & ignorant can one child be?

    When Cheryl confronted her after hearing the tape/& asked her what we planned to do if she had gotten pregnant or caught AIDS/her response was "I know so-&-so & I know he doesn't have AIDS. And we didn't plan to do it -- it just happened. That's why we didn't have condoms. But if I get pregnant/I'll go down to Social Services & they'll get me a place to stay & give me money every month to take care of my baby. So you don't have to worry abt it." Cheryl took her to the doctor for a pregnancy test & AIDS screening/both of which were thankfully negative. (But unless the boy gets tested too/she can't be certain she's clean. She'll have to be retested now every year for at least 7 years to be sure.) And ultimately/the boy told the entire school what went down/Jane got humiliated/then dissed by the boy's mother when Cheryl took her to his house to confront his parents. (The mother said she'd heard her son & his friends laughing abt some girl named Jane/& that she "wasn't too bright" is she didn't catch on when he told her he had no phone & cdn't give her his #/but managed to call her every day after school.) Now/other boys at school are hitting on her becuz they think she's an easy lay/so she hates school more than ever.

    She sounds like a crackhead/but I assure you/drugs are not a part of this. Where she gets this ghetto girl mentality/I do not know. She remembers visiting her father's niece (who is around Cheryl's age) a classic welfare queen who had 6 kids by the time she was 21/living in a roach-infested, ramshackle house/because that is all welfare provides. And most of those children were taken away from her by the state. Jane knows welfare is no way to live. But she has no respect for or interest in education whatsoever! She points to all these basketball players & hip hop stars who never finished h.s. & make more $$ in a year than her mother will make in a lifetime. And we've both told her that many of those rappers & singers -- Puff Daddy/Latifah/Salt-n-Pepa -- did in fact finish h.s. & go on to college/even if they didn't graduate. And that for every one of them/there are 50 out there hoping to break into the business/who will never make a record or earn a penny. Becuz luck as a lot to do w/that kind of success. But Jane's ain't trying to hear that.

    Jane plans to become a fashion designer to the stars/& make a fortune dressing all the hip hop dogs & divas. When she made this announcement/Ron took her into the city to visit F.I.T. & even offered to spring for a special summer program they have where teens can come & take a crash-course in fashion design. But w/her horrendous grades/she'll never qualify. And I tried to explain to her last summer that folks like Puff Daddy & Faith & TLC wdn't be caught in clothes by Black designers. When you see them on those awards shows & in their videos/they're sportin' Dolce & Gabanna or Prada or Versace or Brioni -- becuz they talk shit abt "keepin' it real"/but all they do is ape what they see rich Whitefolks wearing/in order to prove that they've got it like that too. And Black designer starve to death
    inAmerica/becuz if the richest Blackfolks in the country won't even buy their threads/why shd the Whites running Sak's & Barney's & Neiman Marcus bother to carry their clothes? But Jane doesn't seem to 'get' that -- she thinks her designs will be the exception. (Mind you/the child can't sketch or sew to save her life...)

    So Jane is currently on serious neighborhood lockdown. She is only allowed out of the house to attend school & come home. No more riding the bus w/the other kids -- she gets dropped off & picked from school every day by her mother or Ron or a relative. And once she gets to school/she is required to have each teacher sign her in at all her classes. The log sheet goes home w/her at the end of the day/along w/a notes from her teachers abt her homework assignment for the next day/her performance on the previous day's homework/her class participation/etc. Cheryl signs the log & sends it back w/her the next morning. And she is currently searching for a good therapist so they can begin family counseling. Which seems like a good idea/but I don't see how that will help. If she won't listen to her mother/her teachers/me/or anyone else/becuz she thinks she knows every damn thing/what good will a therapist do?

    Cheryl said she feels like a failure as a parent/becuz of Jane. She also feels she has failed Mary/becuz she's spent so much of the past 3 yrs. focusing on Jane & her insane antics. She told me she realized the other day that she doesn't even know the names of Mary's school friends this year -- & it's almost December! Thank God Mary is a level-headed, independent sort of child who doesn't need to act out to get attention. But believe me -- low self esteem is NOT Jane's problem. She thinks far too highly of herself/becuz she's attractive & popular & certain that those traits will allow her to sail thru life w/out putting forth any real effort to prepare for the future.

    I have no idea what to do/or what suggestions to offer Cheryl or Ron. And poor Ron -- he has done everything in his power to be there for Jane/& after 3 yrs. she still can't stand him. I know it's becuz her father's negligence is underscored by Ron's attentiveness as a step-father. But she has a mouth -- if she wants more time w/her father/she shd ask for it! (Up until Thanksgiving/he hadn't seen or called the girls since last June.) Blending families together when people remarry is always difficult. But I don't see how any woamn can cope w/an out-of-control child/be attentive to her other child/& plan a wedding all at the same time. And I am seriously worried that Jane is well on her way to screwing up her life & eliminating all her options for a decent, productive future in this world.

    What on earth are we supposed to do abt this girl?

By Agatha on Monday, November 30, 1998 - 01:59 am:

    wow. ummm, i'll have to get back to you on that one. that's a doozy.

By Me.......... on Monday, November 30, 1998 - 12:10 pm:

    Get the girl into some serious counseling-IMMEDIATELY !! Something may have happened a long time ago, that her family didn't know about & she's blocked out-that could explain this behavior, now. I't amazing and fascinating what counseling and therapy can bring out.....Cost should not be a problem.......There are community mental health services everywhere that are free if you fall under a certain guideline -if not-they charge on a sliding scale-meaning they help you figure WHAT you can afford........Please talk to Jane's mom and get this unhappy girl some help before it's really too late.........

By Nate on Monday, November 30, 1998 - 06:30 pm:

    And whatever is done about Jane, support the hell out of Cheryl. Jane is obviously making her own choices... Cheryl should be told over and over again that some things are beyond her control.

    And Mary - Cheryl -needs- to put time into Mary now. Extra attention, even. Jane -might- see the example of good mother-daughter interaction, but more importantly Mary needs to see this (ie. Mary is on the verge teenage hormones and rebelion against mom... she needs to know now that she is respected by mom and trusted by mom ... sometimes these things are more powerful than any threat of disapline.)

    Do support Cheryl (and Mary.) Jane isn't necessarily a lost cause, but her actions threaten the well being of the rest of the family (and therefore the rest of the family needs to circle the wagons.)

By Dani on Monday, November 30, 1998 - 09:02 pm:

    I'm with Agatha....I gotta re-read all that and get back to ya girl.

By Mom-Me......... on Tuesday, December 1, 1998 - 12:03 pm:

    Very good advice, Nate.......And even though this behavior by Jane is really quite commonplace in young teens, these days.......it doesn't mean that she's cool doing those things.....it just means that more kids are getting screwed up all the time.......Its up to you to take control of the situation...and you can......

By R.C. on Wednesday, December 2, 1998 - 08:31 pm:

    So where are all the SORABJI MOMS when I need y'all? C'mon Dani. And Aggie. No offense to you Nate/but it's easy to offer pat answers when you're not a parent...

    Like this business of 'respect'. Cheryl & I grew up in homes where respect was something a child had to EARN. And maybe this is a cultural thing. Even as I kid/I realized early on that the White kids I knew had parents who were very different from the mother & father I went home to every day. In Black households/Respect doesn't get handed to you on a silver platter. Our parent's respected us when we met our responsibilities in school/obeyed their rules at home & away from home/& behaved appropriately towards our siblings/teachers & other adults. Jane hasn't done any of those things/so Cheryl doesn't feel she deserves any 'respect' in that household. And I concur.

    Jane WAS trusted by her Mother -- until this happened. Over the summer/Jane was complaining that she was "tired of being treated like a baby...." "tired of having her Mo-ther checking her homework every nite..." "tired of not being allowed to call her friends in the evenings...". So Cheryl started allowing her more privileges in Sept. when the new year started/& gave her the benefit of the doubt abt having finished her homework & done it correctly. (I don't think my parent's were still checking my homework when I was 13... But I wd always ask them if I needed help on something.) And look where all that 'trust' got her...

    I hope they can find a good therapist -- but they were in family therapy a few years back/during the time Cheryl & her husband 1st split up. And Jane refused to participate -- so did her father. Jane had little or nothing to say (no doubt mimicking her dad). And her husband's attitude was "You're the one who wants a divorce -- it's yr problem/so YOU talk abt it." Cheryl & the therapist ended up doing all the talking/& after a couple of months/the was no point in Cheryl wasting good money on a process that wasn't accomplishing anything.

    I think Jane needs a good old-fashioned ass- whippin' the next time she mouths off/disobeys/ or gets caught in a lie. Being put put on punishment/having privileges withdrawn -- none of that worked. But if she gets a her behind beat a few times/when she sees there will be immediate negative consequences to face for acting out (vs. vague, long-term consequences she cannot grasp at this point) she'll learn to get her act together w/the quickness -- or be a very unhappy person. And Cheryl's not too 'progressive' to beat her kids. But she stopped that sort of thing quite some time ago/once the girls were old enough to reason with. Jane however/is acting in a very unreasonable manner. So maybe it's time to get back to the old-school program...

    I've been as supportive of Cheryl as I can/esp. considering I just learned abt all this over the wknd. And don't get me wrong -- she's not a sobbing, dysfunctional heap of worry/curled up in bed & unable to cope. She had me rollin' on the floor when she described parts of Jane's escapades. But neither of us were laughing when she mentioned the sex.

    I don't see how much more 'control' Cheryl & Ron can take of the situation/short of pulling Jane out of school altogether & educating her at home (which can't be done -- they both work). And I'm not really for home-schooling for teenagers. She's been spending more time w/Mary/but she recently won a scholarship to the L.I. Ballet/so she spends most of her time after school in dance classes. And Mary's always had a lot of extra-curricular activities on the weekends.

    Look -- there's gotta be some mother or father out there who's been thru this w/their kids... or someone who remembers their brother or sister turning into a teenage demon/& what their parents did to straighten them out. Where's Sheila? She raised a bunch of human kids while tending to all her little 4-legged kids out there on the goat farm/didn't she? Hey Sheila -- get over here! RC needs yr advice!

By Agatha on Wednesday, December 2, 1998 - 11:34 pm:

    i guess i have no advice because i did the same thing when i was a teenager, as did all five of my brothers and sisters. i mean, i wasn't having sex at thirteen, but i was rebelling in my own way. i think what i really needed was some attention and one on one time with my mom, but it is a catch 22 situation because teenagers are often so unpleasant that their parents don't want to spend any time with them. i wouldn't have wanted to hang out with myself at that age. i was horribly moody and unstable. it sounds like this girl is just one of those kids that is trouble, and i'm not sure what can be done about that. teenagers eventually grow out of that rebellious phase, for the most part. parents are automatically excluded from everything that's going on in a teen's life because there is too much emotional baggage in telling your parents about things. the only thing i can think of is for your friend to try to arrange for some one on one time with jane, and to get some counseling, for sure. it needs to be the right counselor, though, as it doesn't sound like jane is going to respond to some sappy "tell me all about it" type. she needs a no nonsense, slightly bitchy, female counselor. i would not recommend family counseling at first, because her mother's presence is automatically going to make jane unwilling to talk. otherwise, i think they are doing all they can, considering the circumstances. i'm sure the new husband to be has something to do with it, and if that's the case, the only thing that will make the situation better is time and repeated, consistent behavior on behalf of your friend and her new man. although it's near impossible not to blow your cool with a teenager, it is rarely productive. i just hope i don't have to deal with that situation when cleo gets older. i'm already dreading it, but i keep convincing myself that i'm such a cool mom that cleo won't feel that way about me. we'll see...

By Not a mom on Thursday, December 3, 1998 - 01:25 pm:

    well..i'm surely not a mom..but you asked about siblings...my brother..(the middle child) was a walking demon for a chunk of his childhood..my parents went through counseling with him..which he resented highly..making things worse..i can remember them threatening with military school many times...but ever since he got in the real world..went away to college..he's not the same person at all..he matured..grew out of all his nasty habbits and so on..he was around other people..on his own terms and realized that his parents/family werent' so retarded/cruel/unfair after all and now he has come to appreciate his family on a much deeper level....but..my parents seemed to try it all and at the time it didn't seem to work (and maybe it didn't at all..who knows.. or maybe it is the reason he finally changed?) but, i do know that my parents never gave up on him..never stopped loving him..never stopped telling him..or giving him hugs when he pushed away....it's hard to tell a child 'i love you' when all they're saying to you is 'i hate you' but eventually they'll get out of whatever they're in and really appreciate the unconditional love.......

By Not a mom on Thursday, December 3, 1998 - 01:30 pm:

    also..my brother, despite him being an asshole, had a very good work ethic which my parents had managed to instill in him (through example??)
    which is the reason he 'blossomed' so well after he went away to college..he was always a very smart asshole..and he eventually dropped the asshole part...

By Nate on Friday, December 4, 1998 - 02:54 pm:

    no offense taken... though i didn't think my answers were particularly 'pat'. just pointing out that there are three lives involved directly, not just Jane.

    A younger cousin of my went through rebellion that resulted in shoplifting arrests and the clap. She turned out alright, though. My aunt, on the other hand, had a major nervous breakdown.

    that's my background of experience. sorry about not having puppies, though.

By Sheila on Friday, December 4, 1998 - 08:23 pm:

    i want to know how that shoplifting/clap thing happened. as a child, i shoplifted like crazy, but i never got the clap from it. guess i was just lucky, or didn't do it right?

    and why do they call it the clap?

By R.C. on Friday, December 4, 1998 - 09:51 pm:

    Becuz it sounds better than the snap? I never understood that term either...

    I will mention the idea of having Jane try solo therapy as a start. But what good will that do Cheryl? The therapist isn't supposed to disclose what Jane tells her (Altho' I dunno if that level of confidentiality extends to minors) -- suppose she admits in therapy that she's still having sex? And not using condoms? My biggest concern is that she is going to end up infected w/AIDS or pregnant if she doesn't make some serious changes in her behavior. She might not make it to her twenties/when the maturity gene kicks in.

    She's a child. As the adults in her life/our 1st obligation -- even before loving her -- is to protect her from harm. But I also know that ultimately/there's only so much Cheryl & Rob can do. If Jane decides to continue cutting classes/if she sneaks out of school to go have sex w/some boy/there's nothing anyone can do until after the fact. Until Jane sees that she's sowing the seeds of her own ruination/I don't think anything we say or do is going to reach her. But if Cheryl keeps her in lockdown/at least that will decrease her chances for getting into trouble.

    As far as her academics go/I'm at a loss. I mean /how can you MAKE a kid study & learn? You can't force the info into her head. You can make her finish her homework & stand over her as she reads each chapter -- but how do you make her process it so that she can answer questions in class or on a test? And how much attention can you expect her teachers to focus on her? They can't keep one eye on Jane thruout class to make sure she's actually reading the assigned work & not daydreaming/or writing notes/or just spacing out.

    A friend suggested taking her into NYC to visit terminal patients on an AIDS ward -- esp. the younger ones. I think that might be worthwhile/ but I feel it's such an enormous imposition on them. If I were lying in a hospital bed w/PCP or Kaposi's/the last thing I wd want is to be part of some Reality Check Tour for a kid w/an "Oh-I-
    know-that-won't-happen-to-me" attitude. Jane is just too damn hardheaded to listen to anyone...

By Agatha on Friday, December 4, 1998 - 10:15 pm:

    the individual therapy will help cheryl because jane will have another unbiased adult influence that she can trust in to tell whatever she wants. the idea of a therapist is they are supposed to help the person they are counseling. any improvements in jane's disposition are obviously going to assist cheryl. she doesn't need to know every thing that is happening in jane's life. that would probably actually give her a heart attack.

By Momma-Me.......A........ on Monday, December 7, 1998 - 11:09 am:

    About the counseling........Cheryl would most likely benefit from counseling for herself...if for no other reason than to learn how to deal with the frustration of a rebellious child, to understand that her kid is not just trying to be 'bad', and to keep from beating her..... Also, family counseling is usually advised, where the whole family gets together with the therapist to discuss what's been going on; feelings; ideas; etc....I AM a momma and so far (knock on wood) I haven't had to deal with many problems such as these--My daughter's 15, and so far very level-headed.............

By Nate on Monday, December 7, 1998 - 01:20 pm:

    my mom's parent's sent her to an all female catholic boarding school.

By Me........ on Monday, December 7, 1998 - 01:26 pm:

    That's a suggestion worth considering, too.......

By Agatha on Monday, December 7, 1998 - 02:06 pm:

    she was in one, from what i understand, and got kicked out. it may not have been all girls, but that's the impression i got.

By Me.............. on Monday, December 7, 1998 - 03:13 pm:

    Well, then- scratch THAT idea ! The only suggestion I have IS counseling-aside from chaining her up inside the house 'til she's about 45 or so.............and that's illegal.....

By Erm..me on Monday, November 15, 1999 - 12:17 am:

    Sounds like she went way off the deep end. However, I think that she should not crack down on Mary because of Jane's actions...just give her a chance. It's pretty neat that Mary got the scholarship to the ballet, too...

By Teardrop on Tuesday, November 16, 1999 - 08:57 am:

    Well... It has been over a year now. But since Erm..me has resurrected the thread, how have things progressed since then, R.C.?

    Sorry I am nnew to the board, so maybe you posted more about this somewhere else...? Anyway, I have had both positive and negative experiences with family therapy. It seems like more and more drugs are being prescribed, and maybe they do as much hurt as good.

By Me........ on Tuesday, November 16, 1999 - 06:52 pm:

    i answered r.c. a year ago, saying that i hadn't had to deal with many problems with my daughter....well, she's sixteen, now, and we're going to family counseling,....she is now grouchy and grumpy, and fights with her grandma.......(not physically).......i know part of it is hormonal but it's tough being caught between the two of them.........interesting how things change.......


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