Right up front here, I will say that I very rarely get involved in any of the kids' problems with each other or their friends, beyond a few very basic rules. 1. Saying "I hate you" is absolutely NEVER okay, 2. If someone is bleeding, it is probably a good idea to stop what you are doing, and 3. Don't ever, I mean, EVER say, "But he/she/it started it!" Oh, I forgot 4. No actual weapons, because it really is true that a stick will poke your eye out, and 5. Please stop REALLY MEANS please stop (never too early to teach the boys that NO means NO). I have too many kids and too little time to be a referee and all of that, plus I really don't care much as long as they are not genuinely harming one another, plus I figure they need to learn how to deal.
That said, I am pretty sure I am going to have to hunt down this little bitch who is calling my daughter at all hours and shove her happy little cell phone up her perky teen aged ass. For the most part, Hannah can handle herself pretty well, and ALSO for the most part hasn't had to deal with anything more than the usual teenage drama. We all know that teen aged girls can be cruel and mean, and Hannah is not immune to it-on the giving end as well as the receiving in. Believe me, I am SO not one of those parents who think their kid can do no wrong. But this other girl, well. Of course it has to do with a boy, one whom Hannah used to date. This boy is persona non grata at our house ( we had a major issue at our house involving him last year, including me having to get the police to go get my daughter out of his house), so it seems a little ridiculous that 6 months after the fact, this other girl is getting all freaked out about it, but yeah, yeah, whatever. For a few days, I have been listening but not intervening ; Hannah is not allowed to go into her room to talk on the phone, so I get to keep an ear out for any potential issues that might need addressing, but for the most part I don't believe I need to intervene. So this girl has been calling and basically harassing Hannah, but up until last night I still thought it would blow over. And really, Hannah also has to learn to not feed the fire; she hasn't been retaliating verbally, but she also sets herself up for it by trying to be reasonable and explain herself and her feelings, which for the most part is a good thing but hey, you can't be reasonable with an unreasonable person, right? So I have been encouraging her to simply not engage; to step out of the ring, so to speak, and just let it go. Tell her that she isn't going to talk to her, then hang up the phone, or better yet, don't answer the phone. But no, Hannah is too much like her mama and wants to be right, so she keeps trying to make herself understood. That is also part of the reason I haven't gotten involved, too; I understand the way Hannah thinks and feels, but I can't teach her the value of walking away from conflict-she has to learn that one herself.
But yesterday evening, I came home from work to find that this girl had followed Hannah and Sam to the park and called her names, all the while hanging all over the boy with whom H. had problems last year. Hannah did the right thing by coming home, good for her! But the girl kept calling the house, blah blah blah, and H. was understandably a little shaken. Then, in a major switch, the girl was calling to tell Hannah how sorry she was for behaving badly; I was sitting on the couch, Hannah right next to me, and her side of the conversation was, "Oh, it's okay, I acted badly, too," so I could tell that the girl was apologizing, and Hannah was falling for it, totally. But then? " I am just kidding, you fucking slut! I can't believe you fell for that!" I heard it myself, this girl yelling it at my daughter, and there was more for a few seconds (like "you bitch, I hate you") until Hannah just hung up with her eyes full of tears, mouth hanging open with shock.
Mama Bear intervened. I called that little girl right back and started off reasonably enough: "Hi, this is Hannah's mom, and I really don't appreciate the phone call you just made to my daughter." She did the sweet, innocent act, saying that she was just calling to say hi, didn't know what I was talking about, etc...and I very, very gently told her that I had been sitting next to Hannah and heard most of the conversation, and that I did not want her calling my home again. You know what she said? " Shut up, bitch, I will call as much as I want to." and hung up.
Needless to say, on the agenda today is calling her parents and letting them know what their daughter is doing. I really don't think it will matter, as if they are letting her hang out with the boy she is hanging out with, they probably don't particularly care, but maybe they aren't aware. As a parent, I would hope that if my daughter were pulling the same type of shit, another parent would call me, but who knows? I am still in a bit of a state of shock, actually; I know how kids talk and act, but I am still stunned that a teenager would actually talk to an adult that way. Or somehow feel it is okay and cool to make harassing phone calls to another girl and say some of the things she said. It pissed me off, and I am still mad-because I don't even talk to my own daughter that way, what makes this little girl think she is going to get away with it?
In the greater scheme of things, I am sure this isn't the end of the world, but it scares me. It scares me that we as a nation are raising kids to think that this kind of behavior is not only acceptable, but normal. It scares me that 15 and 16 year old kids (and younger) are running around doing whatever they want, with no adult supervision or guidance. I know there is only so much I can control about what my kids do when I am not around; they are going to make poor choices and experiment with different substances, they are going to do all of the things that normal kids do. No child is immune to that, and I am as prepared as I can be to deal with those types of issues. What scares me are the parents who have raised their children to believe that they can do whatever it takes to get what they want, without thought or concern for long-term consequences or the damage it might do to someone else. It scares me how many parents simply don't care enough or are too involved in their own lives to stop and teach their own children. It scares me, too, that my children are growing up in a world where it is considered passe to be the kind of family we strive to be, where mom knows where the kids are and who their parents are and what they are doing, where we spend a lot of time together and talk to one another. What we have is imporant, and thankfully, wonderfully, we have a lot of friends who support our family and have similar ideas and beliefs about families. It scares me that more and more, parents are content, even happy, to let their kids run wild in order to avoid having to take a stand.
*****Update: I got ahold of the girl's mom over my lunch hour, and really, I understand now why the girl thinks it is okay to behave the way she did; I approached it very calmly and reasonably, saying, "While I am not absolving my daughter of any part may have she played in this, I wanted you to know what happened." When I told her that her daughter had called my daughter some really nasty names, she replied with, "Maybe your daughter should stop acting like a slut and maybe my daughter wouldn't call her one." Hm, nice. I also told her that perhaps she isn't aware of what this boy her daughter is involved with is like, and outlined the incident he involved my daughter in, and this mother went on to tell me that it really is none of my business who her daughter chooses to hang around with, which of course it isn't...all in all, I really felt like this woman DOESN'T care, as long as she doesn't have to take any action or deal with her own child's poor choices. While I am a huge proponent of allowing your children to make choices and deal with the consequences, I also believe it is my job to protect my children from situations they don't KNOW how to deal with, and it is both my right AND my responsibility as a parent to know where my daughter is, who she is with, and what they are like. I also reserve the right to cut off all contact, which I have now done. The final thing I said to the Evil Mom was, "So, if I am hearing you correctly, you don't care that your daughter is harassing my daughter, you are not going to address the fact that she told an adult to shut up, and hung up on me, and you also don't want to hear about potentially dangerous people she is involved with?" Evil Mom said, "Yeah, I think you heard me correctly," and hung up. My faith in the future of this nation fails daily.