Please can you help/advise me?(3 Posts)
This may be a huge waffle. Apologies in advance vipers.
I put this here, because I'm fucked if I know where else it will be appropriately understood.
My DD starts secondary school next week. Her friend Jane (lovely kid, intellectual, lovely family, but troubled), has decided to persuade My DD (Susan) that she’s bisexual. 😳
If it were Susan's decision, I’m cool. Except Jane keeps telling her to tag everything on Instagram as “LGBT’. Susan can’t even conceptualise it at the moment.I tried to explain, and reinforce that her own choices cannot be dictated, but it’s hard.
I raised it with Jane's mother, who refused engage.
I’m not sure how to handle it, because I know it isn’t Susan's voice, IYSWIM.
At the beginning I thought Susan had made the decision. She was scared to tell me, bless her.
I immediately hugged her and said I would be happy if she was. I’m not worried about the kids’ sexuality, or gender conformity. If they are well adjusted, and happy, it’s all good.
For the record, she said 'I like boys and girls, and so does Jane'.
I’ve questioned my own sexuality at times, and I think it’s a normal part of growing up TBH.
It was a bit out of the blue though. She’s never shown an interest in anyone - so why would she suddenly generalize?
Then I overheard their phone call, which happened as Susan wandered around the house. She wasn't secretive, and had it on hands free. I listened because the conversation baffled me.
The other girl is very mature, and wise beyond her years. The LGBT thing is clearly an obsession. I don’t think it’s about sexual preference at all though. I think she feels ostracized from the other girls, so is intentionally forging an alternate identity. She obviously has a lot of knowledge about the LGBT movement.
This girl has rarely attended school for a year or so due to anxiety. Her Mum home educates, and is extraordinary. She's sacrificed a lot for her kids, and I admire her ability to cope. Another DC has SEN. Her children are so intelligent and mature. She's always been someone I have admired, and cared about. Jane Is finally under CAMHS, but most other kids have decided she is ‘weird’. I’ve always encouraged Susan to be friendly with her. A lot of the other mothers have been vocal about the girl being a bully. I told Susan to be kind to people who are kind to her. Especially when the kid is already struggling.
The bi thing is not a bad thing in itself, but it seems to be an attempt to segregate Susan from her ‘boring normal friends’. Hard to explain.
After the call, I asked her what she knew about ‘LGBT’. She was embarrassed and said she didn’t know what Jane was talking about - but didn’t want to look silly. She was absolutely telling the truth.
I explained, as well as I could do appropriately. I said she needs to make her own decisions, and be her own person. I didn’t tell her she wasn’t bisexual. I just tried to make her think about it without being influenced.
Susan is a young 11. She’s going through puberty, but she hasn’t yet begun to understand who she is.
My older DC was already mentally prepared at 11, but Susan isn’t.
Jane is very mature, way beyond her years.
I don’t know if the girl is just playing, or whether there could be darker intentions.
If you heard her talk, you’d think she was about 20. It unnerved me.
Should I be actively engaging in infiltrating the friendship, or is it just ' what kids do'?
My strong feeling is to be uncomfortable with the situation. I'm not an interfering parent, but I can't sit by and watch her being coerced into an uncomfortable jaunt into her sexuality, before she is a conscious participant.
Any ideas would be welcomed.
I want my daughter to feel empowered as a woman. She isn't a woman yet, so I need some feedback about how to best protect her.
I don't have any suggestions for you, but I think you handled it well. You struck a nice balance of being supportive but not making a bigger deal of it than necessary. If your daughter is bisexual, great, but if she's not, then by not making a fuss either way, she hopefully won't feel that she has to continue with it to somehow save face.
I would be concerned about her referring to her sexuality on Instagram, though, until she's older. How you go about explaining the risks is beyond me.
I firmly believe it's okay to notice that social contagion is a thing, and sometimes it's necessary to limit how much time a child spends with certain friends. Just like with heterosexuality, genuinely gay people don't need to be pushed into feeling sexual attraction towards a specific sex because those feelings arise naturally over time with puberty. So if it looks like grooming and smells like grooming...
Jane sounds like someone has been sexualizing her, exposing her to ideas which are not appropriate period, for anybody, let alone for an 11 year old. And now she's trying to do the same thing to your daughter. Suspiciously interesting isn't it, how her mother didn't want to discuss it with you when you brought it up! I just dumped a friend like that who kept trying to tell me what I should think/do/purchase/etc and engaged in a VERY subtle form of shame-based manipulation when I failed to abide by her wishes/demands. Took me YEARS to realize how toxic that was.
Meanwhile, you seem to be a lovely person who just wants to be nice... but your idea of nice is my idea of "a LITTLE bit of a sacrificial goat", worsening your own position just to be able to tell yourself that "you're being nice". Do you ever give yourself permission to tell someone "no that doesn't work for me, bye"? At the end of the day, you need to put your own daughter first, and it's totally okay to notice that Jane is a problematic head-trip and it's not your job to fix her.
What's also interesting, is your post has a ton of info about this girl Jane, half of it could be put under a total positive side, while the other half is totally negative, and then it's as if you've decided to only see the good because if you allowed yourself to see the red flags about Jane for what they are then "you'd be a bad person".
Personally, I'd be very afraid this girl is going to screw with your daughter's head real bad, and so I'd either be pointing out the mechanics of manipulative behavior so DD can recognize these things for herself; and/or in addition, not letting my kid play with Jane any longer. But all that's just the opinion of me, some random internet stranger. You still get to do what you want.
Good luck to you and your daughter
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