Best advice to give my 12 year old DD?(12 Posts)
Having just ploughed through that awful thread about the husband letching over young girls and watched the viral video of NY street harassment I am looking for the best advice to give to my 12 year old DD.
She is still at that stage where she has no time for boys (probably has her brother to thank for that! ) but she seems to have an eye for fashion (she definitely didn't get from me!) and I wouldn't be surprised if people who didn't know her would assume she was more like 14. I have seen men checking her out - where is the vomit emoticon when you need it???
She is enjoying her burgeoning independence, going to the shops with her friends without a grown up in tow.
I was a frumpy, dumpy child who grew up in the countryside so feeling a bit at sea on how to best advise my pretty, fashion conscious city girl!
What are the best tips and advice to give my child (child, for god sake ) to handle growing up today? Or what do you wish someone had told you?
If anyone makes her feel uncomfortable, she should politely but very firmly tell them to stop.
I have an 11 year old DD. So will watch this thread with interest.
I wish someone had told me how wrong it is that men letch at young girls and it isn't 'just the way men are'. Would have helped me deal with it (if only in my mind).
Don't live your life to please men (thankfully someone did tell me that - and I took their advice at the time). You are not an adornment despite what some may think.
Female friendship is valuable.
There is nothing wrong with excluding men or not wanting to be with men. Heterosexuality is not the only way (may be age appropriate advice there!)
I would put an extra bit on boxoftissue's advice - and say only if they feel comfortable rebuffing inappropriate men. Her safety is paramount and men don't always listen and could get abusive (as the NY harassment thread shows). It also relies on your DD having the presence of mind to be polite and being able to respond. She shouldn't need to have to rebuff in the first place and being polite tbh should be the least of her worries if she is feeling humiliated/scared/anxious. 'Fuck off' is fine (safety providing!). As is running/walking away, finding friends or a more public place if that was more appropriate. How she reacts is likely to be appropriate for the situation she finds herself in. Her instincts will be correct. Despite what other people (or the man in question) may say.
"No " is a complete sentence. You don't need to explain why.
There is no need to be polite to someone who makes you feel uncomfortable. Just tell them so and walk away.
Silence is sometime the best approach. Sadly.
Always look confident and that you know where you are going.
Don't be afraid to ask for help. Shops and houses with cars outside are good places to go.
Use your phone as a means to show you are willing to act. To phone the police, to record or photograph the person.
Follow your instincts. They are usually right.
But never let your fears or concerns prevent you from living your life. This is tricky. ...
can you tell I have a twelve year old daughter too. I have thought about this a lot.
Trust your gut feeling. If something doesn't feel right then it's not right.
No is no and you have the right to say no to anyone at anytime. I found this one important because we spent primary years telling her to listen to her teachers etc now she needs to trust her own feelings more.
Yes, I was also going to say 'Follow your instincts'. If you don't feel comfortable in a situation or with a bloke, get out of it, get away from him. First, last, best rule.
And yes, no need to be polite. Or feel pushed into being 'nice'. The correct answer to someone who,eg, tries to aggressively push you into something by saying eg are you a snob or something, is "Yes if you like I'm a snob, now bugger off'. Honestly I saw a horrible personal protection video of a real-life situation where someone had been bullied like that into allowing accompaniment. And there were bad results.
I could add some routine practical personal security tips but don't think you really want to frighten a 12 yr old too much....
Personally I have every intention of getting my dd to do martial arts training. I know what some feminists think of that but I prefer practicality. Aikido is good and should be possible to learn effectively from 13 or so.
I very much agree with scallop on the below:
You are not an adornment despite what some may think.
I wish someone had got that message to me when I was a teenager. It would have saved me many unhappy years.
I think it's so great that you are planning to talk to your daughter about this. I never felt able to talk to my mum about it when it happened to me and I want to make sure it will be different between me and my daughter when she gets older.
My daughter is still very young (she's 8), but I will follow my mother's footsteps. My mom was very open with us - in an appropriate way. She gave us picture books about sex when we were very young and taught us the birds and bees at a young age too (again, in an appropriate manner).
I only found out recently how embarrassing she found it at the time. She said, "I felt the need to let you guys know young, because I was never told and I was scared by a lot of things." For example, my grandmother never old my mother what a period was & when she was 12 she thought she was dying until her sister helped her out.
A good example is the Scandinavians - they teach sex ed from kindergarten onward and they have the lowest underage pregnancy rates and instances of sexually transmitted diseases in the world.
As long as it's worded/expressed appropriately for their age, I think children should be aware of the consequences of sex. If you find it difficult, buy a picture book tailored toward their age-group. They're easy to find.
As for fashion - she'll know better than you, just mind it doesn't get out of hand.
I would second the "always go with your gut. Your instincts are there for a reason" advice.
And also, don't ever give a man or boy the benefit of the doubt. If he's saying stuff or acting in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, get the hell out of there or at least keep him at arms length. Assume he's dangerous to you and act accordingly. It doesn't matter if he's not, if you're wrong, he won't know you've assumed he's dangerous and even if he suspects, your safety is more important than his hurt feelz, and if you're right you will be protecting yourself and you have the absolute right to do that.
Sorry I didn't get back to this thread yesterday, distracted by visitors and pumpkin carving!
Thanks for all your good advice.
I think the follow your instincts and don't worry about being rude has hit the nail on the head of my biggest worries. She is a lovely, well behaved kid (though I say so myself! ) so I know that she'll probably find that really hard. She has actually done 3 years of karate but don't think in a million years she'd actually ever feel able to use it in a dodgy situation.
So I think I'll start with don't engage, don't worry about being polite and place of safety stuff and move on from there.
What a shitty thing it is that I have to worry about my 12 year old being harassed.
No at 12 I doubt she'd be able to use it in a real life scenario tbh. But half of it is about giving you confidence in a conflict situation. It's valuable for that alone. The practical experience helps you to keep your head.
Re being polite. Agree no need to be polite if bloke is being rude/aggressive. But if he's not then rudenes might anger/antagonise him and create a dangerous situation. IMO better to be polite and walk away asap.
Also DH says judo much better than karate for self defence.
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