Saturday Aaron went to the local skating rink with friends. I waited in the car while Jim went in to pay. What do I see, but a young pre- or barely-teen girl walking in with a shirt with a profane message on it. I was shocked. I wasn’t so shocked when she followed Jim back out the door, with the shirt on inside out, getting out her cell phone.
Jim said the owner told her she couldn’t stay with the shirt, but she was welcome to turn it inside out. My first thought was, “skank.” My second was, “How could her mother let her leave the house dressed like that?”
I felt bad that I instantly called her a less than flattering name in my head. And out loud to Jim. And that I had a mini-rant that these are the girls surrounding our sons. Jim pointed out that her mother probably had no idea what she was wearing. Oh, so very true!
Which is why mothers of middle school and junior high school aged children need to be vigilant. Many people think this is the age when you can let up on your parenting. They aren’t babies or toddlers. They are so much worse than babies and toddlers!
Junior high was when my friends and I started drinking. I don’t want my kids to drink at 13. This ain’t Hays, Kansas, so I imagine they could have access to so much more than a few stray beers here and there.
We live behind the elementary school. Where I won’t let Aaron play. Why? Sure, we’re in Roselle, Illinois, a small little suburban town. But we have people (kids and adults!) sporting gang signs (e.g., hats tilted left or right, right or left pant leg rolled up, right or left sleeve rolled up, etc.). If you don’t know your local gang signs, call your police department and find out. Yes, we’re not the city, but we’re far from safe.
A middle school teacher told me that the elementary school playground is also a hunting ground for young girls. No, not the neighborhood sex offenders. The high school boys like to come through in their cars and pick up the middle school girls. They aren’t going for ice cream.
Aaron no longer rides his bike. Because I’ve seen how he and his friends ride through the neighborhood–and on to the busy streets nearby. The last thing on his mind is safety–he only wants to get where he’s going and wants to get there fast. Safety be damned! I’ve banned the bike for two reasons: 1) I don’t want him dead and 2) I don’t want someone feeling guilty because there was an accident that my kid caused.
There are so many ways kids this age can get into trouble. They are impulsive and imaginative and willing to try just about anything. See, so much worse than toddlers who are contained in your own living room!
What are some of the things your middle school or junior high school child is exposed to?