Younger moms -- what is your opinion of these two t-shirts for a 13-year-old girl? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 73 Old 07-07-2013, 01:41 PM
 
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Why?  And i'm genuinely asking because to me it wouldn't be different.  Either way the shirt seems rude to me, whether the parent chooses it for their child (why would you do that?) or the kid chooses it....Why does this child want/need to say "bite me" if they are meaning it in a rude way.  I can understand if she is just naïve and thinks of only the cute vampire play on words but other people are not all going to read it that way and there in lies the problem for me.

I was a very naïve 13 year old(who turned into a very jaded 15 year old quite quickly) and I wouldn't have understood fully if someone made a lewd response to a "bite me" shirt at that age.

The fact is, I don't find the shirt rude in the first place. T-shirts are a widely used form of self expression so I wouldn't put the words in my child's mouth, so to speak, by picking out expressive t-shirts. But I find it acceptable for an older child or teenager to pick out clothes that express themselves if they aren't racist, sexist, or otherwise bigoted/hateful. I'm not going to get worked up about a bit of teenage style attitude t-shirts. They are much less offensive, IMO, than all the "girls rule and boys drool" style shirts that made for much younger kids, or the "sorry girls, I only date models" on young boys.
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#62 of 73 Old 07-07-2013, 02:15 PM
 
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Regardless of how we, as female adults, may choose to interpret "Bite Me," I can absolutely assure that many young adolescent males will interpret it in a sexual way. Most guys of that age could interpret darn near anything as sexual (yes, and girls, too, before someone fusses at me for being sexist).

I have taught kids that age for a long time and have a college-aged son.

And at a certain point, it has to be left to be the boys' problem that they think those things. Girls shouldn't have to second guess their every choice of actions, movements, words, and clothes. That's just grooming them into rape culture.
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#63 of 73 Old 07-07-2013, 02:20 PM
 
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I'm always arguing with dh that words that started out innocent and have taken on sexual implications to people with their minds in the gutter are still ok to say in non sexual contexts. I'm not going to try to get ds to not say something is screwed up or that something sucks just because it makes some people think of sex. That's their problem.What would carpenters do if the word screw was widely considered rude? rolleyes.gif that's right!

 

 

any thing to anyone can be sexual depending on the individual 

 

AND frankly I find wanting replies from younger moms highly rude! All ages will most likely view the child's shirt - making a big deal out of it is sure way to make an issue out of nothing-IMO

 

I would have not have said a word and just let her get, it wear it, and it would be old in a few weeks time - end of issue


 

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#64 of 73 Old 07-08-2013, 09:10 AM
 
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Originally Posted by dauphinette View Post

Why?  And i'm genuinely asking because to me it wouldn't be different.  Either way the shirt seems rude to me, whether the parent chooses it for their child (why would you do that?) or the kid chooses it....Why does this child want/need to say "bite me" if they are meaning it in a rude way.  I can understand if she is just naïve and thinks of only the cute vampire play on words but other people are not all going to read it that way and there in lies the problem for me..

 

 

To me it is about allowing teen as much autonomy as possible, because I believe that it is healthy and normal for teens to make decisions for themselves. I believe that they need guidance, for us to talk with them, and for us to set some boundaries, but that the MORE autonomy they have during these years, the smoother the transition to adulthood.

 

In childhood, we get to call all the shots for our kids. In adulthood, we call NONE of the shots. The teen years *should* be a gentle transition. Teens are exposed to more things, so we get to talk to them about how we see different things. They come up with new ideas and want to try to new things and spread their wings, and we get to provide encouragement. None the less, if we just *control* everything, then they won't have the opportunity to learn as much for themselves, and then they will have developed reasoning at the magic age when they are adults.

 

This is also our chance to set the tone for what our relationship with our kids will be like when they are adults. The more we are able to provide guidance and a safety backup while letting them develop independence and life skills, the more we establish ourselves as people to talk to when they have moral questions -- not because we DEMAND they do what we say, but because we allow a grey area of things they know wouldn't be our first choice, but that we respect that they don't have to be *just like us* to be OK.   I think this is really a key point for the OPer, because from her post, she and her DD have not started establishing this kind of relationship at all.

 

I honestly don't think the shirts are a big deal -- may be they would be seen as different in different communities. I live in a very liberal city, not the bible belt. I live in a mid size city, not a small town. May be else where, they would be some huge deal. But quite honestly, they wouldn't raise any eyebrows here.

 

If my kids did want to wear something that I had a problem with, then I would gentle talk to them about it and about why I was concerned.

 

The concerns raised in this thread are not concerns I have ever had -- what will the church ladies think? What if the *nice* girls shun you and you have to be friends with boys? What if a boy has sex cross through his head?  I find all of those silly. I don't care about the church ladies. My girls ARE nice girls, and a lot of teen girls are ninnies. One of my DDs prefers boys for friends because they are more straightforward and share more of her interest. Teen boys find a lot stuff sexual -- when I was a teen at church, the CHURCH boys watched the way girls ate ice cream cones and felt that showed how well they would preform oral sex. Boys *can be* jerks, and I'm more concerned about raising STRONG WOMEN than worrying about teen boys thinking about sex.

 

I've read a scary number of teen vampire novels, and they mostly aren't sexual. Vampires and zoombies are used a lot for humor. I've heard the phrase "bite me" used quite a bit, and never once was it sexual. I don't think that a shirt that is intended to be funny, cute, a little edgy, etc. is necessarily a sign that a young girl is seeking inappropriate sexual attention because she is on her way to slutdom. Sometimes, a shirt is just a shirt.

 

But I also think it is OK for a parent to draw a boundary for their teen. I do it for things that cross *my* lines. When it comes up for us, I talk to my kids a lot about *why* and I really listen to them. It is a dialogue. If one (or both) of these shirts really crosses the line in the OPer's community and she really can't make peace with them, then I don't think there is anything wrong with explaining that to her DD. Perhaps they would work for sleep shirts, or all girl sleep overs.  (I also think she needs better reasons than have currently been brought up in this thread.)

 

BUT -- I would recommend that any parent of teen who who overriding their wishes for their own life do so VERY mindfully, with talking, but with a lot of listening. Consider what your teen is learning from this for later. The teen years are our LAST chance to teach our kids, and if we just veto their wishes then we really aren't giving them anything to take into adulthood. I think the conversation with the teen about the shirts is a lot more important than whether or not the parent ends up allowing the shirt, because that's where the learning happens.


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#65 of 73 Old 07-08-2013, 12:35 PM
 
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This.

 

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Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

  Sometimes, a shirt is just a shirt.

 

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#66 of 73 Old 07-08-2013, 12:50 PM
 
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You have raised some great points, Lindaonthemove, and I appreciate your thoughtful response!

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#67 of 73 Old 07-08-2013, 01:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by dauphinette View Post

You have raised some great points, Lindaonthemove, and I appreciate your thoughtful response!

 



thank you. This is something that I've thought a lot about. My parents, like yours, screwed it up. However, they did it in the opposite way. They are super authoritarian and allowed me no freedom, and just labeled everything as evil. Although I was under tight wraps at home, the minute I left I was like a cage animal that had been set free.

 

Like you, I did stupid things that I would really prefer to spare my own children from. I think that we have a lot in common in that we are questioning what is the best way to spare our children from the painful mistakes we made.

 

I'm trying to find that sweet spot of loving guidance while allowing them develop into who they will be as adults. I think sometimes I miss it and am too permissive, but I suppose that given my background, that is the end of spectrum that feels more comfortable to me because I deeply know how much I was damaged by my parents being overly controlling.

 

There are a couple of article on parenting adolescents you might find interesting. They advocate "authoritative" rather than "authoritarian" parenting. I would prefer that they had different terms, because those are just to similar for my brain!

 

http://www.human.cornell.edu/pam/outreach/parenting/research/upload/Parenting-20Styles-20and-20Adolescents.pdf

 

http://www.parentingscience.com/authoritative-parenting-style.html


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#68 of 73 Old 07-08-2013, 03:28 PM
 
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I'm trying to find that sweet spot of loving guidance while allowing them develop into who they will be as adults. I think sometimes I miss it and am too permissive, but I suppose that given my background, that is the end of spectrum that feels more comfortable to me because I deeply know how much I was damaged by my parents being overly controlling.

 

I can identify with this somewhat.  I'm not interested in being my kids' friend, though sometimes I wonder if that's how it looks from the outside.  What I am interested in is getting to my kids' adulthood without them deeply resenting me and turning away from me altogether.  I want some kind of 'friendly' (for lack of a better word) relationship with them, so if they're living all of 10 minutes away they won't avoid seeing me for months at a time.  So, long ago when my first child was only months old, I decided if I was going to err as a parent in any way  (which is inevitable), I'd rather be too permissive and have kids who still want to be around me occasionally.  

 

"The problem these days is that parents want to be their kids' friend, not their parent!"   Oh well. 

 

What this has to do with t-shirts...


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#69 of 73 Old 07-09-2013, 07:25 AM
 
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"The problem these days is that parents want to be their kids' friend, not their parent!"   Oh well. 

 

I'm friends with my mom, my son is friends with me. I never understood that can't be friends thing... Being friends doesn't mean you don't give guidance or have standards. It doesn't mean your child doesn't listen to you or you have to play with him all day. Who could be friends with someone who didn't respect their opinion, anyway? Respect is the foundation of friendship. Yet people think they lose their children's respect if they are friends? They may lose their authoritarian position but that is not at all the same thing as losing respect...

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#70 of 73 Old 07-09-2013, 01:45 PM
 
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Hmmm...just for the sake of continuing to mull this over, I wonder if the responses would have been different if:

a) OP only solicited comments from parents who had girls of her daughter's age or older, and/or
b) if OP had a 13 year old boy who wanted to wear either of the shirts.

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#71 of 73 Old 07-09-2013, 01:54 PM
 
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My daughters are 13 and 15.

Like my daughters, my son would only wear shirts like that around the house.

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#72 of 73 Old 07-09-2013, 02:35 PM
 
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I think people would find them much less suggestive on a 13 yo boy.

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#73 of 73 Old 07-10-2013, 02:33 PM
 
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Reading "Bite Me" on a t-shirt before I've met a person makes me assume that they will the sort of person who will say, "Bite me!" in order to be dismissive or in an attempt to "win" an argument. 

 

I've never heard that phrase used in any other way.

 

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