Parents, Where Are You?

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Parents, Where Are You?
Who is parenting the parent? Are households being run by 12 year olds? Parents need to parent.

A month ago a video went viral when a 12 year old girl recorded herself looking very sincere with a cute hat on her head asking if she was pretty. The little girl took the recording, posted it on YouTube and the rest is history. Every person interested in vulnerable, silly little girls modestly dressed with a cute voice responded. The responses were mixed and extreme. Some comments told her how ugly she was, some validated her concern, but reassured her, and a few scolded her for doing such an action. The most common criticism asked where her parents were (her mom was especially named), and why were they not monitoring what she does online. Last week on Fox 26 during my segment of answering viewer questions, a 12 year old wrote me the following question: Dear Mary Jo, I am on spring break and tape your segments each week. This week I have a big problem. I want to go to a concert. I am an honors student, get only A’s and B’s and am very responsible. I want to go to a concert with my friend. My mom says I am too young. I have reassured her that I will call her every half hour, and she knows my friend and trusts her. Will you please help convince my mom that it is okay for me to go? Thank you, Kellie. I answered Kellie’s question on Fox 26 this week, because she asks a very poignant question. How can a 12 year old talk mom into getting her own way? It’s obvious that Kellie has no idea what dangers lurk in a concert crowd for a 12 year old. Kellie is able to use the internet and Facebook (even though you aren’t suppose to be on Facebook until you are 13 years old), she has a cell phone so she can call home to check in with mom, and she believes that if she continues to bargain a bit longer with mom, that mom will acquiesce due to fatigue. Moms (and dads) are more and more under the gun. They not only have to try to secure their child’s safety with the dangers they can see, but they have to try and minimize the more threatening danger -- the virtual world these kids belong to. This was my answer to Kellie: Dear Kellie, I want to thank you for watching my segments on Fox 26 and trusting me with your very important question. I love your mom. I want to put her face up on a billboard and say, “This is what a mother does…she says, “NO.” You sound like a smart girl, and you sound as if you have been taught to negotiate and be assertive. These are wonderful traits, and I am glad your mom has helped nurture these skills. There is one trait you must learn a bit more though…and that is respect for “NO” when it is in your own best interest. I agree with your mother. You are much too precious to go to a concert at the age of twelve without a parent. You have no idea, Kellie, of the possible dangers, and no one will ever love you like your mom. I would like you to go to your mother and tell her that you are so grateful you have a loving, engaged mom, and tell her Mary Jo wants to use her for a poster mom. Lastly, if you really want to negotiate further, one thing she may enjoy is if she invites a friend and they take you and your friend to the concert. You can make it a “girl’s night” and strengthen the mother-daughter bond that you are so fortunate to have. Thanks for asking me my opinion; I am expecting great achievements from you in the future. Mjo Being a parent has always been tough, but being a parent today is tough for much different reasons.

Article contributed by

Mary Jo Rapini

Counselor/Therapist

For more information go to: www.maryjorapini.com
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Location: Houston, TX
Credentials: LPC
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