Watch Your Mouth!

    This past week, I had to get involved in something that I simply could not hold my tongue about anymore.  You see, the teenage daughter of one of my family members posted something extremely inappropriate on Facebook and I just could not turn a blind eye to it.  Believe me, this was totally against my better judgment because this is not the first time that this has happened with this teenage cousin.  She and her siblings have posted vulgar and sexual things on Facebook in the past and getting involved in it did not turn out very well for me.

    Herein lies the problem, their mother is an enabler.  She had children well into her mid to late thirties and now she complains that she doesn’t have the energy to deal with their teenage shenanigans.  A contributing factor to all of this has been the decline of her health over the years.  Although she is not incapacitated in any way, she has been in treatment over the years for a menagerie of physical ailments and she blames her inability to control her children on her ailing health these past few years.  While this may have been a factor, there are many issues around her inability to parent that have exacerbated the current situation in her home.

    Let’s begin with the parade of people that she has allowed to cop a squat in her house over the years.  Everything from boyfriends to friends have been allowed free room and board in her apartment throughout the lives of these children.  Unfortunately, while her intentions might have been good, she did not do such a great job of properly screening the individuals that her children were exposed to.  They have witnessed everything from fist fights to the police being called in the one place where they were supposed to be safe, their home.

    This brings me to the present and this whole Facebook fiasco.  Let me preface by saying that I am all for gay and lesbian rights and we have many gay friends and family members that we love and support.  However, this does not mean that I think it is appropriate for a 13 year old to be posting status updates about her sexual experimentation with those of the same and the opposite sex.  I thought against getting involved for a fleeting moment but my “Mommy Radar” went into overdrive and I jumped right in.

    I sent the 13 year old a message telling her that she did not need to post such vulgar and inappropriate content because she was a child and should conduct herself as such.  You might be wondering why I did not immediately report what was going on to her mother.  The reason is that this is not the first time that I brought this issue up with her mother who just laughed it off and proceeded to tell me that this behavior was normal and that “all the kids” were doing it.  Obviously, this was an ignorant tree that I had no desire to bark up.  Since I work with teenagers daily and generally do a good job of communicating with them, I figured talking to the teenager was a better strategy.

    Boy, was I wrong.  She proceeded to post on FB that she did not care what anybody thought about her status updates and that she would continue to do whatever she wanted.  Once again, I got a swift kick in the pants for trying to do the right thing.  The only good thing that came out of it was the fact that it put my conscience at ease that I did not just stand by and allow this happen without speaking up.  In the end, I’m not sure how much good it did because it didn’t change anything in this teenager’s life.

    Most people who I spoke to about the incident in real life and on social networking sites seemed to be overwhelmingly in favor of getting involved.  Many of them expressed having gone through similar situations and shared with me that they never even gave it a second thought over whether they should get involved or not and considered it their duty to do something about it.  Others, however, felt that it is better to not get involved, especially if there is a history with the parent of the child being ineffective or being an enabler.  After the fact, I’m not entirely sure that I did the right thing.  What do you think, should I just have minded my own business?

© 2011, Tough Cookie Mommy. All rights reserved.


  1. Can’t we all just…get along…lol

    • Hi, Meghan. Do you consider intervening on behalf of a 13 year old child who is not receiving guidance not getting along? I hope this post doesn’t give off the impression that my motives for getting involved were that we “don’t get along.” I would love to hear your thoughts…

  2. Anonymous says

    This is a tough one.  I would say just leave her… she’ll just find out the hard way when men use and abuse her or when she ends up with an STD.  It is sad, upsetting and aggravating to not be heard when people so ignorantly and neglectfully care for their own children.  Lifetime of hardships for that child.  Report her to FB easier that way.  If you keep commenting or messaging her she’ll just block you and you won’t see any of it at all. 

  3. Debbie Holland says

    As the mother of a teenager, I say hats off to you for trying!  My daughter is 16 now, but when she was that age a requirement of her using FB was that I had to be a friend and had to be able to see anything posted.  If something slipped by me, I would hope that another responsible adult would catch it and say something.  Even though teens act rebellious, I do believe that someone actually showing they care sticks in their minds and I think you did the right thing 🙂

    Debbie- your newest follower

    • Hi, Debbie. As a Middle School teacher, I completely agree with you. I have found that my students respond to and appreciate when I demonstrate to them that I genuinely care about what is going on with them. I’ve always said that children need boundaries and need to be guided in the right direction by the adults that are entrusted with their care and upbringing. Also, it is extremely important for parents to monitor their children when they are using social media. I can tell that you are a caring and involved parent.

      • Debbie Holland says

        Thanks!  I’m a middle school teacher too.  I guess that’s why we share similar beliefs 🙂  

  4. KUDOS from me!  I feel your pain though 🙁

  5. Prezidentiallife says

    New follower from take it from me: Welcome Wednesday. I look forward to keeping up. Thanks for SharingThe Miller’s from Prezidential Life

  6. Anonymous says

    I enjoyed reading this post of yours. I must ask if we are related?? I have had the same issues with a relative of mine, who is not supervised on the internet at all. As sorry as I am that the response was crappy that you received, the
    child is still a minor, and does not grasp the reality of it all. Some day when she is in her 20’s she will thank you. I am sad that she has had to deal with a life full of drama thanks to her mother. This will not help, but hurt her as a child and a grown up. It’s a fine line when to step in because you want to be heard, and do what’s right, or to keep quiet about the matter. As parents , relatives, ,educators or whatever else might be the situation, it is our position to step up to the plate and do what is right for the child. The internet is a very dangerous place for young kids, and there are plenty of sickos out in this world today that prey on young kids, so kudos to you for standing up for what is right. I hope you feel good knowing that you tried to protect your relative.  Your blog is awesome, and so is your style of writing!

    • Thank you so much. I am so glad that you enjoyed my blog and the post. You are so right, unfortunately, the internet is a very dangerous place and children should definitely be monitored when they are on it. I’m sorry that you are having some of the same issues with one of your relatives. I’m sure that you feel just as frustrated and helpless with the whole situation as I do. It is great to connect with you.

  7. BiculturalMama says

    At least you tried whether it succeeded or not. That’s too bad the kid is only 13 and has no filters…it’s going to catch up with the kid one day which is scary.

    • That’s the sad part, this kind of behavior is already catching up with her older sister who has been repeatedly in and out of trouble. It’s sad to watch both of them continue on a path that is going to lead them into troubled waters…

  8. I think you did the right thing. Even though it didn’t change what she was posting, she had to have thought about it and one day it will hit her. Especially when those around her start thinking negatively and/or speaking negatively of her. 

    Thanks for linking up at my Silly Sunday Hop! I’m following back.
    Thanks and Happy Blogging!

  9. Sharon Marcus says

    I say thumbs up for doing what you felt was right. There may have been a little backlash, but underlying the action is a current of concern for her well-being and hopefully if she ever takes a step back she sees that. It takes a strong person to intervene where their opinion isn’t welcomed, so I say bravo. 🙂

  10. Chela Brito says

    I fully agree with what you did, Maria. That child is a minor! If she were over 18, I’d maybe say that you had tried and now you  should just leave her to the consequences. But she’s a kid who has no idea of the repercussions of her actions. If you saw a child doing other dangerous things, would you just say, “Oh, well. She’ll learn the hard way one day?” Of course not. You seem to be one of the few (if not only) adults showing her that you care. Whether she appreciates it or not, you’re clearly there more for her than her mother is. We only intervene in situations when we care about the person. Hopefully, one day she will realize that.

    • Chela, her mother is definitely in space about what is going on with her children. I’m not sure if my intervention even made a difference but, at least it allowed me to put my head to the pillow at night knowing that I tried to do something about it. I hope she will reflect on this in the future and know that I had her best interests at heart…

  11. I think you did the right thing. Going to her in a personal message (so not to embarrass her in front of other people) and clearly and lovingly set out your reasoning for being concerned. It was the right thing to do. I’m sorry that her mom isn’t taking motherhood more serious. 

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