Friday, January 20, 2006

The secret life of kids

Today my kid got a spew of instant messages from a "friend" at school. They weren't nice. It was the kind of thing that junior high girls have been doing to each other since the week after they invented junior high girls. But it stinks!

And somehow, it's worse when it comes into your house over the computer. Unless you block the offender, you're going to get a spate of unsolicited crap. And when you're a junior high girl, friendships are very mercurial. So one day you're best buds and the next day you're being addressed in a manner quite PG-13.

I remember suddenly realizing when my daughter was about 4, that she had a secret life that I knew nothing about. While she was at daycare she was making friends with other people that I had never met. She was having conversations and adventures that never quite got reported. Which is good. Children need to develop autonomy. It's part of growing up. But now, as she is approaching the teen years, I flip flop between wanting to know nothing about the secret life and wanting to know everything so that I might protect her.

Junior high girls are mean. And when someone is mean to my kid, I wish I could make it stop. And then I wonder, is she being mean to someone else's kid? I hope not. I hope the kid that I know is the same one that's going to school and sending instant messages and hanging out with her friends.


P. Softly said...

My out-of-the-nest son tells me more than I want to know. Always has.

But with my girls, I've often wanted to be a fly on the wall.

Well, maybe not.

RevHRod said...


I saw a cartoon recently that showed what happens to a fly on the wall- swatters.

I'm thinking there are also risks in knowing everything. I just find the whole cyber-bullying thing to be incredibly painful to watch.

Anonymous said...

I bet your kid is the girl you think she is!