Deep Thoughts As A Junior High Mom

Posted Jan 29 2016, 12:21 pm

So….the junior high had an honor roll breakfast today. I didn’t take pictures because it was pre-coffee and…that’s my only excuse. A ton of kids were honored which is awesome. It also made me start ruminating over a text conversation Jackson has been having lately with a friend who is also a girl. A girl who was at the breakfast. A girl who ‘liked’ him for a while, and he ‘liked’ her then only liked her as a friend and blah blah, 7th grade stuff. But lately she’s been texting him for homework help in science. Not a big deal except the tone and content of the texts are more than ‘hey, can you explain tonight’s homework’. They are more like ‘omg, you’re so good at science and I’m so bad and will you help me b/c you’re way smarter’.

Um…not the truth. Jackson and I had a little conversation that went something like:

Me: You know she’s really smart, right? (I do know this about the girl)
Him: Yeah.
Me: I mean maybe she’s smarter than you in some subjects. Maybe even science.
Him: Yeah.
Me: Why do you think she’s acting like she’s not smart?
Him: I don’t know, Mom. Can I go play Xbox?
Me: Because it’s ok that a girl is smarter than you sometimes, right?
Him. Yeah. Can I go play Xbox?

He doesn’t see that there’s any insidious undercurrent here and I don’t know, maybe I’m overreacting. But it feels like around this age is when some girls–not all girls but enough that I’m noticing it—begin to make themselves smaller in order to get the attention of boys. They forget that they were elementary school badasses and whether they wore princess capes or ripped jeans or rainbow loom bracelets up to their elbows, these girls kicked ass.

And I’m having a hard time resisting the urge to grab the phone and text ‘STOP RIGHT NOW. Do not make yourself smaller for any boy, especially not mine. Not every boy (or friend or girl) is going to like you the same way you like them, but make sure the ones that do like you BECAUSE of how amazing and smart you are, not because you pretend to be less.’ At some point that pretending becomes real and….oh, it just makes my heart hurt.

Or maybe it’s because it reminds me of the ways I made myself smaller to fit in or to get someone’s attention (although seriously it never occurred to make myself seem less smart in the ways I was smart – but I had plenty of other lessons to learn). I guess I just hope that all of us parents are using our individual lessons to help our kids be bigger and better, not smaller. I’m raising a boy and a girl and I think there’s a responsibility on both ends – giving both girls and boys the confidence to be their best selves and to gravitate toward others who are doing the same. Smart people are interesting and funny and challenging and that’s good no matter what.

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