When I saw on the news on January 19th about a 14-year-old Californian girl who went missing after another teen was seen beating her up was posted on Facebook, my initial reaction was “Not again.” According to the article, Bailey Karaj was last seen on January 11th when her classmates recorded another female student “pummeled her.” I felt disgusted about the whole story not because it is not worth a headline page, but more because it does happen time and time again.
I felt especially sorry for the mother of this girl because of the pain she must have been experiencing now and prior to this incident. To any parent’s nightmare there is nothing scarier than to know that your daughter had been living a lie, and the implication was that something terrible might happen even when she had no control over them. I was also worried about the dangers of exposing our kids on Facebook especially at that young age. Are we ever going to learn? If we ever do, when (I was wondering) I then also felt deeply sorry for her mother. Probably she had done all she could do to save her little one but to no avail. No mother should be allowed to go through this. I know that public opinion will be leveled on her mother, but if you have children, be careful out there.
Some children are easy to handle than others. Only few of them understood that there are dangers out there. Some of them want to be out there at the expense of their parents. Things happen and changes so fast. Be watchful. I will rather you save your child first before it becomes ugly. To be not so cool is nothing new; it is still okay.
I was not so cool of a kid myself when I was a teenager because I was always reading. I refuse to work with pressure. For example, if something is moving very fast, I always back out. If something got complicated, I would instantly withdraw from the circle. I was sometimes not very good with a circle of friends. Why? Because I had always believed that three is a crowd. More also because I do not want people that will influence and reshape my life. But here I am today; happy and very normal. You too can get your kids to be that way. We are often caught up with this idea of cuddling our children, without explaining to them the implications of keeping one foot out of the door most times. In my opinion, we are becoming negotiating parents either because we are so afraid we were going to lose them or whatever might be the case. We often buy them whatever they want, give them anything to keep them from quietly exploding before our eyes.
By letting them out so much, we indirectly let those same classmates of theirs to bully them quietly. Secondly, we unconsciously allow those friends to help, raise, and shape their lives contrary to what you and I would want them to know. They grew up so fast before our eyes and come up with different and well thought ideas that often will throw us in the fence. How do I know? Well I am also a mother with four girls; ages 12, 9 ½, 8 and 5.
Guess what on Dec 12th 2012, my 12 year old daughter had already opened her own Facebook and supposedly told them she was born in 1989. She even used our laptop video cam to take a picture which she posted online. This process took only less than an hour to achieve. I was sad and angry at the same time and more importantly, I have spent 10 years of my life talking to the same person, and she is not going to back down. We not only took her out from Facebook, but we also stopped her from using internet for a while. But then after two months, I let her have her laptop back and she said, “Now, I am cool again.” But in my eyes, she was always cool. She is very precious before my eyes. I do not know why she needed her friends to tell her she is “cool,” whatever that means. Just in a split second, after I gave her back the computer she already asked to reset her Twitter account password, (then one would have asked what happened to the word of advice that I gave her two months ago about online predators.) And then just like a child she was, she forgot that every email came through my emails. My point is as mothers, we should stop pretending that we do not know what our kids are up to. Sometimes we feel like overprotecting them might be dangerous in the future. Well, it is rather okay to save them than to lose them. Teenage years are the most important time of their life. It is very critical we pay attention to all the details. Live by example and stop cuddling them.