Ten days ago my oldest granddaughter turned thirteen years old. The magic age when you become a teenager and feel a bit more grown up. A time to assert your independence, try out new personalities by changing your hair color or choice of clothes or group of friends. Being thirteen is one of those life changing moments, the start of so many we get to go through in our lifetime.
My granddaughter lives with her mother and younger brother and sister, they’re 2,600 miles away. When they first moved back to live in Arizona, she continued to be in touch more regularly through phone calls. My contact more recently has been confined to the occasional Facebook message. Early on in the previous school year I noticed a post where she was clearly bullying a girl on the playground; following her around with the camera phone creating a video she titled: Fat Ass Attacks. I sent her this message:
During the year she lived with us we talked a lot about boyfriends and relationships, sitting on her bed as she was falling asleep she would ask why I married “Grandpa”. Later, I found out from my mom and one of my sisters, she’d asked them about why they’d married the men they did. I know she asked out of curiosity and a bit of confusion about how a man and a woman could be together even if they argue sometimes. That was not her frame of reference; she’d been growing up watching her mom and dad drink and argue to the point of violence. As a result she cared for her younger siblings, making sure they were okay and being the parent.
I was worried about her when she first came to live with us and was learning to be a little girl. I am even worried now. Her Facebook posts are fraught with language 13 year-olds shouldn’t know, let alone use on a regular basis. The pictures are of a sexualized, parentified little girl growing up way to fast.
She does have the capacity to be a good and compassionate young woman. I pray every day that will happen for her.
- Little Boy Asks Santa For Kids To Stop Bullying His Twin Sister (y98.cbslocal.com)
- The Bullying Basics: Facts, Tips, and Help for Kids (terkinn.wordpress.com)
- Angela, Part One (365daysofthankyou.com)