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February 06, 2006


Christine Louise Hohlbaum

Your post was truly moving. You've raise some great issues here. Your stepdaughter is struggling to find her way in life. Keeping the communication open is very helpful.

I know Dr. Beth offers advice on teens. I was on her show recently. http://www.drbeth.com

Best of luck to you!

Warm regards,

Vacation Mamma

I found this tidbit from an article on the Superbowl and advertising = driving people to the web...
A good thing about Dove, is they've put money behind raising awareness and have created a "buzz" - which is good if nothing else - raising awareness of the problem is often the first step in solving a problem. Thank you Dove

"•Dove. The soapmaker aired one ad featuring girls, which directed viewers to its campaignforrealbeauty.com website that promotes self-esteem. The site saw a 1,600% increase in traffic between 7 p.m. Sunday and 2 p.m. on Monday, vs. an average 24-hour period, says Dove marketing director Philippe Harousseau. "


I really enjoyed that commercial and have actually gone to look at Dove's website... They have a workbook you can download for moms and girls with activities, etc. I haven't done that yet (my girls are 3 y.o and 6 months, so I haven't really had time to download - much less do the activities).

However, since I spent most of my adolescent years, and my early 20s feeling like crap about myself because of things other people said and did, and how I let myself take those words with far more gravity than they were worth, I definitely believe that as a mom, it's my responsibility to raise my girls to be strong, and to have faith in themselves and their abilities. How to do this? I don't know - but I'm definitely going to try...


For me, the shift away from that part of teenagedom - or, at least, towards not caring as much about what others thought - came when I got into athletics. It gave me a group of friends outside of school who didn't judge me based on looks or based on what the kids at school thought of me - they accepted me as a fellow teammate, and that was all.

Also, one thing that we do every year here at the University of Florida (and which other colleges do too) is the Writing on the Wall project. Basically, the students paint concrete bricks with mean things people have said to them - ranging from "You're so fat, you'll never get a boyfriend" to "Spic!" to "That kid is so gay!", and cement them together to construct a wall. Then, at closing ceremonies, teachers and inspirational leaders give speeches and everybody gets a turn to whack a sledgehammer at the wall, symbolically tearing down the meanness and hurt. I think that would be a really worthwhile thing to do in middle and high schools too, and I can't believe no one's taken that step yet (at least I haven't heard of anyone doing it...)


I just finished a parenting seminar last Saturday where one of the instructors (who has or has had several teenagers of his own, plus works with at-risk teens for a living) said that it's all about classifying and categorizing at this age, coupled with the need to put things in absolutes. It's a black and white world, and it's very very hard to get tweens to see it differently.

The good news (or so he says) is that teens will begin to grow out of it around 14-15 - and anything you can do to try and drive wedges in between the black and whites probably won't hurt - but don't be surprised if they don't listen to you (or appear like they're listening, at any rate.)

The Beast Mom

Thanks for blogging about this. I don't have kids at this age yet, so it's helpful to hear what you're thinking about/dealing with.

My off-the-cuff reaction is that it all sounds too familiar to my own growing up years. As a teen in the 80's, I knew plenty of kids who did the exact same things. Maybe we didn't have IMing, but we had note passing, nasty phone calls, lunch room meanness, and sleazy "Like a Virgin" fashion trends. Maybe girls of all generations vex their moms with similiar behavior (just change the name of the adored sleazy rock star, the technical mode of communication, and the cultural language of the day).
When my girl reaches this stage, I know I'll likely be vexed too. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Vacation Mamma

I really wish Dove had a solution...I know Girl Scouts was one of their partners, and as a former leader of 7 years, it is only part of the equation, and not a very strong one at that for the typical middle class tween or teen. Not until it's cool, and it hasn't been for at least 30 years when I quit as a tween.

I too am a parent in this age group and see first hand the ambiguity these girls deal with on a daily basis. On one hand they know this labelling and tearing down of one another is wrong, but on the other if they don't participate they face possible outside status. Never mind that in the same game the "go daddy" style commercials out numbered the Dove style how many to one?

I don't have the answer, but I share in the pain...for my past self, for my daughters, and for all women. "I Am Somebody" - period, end of story - worthy - just keep repeating it :)


That commercial made me tear up, actuallly.

I don't have the answers and my girls are so young (pre-K and 1st grade) but I think about this stuff too, worrying about the future. I hope that our love (their parents) will count for a lot. I really hope so.


I really liked that it aired since more and more girls are watching the game. It was a relief from the other crappy commercials like Go Daddy.

How do we get girls to rise up without putting down? I think our first job is to give them good examples. 10 years ago, despite being a feminist, I didn't have many good girlfriends. I'm thankful that today I do and that my Ella will grow up seeing Mama have fun with her friends and not gossipy with a bunch of women.

Other than that, I haven't a clue.

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