I’ve been doing a lot of reading since the UCSB shooting. I have of course read a lot of tweets, as I mentioned, but I have also read a lot of stories on blogs. I have read a lot of columns and articles. I have seen very different thought processes, very different opinions, very different judgements. I have seen lots of accusations of generalization and wrong placed blame. I have been completely and utterly flabbergasted by at least one of them and thankfully my handy dandy unfollow button was right there when I needed it. I have posted a couple of my stories. I have also been doing a lot of talking. I have talked to the men in my life about what I am involved in, because that’s what you do, but also because it’s important that THEY know.

This morning, instead of talking, I did some questioning and then a whole lot of listening.

Sprog and I had a conversation, that started off having absolutely nothing to do with this. We found out this morning that they dropped his math class yesterday, the one he is supposed to start on Monday. MONDAY. I only found out because I went into his account pay for his book rental and noticed one class on his schedule. Funny, my credit card was surely charged for 2. He checked his email, nothing. I finally found the notification buried in his account but he likely would’ve shown up there on Monday to an empty room had I not waited to pay for his books until this week. There is no other class offered at his campus in the times we need. So we had to make a quick decision as to how to handle this situation and as is our way, one conversation piggy backs into many other things.

We talked about a situation with his friend that is frustrating all of us. We talked about his frustrations here at home and how he reacts to them. How a different tac in talking to us might get him better results. We talked about being more understanding that OTHERS are frustrated and dealing with things too and if you know that you are reactionary, might you not offer them the same leeway? Because if you tell me you snapped like that because you are mad at something else but then can’t accept when someone else is probably doing the same thing? Nope. That isn’t going to work for any of us. Earlier this week I was tweeting about him driving me to sigh so deep it went all the way to my toes.

At one point after we had hashed out any number of issues, I asked him from a teenage boy perspective why he thinks this sort of thing happens, why he thinks we have a rape culture and about being “manly”. Here are some of his observations and opinions (I’ll add where I asked additional questions in italics):

-Here’s what I think it is, at least as far as “No Means No” when I was a kid, you told me No, right? And when you told me No, you meant NO. I couldn’t weasel my way out of it, I couldn’t push back on it, NO was NO and that was that. In my head it set a boundary and an understanding that once a boundary is set, I don’t cross it. So these kids that have parents that tell them No but then give in, or let them get away with it? It puts in their mind that No never means No because they are eventually going to get their way. Because they’ve always gotten their way and even when they do something wrong, they aren’t really going to get into trouble for it, so who cares. It’s like why I still tell you when I’ve done something I know you aren’t going to be happy with and my friends are like DUDE SHUT UP SHE WON’T KNOW and yet I tell you anyway. I mean yeah we fight and have fought and yeah it sucks to have rules and stuff but you need them.

-They probably also have parents that were never really THERE for them. That never really took the time to make sure what they were doing, who they were hanging out with, who they were/are. All the stuff that makes me crazy but is also really good for me. I know you are ALWAYS there for me. I know if I need help, you’ll get it for me. I know you’ll try. Like I have people that will never give up on me. You have to have compassion.

-And we have people like Rick Ross, that has a song about slipping drugs in a girls drink and raping her, like it’s a good thing, like he’s proud of himself. Not cool. I was so happy when Reebok yanked their endorsement money from him. He’s all like I love those Reeboks though and they’re like you’re a rapist, no money for you.

-And that whole “but she was wearing” thing? That’s so stupid. You can’t judge people by what they have on the outside or how they like to dress. People would look at me and think I’m a druggie or a dirtbag. Am I either of those things? No. It’s not about that.

But what about those people that say she was asking for it? Like in her body language.
-Please. That’s ridiculous. No one is going to ASK for that. You can’t ASK for someone to do something AGAINST YOUR WILL. Stupid.

-And how can you ASK for something if you are passed out or drugged or drunk? Stupid. Stupid.

-And these guys that do that? That drug a girl and take advantage of her and then brag about it? Ooohh let me have mad respect for the way that you actually had to TRY to get that girl, that you had to have GAME, that you had to CARE for a second, oh wait, that’s right you did none of those things. What are you bragging about again? Being trash? Got it.

What about people that think it’s because boys are raised to be aggressive, like through sports or whatever
-Yeah, well, that’s about the parents wanting to mold something into who they never were or couldn’t be. Like all these dads that want their sons to do the glory days they never got FOR THEM. You can’t live through your kids, they have to live their lives.

What about the outside influences of the media and celebrity and stuff. Like this is what a man is, this is what a woman should try to be. People blame a lot of stuff on that
-True and there’s a lot of stuff out there but if that’s all there was, I wouldn’t have long hair, I wouldn’t wear my beanie. I would be trying to be some Abercrombie dude to get all the chicks, right? You taught me to be strong and be myself. Pressing up on someone that isn’t into you, weak.

-And look, I’m playing a violent video game right now, does that mean I’m violent? No. IT’S A GAME. Watch. Oh look I’m running from the cops, now they are probably going to shoot me in the back. Yep. I’m dead. Wait for it. Oh hey, look I’m alive again and it only cost me $5000 because that’s OBVIOUSLY going to work in real life?

-I think a lot of kids just don’t know what the world is actually like, like don’t even get me started on what’s happening in Russia right now. You want to bitch and cry because you don’t have the latest phone or new shoes or your mom took away your game? People have worse problems.

Um. You cried when I took away your game. You bitched when you got grounded sir
-Well yeah, I was a little kid, that’s different. You can’t say you’re grown and act like baby that didn’t get their way all the time.

I am always proud of my son but some days he really blows me away.

This entry was posted on Thursday, May 29th, 2014 at 12:12 pm and is filed under Sprog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

8 Responses to “Yes All Women-Conversations With A Teenaged Male”

Blondie Says:

May I share in your “proud mamma” moment? That was an awesome conversation – with great answers.

K Says:

You helped him be who he is, Jess. He then took what you gave him and ran with it.

You both are amazing.

(Also, haaaaaa!, at, “Um. You cried when I took away your game. You bitched when you got grounded sir…”)

Heather Says:

I would be 100% ecstatic for my daughters to find men like your son to love. He’s the real deal. You did an awesome job raising him, and now you’re doing an awesome job continuing to have an open and nurturing relationship with him. I hope that I’m half the mom that you are.

And, I think that he succinctly summed it up right here: “You can’t ASK for someone to do something AGAINST YOUR WILL.”

Well said.

-@bnh2gether

Leah, agirlandaboy (@agirlandaboy) Says:

Sprog is my favorite. He’s such an amazing kid. Well done, lady. Well done.

And his first point, about parents who say no but don’t follow through? That has always been a major peeve of mine (hello, no wonder your kids don’t follow your rules!), but I never connected it to the kind of no-consequences behavior that turns into people doing horrifically awful things because they think they can get away with it. But Sprog’s right on the money and, wow, he totally gets it. All of it. (Sprog for president!)

Sheila Says:

My God, Jess. I totally wept w jealousy over this conversation, because my relationship with my parents is absolutely 0% like the one between y of u and Sprog. But it IS my goal for the relationship between me and my kids. What a wonderful gift you have given the world, Jess. Thank you!

Average Jane Says:

Wow, thumbs up to you for getting all the right messages through!

Sensibly sassy Says:

He’s not even my kid and I am so damn proud

Susie Says:

Jess, you have raised such an awesome kid.

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