DEAR ABBY: My daughter is in fifth grade at a very small, rural school. She’s outgoing and makes friends easily.
My problem is, when she comes home from school, she tells my husband and me about the conversations the other fifth-grade girls are having. Most of them involve boys. However, recently the conversations are about sex and things these girls say they want boys to do to them, which include rape.
My husband and I are appalled. My daughter knows that it’s not appropriate to discuss these topics, but she is forced by these girls to listen. What should we do? Should we discuss this with the other parents involved? Please help. — CONCERNED PARENT IN OKLAHOMA
DEAR CONCERNED: While discussing sexual matters may not seem appropriate to you, that’s what some children in grammar school do. The problem, however, is that a lot of misinformation can be transmitted among them. Be glad your daughter trusts you enough that she’s willing to tell you what is being said.
If this were my daughter and I had not yet had “the talk” with her, I would waste no time in initiating it. Her classmates may say some of the things they do for shock value and have no concept about the violence and physical and emotional damage that a rapist can inflict.
Not only should you bring this to the attention of the parents of these classmates, also talk to the school principal. (Could these girls have been exposed to rape, pornographic movies, etc.?) The best way to combat screwed-up thinking like this is through frank, open discussion and education.
DEAR ABBY: I have 18-year-old twin sons who are seniors in high school and more mature than most at their age. My husband and I raised them with responsibility and manners, and people comment on how well they behave.
My problem is: Neither one seems interested in socializing. They don’t date and never have friends over. They tell me people their age are “morons.”
The boys are very close. They still share a room, and want to attend college together and major in the same field. I’m worried that they are TOO close and need to separate from each other and get out more. I worry that they aren’t experiencing the life of typical teenagers.
Should I be worried about this or wait and see what college brings them? — MOTHER OF TWINS
DEAR MOTHER: Your boys may be responsible and mannerly, but they appear to be socially immature. The time to have separated them and encouraged them to develop their individual personalities was when they entered their teens.
While it is normal for twins to share a special closeness, the fact that they don’t socialize, don’t date and consider their contemporaries all to be morons IS something to be worried about.
If you are going to contribute to their college educations, it might be helpful to insist they go to different schools. But before you do, consult a licensed counselor for guidance because it may be traumatic for them.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at http://www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in “What Every Teen Should Know.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)