Written on June 13, 2012 at 11:55 am , by Rosalind Wiseman
Teen parenting expert Rosalind Wiseman answers your tough questions.
Q. I am a 13-year-old girl in a difficult situation. I know boys are obsessed with breasts. But even my girlfriends harass me about my chest size and spread rumors that I stuff my bra. Why do kids do this if they know it hurts so much?
A. Unfortunately, you’re on the receiving end of everyone else’s body-image insecurities. For the boys you represent sexuality, and they’re confused and terrified of the power you have over them. As for the girls, our culture says they need big breasts to be beautiful, so they’re probably comparing themselves to you and resenting the attention you’re getting—even if you don’t like it. You must ask your friends to be your allies. Say, “I need you to believe me that comments about my chest make me feel really self-conscious. Please back me up when people say mean things to me.” To the boys say, “Look at my eyes when you’re talking to me. Yes, I have breasts. All women do. Deal with it.”
Do you have a parenting dilemma for Rosalind? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rosalind Wiseman helps families and schools with bullying prevention and media literacy. Her book “Queen Bees and Wannabes” inspired the hit movie “Mean Girls.” She writes the Ask Rosalind column for Family Circle, and blogs about parenting tweens and teens on Momster.com.
Written on October 18, 2011 at 4:01 pm , by familycircle
Puberty is a confusing time for any tween or teen, but one young boy has some additional challenges in store. Besides pressure to fit in and figure out who you are, 11-year-old Tommy, who prefers to be called Tammy, is trying to figure out which gender he identifies with.
The FoxNews website reports that his parents, Pauline Moreno and Debra Lobel, have consented to Tommy/Tammy taking hormone blockers to delay puberty. This way, they say, he can have more time to figure out which gender he identifies with. He began the hormone therapy over the summer, when doctors implanted the medicine in his upper left arm. The procedure will take place once a year until he’s 14 or 15 years old.
Tommy/Tammy was diagnosed with gender identity disorder at 7, but his parents say he expressed dissatisfaction with his male form when he was 3. At the time, he was learning sign language to help with a speech impediment, and he signed “I am a girl” to his parents. They corrected the language, thinking he’d misunderstood the sign for “boy,” but he was insistent.
It’s a controversial move, to be sure. The effects of the hormone blockers are not fully known and the brain is still developing at Tommy/Tammy’s age. Some see it as parents being supportive and trying to allow the child to decide his or her identity while others see it as an unsafe, psychologically damaging decision.
What do you think, readers? Is an 11-year-old child old enough to make these decisions for himself? Are his parents being open-minded or ignoring a larger issue? Tell us in the comments below or share in our Momster Discussions.
- Carly Okyle