Dealing with Tweens 101 – Play it Cool and Avoid Miley Cyrus

miley wrecking ball







Recently, my 11yo son made me watch Miley Cyrus’s “We Can’t Stop” and “Wrecking Ball” videos. He felt that I had to see them to believe them. Now, if you haven’t seen the videos, let’s just say one is a lot of twerking and writhing and what we use to call “freaking” and “dry humping” (way back in the 80s). Plus a little girl on girl innuendo and a lot of Miley’s scantily clad body rubbing up against things like she’s trying to itch a yeast infection without using her hands.

 And the other is a lot of anger nudity and licking of a sledge hammer. A lot of licking, so much licking that I was hoping the video would end with her getting a tetanus shot.

Frankly, I wasn’t sure why I had to see these videos. Was he trying to say, “She is hot” or “This is why I started locking my door” or “This beats America’s Got Talent every night of the week”? 

When they were over he looked at me waiting for my response … “Well? Do you believe that?” he asked impatiently.

As is often the case with tweens, I’ve found it’s best to stay quiet and say little until I know what the hell we’re talking about and how I need to react, so that he’ll talk to me for the rest of the afternoon. One wrong phrase or analysis of the situation and I could get one word or grunted answers for the next 5 hours.

“No, I can’t believe it.” I said, with as little inflection as possible.

Shit, what can’t I believe? That Miley Cyrus kept that hair cut? That she was once Hannah Montana? That she could be so smokin’ hot?

“You know, those videos make Miley Cyrus a total douchebag” my son said, whispering the last word. Whenever he says a bad word around me he whispers it. It’s kind of like a wink. Like, I know I probably shouldn’t say this, but you get it mom, you’re all modern, but I still fear you too much to say it in full voice.”

Mind you, I was blindsided … frankly, I wasn’t expecting that assessment. A douchebag, really?

Well, technically, she is, I mean, she has so many young fans and singing songs about drugs and riding a big ball nude is not the best way to break out of the teen princess mold (see Anne Hathaway for the best way).  Plus, after the VMAs performance that made me feel like poor Robin Thicke was eye raped and may need counseling … and a lawyer, I’m thinking “douchebag” is not so far off the mark.  But I don’t think that’s what my son meant … And then, it dawned on me, he didn’t mean douchebag at all, he meant Miley Cyrus is a ho’bag (rookie mistake).

Awwwwwwww, how adorbs is that? He meant to say ho’bag but he didn’t really know the word and he got it all confused. It’s exactly like when he was three and used to say bops instead of grapes and of course we never corrected him because it was so cute when he asked for “mo bops.” 

So now, do I correct him? I mean, how cute will it be when we’re out and he calls scantily clad girls douchebags? So cute. 

Buuuut, clearly kids at school have been saying “ho’bag” and he’s naively (though let’s not forget, adorably) using “douchebag” instead … and let’s face it, that can’t be good for his socialization skills.  How will he hang if he uses the wrong “bag”?

“Honey, I think you’re using the wrong word. See, a douchebag is more like a dick,” I explained in an ironically Mr. Rogers sounding tone.  By the way, is so much easier to explain that than algebra … and I’m pretty sure it’ll be more useful to him in his adult life.  “I think you meant to say ho’bag, which is someone that’s trashy, overly sexy and dresses like a hooker.”

Now, if you go back and read that last sentence, like I just did … you may be all, “Jenny, did you ever imagine you’d be having that conversation with one of your kids?!?”

“No, but half the shit I say, literally shocks me when I go back over it in my head.”

If you have little ones and not tweens or beyond, you may actually want to chastise me right now, I would’ve chastised me a couple years ago (I didn’t utter a bad word around the kids for like an entire decade), but I’ve learned a truth that you get to know when your child joins the tweens movement: If you can’t 21 Jump Street yourself into conversations you’re screwed until they graduate college (bare minimum).

It’s sink or swim, hang out or hang it up, get it or get lost.  I’m not saying you shouldn’t continue to parent or be the one with a keg in your basement, but if you don’t pick your battles with as much care as you would cut a wire on a bomb, you become the uncool parent who doesn’t get to know what’s really going on. The one in the dark.  The one who doesn’t get to (unbeknownst to your children) call school to discuss issues you’re privy to.

The truth is, at some point you go from being the most awesome all knowing brilliant person on Earth, to the most moronic loser evah! … overnight … like the flip of a switch — no matter how awesomely you could skate backwards, or how many Billy Joel concerts you attended.  So, if you can assimilate into the tween/teen culture enough that you’re only mildly uncool and slightly mortifyingly embarrassing, you get the chance manipulate their views, morals, and decisions from the inside. Frankly, may be your only shot.

PS: Betty White got the honor of teaching my kids the word “hooker” on Off Their Rockers, so you can send any hate mail her way. I send all my hate mail to her, it’s cathartic. The rest of your hate mail can go to that douchebag Miley Cyrus for ruining Teddy Bears and oversized foam fingers for all of us!

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17 thoughts on “Dealing with Tweens 101 – Play it Cool and Avoid Miley Cyrus

  1. Val

    You are totally the cool mom. And obviously will remain so, just for the story above. I’m setting the stage for being the cool mom by having a similar conversation where I helped explain “swear words” to my 8 and 5 year olds, and helped them understand both what people mean when someone says ‘Brittany, bitch’ vs what a ‘bitch’ really is, and what it means when someone calls someone a bitch. That lead to other swear words, and “what’s shit, mommy?” says my 5-year old. Of course my 8 year old was already familiar with this word as I told her “well TS” the other day when she whined about something, and then had to explain what TS meant. HEH.

    Good on you. And Miley is totally a ho’bag.

    1. Jenny from the blog Post author

      Oh Val – It’s always a fine line. I guess if someone needs to explain this stuff, better us than their friends … they don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.

  2. Natalie the Math Teacher

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! You did a great job! I hope to be as 1/3 as cool as you when I become a mother!

  3. sparkling74

    My favorite part was the Mr. Rogers deadpan voice explaining a douchebag is like a dick. This is really funny. I taught middle school for 17 years, so I know all about the non reaction, the handling everything with kid gloves and, sadly, the garbage that we must speak if we want to “relate to them at their level”. Though I never had the occasion to explain ho’bag vs. douchebag.

    1. Jenny from the blog Post author

      Well Sparkling, consider that a bullet dodged. I can’t imagine what I would do if my son explained that his teacher had beat me to the punch, been appalled or thrilled??? Well, one of the two.

  4. cherie

    Great post. I hope I was the cool mom when you were growing up, although I think there were many times, I suffered the “gruntitis”. Love ya…

  5. Trudi

    Ah, Jenny, you make me LOL. I swear I’ve had that same convo with my kids, and also have worked hard to be the undercover mommmy – the one that’s cool enough, but also uncool enough, to float in the middle space and stealthily influence their lives… even when they are sure no parent is watching. Also, I DO NOT forgive Miley for screwing up my favorite summer song (everyone is overlooking the fact that she can’t exactly sing, at least not “Blurred Lines”), teddy bears and foam fingers. On the flip, she is a cautionary tale about sporting latex panties, one that my tween daughter got loud ‘n clear (“EWWWWW,” and I quote.)

  6. Rachel at BacknGrooveMom

    SOO funny – you know that I can certainly relate.

    This makes me think of a friend whose son kept using the number 69, but really had no idea what it meant = just that is got a lot of attention. After she explained it to him – he stopped using it.

    As for good ole’ Hannah Montana turned twerking goddess – guess she was really ready to separate herself from Disney? ya think?

  7. Leslie

    Loved this one, Jenny! My son is 15, and I agree with you that it is a fine line to walk so that you’re being a parent and not a “friend”, but at the same time being cool enough to stay connected. It helps that I pick up my son and his friends from high school each day. I learn sooooooo much just listening to their conversations on the way home and trying hard not to interject (much!).
    The “mo bops” was precious. My son said “Lusually” instead of “usually” when he was little, and I thought it was so cute that I didn’t correct it. Then he was mortified when he started school and people laughed at him for saying it. Oops!

  8. Alisha

    Yep she’s a ho’bag! I couldn’t get over how awful she looked and sounded. Even my 11yo thought she looked a hot ratchet mess…and that’s saying a lot! LOL

  9. Tressa

    You are feeling sorry for Robin Thicke? I mean, okay, he looks like he’s trying to ignore Miley and keep his hands to himself, so there is a little bit of Kudos to him BUT big topic of pop culture discussion within my group of peeps is whether Blurred Lines is a slap and a wink giving an okay to Rape. Now, I’m on the fence about it, but what Im not on the fence about is a grown ass man performing with a young woman whose obviously not mature enough to be turned loose on the world and WOMEN calling her a whore and giving a pass to the guy.

    It gives new understanding to why women are abused and objectified — we do not have each others backs. Yeah – Miley was disgusting with a capital YUCK, but what has your son learned? Blurred Lines with naked ladies dancing against a clothed man is perfectly okay but a young, sexually explicit girl is a whore? I think your kid was right – Miley’s a douche, but if Miley’s a whore, Robin is a whore-monger. Sad day indeeed.

  10. Haley

    First time on your blog. Love this.. all of it.
    I’m glad you corrected his ‘bag’ mix up. He’ll thank you for it later. Although, like you said; she is kind of a douchebag.. for all that she has so generously displayed to the world to see. Blech.

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