Bad Mom Advice: How To Deal With Douchebag Teens And Racist Old People In Your Life

Mom advice Welcome to my weekly Bad Mom Advice column where I attempt to answer all of your parenting questions as only I know how — with zero degree in early childhood development, but with the experience of raising four kids and not having any of them in prison – yet! Plus, I back all my advice on numerous scientific research, which may or may not include me making fun of your dumb kid behind your back and drinking a bunch of wine! Welcome to Bad Mom Advice!

 I need some advice to do with kids, but it’s actually regarding my nephew. He is 14 and has not only started dating, but he’s started using Facebook, and using it poorly. 

Last week, he posted a status that said “Why is it so hard to break up with girls?” and in the comments, his now ex-girlfriend tore into him about “two-timing and taking advantage of her.” After some careful creeping, I discovered that he’d been dating this girl, who is also 14, while “talking to” another girl. From what I read, and what I’ve heard from my sister, his mother, he did not treat his poor girlfriend well. Apparently he was constantly asking her to buy him things, mostly food, was pretty rude (not surprising for a 14-year-old boy) and then broke up with her not once, but twice, in a text message.

The next day, he was “Facebook official” (I hate that term) with this other young lady he’d kept on the line while dating his now ex-girlfriend. Since then, he’s posted statuses that make him sound like a little asshole and posting rude replies to his ex-girlfriends’ friends. I am so not okay with this behavior.

The Facebook stuff doesn’t bother me, because I know he’s a teenage boy and he’s going to have to learn what’s appropriate to put on Facebook and what isn’t, but his treatment of these girls does. My sister seems to think it’s just a “boys will be boys” thing, but I want to talk to my nephew about being respectful to women. I refuse to let him grow up to be one of those jerks who treats girls like crap just because he’s a guy.

I think it’s worth noting as well that his biological father has never been involved in his life, and actually left my sister as soon as she found out she was pregnant and has never been heard from since. He has a wonderful stepfather now, but he didn’t exactly grow up with shining examples of what a healthy relationship is like.

I want to get across to him that it is not okay to treat girls and women like disposable objects he can use for his convenience, and that he should show them the same respect and care he does to his female relatives.

My question for you is: how do I talk to him about this and get the point across to him without sounding like a lecturing aunt? I am only 10 years older than him, so we have a great relationship and have been able to talk about tough subjects before, but never anything like this. I don’t want it to be a conversation that he’ll dismiss afterwards, and I don’t want to come on too strong and seem like I’m accusing or angry with him. Any suggestions? Your help would be greatly appreciated!

Oh man, 14 years old is too young to be “dating” anyone but I guess that is what the kids do these days instead of when I was a child and we were already married and had three young un’s at this point. Actually, I’m not quite that old so back 100 years ago when I was 14 I think I was pretty much still playing with Barbies. But whatever, I was a nerd, yo. Since you are the “cool” aunt and he knows you follow him on Facebook I would totally confront him with it. The next time you are with him I would whip out his FB page and be all “Dude, what is up with this?” and explain to him that in his dating career he wants to be regarded as the cool guy who never trash-talked the ladies on the Internet and not only are his status updates making him look like a loose-lipped drama queen, that anything he posts on the Internet stays on the Internet, so his future college admissions office may not take too kindly to anything super jerky he cares to share with his friend’s list and a million other people. I know boys can be just as insecure as girls are at this age, so I think you gotta appeal to him with the stance that if he wants to be popular with the ladies, he should probably act the opposite of most of his friends. Since he has a good relationship with his stepfather I would enlist his help as well and make him talk to him about respecting women and dating etiquette. Using his own mom and you and any other females he cares about as examples can help too, as in “How would you feel if some guy who was dating me started dating someone else and hurt MY feelings?” Guilt the little creep.

I need to talk to Blair about doing a STFU Teenagers with examples of teens being assholes on Facebook so kids would stop being assholes on Facebook. It would be such an excellent teaching tool! Get on it, Blair!

My stepmom advocates racism and making fun of “different” people (read: gay, autistic, smart, small, fat, skinny, etc.) to her children, who are 10, 10 (twins), 13, 14, and 18. Every time I take them in public they make a fool of themselves and I end up chasing one around with a belt. How can I make sure this doesn’t rub off on my children who think they think their aunts, uncles and grandparents are so cool? Also, is there any way I can convince her that these things are generally unacceptable?

Your stepmom totally has her hands full with five kids, so maybe she is throwing back shots of tequila in secret to help her cope with these kids and it is making her act like a racist, judgy, bigot, bitchface in public. I suggest you stage an intervention!

First of all, why are you chasing these kids with a belt? I hope you aren’t beating them with it, well, you can beat the 18-year-old but I can’t get behind beating the younger ones and it really isn’t doing anything for them, other than thinking their stepsister has anger management issues, so put down the belt girl! And instead, you need to get those kids on your team, which we will refer to as Team Normal People. The little ones are going to be the easiest to convert, because they probably view you as their cool big sister and you want to start calling your stepmother on her behavior as soon as she does it. When the younger kids start seeing you do it, they will totally want to copy you and will find utter joy in correcting their mother. So the next time she says something like “Look at that Fatty Fatty McFatFace” when ya’ll are walking through the mall with her, say “Hey _____, how would you feel if someone were making fun of you for your ______? (And I’m sure she has something wrong with her, because no one is perfect. I’m pretty sure she has bad hair, so like, say something mean about her 1987 home permanent or something) And add an “I love you, but you have to stop being so judgmental, you are starting to sound like a nasty old lady with a secret tequila problem.”

Everyone has a weird relative like this, who says totally inappropriate things that you never want your own children hearing or repeating, so explain to your own kids that “Sometimes grandma says some really awful things and in our family, we don’t agree with this.” And just keep repeating this to them every time she says something awful. If you find them repeating the same sort of things she does, then discipline them as usual. Just not like, the usual way you do it, with a belt, but with taking away the shit they love and grounding them  from having any fun. Yay Team Normal People! Good luck!

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