Sunday, August 3, 2008

Something I forgot to tell DD

Well, we went and picked up DD from her camp session, and I was glad to see her. She was wearing a scarf that she had made in "Arts and Crafts" around her neck. We stopped at a restaurant on the way home, and when she took the scarf off, there it was, a big hickey.

Now, DD is 15 years old, but due to her disabilities, her maturity level is more like that of a 10 or 11 year old. So I was very disturbed. I waited to talk about it until we got home.

She told me that a boy at camp was giving girls hugs and when she hugged him back, he gave her a hickey on her neck and she didn't know what he was doing. And then she had this mark on her neck. I believe her, and the more we talked, the more I believe her.

I very sternly told her that when girls have those on their necks, other people are going to assume bad things about her, and that they aren't going to stop and ask her how she got it. I told her that some girls like to have hickeys on their necks because it "proves" to the world that a boy likes them. I explained that most people don't think that way, and would only think badly of the girl. As I explained this, she looked like she was ready to cry, then asked me how long it would take to go away. She asked me how people get hickeys, so I tried to gently explain that "when you are kissing your boyfriend, sometimes you are kissing him a LOT and he is kissing you a lot, and if he kisses you really hard on the neck, then you might end up with a hickey." I told her that I knew that someday she was going to have a boyfriend, and someday she would be kissing a boy, and it's ok to kiss someone you're in love with. But the whole world doesn't need to know that you kissed someone, and even if it feels like you want to tell the whole world about it, it should stay private. "If you have hickeys on your neck, people are going to think that you are kissing a lot of different boyfriends, and they will say bad things about you."

I never ever, in all the talks I've had with DD, thought about hickeys. Because of her disabilities, she needs to have things really spelled out for her, she doesn't pick up on cues that other people give off--even if one of her friends made bad comments about someone else's hickeys, DD wouldn't understand really what was being said and why, so I've tried to think of every thing that she might run across as a teenaged girl who doesn't have an ability to make good judgments. But I had forgotten about that part of being a teenager, and I felt like I didn't quite do my job well, because some people at camp probably think less of her now, too. I hope not. I hurt for the things she's going to have to deal with as an adult, because I know I can't foresee everything that she gets into, I hope though, that I can give her enough to get her by. She was very relieved that I believed her. And DH was happy that I talked with her, because he wasn't sure how to handle it. I have to say, though, that "That Guy" did not come out, and that was a huge relief in itself.


Grace. said...

Aha! A fellow traveler on the Special Needs highway! As the adoptive mother of two girls (out of 5)who are fetal-alcohol affected, the teen years have been fraught with peril and overloaded with explanations given over and over about the simplest things. I use the past tense because these kids are now 18 and 40!

rickismom said...

WOW! This blog is a significant find for me! I have a significant "other" with BiPolar, in my life, and my teen daughter has Down syn. (high functioning!).

Yes, our special needs teens need to be TAUGHT EVERYTHING!!!!