Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Science Of Isolating And Deleting The Hoochie Gene

Nature vs. Nurture: Do you believe in it?
Is it possible to overcome some of our more negative genetic traits and predispositions simply through discipline and corrective behavior?
My answer formerly would have been a resounding YES!!! but now I think it's just much more complicated than that.
We've known a family in our neighborhood for a long time. Their oldest daughter is the exact same age as our second oldest daughter. They used to be good friends as they both shared many of the same classes prior to our decision to withdraw our kids from public school in order to homeschool.
The girl is 12. Her parents chose to let her know from an early age that she was adopted and she's even had limited contact with her birth mother over the years.
Here's the thing.....the mom told me awhile back that the birth mother is the embodiment of all things hoochie including her manner and style of dress. The mom further confided that despite a Christian upbringing in the church and strict parenting their daughter shows a natural inclination towards picking out trashy clothes and acting inappropriately.
Fine, flash forward 3 years and its like the parents have given up all hope. The girl is snotty and shockingly rude as she backtalks her parents and prances around in a barely-there bikini at the neighborhood pool.
The girl has decided that my daughters aren't cool enough to hang out with (YAY!) and snubs them.
Yesterday took the proverbial cake, though.
This girl spent the entire time at the pool hanging out with an obese teenager who also insists on cramming herself into a bikini.
What were they doing together? Why, the jail bait duo were extremely busy FLIRTING outrageously with the lifeguards complete with hair flip sass, sideway hip thrusts, and running their hands over the much older lifeguards . :0
It gets even more appalling. Someone had drawn tattoo-looking pictures all over this girl's body with a Sharpie marker. (Think Goldie Hawn on Laugh In)
I kept waiting for the girl's mom to tell her kid to get her skinny azz back in the pool or they were going home but she did nothing but continue flipping the pages of the book she was reading. Un-Freakin-Believable.
Both of the parents were older and struggling with fertility issues when they adopted the girl as a newborn.
So I wonder if being at a more advanced parental age means they're just too tired to care anymore or if maybe they made peace with the way their daughter is because they want some semblance of serenity at home.
Who's to blame? The sex-drenched media encouraging promiscuity? The public school influence? The parent's seeming surrender? Or do you think there's certain attributes so ingrained in us that we're doomed to be the sum of our genetic quality?


Mrs. Who said...

I really think it is a combination. I think there are some parts of our personality that we are just born with but I also think parents can help their kids make the right choices - and those parents are not helping at all.

Tracy said...

I think that the parents are to blame. I know that sounds harsh but they've let her be exposed to things such as pop culture, they bought the barely there clothes, and they let her get away with the bad attitude.
I just think that, as parents, we should have always have some sort of control over what they're exposed to.
And if I were you, I'd be thrilled that she didn't want to be friends with my kids!

Bee said...

I would never even dream of saying what the right thing is since I don't have children but I grow fearful every day for the future that awaits my nieces.
The peer pressure from girls like the one you describe is so scary to me.
I do wish her parents would continue to discipline her since she is only 12.

aubrey said...

wow. that's a load of crap. predestined hoochiness? i don't think so. i say it's lazy parents who don't want to invest time and interest in their children's future. was that harsh?

Jami said...

Blame them all!

Seriously though, I think that kids do come with their own issues. My baby for instance has strong opinions about clothing. If she doesn't like the clothes I buy for her, she pitches a fit and has for the last several months (she's not quite two).

Where does that come from? Certainly not me, I'm not a fashionista. No clothes magazines in the house. No TV, just kids videos. Go figure.

I've got another that loves love. And is constantly recruiting boyfriends (since she was three). You should have seen her reaction at THE TALK. It was hysterical. She was so into it. (All the others have been a bit appalled.)

That said, I think parenting figures in. I do occasionally insist the baby wear something specific. A little flexibility never hurt anyone.

I always insist that the six year old stays out of secluded places with other children. And if she began running her hands over the lifeguard at twenty I'd be there sayin' "Girl, you leave that boy alone and get your hoochie rear in the car. NOW." (And if I had to, I'd pull kitchen tools out of my purse and wave them in the air!)

b. said...

As a mother whose only 3 children are adopted (at birth-we were in our 20's), each came with their own personality (as do the ones you gave birth to). I notice things about my daughter that worry me, I don't think (can't really say for sure) came from me. I can tell she is going to be a challenge....some of these same things were noted on the paperwork filled out by her birthmother.
I can and will do everything I can to teach her to choose what's right.
She's a beautiful girl, smart, friendly, loving, and kind....but because she is perhaps emotionally immature the albeit dressed appropriately and righteous but snotty girls in our ward snub her. It makes me sad to think these parents have given I said, I can and will do everything in my power to make sure my daughter is the best she can be (see attributes listed above) would be nice if other mothers taught their daughters to be the best they can be as well.
I hope that this girl will get what she needs to realize she's a daughter of God--first.

Sorry, this has been close to my heart lately....thanks for "hearing" me out.

Science Teacher Mommy said...

At least Goldie Hawn is funny . . .

I have thought through this a lot. Your post here is the #1 reason I'm okay with having no girls. Plantboy and I had this conversation a lot in Texas because of a young lady we knew.

When I first saw her, it was pretty easy to judge. She very seldom came to church, but when she did, her clothes were an embarrassment to herself and to her parents and to everyone talking to her. She would corner boys and try to talk to them . . . you get the picture (you saw it at your pool yesterday). I assumed the girl was like 18 and on her own (she looked it), but I was shocked to find out she was only 14! What were the parents thinking!?

Anyway, as Plantboy came to know the family much better, it turned out that this girl was a major source of stress for them. At age 12, she had begun hanging around with some really awful kids (they didn't know for a while) and had gone from sweet girl to hoochie mama in about 4.2 seconds. When she was 13, she ran away from home. With a 17 year old boyfriend. From then on, they were scared. They gave her a lot of leeway they didn't give their other children because they were terrified of her running away again. At least, if she was home, there was a chance that she would one day change. I remember the mother once talking about the young women program being one of her favorite things about the church when she joined as a young adult, and that she had always worked in that program. With tears in her eyes she said, "How could this program that I loved so much and had such a testimony of have failed my daughter so wholly and completely?"

It also turned out, as this girl dropped out of school and approached her later teenage years, that she was bipolar. All of her ugly behavior and yes, substance abuse, over the years was probably her extreme was of self-medicating. When they were trying to get her properly medicated, she wept bitter tears to her mother one night, basically saying, "What is wrong with me? Why do I do these things to myself?" It was heart-breaking for everyone involved. Nature at its worst.

In our current ward, we have a girl starting to follow that hoochie girl path, but she seems more clueless about it. She is so nice to everyone and talks about having a really strong belief in the gospel, but she thinks nothing of squeezing her early-developed body into tight clothes and flirting unashamedly with the missionaries. Now, in her case, the parents really need to slap her around. A little nurture would go a long way.

Sorry about the post-like comment, but you asked some big questions here.


The whole situation shocks me to the core because I remember this girl as a sweet and wholesome second-grader. I really, really like her parents too. Prior to this year they seemed diligent and focused on nipping some of this bad behavior in the bud.

The mom used to tell me how her daughter always gravitates to the Prostitot clothing section no matter what store they're in and how her daughter has gotten increasingly wilder over the years. Then she just sort of shrugged her shoulders and mentioned the slutty birth mother as though her adopted daughter can never rise above the choices the birth mom made.

THAT right there may be the problem. I bet her daughter has picked up on that attitude and is behaving accordingly. Sort of like 'I'll Always Be Compared To The Wrongs Of My Natural Mother' kind of thing.


I'm going to be honest, we are BLESSED to have usually obedient and delightful daughters. But then my Papi has been strict and demanding of them to do their best and set personal goals from the very beginning of their lives. But like Science Teacher Mommy mentioned even hard core parenting isn't always the answer.

b.- The Church situation you described happens everywhere to some extent. You read elizabeth w.'s blog and those are 11 year olds behaving badly! My older girls often come home from Young Women and report some rather eyebrow-raising activities going on with some of these girls. Everything from rubbing up on boys to outright super snob behavior. Your Sissy is a beautiful girl, b. and I'm really sorry that she's getting snubbed. You know my oldest daughter had a really hard time in public school fitting in. The girls were ruthless with her tearing apart every thing she did from her clothes to how she spoke. Homeschooling has greatly improved her life the most and I like "sheltering" them away from the evils of the world if only for a few extra years.


Oh, I brought up the nature vs. nurture context because I've noticed some of my own idiosynchracies closely (scarily) match my fathers even though he and my mom divorced when I was 2 and I've never spent much time with him. I can almost say that I am my father's daughter simply by genetics since he had practically zero influence in my upbringing.

You know that I don't write about serious topics very often but the decline of young girls all around our community has really weighed heavily on my mind lately.

How I wish I had a giant mind control laser beam. I would make it shoot forth the 13th Article Of Faith until everybody around here is completely indoctrinated and starts seeking after things that are praiseworthy, vrtuous, and lovely and they can't help but act more chaste, benevolent, and virtuous.

Jean Knee said...

well, it's both. to overcompensate for the hoochie gene the parents have to get with the program, in a subtle enough way that the girl doesn't revolt double time

yeah, sounds easy

b. said...

Ditto to the part about your father.
My mother divorced my father when I was 6 mos. old. Spent some time in the summers with him, but was mostly raised by my mother. I have definite characteristics of my mother was quick to point those out as they DEFINITELY did not come from her. How did this happen? Can only be explained by nature. Weird.

Elizabeth-W said...

You should have guest posted this on Psychiatric Saturday! :)
My younger daughter has a bit of hoochie in her. It cracks me up because it is 100% her-she came that way.
I think the parents have an 'out' because they know about the birth mother--anything they don't like about the child they can place at her feet.
I think your last paragraph sums it up...probably a little bit of all of it.
And as a late bloomer parent, I take offense to your comment (j/k). But maybe it's true. I use the opposite 'pass' for young parents--they're young and ignorant and don't know any better :D

Hey It's Di said...

My Sister Lola and I have discussed the nature vs. nuture thing a lot lately. You see she faces this daily in her own home. She has 6 kids one of whom is her adopted son from Haiti. Their five natural children are clones that look and act the same. ALL six are treated the same by her and her husband. Her Haitian cutie was about 18 months when he came to their home. It is amazing just how different he is now from the others (besides color). He is so Haitian it is amazing! His personality is nothing like the other kids no matter how he is raised and it is interesting to watch. It is so true that you can take the child out of it's environment but you can't completely take the environment out of the child.

Science Teacher Mommy said...

Hm . . . mind control laser beam. Can you get one of those at WalMart?

glittersmama said...

dude. I wanted to leave props for Papi.

Congratulations on being a genius! I think I pocket protectors on those robes of the BGS inviters. Very nerdy indeed.

Happy Father's Day!

Millie said...

This is so deep.

If you knew that much about a child's birth parents, would you be more inclined to see those attributes in the child, than you would be if you hadn't?

(I hope that makes sense)

Having just dealt with a "everyone at church is judging us because of my son's appearance" situation, I would say count your blessings that your daughters are as obedient as they are... and you never can tell what changes this girl will make later on. Maybe she'll grow out of it. Maybe she's having a hard time at home and this is her way of expressing her ... whatever.

You just never can tell.


elizabeth- Now I feel left out with my non-hoochieness. Is there a psychiatric Hoochie Challenged diagnosis? Oh, and you're hardly old. These parents were late 30's or so when they adopted. I think both are right on the half-century birthday cusp.

science teacher mommy- I'm looking for the mail-order mind control laser beam kit. First order of business will be directing it toawrds the Texas Governors mansion so the idiots in Republican clothing can finally get a clue that raising taxes, crushing small business, and forcing middle school aged girls to get the Gardasil vaccine is not winning them any fans or any voters. I've almost completely disassociated myself with the Texas Republican Party now thanks to Perry and Dewhurst and Hutchison.

b.- I'm a clone of my Dad down to my mannerisms, accent, and personality. We even have the same freakish eye pattern circling our pupils. I got used to him not showing interest in me, his only daughter, but I wish he'd try a little harder to be a grandpa to his only grand children.

Di- So you can take a child out of Haiti but you can't take Haiti out of the child? That is interesting!

Millie- This wasn't a rush to judgment based on her appearance. Although I will concede that seeing the pubic bone of a 12 year old in a teeny weenie bikini is disturbing. No, this is about seeing a cute girl disappear and replaced by a bratty Lolita in training. Seriously, if my kids mouthed off the way she's been doing to her parents I'm not sure they'd live through the experience. Like I said, I just kept glancing at the mom to do something, anything to stop her daughter from getting so touchy-feely with the lifeguards, but she didn't. I don't think its too much to ask your 12 year old kid to swim while you're at the pool rather than chat up lifeguards in their early 20's. I already mentioned that we're BLESSED to have mostly obedient children. I recognize that we're not infallible as parents and that the potential of one of our kids going buck wild one day exists.....although we're hoping the custom made chastity belts we have on order will help prevent that. :)

Nancy Face said...

I don't know the answers here, but it seems reasonable to believe that it's a combination of all those factors. We too are extremely blessed with (mostly) obedient kids who (usually) make righteous choices. No one is perfect, but I am so grateful for the way they have chosen to live their lives.

I do believe that parental teaching, example and involvement are more important factors than genetics.

Nancy Face said...

A string bikini wouldn't last a second in the Face household! (Not that it's ever been an issue!) I own some excellent fabric shears, and I wouldn't hesitate to use them if necessary!

I know some families who could probably make good use of my fabric shears if they had the guts.

Alice said...

I think it's a bit of both. Lord knows that GirlChild wants one of those evil, nasty Bratz dolls and she just innately likes flair-y clothes. I am a t-shirt and shorts kinda gal, so I know she's not picking it up from me.

On the other hand, I won't allow her to buy Bratz and I really believe there are a LOT of lazy parents out there who just stick their kid in front of the TV or computer.

And I know everyone was talking about spanking the other day, but I honestly see a huge difference in manners and politeness with children that I know get spankings (in moderation) and those who don't. (OK - I had a lot more to wax on about this, but it's starting to feel like a report and my head is going to explode.

Congrats to your Papi! He's a real role model!

the Bag Lady said...

No children here (thank Heavens I don't have to deal with these issues!)
It probably is a combination of nature and nurture. Sounds as though the parents are using their knowledge of the girl's birth mother as an excuse for not being stricter. That said, can we ever really know what goes on in someone else's household?

Congratulations to Papi!! My dad was also one of those "working 2 or 3 jobs, supporting a family while going to university full-time" men, and it's good to know there are still some of those around!!!!

Physcokity said...

It's too bad you're not working for a PhD in psychology/sociology! That community pool sounds like the perfect place to write your societal dissertation!

But yes, truly appalling behavior. I don't care if a child is adopted or not, you can teach them to have manners, and how to make good choices. Choice of friends...not always easily influenced...thank heaven's for your girls!

12 year old huss pants...I do have to agree that most children are born with their own predispositions and issues, but that does not absolve the parents from the resposibility to teach them correct principles and do their best to encourage the following of said principles

Physcokity said...

Mind control laser beam...I bet they'd give those out with cereal box tops...kinda like in Better Off Dead ;) Talk about nature v nurture.

I think you'd have a real market for those if you could find them...

joanna said...

I think the answer is "Yes, all of the above." The media taught this girl what is sexy, and she is at the age that she wants to rebel anyway. However, I think parents play a HUGE role. Some parents get lazy as their kids get older, even if they've done everything they can to teach kids correct principles from the beginning.

But I can't say anything. I don't have a teenager yet. I'm sure if I'm in that situation, I will think it's not my fault my kids are crazy. But then again, if my daughter did that, I'd take away all her "sexy" clothes and her allowance (if she had one) and whatever else I thought would make a difference.

Lisa said...

I think it is both, too! My kids are really obedient. And especially the oldes who is a little less mature than her peers. She still reaches for my hand when we are walking around a store. (She is 15), I'm not complaining. I love it. Regardless of tendencies, I think the parent has an obligation to set rules and standards. Just like b. said. The parent has to be the parent and not watch it go on. She will have an awful time as she gets older if those boundaries aren't set. yikes!

Congrats to Papi! That is so awesome and what a wonderful way to honor him as a father!!!

Stacey said...

I think it's a combination of factors as well. I'm glad I only have 1 girl and I pray I never have to deal with the hoochy factor.

Congrats to Papi!

jams o donnell said...

It's a mix of the whole lot, nature, nurture and environment.

To be honest the gross sexualising of our media really pisses me off, that and the cult of celebrity, be it a head on a stick like Nicole Richie, people self destructing in public (Amy Windhouse, Pete Doherty et al) and so on.

Oh for some decent role models getting exposure and not wastes of spaces....


Thanks Physcokity! I'm going to try to incorporate the words "huss pants" into my daily vocabulary.

Thanks for all the really great comments.

wynne said...

Eh. I think that we end up being, as you put it, "the sum of our genetic quality" if we choose not to change. Or, rather, if a person makes no goals for herself or doesn't much care where she ends up, she'll end up following the path of least resistance--giving into her weaknesses which very well may be genetic.

That's right. She feels like a natural womaaaaaan!

Um. Seriously. I think that plenty of challenges we face can be genetic, and we may never be able to change the challenge, just the behavior. (I will always be depressed, for example. Genetic fact. But I sure do everything I possibly can to fight it, and to treat it.)

As for her parents--who knows? Maybe they're doing all they know how to do and are stuck not knowing what to do next. If a kid decides to go down a certain path, what parent can really stop 'em? (You can discipline, pray, beg, threaten, but in the end, kids at this age are learning that THEY are the ones who really call the shots...)

Sad situation, anyway.