*Disclaimer: this post is not intended to offend any race, ethnic group, SES, or any other group that I may have left out. I just wanted to bring light to something that has been bothering me. If you have a different view/opinion I completely respect your right to have those feelings and I ask that you please respect mine!*
Sidepiece Shoutouts…have you all heard about this nonsense? I keep thinking that I must be overlooking the true meaning of what a “sidepiece” is; so to help aid in my understanding I looked for answers in the only logical place…Urban Dictionary. The definition of a “side piece” is listed as: “The other woman,” or “A guy/girl on the side that you can call at 2am that knows what’s up.” Now based on the definitions listed above, my assumption of what a sidepiece is was 100% correct. This leads me to my next question: If you have a sidepiece, why are you shouting them out on a popular radio show? I thought the whole point was that they were SIDEpieces, not main dishes. You shout out your MAIN squeeze, not your 2 am booty call. I don’t understand why one would deliberately shout out their number 2. If you are willingly a number 2, you don’t deserve a shoutout…yes I said it.
I recognize that “Sidepieces” have been around for centuries; however back in my day (because apparently things have changed that much) we just called them mistresses (and whatever you choose to call the male equivalent). While the idea of having a fling on the side is nothing new, the way in which we accept these individuals and even brag about them is. I seem to remember people going to extraordinary lengths to keep their mistresses a secret. However somewhere along the way, the younger generation decided that it would be cute to have a sidepiece, or worse, be one. I’m not sure when it became acceptable or even cool to be associated with this trend, but apparently people are not only accepting, they are proud of their sidepiece status. I have a lovely friend who works as a school psychologist in the Clayton County School district (bless her heart). The issues that plague her are beyond my comprehension. I just don’t think that there is any amount of schooling that can prepare someone to walk into a MIDDLE SCHOOL and try to convince CHILDREN that being a sidepiece is not cute, and neither is being pregnant in the 6th grade. Going to class and studying for exams is a novel concept, the kids don’t seem to care and I don’t blame them. If sleeping around and being a sidepiece was seeminly the easiest and only way to get attention and positive (in their eyes) reinforcement in the community, I probably wouldn’t care either. Most of these kids need a wake up call and so do their parents. Now I’m not saying I was the greatest student of all time, in fact I was a hot mess in the academic department (don’t worry, I figured it out when I got older and crushed it in college), but I was certainly not behaving the way that kids are these days. There was no sneaking out. No boys allowed in my room. No sidepiece conventions. And absolutely no sex. I had better things to do with my time in middle school (and high school) like trying to figure out how to marry A.J. McLean from the Backstreet Boys, some would say I’m still trying to figure that out…those people are not wrong…(j/k….well sort of). The “hobbies” that kids have these days carry very serious adult consequences and somehow they have managed to overlook that not so small detail.
I’m not a parent so I won’t sit here and try to tell people how to raise their children. I recognize that raising kids is much more difficult than it may seem…like they say, “it takes a village.” There is no rule book that tells you what to do and how to do it. However, I think there are some common-sense things that all humans should do when raising smaller humans. I think that parents should be in the know in relation to everything that their child is doing. You can give a child privacy while still being in the know; I think parents have every right to know where their child(ren) is and who they are with. I also think that children should have some sort of extracirricular activity to keep them busy. I hear a lot of people say “oh but they’ll be too stressed and won’t be able to focus on school” or “I want them to pick what they want to do, I don’t want to force them to participate in something they hate.” I don’t agree with any of that…I mean I understand not wanting your child to play basketball if he/she hates sports and would rather be in the band, but oftentimes kids don’t know what they like until they try things out. And yes, in SOME cases when children are involved with too many extracirriculars it can be hard to manage their schoolwork. In cases like that I am in favor of limiting their afterschool activities, but would never wipe them out completely. Children thrive on structure, it’s simply how they perform best. It teaches them a number of valuable lessons that I am certain they aren’t getting while sitting at home doing nothing, or worse, parading around town with the boys/girls that you (the parent) know nothing about.
I understand that some parents do the best they can. Many of them work 2 and 3 jobs to ensure that they have enough money for the household bills, because of this, they can’t always physically be present and watch what their child is doing and who they are hanging out with. Oftentimes parents have to trust that their kids are behaving in an appropriate manner, and that can be tricky. Kids are bound to push the rules and see just how much they can get away with, it’s what they do. I commend the parents that carry multiple jobs to make sure their children don’t go without, that’s a tough job, and not everyone can do it. I wish I could say that children recognize how much their parents sacrifice so that they can have UGG boots and designer jeans so that they fit in with their peers. It would be wonderful if children showed gratitude by behaving in a way that would make their grandparents proud, however I know that is not always the case. The harsh reality is that kids don’t have a clue – I know this because I was one of those kids. They don’t know what it’s like to work 3 jobs so that they can have what they NEED, let alone appreciate all the extra things that they WANT. There is a distinct difference in wants and needs and more often than not, they will value the things they WANT more than the things they NEED.
Raising kids to respect themselves is a hard job. There are a variety of factors that influence their behavior, self-esteem and academic performance. All we can do is lay out firm, but flexible ground rules and try to teach them to have respect for not only themselves but adults as well. We need to show them that school is important, and who you’re sleeping with isn’t.
Despite the fact that I am only 27 years old, I recognize that the world is vastly different from when I was growing up. I’m all about evolution and adapting new methods that work better than previous ones, however I don’t think these methods are pushing us forward, in fact I think they are setting us back. I look forward to working with children and parents alike in hopes of helping them create solutions for a brighter future (man that was a cheesy line)…simply put, I think children have so much more to give than they realize. The trend that they are getting sucked into is not only embarrassing but extremely detrimental to their personal and professional growth. Here’s to hoping this trend dies out and we can resume with our normal programming. Fingers crossed.