Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Middle School Dances and "Grinding"

"Grinding" is the new term for the dance style that seems to be everywhere these days. Well, I really don't know how new it is, but I've just recently become aware of it. H is extremely uncomfortable with the whole thing. Last year, the "bar/bat mitzvah" year at her school, when they had dance parties at least a couple of times a month, she started seeing a few kids doing it. At the time, most of her close friends didn't "grind", so she had people to hang with when the group started. J and I were at one of the parties, standing next to the dance floor talking with some other parents when he looked up and saw a couple of kids (who we've known since preschool) basically simulating sex...right in front of him! The shock on his face must have radiated towards them, because not long after, they both looked over, immediately stopped, smoothed their clothes and walked away in opposite directions. A few minutes later they sent H over to tell us that we were making her friends uncomfortable. The whole situation began to give H a lot of emotional distress, so I looked up "grinding" on Urban Dictionary. I can't even repeat the descriptions I found there. Now that she's in 8th grade, it's becoming even more status quo. More and more of her girlfriends are starting to join in the big huddle/group. It's getting to be so that she doesn't even enjoy the parties. She worked really hard on the 7th/8th grade party at her school this weekend, and had a good time until the end, when one of her best friends left her to go join in the grinding. Some of the parents who came at the end of the party to pick up their kids saw it and have complained, calling and emailing the school, so it will hopefully be addressed. A Chicago Tribune Article describes how some schools have canceled their school dances because of it.

It's interesting, but even though a majority of her class participates in this kind of dancing, the kids who don't are kind of banding together. I'm proud of her for taking a stand. It's like the movie "dirty dancing". I think middle school is way too early for this kind of behavior, but they've been exposed to so much more at such an early age. I really don't want to be a prude about this, but how can we teach our kids about appropriate sexual behavior when this is so commonplace and accepted? It's one thing to do it in High School or college, but 7th and 8th grade?