February 23 12


I just posted this on my daughter’s Facebook wall.

She’s just three weeks shy of 11.

And then I cried like an infant.

My daughter, who is not quite 11, came to me a few weeks ago to tell me that she and some friends were planning to perform an Adele song at her school’s talent show. She and a friend spent hours in our empty room/photo studio/dance studio choreographing. They were adorable. Yesterday after school she went to a friend’s house to practice this dance. There were five of them, so they wanted it perfect before talent day.

She came home distraught.

“My dance is a mess. We had the perfect dance and then they changed the song and the dance and now everything’s crazy.”

“What song did they change it to?”

“I don’t know. Some Chris Brown song.”

“Emily. Stop right there. We need to talk.”


I began by telling her that Chris Brown is basically the worst human being on the planet right now and I ended by pulling up some photos of Rihanna’s face on the internet.

Harsh? Possibly.

Necessary? Absolutely.

But it was an important lesson for my daughter to learn.

It was important for her to understand that hitting women is NEVER okay.

It was important for her to understand that one of my very good friends is a survivor. And she is out there talking to children because there’s little-to-no awareness in schools right now.

It was important for her to understand that performing a Chris Brown song is not just “about some song with a catchy tune.” It makes a statement; a statement that I cannot support.


Emily listened. She asked questions. I answered them.

Emily understood.

And then she told her friends that she couldn’t do the song.

Because she knows. She gets it.

Unfortunately, her friends do not. Some of them told her she was being bitchy and selfish and that she should just do the song because it’s just a song. Some of them told her they were mad at her for ruining their group.

And yet, she continued to hold her ground.

She said no.



I could not be more proud of my daughter right now. And more sad that her friends are giving her such a hard time. She is doing the right thing, and yet she feels awful about it because she let everybody in her group down, and her friends are mad at her. I hope her friends come around soon.


  1. Oh good, now I’M crying. You know what, good for you two. GOOD FOR YOU TWO.

    One day these kids will realize it’s not just a song, it’s a choice. And the fact that Emily had more strength to stand her ground and make a choice to not glorify a guy who beat a woman, than most women MY age, is amazing.

    I know how amazing proud you are of her, and you SHOULD be, because she is brilliance.

    P.S. And the school is down with a Chris Brown song? Really?

    Comment by Brittany on February 23, 2012
  2. currently pregnant with our first girl, i am WEEPING while reading this. it is so apparent that your daughter is standing her ground because of the strength she witnesses in you.


    Comment by nic @mybottlesup on February 23, 2012
  3. Weeping here. What an amazing one she is. And YOU for showing her, point blank, what is NOT acceptable. Love ya xoxo

    Comment by Jana A (@jana0926) on February 23, 2012
  4. The apple does not fall far from the tree, Ali.

    Comment by Sharon on February 23, 2012
  5. Amazing, amazing! Huge kudos to both of you for being so strong and holding your ground!

    Comment by Monique on February 23, 2012
  6. Oh my heart. Your sweet, beautiful, brave girl. What an amazingly STRONG girl you are raising – to listen to you, to understand something so serious at 11 and to take a stand. My daughter is 7, but I can only imagine that so many young girls would crumble under the weight of peer pressure like that. I truly hope her friends change their minds – that they vent their angst to THEIR mothers and THEIR mothers set them straight.

    You keep doing what you are doing with her – you should be so proud of her. You are doing the right thing – she is doing the right thing.

    I wrote about his glorification at the Grammys last week and the reaction so many young women had to him online – the whole thing horrified me – clearly we need to be talking to our daughters about this.

    Comment by Danielle Smith on February 23, 2012
  7. What a great kid! It’s so hard to stand up to your friends, especially at that age, but when she gets over it she will be better for it because it will just keep getting easier for her to speak up. Girls can be such bitches. They need to learn that now, because unfortunately it won’t be the last time.

    Comment by Kelly on February 23, 2012
  8. Goosebumps. I’m so proud of and awed by both of you. Well done, Ali.

    Comment by Holly {Artist Mother Teacher} on February 23, 2012
  9. It’s not just a song. It’s So not. Good for you both.

    Comment by Jackie on February 23, 2012
  10. Good for you and good for Emily! I have been on the receiving end of violence, and it’s never, ever, EVER okay.

    Chris Brown is hideous. Aside from brutally attacking Rhianna, he has behaved like a complete and utter ass in this whole situation. Instead of being gracious and thanking the public for giving him another chance, he tweeted “HATE ALL U WANT BECUZ I GOT A GRAMMY Now! That’s the ultimate F**** OFF!”


    AND TO MAKE THIS WORSE…apparently he and Rhianna are back together – news reports show them looking very friendly at her recent birthday party. I hope for her sake, he has changed his ways. But I strongly doubt it.

    Comment by Beth Warren on February 23, 2012
  11. I was going to write something VERY similar to this – but replying to you instead.

    I follow someone on Twitter who posted a reply to someone who has said CB could hit them any time – she asked if that meant any performer (singer/actor/whatever) she thought was hot could hit women. SHE SAID YES. YES.

    And sure, alright, there is legitimacy to the whole “get over it theory” -Rhianna forgives him, that’s her choice; Only problem is, he’s still acting like an asshat.

    Here are just a few examples:
    1) throwing a tantrum at an interview
    If they advised the interviewer before not to ask, ASKING is their bad. However, reacting by tossing chairs through windows and trashing stuff? Yeah, THAT shows he’s improved/changed/

    2) parking in handicapped spots is arrogant (I just don’t believe they would assign him those spaces)

    3) inciting stupid Twitter feuds – CM Punk, most recently

    And getting back together with Rhianna? Apparently he has a VERY serious girlfriend – reports are NOW that they are in an open relationship, but I call bullshit on that.

    Comment by Mari on February 23, 2012
  12. Thank you for sharing this. While I don’t have a daughter (I have a 16 month old son), I still plan on being real and honest with him when the time comes. You are an amazing mom, and your daughter is so strong to stand up to her friends like that. Its never easy to stand your ground but especially at her age. What a fabulous little girl.

    Comment by Emu Stu on February 23, 2012
  13. Emily really is fantastic, and I think that honesty is the best policy in situations like this. Kids shouldn’t be sheltered from the idea that performers and celebrities can be shitty people.

    Comment by Avitable on February 23, 2012
  14. Oh goodness, thank you. Thank you for being honest, and a big huge hug and thank you to Emily for listening and understanding and then standing up for her choice.


    Comment by heidikins on February 23, 2012
  15. I have to agree with Adam. You can’t shelter them, especially in this day of social media. I mean, they must hear there is a backlash, right?

    And I’m so proud of you for telling her the truth and putting your foot down. And I’m so PROUD of Emily for standing her ground.

    She’s an amazing kid. With an equally amazing mom.

    Comment by Kristabella on February 23, 2012
  16. Sobbing now. #1 good job mom on raising an awesome and strong daughter #2 good for you Emily for standing up for what you believe in and #3 I’m soo scared for when my daughter gets older and I just hope I can teach her to be as level headed and strong as you are raising your daughters.

    Comment by Krystal on February 23, 2012
  17. Not to mention his new pick up line?

    ‘ Don’t worry I wont beat you’….
    Nice…. So not attractive

    Comment by Madeline on February 23, 2012
  18. She’s getting a standing ovation from me.

    Comment by Jennifer on February 23, 2012
  19. You did the right thing. She did the right thing. Her “friends” didn’t, but hopefully Emily’s strength will help them understand.

    Comment by Nanette on February 23, 2012
  20. Good for her. Good for you. And I bet the school would have asked the girls to pick a new song when they told them what they planned on singing. I know my sister has had to tell kids to pick new songs to dance/sing to over all her years as a music teacher.

    Comment by Martha on February 23, 2012
  21. You cried like an infant? Really?

    Sorry, but the melodrama in this post is over the top. How about telling your daughter that Glee is inappropriate? Or perhaps, having facebook when she’s 10 is not the best idea?

    Guiding our kids to do the right thing is part of being a parent everyday. This hardly ranks as such a serious situation as to elicit so many tears from you and your readers.

    Comment by Nothingmuch on February 23, 2012
  22. Nothingmuch, that is an interesting take on things. The post is about standing up for your convictions and doing what’s right even if your peers may not necessarily feel the same way. Much as we’d like, we can’t shelter our kids the same way that we were when we were raised and the Internet was not a daily reality. That’s fine if you did not not think that this specific post didn’t strike a cord with you, but I don’t understand why you need to tell everyone else what type of reaction they should have or how seriously we should rank the issue. As for standing up for what you believe in, I can’t think of many things I’d rank as more important to teach my kid.

    Comment by Jen on February 23, 2012
  23. Hmm…Glee never hit a woman and capitalized off of it. Neither did Facebook.
    This isn’t about privacy settings, and/or viewer discretion.
    This is about preventing the social/mainstream acceptance of violence against women. This is about a young woman who – in this world of media obfuscation – made up her own mind after hearing the facts and stood up for her beliefs. There’s no melodrama here. Just pride.
    Just thought I’d clarify. Douche. 🙂

    Comment by Kat on February 23, 2012
  24. Agree completely. Tears are over the top. Also, facebook suggests that users be 14 years old. Why grow up so fast?

    Comment by Nicole on February 24, 2012
  25. Yes but again, Nicole and NothingMuch, tears are a subjective reaction. You may not have had this reaction but why do you care if *other* people do? It is a totally subjective thing so how one person reacts won’t necessarily be how another person reacts. Why care so much as to tell others how they *should* react to something that has zero impact on you?

    Comment by Jen on February 24, 2012
  26. Interesting.
    I hadn’t realized that there were RULES on when it’s appropriate to cry.

    Comment by ali on February 24, 2012
  27. NothingMuch – Comparing relationship abuse to Facebook and Glee is one of the most irresponsible things I’ve ever heard. EVER.

    “It’s okay to celebrate Chris Brown, a violent asshole who beats women, but for goodness sake – Facebook and Glee are the real evils of the planet!”

    I mean, do you even see how ridiculous that sounds?

    Comment by Meghan on February 24, 2012
  28. Crying. I don’t even know where to start. I’m a survivor of pretty harsh relationship violence (twice over), and the night of the Grammys just had me in TEARS. I was so angry that they let him ATTEND, much less perform, that I just cried through everything he did. Then the tweets about women LETTING HIM HIT THEM just made me sob.

    He is such a disgusting human being. Watching him on that stage was like watching the two “men” who abused me. It was horrible.


    Comment by Kristen on February 23, 2012
  29. Good for you, and good for your daughter. It’s not easy to stand up to your friends at that age.

    Comment by Maureen on February 23, 2012
  30. I hope that I do half as good a job with Kate as you’ve done with Miss Emily (Bellezilla and Josh too). They are good seeds Ali Martell.

    Comment by Jen on February 23, 2012
  31. That I some AWESOME parenting. It’s sad that the other parents don’t feel the same way, but GOOD for Emily for standing up to her friends. That could not have been easy for her.

    Comment by Mrs. Wilson on February 23, 2012
  32. Good for you Ali, it’s so important to treat our little people with the intelligence they deserve! I’m proud of you for telling her what happened in that relationship. I hope that the other kids go home and complain to there parents that she can’t do the song AND that they clue in as to why! Good for you, such awesome parenting!!

    Comment by Sarah on February 23, 2012
  33. Good for both of you. It’s a shame that her friends don’t understand the meaning behind all of this. I hope Emily can stay strong in her convictions, which really seems as though that will not be a challenge for her. I hope I can raise my daughter to be as strong.

    Comment by Gamanda on February 23, 2012
  34. Chills reading this. My daughter is 20 months and I know that she will be raised into a world where information is out there for the taking. Try as I might there is no sheltering her from the awful stuff that’s out there. Ali, you are raising a smart, strong daughter whose head on her shoulders and conviction in her heart will carry her through. And I am proud of both of you.

    Comment by Jen on February 23, 2012
  35. I am so proud of you both. It is not easy for anyone to stand up to his/her friends, especially in those difficult teen/tween years. Your Emily demonstrates empathy, compassion, and self-assurance beyond her years. Kudos not only to her for standing up for what she believes in, but also you and your husband for providing such a strong moral compass for her and her siblings. Well done!

    Comment by Elizabeth on February 23, 2012
  36. I had this conversation with my girls when I fast forwarded through his Grammy everything. They get it. It’s not just about music. Not just about him being a celebrity. He is not a nice human being. He is someone who deserves to be in jail. There are shows/movies I won’t watch because of certain actors in it. I will never be one of those people who lets it go.

    I think Emily is brave and amazing for standing up to them. The hardest thing one can do is stand up to a friend. Hopefully they’ll get it soon too.

    Comment by Issa on February 23, 2012
  37. I’m so mad at her friends, seriously, and is this for school? Are they really allowing a Chris Brown song? And good for you for teaching your daughter this. And good for her for being the mature one in her group. That takes a lot of strength. Well done!

    Comment by Loukia on February 23, 2012
  38. As a HS English teacher, I cannot tell you how proud I am of a girl so young who gets it and is willing to take a stand. No doubt she’ll be a leader. And good for you for being so involved and being willing to have a tough conversation. This warms my heart.

    Comment by Amy on February 23, 2012
  39. Not only is she a great kid, but you are a fabulous mom.

    Comment by pgoodness on February 23, 2012
  40. Sometimes we have to tell our kids terrible things. I showed my daughter and two eldest sons pictures of Rihanna’s face, too. I also showed them pictures of my two friends who are dead because of two men who understood (understand still?) the world the way Chris Brown does. We cannot communicate too loudly or too often that violence is not OK; we do not hurt the people we love. Not ever. You communicated that to your daughter, and she communicated it to her friends, and hopefully it keeps going.

    Comment by Adrienne on February 23, 2012
  41. Let them know how some women understand the world the way Chris Brown does also. There are also dead men out there from being abused by their partner.

    Or do we men just “deserve it”?

    Comment by Alogon on November 21, 2012
  42. That is very brave of Emily – no wonder you are so proud! I was disgusted that the Grammy’s even allowed Chris Brown to perform…that turned by off completely!

    Have you thought about calling the parents of the girls in her group? I think they should know what their kids are doing – both by performing this song and ostracizing your daughter for standing up to them. And did they really call her a bitch?!?!? Maybe I’m being too mama bear, but I think these girls need a little lesson in ethics and manners! (Of course, it’s very likely that they’ve learned this behaviour from their parents, so…)

    Comment by Renee on February 24, 2012
  43. You are a fabulous mother, who has clearly raised a fabulous daughter. Wow, I hope that mine are able to be that strong at her age.

    Comment by krista on February 24, 2012
  44. Ali, your kids are so amazing. They’re so awesome now, I can’t wait to see what they’re like as adults. The world had better watch out!

    Comment by Meghan on February 24, 2012
  45. FInally, I can comment.
    I am so proud of you and your girl – You are doing the right thing and teaching your daughter the right thing!
    That Emily is going to grow up to be an amazing woman, just like her Mom.
    This is an important message that needs to be heard.

    Comment by monstergirlee on February 24, 2012
  46. It’s odd that my wife and I differ on this issue. but not in the way most might think:

    I agree that he’s the worst person in the universe… You don’t ever get forgiven for doing something that heinous…

    My wife says from everything she’s read he is seriously sorry and is making amends…

    I don’t know, she is usually the militant…

    This time I’m fairly comfortable in saying she’s wrong.

    Oh – and the outage? All my fault. I take full responsibility.

    Comment by ShredderFeeder on February 24, 2012
  47. it’s funny (but not “ha-ha”) how when our kids were younger and they’d say “no” to us all the time and were so stubborn we’d bang our heads against the wall.

    but here it is! she said “no” and didn’t back down once again and for all the right reasons! at that age it is the toughest thing ever! that willfulness shown as a youngster shows up as strength in the later years. next thing it may be “no” to drugs…”no” to inappropriate situations…proud of your girl!

    Comment by julie on February 24, 2012
  48. This is fantastic. What a proud mama moment. You did the right thing. Emily is amazing for standing up to her friends. So so proud.

    Comment by pdxhadey on February 29, 2012
  49. this is soooo moving! and your daughter is for sure a very intelligent and mature girl. Congrats for such a daughter ^_^
    BTW… it is a harsh theme to talk about, but I completely agree with you that it is absolutely necessary to start talking about it with everyone: kids, women, men… EVERYONE!!! because as you said… IT’S NEVER OK!

    Comment by MaJo_BV on March 3, 2012
  50. […] really don’t want to write it.  But I think I need to write it.  Especially after reading this post by the fab Ali Martell this morning, and what a brave thing her daughter did.  Go read it. […]

    Pingback by I Don’t Want To Write This, So I’m Writing This. | talesfromasmalltown.com on March 8, 2012
  51. “It was important for her to understand that hitting women is NEVER okay”

    Gender bias at its finest. More female entitlement being bred into the youth, just make it all about the poor, helpless women. What about saying “hitting another PERSON is not okay UNLESS it is necessary to defend yourself or another PERSON”?

    And did you also talk to your daughter about women physically abusing men and how that is also not ok? Trust me, a physically abusive girlfriend taught me long ago just how violent and dangerous women can be.

    While I don’t agree with what Chris Brown had done, you nor I know the full story so calling him the “worst person on the planet right now” is not only histrionic but ridiculous. I am very certain there are worse people than Chris Brown and his tantrums. I don’t know, maybe some warlords might just beat out Mr. Brown for the title.

    Comment by Alogon on November 21, 2012

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