9.28.2010

I Think I am "That Parent"...The Prude

So, I think I'm that prude parent.  You know that one the imposes all these rules on their children in order to make sure they are well-rounded, well-mannered, smart young people.  But, I can't help but think that maybe our rules might be slightly detrimental to our girl Penelope.

A little backstory...Greg and I have always pretty much sensored how and what she watches.  Educational programs on Sprout, Noggin or Nick Jr. now, and Disney Channel.  Programs that helped her learn things as well as keeping her interest.  The first time she counted to 3 in Chinese I about died...Thank You Kai-Lan.  Or the time she told me she wanted to go to Paris and see the Eiffel Tower...Thank You Little Einsteins.  Or the time I made something for dinner that she wasn't too keen on trying and she chanted her little mantra of "Try it! You might like it!"...Thank You Yo Gabba Gabba.  Up to this point I thought (and I still think we are for the most part) we were doing pretty well...until the following situation.

This last weekend I helped my sister-in-law host a "Spa Party" for my niece Bianca who was turning 8 years old.  It was awesome and lots of fun.  We gave them mani and pedis, curled their hair, let them put on little kid make-up (all with their parents permission), and it was a great time.  Part of the festivities were allowing the girls to dress up in their favorite party dresses and have a fashion show and then they wanted to do a "concert".  Basically this meant singning and dancing to Hannah Montana, that chick from iCarly, and Selena Gomez.  Insert prude mom here.  I don't let Penelope watch that stuff.  I make her grandparents aware that when she is with them, she is not allowed to watch those programs.  It's something that Greg and I have a pretty firm stance on...she is only 5 after all, and we don't feel she needs to be subjected to teenage angst just yet.  The only time she ever sees these programs are when she stays with Bianca.  My brother and sister-in law don't have the same views as we do, and even though they know our stance, they don't alter their routine at their house when Penelope stays, just like we don't alter ours when Bianca stays with us.  I get it...I know she'll be exposed to it...all the time.  You can't walk into any clothing store and pick up something remotely cute without having some member of the Disney Movement plastered all over it.  It was hell trying to find a back pack and lunch box that was age appropriate...Thank You Hello Kitty

But the detrimental part happened when I looked over and Penelope was singled out.  She didn't know the words to the songs, and she didn't feel comfortable.  It broke my heart and I wondered if I am going to make her a complete nerd.  Believe me, sometimes I want her to be the nerd because society is so screwed up and different than when I was growing up and I feel like if she is the nerd I can protect her more, but then of course I don't want her to be the nerd because that just sucks too.  But what to do?  Honestly  the songs I did hear, weren't bad.  The lyrics were fine and honestly, she probably hears worse words when Greg and I play our music.  But, where is the line?  She's not 8, but she acts like an 8-year old and has the vocabulary of an 8-year old.  And don't even get me started on Kids Bop.  Those songs don't suddenly become okay just because a chorus of kids are singing the song.  But, I have to give props to their marketing people...way to take the exploitation of children to the next level!

So, I think I'm going to do a little more research and if the songs of the Disney Movement members turn out to be okay, then I think I'll start letting her at least listen to some of the music.  She loves to dance and sing and maybe that's one way I can let her experience a little bit of what everyone else seems to be enjoying all the while keeping her my little girl for as long as I possibly can.

I want to know your thoughts on this...please comment till your heart is content and forward on to your friends.  I'm even throwing in a $10 iTunes gift card to one lucky commenter...random drawing on Sunday evening. 

Peace out.

Olivia

9 comments:

Jamie said...

it's so hard to know what to do in this situation. My kids watch all the shows Penelope watches. i was smiling when I was reading about what you were saying about Kai Lan and Little Einsteins, etc...My 2 year old sits at the table when she's eating and sings "try it...you'll like it!" cracks me up. Even if it's something she's had a million times she still sings it!
I looked over at the girls section today at walmart and do you know what i saw? A big ol picture of Justin Bieber on a pink t shirt. I get it. I wore New kids on the block shirts when I was 13, but this was for someone around the age of 10. Maybe I'm a prude too. But I don't think that's right. I don't know why it bugs me so much. Maybe it's just cuz I want to keep my kids young for as long as I can.

My son, and please don't ever tell him I told you this lol, watches Hannah Montana and that Selena Gomez show Wizards of Waverly Place. I must admit, I watch it to. In fact for my bday, my sister got me the hannah montana movie soundtrack and I plan on letting Matthew listen to it. Matthew is almost 7 though and gets their humor in these shows. Penelope on the other hand is only 5 and might not understand quite yet what they are talking about. That's just my opinion though. But if she is watching those shows, they are totally safe. Miley Cyrus's songs are so good and heartfelt. She might really like them as you might to. Ok, done with this novel. I hope I have helped a little. But know one thing. you are the mommy and if you have a feeling something isn't right for your kid that is your right as their mom to step in and say no. Never feel bad about that. We need to keep these kids safe and keep them KIDS for as long as we can. We don't need to see these little girls running around with Justin Bieber shirts and writing on their butts. Now don't even get me started on that subject! lol

Kristy said...

Oh Olivia- I can relate SO much! I let my girls watch it- well, some stuff. Hannah Montana, etc..... which is probably okay for my 8 yr old but what about my 5 yr old... prob not! I hated it but would let them watch anyways. I hated that the girls had boyfriends... my 8 yr old does NOT need a boyfriend. I hate that Hannah Montana acts so freakin stupid on there too! and that Kids Bop crap? NO way in hell would I let them listen to that... even if simply because I would want to slit my wrists if I had to listen to those preteen kids singing songs about sex and not even knowing it.
So, this is what has happened in the last few months. I started telling Nevaeh that I thought those shows were stupid and that the kids acted stupid :) I want her to be strong and different in a non nerd kind of way... fingers crossed!!
My father in law bought the girls the DVD's to Alf- you know, the old show of the alien thingy... and they are obsessed! It is a bit dorky, but funny and witty and so I am actually glad that they love it. We also love to watch old shows like Full House! I guess I want balance. I want her to be "cool" but not the cool like everyone else.. that is so boring and easy to do anyways! and as for the music thing- I am torn because I hate those little kids singing those songs but Joel and I love Eminem (radio versions of course and songs that do not talk about him beating women)....... so that makes me feel a bit double minded in all of this. My bottom line is- be open and honest.. be upfront... I am telling my kids and pointing out to my kids when I see a girl dressing slutty that that is not cool or when Hannah Montana is finding her identity in a guy- not cool, etc.
Trust me, I am a homeschooling mom and have seen many painfully sheltered kids- I think it is all about finding balance... and embracing that it is cool to be a bit different and not like the rest :)

Kristy said...

oh and we loved the Hannah Montana movie actually. I thought it was really cute!

B said...

Liv,

I wish I had an answer for you. It sounds like you're doing what you feel is right (and what I will be doing when my kids are older). I find myself wanting to limit my son's activities from his half-sister who is 11 because she's doing things he's simply not needing to see/hear, etc. I know he's too young to understand much of anything at this point, but I also know that he's picking up on so much so quickly and with a 10 year age gap between the two kids, I feel like I'm in a bind. He LOVES his big sister and he should be spending time with her, but sometimes her activities (what's appropriate for her) is not suitable for him.

I would keep doing what you're doing, knowing you're getting to the stage where you'll have to loosen the ropes a bit. Continue monitoring, but allow and be open minded to the next stage that is coming - all while keeping to your standards and expectations. She'll learn from her wonderful parents the difference between right/wrong, good/bad, etc. :-)

Samara Link said...

This was really interesting to read, Olivia. Thanks for sharing. I'm not a mom, and I haven't really given a topic like this any thought, but I can imagine what you mean and what you're aiming for. Kids these days get exposed to some realities way before their time. I have a friend of a friend with a step daughter who is a nineteen year old trapped in an eight year olds body, and I think it's sad. She's a good kid, but clearly, the adults in her life have conditioned her think and act in a certain way that has robbed her of her innocence. She flirts with adult men like the best of 'em, and leopard print and knee high boots are a regular part of her wardrobe. It's alarming. So, to error on the side of caution is understandable and loving. It's great that you are aware of the impact your choices might have on her and that you're willing to consider your options and flex as she grows into new stages of her life. You're a good mom. :) I'll be interested to hear how this chapter in parenting your little girl develops.

Miss M! said...

That's so hard! I identify with not wanting your kid exposed to that crap (I sincerely believe it's crap) but at the same time, I remember being that kid who was always hopelessly out of the loop because we didn't have cable and my mom never took me to the mall or bought me cool clothes. I think the stance you're taking - previewing the music and moving forward from there - is a pretty wise choice of action. That being said, this post made me super glad I have a boy!

Anonymous said...

Keep doing what your doing Olivia, trust your gut! If you feel like it, download some songs for Penelope to groove to! Studies show that adults/children are subjected to 6.5 hours of "media" a day. Media in the form of television, internet, billboards, packaging, fast food advertisements, clothing, magazines... its enough to make your head spin. Your limiting that exposure and helping your daughter savor the best part of her childhood. I applaud you, do it while you can :)

Melissa said...

I dunno why my post said anonymous, LOL. posting again trying to get rid of it :)

Keep doing what your doing Olivia, trust your gut! If you feel like it, download some songs for Penelope to groove to! Studies show that adults/children are subjected to 6.5 hours of "media" a day. Media in the form of television, internet, billboards, packaging, fast food advertisements, clothing, magazines... its enough to make your head spin. Your limiting that exposure and helping your daughter savor the best part of her childhood. I applaud you, do it while you can :)

jessica o'brien said...

i'm not a mother, but i want to say to stick with your gut. it's okay for kids to go through awkward stages or feel left out. it builds character! i think kids are coddled too much these days + i totally "got" what you were saying about your heart breaking when she was singled out, but she, unlike others, learned how to deal with those emotions. that's a gift you give her in the long run.