read more: Boston Herald Article
[password]When we first had kids, many in my generation felt that we had a pretty good grasp on this parenting thing. But as our first-borns enter the “tween” years, we seem to have lost our way.
As first-time parents, we fussed over every morsel consumed by our little angels, spent hours reading them “Goodnight Moon,” and played Baby Mozart videos to stimulate their growing brains.
We turned off the news in their presence and limited TV to educational programming. Eventually, we shifted from PBS Kids to the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon. Somehow “Phineas and Ferb” replaced “Sesame Street.” And “Hannah Montana” and “Zoey 101” weren’t far behind.
“It’s harmless,” we told ourselves. And, for the most part, it was.
But then Jamie Lynn Spears ended up pregnant at 16, leading to “Zoey’s” cancellation. Much as we tried to keep this tidbit from our children, we could not keep them out of grocery stores where supermarket tabloids screamed it in their faces.
As for music . . . Hannah led to Taylor, who led them back to Miley, who led eventually to PINK. KISS 108 became the soundtrack to our lives. And now our eldest children’s brains are stimulated by Usher and Eminem.
As older children in a family fall prey to pop culture, so inevitably do the younger ones. After a decade of listening to Raffi in the car, my middle-schooler seized control of the car radio – siblings be damned! And so it is that I find my 7-year-old singing along with Ke$ha about “brushing her teeth with a bottle of Jack.”
From PBS Kids and Disney Channel to Ke$ha and Eminem: It’s a slippery slope!
It’s easy, of course, to blame the Jamie Lynns, the Marshall Mathers and the media culture that celebrates them. But, the fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.
The great irony of millennial parenting is that while we micromanage every other aspect of our children’s lives, we often abdicate when it comes to pop culture. We obsess about breast-feeding and organic food, about brain development and physical growth, but do almost nothing to feed our children’s developing souls. And while much time is spent fretting about whether our children are getting the best soccer coaching, we often ignore basic coaching on fundamental issues of right and wrong. After all, who are we with our own guilty pleasures – People Magazine, “Desperate Housewives” – to lecture our tweens about images of violence, pulp and girls gone wild?
There must be some limits. In my house, it’s “Glee.” Some parents think that the program is a “fun” way to teach tolerance. But I don’t want my middle- and elementary-school kids watching a show where the teachers take drugs, the president of the “celibacy club” gets knocked up, and kids routinely call each other “tranny” and “cripple.”
I try to remind myself that when I was 12 my favorite movie was “Fame.” It also used singing and dancing to address controversial topics. But where “Fame” was a survival story and a cautionary tale, “Glee” is a sarcastic, misogynist critique of the high school social scene that depicts middle class values as inherently hypocritical.
I realize my line in the sand is somewhat arbitrary. Every mom must choose her own battles, but for the sake of our kids choose them we must. For now, I’m holding the line on “Glee.”[/password]