Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Daytime Ms. M's second grade class

When I had my baby girl, I was under the impression that the female drama does not begin till the second or third act...puberty. I was wrong. There are a few things that I know about parenting. They are...

1. I know NOTHING.
2. I get a few years with my kids and then life is up to them.
3. Survival may or may not occur for the parties involved.

I make no bones about it. I am a restrictive parent. My kids don't watch a ton of TV. My second grade daughter has never seen High School Musical, Camp Rock, or Cheetah Girls. She has seen only three episodes of Hannah Montana, but somehow she is a huge fan which I blame on the brainwashing/ commercialization of our kids everywhere they go....but the disease called marketing is not what this post is about.

My biggest fear with my daughter is that she will grow up too fast. I don't want her to miss out on the easy days of just being a kid. Most of the shows targeted at my seven year old girl deal with teen/adolescent themes that she is developmentally not ready for. So...we are very careful with what media she takes in. This is something we take seriously in our house. We get one chance with these little people to fill their minds with healthy thoughts; so that they in turn will be a blessing to whatever community they choose to serve someday. I will not risk stealing away the carefree days of childhood for some pop culture flash in the pan. Here is the rub...

When she started school this year, she immediately found a group of friends to play with. This came as no surprise to me as she is rather outgoing. She came home telling me stories of recess. These stories were somewhat different than I had expected, and very different from my childhood recess memories. My daughter described recess as cheer leading for the boys as they played football. It is important and interesting to note here that the football boys are completely ambivalent and oblivious to the cheerleaders, thankfully. Well...almost all the boys.

Two weeks into the cheer leading recess routine we heard from my girl's teacher. Apparently, some little punk nosed boy who was my seven year old daughter's "boyfriend" dumped her publicly after announcing to his friend that she was not pretty. Then my girl's, so called, "best friend" tattled on her for having a boyfriend to some lunchroom aid. As a result, this glorified lunchroom lady publicly reprimanded my daughter for having a boyfriend. This humiliation sent my oftentimes overly emotional daughter into an anxiety attack. She was so upset and embarrassed that her teacher, Ms. M sent her to the school counselor, and was very concerned for her emotional well-being.

My husband and I did not know where to start. What do you do with that information? Where does one begin? Sooooo we sat down that evening and tried to make sense through all the tears what was going on in Ms. M's second grade class at recess.

Our girl showed us the "dances" that the cheer leading girls performed. This is not the cheer leading that you would expect a seven year old to do. There are no sweet little pompoms or silly jumps. This was more like...the dance team for the Portland Trail Blazers or pick your favorite NBA team. I was appalled. What??? Where do these kids see this? Better yet...who LETS them see this?

Secondly, her "best friend's " mom is the coach of a little all star cheer leading team who actually perform this stuff. This same "best friend" encouraged my sweet girl to get a boyfriend and then ratted on her for it!

I'm not even going to go into the anger I continue to harbor for that stinking lunch lady.

So here we the second grade my daughter learned that her body can gyrate in sexual motions. She learned that she cannot trust all friends, and at seven years old she now knows that boys are jerks and they will unrepentantly rip your heart out.

Did I point out that she is seven?

We made some big requests of our girl after that teary eyed discussion...

1. No more cheer leading.
2. No more boys.
3. No more traitor-ific "best friend".

To date, my daughter has done amazingly well with keeping up her end of this bargain. However, she is lonely. She does not have many friends at school. In fact, one girl who played with my daughter was in-turn kicked out of the previously mentioned "best friend's" recess cheer leading club because she played with my daughter. So...the one time play mate quickly made up with the used-to-be "best friend" and left my daughter alone on the swings. This makes me question everyday if I am making a tragic mistake by over-sheltering my beauty. Have I forced her into being an outcast?

Now, I really hate to be hard on parents. Parenting is so difficult, especially in these days where divorce is rampant, one income homes are rare and the media vies for our attention like heroine. Here is the deal this the best we can offer our kids? We force them into adolescent scenarios before they can remember to brush their teeth every day? We allow them to take in media that shoves a world view down their throats and only diminishes parent involvement. Not to mention the fact...that this media highlights kids who are always craftier, smarter and meaner than their parents and who get away with everything without consequence. This is what my daughter should watch to fit in?

Several, well meaning parents have offered "Oh that show isn't so bad! You should let her watch it!" Maybe we should...but I'm thinking that isn't the big issue here. What happened to being a kid? What happened to playing on the swings or pretending to be a princess? (I neglected to mention, that my daughter was publicly mocked for wearing a princess coat to class. Apparently, when you are seven you are WAY too old to like least according to that particular punk.) What happened to parents being parents? When did we begin to let Hollywood dictate what is appropriate for our kids?

I am not naive enough to deny that kids are mean today just like kids were mean when I was seven. Nevertheless, something has changed. I feel the grey hair growing as I say this, but things are truly different now. Have a conversation with a few pre-teens and you will see what I mean. My impression is that there is no understanding of rank or authority. Children are left to raise themselves, in turn they act more adult than their parents oftentimes, and refuse to be parented or lead because of this.

This world, rather...this culture is so hard for adults. We lose wonderful people to porn habits all the time...thanks to the availability our media provides. Our consciences are numbed to the point of not hearing profanity, not seeing sexual images, and not shrinking back from ratings. Do we really want to rush our kids into that? We live in a world where violence is power and it is glorified on late night drama. Do we really want to rush our kids into that? They will encounter it soon enough, I suppose. My daughter already knows what it is like to be made fun of for having standards.

As for my family...we are not going to worry what everyone else does or thinks or watches. We are praying for some really great friendships to come along for our girl. We are ever supportive of her. We know she is not perfect and that she has to learn to get along with all people. She knows she always has true best friends in her mommy and daddy. She also knows that her mom is thirty-blah blah years old and still loves princess stories. Here is why...because my girl is a princess... and so am I... and so is the used-to-be turned traitor "best friend". We remind her every day that she is a daughter of the King of Kings and nothing can ever change that.

"Finally, family, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." Phil. 4:8


  1. Ok, first off.. you are an amazing writer. Second, what you write is scary.. but true. We just had our first girl and I am already puzzled by things such as this situation you wrote about. Thanks for sharing, it is encouraging! And third... you are my blog hero... All I do is write just a little bit and then put on a bunch of pictures... and I know that is not what blog is about.. but hey... we do what we can, right? Greetings from Slovenia!

  2. Wow, you truly are a great writer. You sent chills running up my arms! And you scared me, shame on you!!!! I can see exactly what you mean. There are many things that I never thought much about until we Had our little girl. She will be 4 in April. Just thinking about what is in store for her, scares the crap out of me. Thank you for posting your experiences. They are inspiring and informative. I hope you post more. I would also love to hear more about how you dealt with the "tantrum" stage? Bless you!

  3. Wow! That is all I can say at this moment....we will talk more.....and can I say that your daughter is very blessed to have such strong advocates in her parents. Keep the faith!

  4. Good Grief! I know from teaching that middle school kids are into waaaay more than they seemed to be when I was that age (talk about scary), but I didn't realize that the 2nd graders were already so catty. I'm so sorry that Miss L. has had to go through all of this.

    There's a new American Girl movie out about bullying. I wonder if you might rent it and watch it yourselves, then see if it is something that might apply in your situation? I have no idea if it's appropriate for her age or not, as I have not yet seen it, but I saw the previews and it is about the whole 'mean girls' thing.

    Also, you might (yourself, it's not a kid's book) read the book Mean Girls (on which the movie is losely based), and Queen Bees, Wanna Bees - both by the same author, although I can't remember her name.

    I don't think it's wrong to try to shelter her now...of course you don't want to give in to what the other kids are doing it, just because the other kids are doing it.

    I'm also left with the question as to why, if this is such a problem, some adult on the playground hasn't tried to redirect these 'cheerleader' girls into a more constructive activity. What gives?

    Hang in there! I hope the drama gets better soon.

    Laura K. (the 3rd...or 4th?)

  5. Well written, as always. You know full well I see the teenaged versions of these all the time. Too much drama. Too much justification of busy-ness and worldliness in place of Jesus. I am proud to have a wife that stands up for what is right. I am proud to have alittle girl who strives to be good even when her "friends" leave her out in the cold. I love you both.

  6. A well meaning person left a comment without a name attached so I will not be posting it. Above the comment section it states that I will not post comments that do not come with a name. I will address that post in a sec though.

    Thanks to the rest of you and your well wishes. My family is truly blessed to have so many good friends on blogger and on facebook who are praying for our little fam. God has richly blessed us in friendships.

    Now to respond to the anonymous poster...

    I do not feel that a TV is necessary to have in the house and I did not say that in my blog. Quite the contrary, I spoke to limiting the TV with my kids and being vigilant with the media that they absorb. That said, just like your reference to books. Television is a modern teaching tool and obviously is beneficial to have much like the computer. A computer can and is used for porn, but I would really be setting my kids back if I never taught them how to use a computer properly.
    As a Christian, I do not feel Christ sought to eliminate our existence within our communities. The point is that we serve HIM regardless of our communities. We teach our communities to rise above the deterioration of morality and truly act like Christ. We should not bury our heads in the sand and pretend like technology does not exist, rather we use it to spread the gospel.
    I have always hated the phrase..."kids will be kids". It is true kids WILL be kids, but it is MY role as a parent to be a parent.
    Recent research has proven that a child's brain is not fully developed until they reach their twenties. With that knowledge I am more determined to direct my child’s behavior toward making good decisions rather than let her raise herself. I cannot control other people's children or choices but I can be an advocate for my child, and I will be....regardless of what "kids will be" or what popular opinion states.

    Finally, to defend my little girl...she is the best reader in her class and has read well since she was three. We read books in our house, too. :)

  7. Was it Solomon who said there is nothing new under the sun? I'm not that old but ... same song, different verse ... the issues for my parents were dancing, movies, slacks for females, long hair for girls and short hair for boys ... I was the kid being teased, on the outside looking in. Oh, by the way, whatever you did -- do not talk about (sex) in any way. With the things I did not know and should have known as a young woman, it is amazing that I was a virgin when I got married. Only by the grace of God!

    I know now that I was accosted by a man in the neighborhood when I was about 10. I knew I didn't like it and I told my mother about it. She told me not to worry about it and she would take care of it. I don't know what she did but whenever we happened to be on the same street again he would go over to the other side.

    Too much sexual freedom and sensuality now, yes. Too little then, yes.


All posts must include names.
I will not post anonymous messages.