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 go...in 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 though...is 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 princesses...at 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