Thursday, May 01, 2008

I am jumping in a little late...

I have two daughters who love to watch Hannah Montana and High School Musical. Yes, even Audrey. She sings along to all the songs, dancing in her car seat.

Lately, Ashley has been wanting to dress like Hannah Montana. But to her, dressing like Hannah Montana means wearing boots or putting her hair in a ponytail. There are no requests for short skirts or belly tops as that isn't what she wears on the show. I honestly think it's cute.

I read a blog posting on ParentDish (and no, I won't link it here, it does not deserve the traffic, but it was linked from this great post) about the whole Miley Cyrus thing. This is the blogger's take on why the parents are to blame:

"It seems that too many parents these days are too tired or too busy to swim against the current. We want our kids to fit in. We'd rather not deal with the nagging, so we give in and buy the video game or doll or outfit without thinking it through. We defer to kids, instead of carefully evaluating products and programs to see if their messages actually reflect our values. Thus, we end up mindlessly encouraging and financing a disturbing trend."

I am pretty sure that blogger just called me a pathetic, useless parent. And it pissed me off.

My kids don't watch Hannah Montana because I am lazy. They watch it because it puts a smile on their face. They watch it as it gives them 30 minutes of chill-out time on the couch after being at a tv-less school all day. They watch it because when Hannah Montana sings or the theme song comes on, they get up and dance. They watch it because they like it.

And don't talk to me about evaluating products. I read way too many reviews on kids' toys. I tear out pages in parenting magazines throughout the year about this toy or that toy that stimulates this or that. I browse the various parenting product blogs for the best advice. I evaluate the hell out of what I purchase for my kids.

It's just my criteria may be a little different. Sometimes I just want a toy that Ashley will play with for hours. Take her Polly Pockets. She loves them. She sometimes asks to go in her room and play. And yes, she will play for a few hours with them. Are they provocatively dressed? I am sure some Mom will say yes, and that they won't buy them for their kids.

And to a degree, yes, I would like my child to fit in. No, that does not mean if all the kids jumped off a bridge, there go Ashley and Audrey like little lemmings. A few months ago, all of her friends in her Pre-K class were talking about High School Musical, and Ashley asked if she could watch it too. Did I let her watch it so that she fit in with her friends? I guess so, but in the end, it's a cute movie. And if you ask Ashley if Gabriella and Troy kiss at the end of HSM2, she will tell you no. Because she just doesn't get some of the stuff in the movie. What she gets is the singing and dancing. Would my answer change if she was requesting to go bungee jumping because all the other kids were talking about it? Absolutely.

Bottom line, I want to raise kids that will come to me and ask to do something, or ask my opinion on something, or hell, just tell me about their day. I want all lines of communication to be open at all times. If they do this while dressed like Hannah Montana, more power to them.

13 comments:

Kellie said...

Amen, sistah!!! Very well written!!

Pam said...

I think the key to all this is that parents need to think and evaluate what their kids see, wear, etc. You ARE doing that so you don't need to worry. As long as we know what is going on and we make a decision we feel is best for our family, then we have done a good job a parents. You are not doing what that comment said....

Julie said...

Ack, Kellie said just what I was going to!

You know how I feel on the topic! Plus that blogger has zero cred with me. When you've been on The Real World you loose cred with me!

Sabrina said...

I gave up listening to parenting advice from 3rd sources on October 25, 2002, the exact date my first child was born.

Here's my usual "screw you" response.

"Thanks for your advice, I appreciate it, however you have to understand that all kids and parents are different and you need to be able to have the flexibility to understand that when you're giving me advice".

or, my better response

"Oh, that's nice. Yeah, we totally don't do that...and probably won't. Ever"

Sabrina said...

PS: When I was growing up, Madonna was my favorite singer, so was Cyndi Lauper and Bananarama and look how I turned out. Stop laughing.

Jaki said...

Amen to that!

My sister is like the blogger and I am more like you. Her and I have huge diffrences in parenting our kids. Her kids were not allowed to watch any Disney movies until they were well over the age of 4 (they are now 7 and 8) and she still only lets them watch the movies with her and on DVD so that she can skip over the scenes that are too sad, or scary, or evil, or intense. They only watch the parts where the character is singing in the forest with all the animal friends around and the happy ever after parts. My son (almost 4), on the other hand has watched Disney movies since birth. We live in a world where protecting our kids from all bad, scary and uncomfortable feelings is the accepted practice. I strongly believe that this is a disservice to our children. Life is not always flowers and roses and singing and happily ever after no matter how badly we wish that for our families. Children need to learn how to handle all these "unpleasant" feelings in a safe environment when they are young so that when we send them off into the great big scary world that we live in they don't have a breakdown because they don't know how to handle their feelings.

However, I respect my sister's parenting and she respects mine. I know to get her permission before I let her kids watch a movie when they are at my house (even if it is only "Snow Buddies") and she knows that she doesn't have to check with me before she puts in "Star Wars" for the kids to watch when they are at her house.

There are way to many ways now to read and hear that what we are doing in raising our children is going to ruin them when they are older. To many medias making us feel guility or question our parenting. None of us like being judged or told that we are doing something wrong. I've learned to tune all that out and parent my child how I feel in my heart is best for our family. I have also learned not to judge others that do it differently than me.

Amy, you are a great Mom! No matter how you do it! Who cares what others think.

SJ said...

Well stated Amy! I guess because I have boys at home I never really paid much attention to all the drama that's swirling around the Hannah Montana/Miley Cirus stuff lately.....

Bottom line - you are the mother of your children and how you parent them is your business. You are a good Mom period. Who cares what other people think!

However you do have every right to be pissed - what is that blogger teaching their kids by being so judgemental of other Moms anyway?

Rachel said...

I think the entire thing is being blown way out of proportion. Kaylie and Haley both love Hannah Montana as well as Miley Cyrus and so do I. Neither of those girls knows anything about those pictures and if they did, it would just be a picture to them

I didn't hear that other kids were watching it and make them both sit down and watch! They found it and introduced it to me! Of course I won't let them watch or do everything they want, but have what I consider to be a pretty good role model is perfectly fine with me.

We have to remember that Miley is 15. 15!! She is a child! Someone should have been there preventing that from happening, but they weren't, but why are we blaming her for it?

Amy said...

We just had an issue with a boy in my son's school who said that my boy should throw out his Star Wars toys...they're of the devil.

My child, and I'm sure yours, enjoys these things, and in moderation...they are perfectly acceptable!!

I haven't entered the world of Hannah Montanna, yet...

bichonpawz said...

Amen indeed! This post deserves the Perfect Post Award. I do not have little ones anymore, but I couldn't agree with you more!

Pamela said...

again... it is all about choosing your battles.

There's enough junk out there to be careful of --without having to invent problems. . . .

You're doing great, I think.

Steph said...

Amen sista!

Ciara loves HSM and Hannah too. She's (almost) 6, so she doesn't understand all of it either, but she loves it!

my4kids said...

Amen I agree with all of it. I hate it when someone tries to say how I do things in wrong. Especially when they make broad judgements on "all" people like that.