Tuesday, December 6, 2011

forget Big Brother, this is Big Mother.

This is a post about censorship and mind control. Read on.

Luciana at her first concert, signing the Jonas Brothers' Bus.

Never thought that I'd be one of those old people muttering about "kids these days and their music". But, alas, I am. No, I don't really care if you want to fill your head with the gospel of Lil' Wayne or the lyrical insight of Katy Perry. Do your thug thizzle (that's gangster talk for 'do your thing', in case you were confused). I just can't stand the thought of my 7yr old daughter's fascination with all things "mainstream", especially music.

Every day we talk about music and it usually starts because of our ride to school. Right away she will ask to change the radio station to one that plays all the music I have grown to loathe. I'm sorry darling, I don't want to hear about glitter on the dance floor, how fine he thinks she is, how he'll break my heart, or how many hoes are in his entourage. I just don't get all this pop culture music stuff. Well, I have to admit that I understand the preoccupation with Justin Beiber. At least as a human boy. I saw Never Say Never. I cried. I'm not ashamed. I'll probably download it and watch it again, soon. So, I get it. Sure, he is an adorable little boy. If I was in his class in high school and he sat in front of of me I would probably spend most of my time staring dreamily at the back of his head and awaiting every interaction we had. Passing papers...oh, did his hand just linger? I think it did. They're so soft and warm...Turning around to ask me questions...does he think I'm smart?...he had to have known that answer. He did. Yeah, he wants me. Ok, so I got kind of carried away there, but I think you see my point. It's a normal thing for her to be infatuated with some elements of pop culture. Everyone falls in there somewhere, right? But again, the muuuusic. I just can't let my disappointment go.

Now, I wish I could sit here and brag about how much my smart child loves classical music. Ah, yes. She can really appreciate the finer sounds in life. But I'd be lying. As impressionable as she is, she just doesn't soak up my impressions as much as those of her peers. Awesome, right? So its highly more likely that your kid is influencing her taste in music more than anything I try to do. But I'm not blaming you, don't worry. I guess I just have to chalk it up to the "social circle of life", for now. It's hard!

Luciana at her first piano lesson. Can't say I haven't tried.

I know there are people out there who just don't give it a lot of thought. When it comes to what their kids listen to, it might be that they just stick to the music they like themselves, or just let their kids listen to whatever they want. I wonder what makes us so different? Are there people out there with insight about how the music they listen to will make absolutely no difference on the content of their character? I still remember this memory I had of Luciana's first daycare. She was only around 2 1/2 or 3, but there were these two little girls about 4 or 5 there one day. They were marching around in circles singing the chorus to "Smack That". Yes, as in ASS. I almost died right there. Even though I feel like an experienced parent of babies and toddlers, this is the first time I've ever had a blossoming 7yr old who already acts like a preteen, and I think about these things all the time. It really isn't any different when it comes to TV. There are certain shows that yes, they are made for kids, but I just don't see them as being made for the kid I want to have. Especially not at this young age. TV just isn't the same as when I was little. I don't remember any shows like these at all, anywhere. Ok, maybe you don't see them as such terrible shows, and yes, I am entertained by some of them too, sometimes, for a moment anyway. But I just can't overlook all I have learned about the influence these television characters have on my daughter's personality. She already knows what makes a person cool and what doesn't, according to Disney, anyway. She already knows what makes a person beautiful and whether she fits in to that category or not. Am I the only one who is scared about this stuff? I can't be.

I have a strong belief that the music we listen to adds substance to our lives. Music lovers everywhere will agree, no doubt. But just what is that substance? I don't think Ke$ha's music can add a lot of value to an impressionable 7yr old, let alone a 27yr old such as myself. The only thing most of this radio music my daughter swears she loves does for me is make me want to get on a dance floor and shake what I got. And I will go on record saying I want to prolong that urge in my daughter for as long as humanly possible. I understand that popular radio music wasn't written for children. Yes, it's up to us as parents, role models, and responsible adults to monitor what children are exposed to. It is hard to control what they delight in, though. So, what is an over-analyzing mother like me to do? What I've already done is restricted YouTube, television shows, radio stations, a capella singing sessions involving lyrics that speak of brushing-teeth-with-a-bottle-of-jack, and anything else I can do to control her exposure. Her dad and I are always asking her "Where did you hear that?", to which her usual response is "My mom/dad lets me listen to it". Oh, the manipulation that child is capable of. But we are on to it.

I want my child to be a free-spirit. Not so much in the hippie sense, but someone who follows her interests, desires, and delights in the small joys in life. I do not however, want her mind pre-programmed with what those interests, desires, and delights are by something so impersonal as lyrics to a song written for a group or groups that she has no business being a part of. So, I will force her to listen to NPR when I see fit. I will play the heck out of Christmas music for the next month on every single car ride. Yes, we will sing songs together. We already have so much fun with interactive songs like Old McDonald and I'm trying to teach her what a round is. The last thing I want her singing about is a round of drinks at the bar and tailfeathers, shaking about. She can call me controlling, over-analytical, and she can even call me unfair. But she'll still call me Mom, and that's good enough for me.

Have any of you experienced something similar with your kids? Any advice?


  1. I'm a mom of 4 and I completely understand.

    I found my way here by way of the weekly book blog hop and I will be following your blog as soon as I post this.

    If you'd like to visit my little spot on the web its at http://culinarycozies.blogspot.com

    I read/review cozy mysteries. Thanks.

  2. I totally agree! As for advice, I think you are on the right track by limiting exposure to the "mainstream" music. My daughter (6) prefers the music that she hears the most, which is classical and progressive rock. She would pick the Mars Volta, Radiohead or the Beatles over Keisha or Justin Bieber any day.

  3. And this is only the beginning. Monitoring is good and encouraging other music are very good ideas.

  4. "Am I the only one who is scared about this stuff?"
    You definitely are not! I'm terrified! My son is four and already i'm monitoring just about everything. But how much is too much? I fear both ends of the scale.

    I wish he wouldn't grow up :-( lol

    Passing through & following for the blog hop, fab blog here.

    TToria @ http://ttoria.blogspot.com

  5. I'd disconnect the cable and internet, if I didn't need them so much :), to keep my daughter away from some meaningless stuff that floats around and evaporates. We can't do much about it, it IS the next generation. wow that makes me sound old, but what to do?!!

  6. I don't have kids, but I think you have a good approach. If I did have kids, I too would want them to explore their own interests, but also want to make sure they kept their mind open to what those interests might be and not just what mainstream TV wants those interests to be.

  7. @untained hair mom- that's awesome. I think part of my problem is that I don't really listen to music regularly. If I'm in the car I'm either talking my man''s ear off, yelling at the kids ;) or just trying to find a song I know to sing along to. I usually stick with oldies bc they remind me of my mom. I had a good thing going when I had my iPod full of music, she loved everything. But then I washed it in the washing machine! I've never replaced it. I think I'll work on that. :)

  8. Ladies- I'm trying to keep my fear in perspective, for sure.
    @Anu- I've gone periods of time without cable and Internet, especially when she was younger. I don't think my guy would go for that haha. He works so hard with long hours and he loves relaxing in front of tv or Xbox for a few hours when he can. Something we do though, is no tv during the week as a general rule. And def only limited Internet maybe to play on jibjab.com of y8.com. My 3 yr old uses star fall.

    I'm sure this is only the beginning. But I'm up for the challenge. :)

  9. Oldies but goodies and country and the Beatles but, yes iI am guilty I still do listen to main stream music as well I love music all types even miss kesha and mr lil Wayne at times but it is hard to keep them from knowing all mainstream things due to peers it's crazy when I look at my Dominic he is 9 eek going to be 16 thank god no talk of girlfriends yet but, my little Luke is girl crazy and Dominic thinks he's crazy I think it's all in who they really are and we just need to tweak their interests in the right direction my suggestion get her a kids bop cd they are cleaned up versions of pop music I mean I know it's not the best answer but atleast she will be hearing a better version than her neighboring peer at school ;) I love your blog beck good job friend!