I’ve always been conscious of what my girls watch and listen to. This is especially true now that my oldest is approaching 8 and very aware of the messages in movies and songs. It started a couple of years ago when she would ask me “what do they mean?” when songs would come on. She was starting to become aware that there was a story being told through the words and it wasn’t just a great beat to dance to. Once she started to realize that, she was like a detective on a mission. Every time a song would come on, she’d listen to the words and try to pick up on the message it was giving.
Last week we were watching some YouTube videos together and she played some tweenybop songs. She told me that I had to hear them because they both had some really positive messages behind them. She went on to tell me that those are songs that she’d sing to herself in school when she was bullied by a classmate. It breaks my heart to go through this bullying issue with her. It’s something that I never experienced first hand. I always stood up for the person being bullied but I was neither bullied nor a bully so this is new territory for me. I’m glad that she’s found a way to draw strength in the heat of the moment. She said it helps her to focus, realize what’s important, not let the mean words get to her and it makes her feel strong.
This was confirmation that we’re doing the right thing by being mindful of what her mind digests. There are certain shows that are age appropriate that I don’t let her watch because of the messages being sent. Disrespectful attitudes, indifference towards others, selfishness, placing too much value on material things and mean girl syndrome are just a few themes that I’ve noticed in some shows aimed at 8-10 year olds. Sometimes she complains that I don’t allow her to watch the more popular shows but when we sit down and talk about why, she understands it. I find her discarding more and more shows because she’s found the value in watching things that have a positive message.
I’m not one to go to extremes in my parenting. I don’t want to completely shelter her but I do make an effort to be selective of what she’s exposed to especially in large amounts. You can’t unlearn something you’ve been exposed to. So I’d rather she didn’t listen and watch things that promote some of the things I try to take a stand against or do my part to fix in the world. This is a very personal parenting choice. I encourage you to continue to do what feels right for you and your family. There are many things that come into play in this decision. Personally I just try to be aware of the theme of shows and songs and what messages their promoting. It’s less about age and more about what are they really saying?
If you missed it, you might also enjoy this post about parenting through understanding.
What are your thoughts on this topic? Are you selective of what your kids watch/listen to? I’d love to hear your story, feel free to share in the comments!