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do I need to protect my daughter from mainstream culture? - Page 2

post #21 of 76
When I get frustrated with our society, I remind myself that I can't control society but I can control my household and live life by our ideals.

You control what comes in the door, and when the time comes explain your choices to your child. Instead of sheltering, what you are doing is exposing your child to your values, and hopefully giving them the tools to choose well when they are older.
post #22 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoopin' Mama View Post
When I get frustrated with our society, I remind myself that I can't control society but I can control my household and live life by our ideals.

You control what comes in the door, and when the time comes explain your choices to your child. Instead of sheltering, what you are doing is exposing your child to your values, and hopefully giving them the tools to choose well when they are older.


This is exactly how I feel. I think this is why I struggle so much with whether to stay or leave my husband. His values are so, so different than mine, and so I can't even really live life by my ideals, without coming under fire all the time. I really wish DH and I were on the same page when it comes to raising children.
post #23 of 76
I didn't read the whole thread, but I got down to the Ozarks post. I would absolutely LOVE to have a nice big piece of land with plenty of room for a big garden and a little live stock and just cut myself (mostly) away from "mainstream"

Short of joining a commune, I really don't see this as a realistic choice, but boy do I day-dream about it.
post #24 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by flapjack View Post

I'm not saying that back-chatting, smart-talking, wise-cracking, rude, arrogant obnoxious little boys don't exist- I recently came across a pair of brothers who are driving me to distraction- but generally, they're far and few between and our children gravitate to their own tribes.
So far they've been the majority here. I'm about to resign from my postition as childcare person and sundayschool teacher at church because of it. It's gotten so bad that I make my own child stay home so he's out of their influence........this is the 3rd church we've attended here with the same problem. Our playgroup is pretty good, but we do occasionally get someone new that has completely out of control kids. Luckily they don't last long because they realize that we tend to keep our own kids near us and away from the child that is acting out.

edited to add: we don't force them out or anything, we just make it very clear that if they aren't going to get up of their tush and make their kid quit throwing sand in other kids' faces, quit hitting, pushing etc....ask them to refrain from profanity at playgroup, then we'll do it for them. So far they've either started parenting their own kids so we don't have to, or quit coming to playgroup.
post #25 of 76
This was a conversation between two little girls at the preschool I work at. All of the other staff thought it was adorable and really funny.

A: My sister got High School Musical shoes.
B: I don't like High School Musical shoes.
A: Yes you do! You like everything High School Musical (she has the backpack, lunch box, and other random merchandise)
B: No! I like good shoes, and good shoes don't come from Wal Mart!!

This made me kind of sad. You should see this girl's wardrobe, from $80 jeans to $60+ shoes. She's 4 years old and already thinking this way.
post #26 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by OvenSeeksBun View Post
This was a conversation between two little girls at the preschool I work at. All of the other staff thought it was adorable and really funny.

A: My sister got High School Musical shoes.
B: I don't like High School Musical shoes.
A: Yes you do! You like everything High School Musical (she has the backpack, lunch box, and other random merchandise)
B: No! I like good shoes, and good shoes don't come from Wal Mart!!

This made me kind of sad. You should see this girl's wardrobe, from $80 jeans to $60+ shoes. She's 4 years old and already thinking this way.


Oh my! That is sad.
post #27 of 76
My problem is that lots of "mainstream things" take away from the childhood experience. The mountain of junk food degrades their health. The tv robs them of creative and free playtime. The branding of all things child limits their choices and subversively steers their interests. The videogames lock them inside and keep them isolated.

At what level are these things ok? For some people the answer is "None". For others, it's "Whole hog- might as well use/enjoy". For many, there is an inbetween. The key is KNOWING and and aknowledging that these things are not healthy and not deluding ourselves by making excuses for them and then dealing with them in the real world.

Is eating Halloween candy and birthday cake technically unhealthy, but fun and part of the experience of enjoying life? To me, yes. So I am willing to make that balance. Is TV essentially crap? Yup. So we don't have one, but if we are at grandma's, I'll let her rent Winnie the Pooh or a Sesame Street DVD and let them both be happy snuggling on the couch and have that memory. I know these things are less than perfect, but in their very small imperfect way, they can make a rounded view of life.

And it IS age dependent. At 4, my son does not benefit from the vast majority of mainstream culture. At this age, he is not developmentally able to understand the idea or the methods of manipulations of commercials. A food "treat" every once in a while is fun, but he is too young to really exercize the self control for moderation. We DO start to talk about that other kids may have different rules than we do, that they may use different words than what we think is respectful and polite and that he seems to be able to understand to some degree. At this age, what he needs more than life lessons in exposure is a protected space to explore, be outside, creative, learn about himself, enjoy the things that make childhood beautiful, and to allow his innocence to take it's turn to enable him to see the world in a way that he will loose in the years to come. As he gets older, we will accept more and allow more to enter our lives in a way that lets him experience it without being engulfed by it. But for very young children, there is little benefit and much drawback of lots of cultural junk. As they get older, guidance and age appropriate introductions are important, but in a way that still preserves their rights to physical, emotional and spiritual health.
post #28 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by MommyJoia View Post
I didn't read the whole thread, but I got down to the Ozarks post. I would absolutely LOVE to have a nice big piece of land with plenty of room for a big garden and a little live stock and just cut myself (mostly) away from "mainstream"

Short of joining a commune, I really don't see this as a realistic choice, but boy do I day-dream about it.
We do have this, and I think that it helps to balance out some of the electronic stuff. My kids are elementary aged, and their day includes animal care and tending to their gardens, which are set amidst our large garden. So, they can watch a nature or PBS video about animals or plants, or anything else for that matter, but they also have their hands in the dirt and know what real life farm animals are like. They also see the gamut of birth to death in this way, and we do not shelter them from it. Our structure includes no tv on schooldays, no one has hand held video games at this point, etc. But they do access websites like PBS kids, or for dd the Bella Sara website. Time limited, and I am always present.
post #29 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexsam View Post
My problem is that lots of "mainstream things" take away from the childhood experience.
Yes!



I strongly believe that, too.
post #30 of 76
I really feel that it is my job to help my DD learn to navigate the society in which we live, so I don't shelter her from things, but I do try to help her understand them. The biggest thing I want for her to have strong critical thinking skills and a good internal compass. I want her to look within and use her reason and logical to evaluate and overcome things. She's here watching Saturday morning cartoons while I write this.

This morning she went with me for a blood draw this morning (sprinkle babydust for me and think conceptual thoughts!) There was another baby there getting blood drawn and screaming. And I talked to her about how hard it was to explain things to a baby. They just know pain and why is this happening with mommy. But she and I could think about things. We could understand why I will willing to undergo a needlestick to see if my body had what it needed to support a baby. I know that's not really a mainstream thing, but it's an example of not sheltering, but exposing her to stuff, with me there.
post #31 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellien C View Post
I really feel that it is my job to help my DD learn to navigate the society in which we live, so I don't shelter her from things, but I do try to help her understand them. The biggest thing I want for her to have strong critical thinking skills and a good internal compass.



Absolutely agree!
post #32 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiera09 View Post
I knew a few sheltered children growing up (including some relatives) and none of them turned out well. They were either stifled by their parents and have never really become their own people. Or they we overwhelmed when they moved out/went to college and weren't able to get anywhere.
Well, my experience is different. I was a "sheltered" kid in many ways growing up. We didn't have a t.v. until my older sisters were in middle or high school, I was nine, and my younger brother was eight. When we were finally gifted with a tv, my parents kept it in a closet and only brought it out for very specific shows for at least a year. We ate all-natural foods, most prepared at home. We never bought things with characters on them, though when my sisters were preteens, there were plenty of Guess jeans and things around. Yada yada yada.

We didn't grow up in a bubble because one doesn't exist. We still saw tv at neighbors homes and stuff, though I can't remember ever watching something until I was seven or so and a neighbor kid invited me over to watch a movie with her. I remember getting my introduction to video games when I was about eight and on a family vacation when we were staying at a cousin's house. But yeah, we were semi-protected from mass media and mainstream marketing.

We're all fine.

My oldest sister taught school, then worked in ministry for a while, and is now teaching school again. She is also working on her masters, as she has an interest in becoming a principal. This sister has always been a voracious reader. One thing my parents didn't censor ever was books, so admittedly in her teen years, my sister read one trashy romance novel after another. But she has an incredible imagination, benefits from sharp intellectual skills, and has a *very* active, artistic, and sporty life with her two children. Her kids are more exposed to things like mass media and video games because their father has no sense of boundaries around those things. They have a bit of an "attitude" but I don't know whether that is because of the media input they have or more because of their life circumstances with their father.

The sister closest to me in age is an attorney. She didn't flounder at college. She went straight through, and then went to law school. My sister's strengths include creative problem-solving skills, determination and ability to focus her attention, an imaginative sense of humor, and great reasoning and sharp intellectual skills. She is sporty and extremely active, watches a little tv but mostly is too busy with other stuff. While my oldest sister keeps a blog, etc., this sister doesn't usually use the internet for things other than email.

My younger brother, who had the most childhood media exposure of all of us (since the tv arrived when he was eight) from the outside at least appears the most "lost." He floundered in his young adult years, and went in and out of college never quite sure what he wanted to do. He eventually did complete his bachelors, and is now teaching. Both he and the sister I just described have been world-travelers. For my sister, she has a bit more focus of intent when traveling, for my brother, it comes off more as wandering and being lost. He recently married, though, and is doing pretty well. His biggest strengths are his artistic nature and his sharp intellectual skills and great curiousity.

I did *very* well in college, am happily married and in a ministry, have been a foster mom for a number of years and have two children. We don't have a tv in our home, though we dw and I use our computer to watch movies sometimes when the kids are in bed. The only things my kids are allowed to watch in general are Signing Time videos (www.signingtime.com), which they love but watch only once or twice per week. Periodically I have let them watch a documentary on an animal, or on trains or something, like when one of them has been sick. dw once let them watch just twenty minutes of the movie "Cars," and I admit I gave her a hard time about it afterward.

We do eat out about once a week, and even eat some fast food sometimes, and my kids go shopping with me as needed, so my kids probably recognize some brand symbols. For example, if we pass by a Dunkin Donuts, they do sometimes ask for an egg sandwich because when we were moving, that was breakfast for a while until we got settled . I will admit I have an addiction to soda, which we didn't have in our house when I was a kid, and one of my sisters does like soda a lot too, but my other sister and my brother are not into soda at all (50/50 split isn't bad). I treat soda as an adult drink currently, though. Generally dw and I try to live a natural and good life, avoid buying mass marketed crap and so on. But we are pretty balanced too.

One of the biggest differences I find between my siblings and our peers is that we are not de-sensitized to violence, including emotional violence.

Quote:
Originally Posted by grniys View Post
For me, I think it's important to find a middle ground somewhere. . .Because someday, no matter how much you try to protect her, she will go out in the world without you and mingle with the mainstream, and she'll need to know how to be comfortable around things that are different from the beliefs you've instilled in her.
This is my approach generally as well. We don't have a tv, but I didn't reject the Dora patio table and chair set one of the relatives gave my kids as a birthday gift. They have Nemo backpacks because they wanted "the ones with fishies on them" but don't really know who Nemo is. Sometimes people will see their backpacks and be like, "Hey! Nemo!" and I will have to explain that the kids see them as just fish. On the other hand, I did donate the kartwheeling Elmo toy someone gave ds for his first Christmas. When other kids are around and are talking about media stuff, I try to just talk with my kids later about what they heard and thought, and help them develop reasoning skills around this stuff.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Breeder View Post
My kid is a tv-free waldorf kid so thus far we've avoided most of it. Of course when we start public school the flood gates will have to open a bit wider. It can make you insane so try to be realistic about it and remember that no one is perfect and your child WILL BE OKAY even if a few less than desirable pop culture references make their way into her world.
I like the Waldorf emphasis on letting kids be kids too, but I personally believe the educational theory is not sound, so I am having to strike a balance sooner with my kids. Right now ds goes to a once weekly Montessori program for homeschooled children. The kid closest in age to him seems like he is being raised similarly to ds, which is a relief. The oldest kid in the class doesn't seem to get a lot of media/pop culture input either. There is one little girl, though, who seems to be pretty media/pop culture focused. She has a lunch box with characters, eats Dora yogurt (though she says she would prefer Ariel yogurt), has fruit snacks, etc. She also has a bit of an attitude. I try to take your approach in that nothing can be perfect and it is important to be realistic. I too think my kids will be OKAY even with that kind of stuff going on around them. I know I was.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post
No tv because I want them to learn to live without "Want" constanly on their minds.
Yes! That is a large reason we are tv-free. (Ah, but my kids do get the mail, and both LOVE "shopping" the catalogs LOL! I don't know where he got this from, but ds will flip through the pages of a catalog saying, "want that" as he points at different pictures.

I also, like you, avoid tv to keep things in better alignment with our values. Also, I think that the images on tv can be difficult to disect for children, even when they are innocent. Kids take them at face value, and rehearse what they see (and even what they read...I really hate books in which characters tease and taunt other characters, and it is spelled out...because mental rehearsal from stories is a proven phenomena even in cases where the book is trying to show the damage of those behaviors).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greenmama2AJ View Post
I believe that knowledge and choice are important aspects of freedom. When the Wiggles become contraban just because they are easily marketed, and therefore easily loved, you need to ask yourself "why do children love the Wiggles?" surely they aren't all brain washed victims of an evil mass media. There are legitimate and innocent reasons kids like Western culture and it doesn't have to turn them into fat consumerists
And I would agree with that too. A lot of times those products that are so widely marketed, are wildely marketed because people are responding to them. If there is a need that is being filled, it is important to recognize that need and find ways the need can be addressed with or without the marketed products.

Quote:
Unfortunately, I tend to find that there are many people selling over priced, consumer orientated "organic" products to those searching for a natural life such as you and me.
Absolutely! This is an important point. By going "all natural," we end up being a niche market, rather than dropping out of the market entirely.

Quote:
In the end, our children adopt our values and not those of Dora The Explorer, or Thomas the Tank Engine.
So live the life you want and your children will follow.
This is very true. We need to stay calm enough to remember that as parents, *we* are the prime influence in the lives of our children.

Quote:
Originally Posted by flapjack View Post
I'm not saying that back-chatting, smart-talking, wise-cracking, rude, arrogant obnoxious little boys don't exist- I recently came across a pair of brothers who are driving me to distraction- but generally, they're far and few between and our children gravitate to their own tribes.
You know, I think you are right to a large degree. My ministry includes about 100 families with about 140 kids. Most of the kids have some sort of media influence, some quite a bit. A minority have some resulting attitudes and behaviors I find less than desireable. But if you get to know these kids a bit better, you find that they are also just kids. They are good at heart, and want to do the right things, and are trying to sort out the world around them. They simply have to wrestle with more, at a younger age. But again, they are in essence, good kids, and evidence leads me to believe that in the longrun, they will be fine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by karne View Post
It was fine, and very appropriate as young children, and I am not sorry that we did things that way. I was alarmed however at the older children I saw who were raised in such a restictive environment.
I think the age of first exposure also must be a factor. It's an area I suspect hasn't been researched since so few families are mass media-free, but I would be really interested in any research on this topic.

Here is what I noticed. My sisters did fine with the introduction of tv into our home when they were in middle/high school. They were able to self-regulate fairly well, they were able to contextualize what they saw, and they had other well-established interests. My brother and I, I think, were in a more sensitive period. Particularly me, as I was entering my pre-teen years but didn't yet have the ability to contextualize so it was difficult for me not to take on behaviors I saw on tv as my own.

Quote:
Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
Just curious if your spouses/partners are on board with this, too? My husband was raised in a very mainstream and tv/video game/etc oriented home and he thinks anything other than that is strange or weird or counter culture or something. I get flack about that all the time.
I don't get flack from dw. She knew this was part of the package when we decided to have kids together. She knew this wasn't an area about which I felt very flexible. *But* she is less sensitive to it. For example, dw's parents are elderly, and our family is spending a lot of time over at their home right now. Their practice is to have the tv blaring all the time, even as background noise, and FIL doesn't enjoy watching anything but the violent action adventures.

dw was able to let her family know our limits with this stuff, and when my kids are around, my MIL and FIL make an effort to keep the tv turned down or turned off, and my MIL helps keep my kids distracted in another room when FIL is watching his shows (my kids can still hear it, but they seem to be attending to other stuff for the most part). *However,* sometimes I will hear stuff in the background that makes me want to get the kids out of the house right this minute! dw doesn't always notice this stuff because she grew up around it.

Also, dw didn't see a problem with letting the kids watch a segment of "Cars" the other day, but I was personally not supportive of that.
post #33 of 76
p.s. Funny that I should read this post today. Just last night I was at the bookstore looking at chapter books for young readers. I was shocked at how much of the stuff out there right now was all about bratty behavior.
post #34 of 76
I think we all need protection from the mainstreem!
post #35 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by ledzepplon View Post
Totally.

I also do my best to protect myself from what I believe are the more negative/destructive elements of popular culture--no "fashion" magazines (full of gossip, impossible to live up to beauty standards, etc.), I'm very selective about the movies/TV I watch, and I do my best to avoid "news" shows that consist of celebrity follies and making drama out of peoples' tragedies. And I feel much more at peace than I used to.

This is very good advice. Hypocritical parenting is doomed from the start. However, be aware that restrictions can have the opposite effect from what you want. I think rather than "protecting" our children, we need to make sure we keep an open dialogue with them. My parents did a lot of "protecting" and we did a lot of sneaking around. As a result, we have/had a totally superficial relationship, which always happens when your kids are afraid of you.
post #36 of 76
I guess I'm a bad mom since my two boys are playing the Xbox that my brother sent them right now!

Seriously though, while I make sure that I'm the filter for what comes into the house, I try not to freak out about it too much. We eat healthy...lot of fruits, veggies, etc but sometimes we buy the junky cereal that comes with the junky toy. We don't do a ton of "screen time" but both the boys (4 1/2 and 10) love to watch Dirty Jobs, Mythbusters, Bizzare Foods, and those Growing Up ___ shows on Animal Planet. We've been gifted a Gameboy Advance and the Xbox and they love to play it but I have yet to see them become obsessed and crazed about it. The most important thing to me, like pp have mentioned, is being able to self filter and think for themselves. So far it seems to be working. My 10 year old is insanely confident, is a peacemaker in the school yard, and the most caring big brother I have ever seen (and one heck of a chess player!). The little one is full of love for his friends, loves to create, full of energy and loves to annoy his patient older brother! They both love to be out in nature and have a deep respect for all living things. We are a family of book nerds and have book shelves overflowing with books. They are exposed to the classical music world through me and my DH. DS1 isn't fazed by what he's told by commercials that he should have because we talk about it a lot. And now I see him talking about it with DS2 which I think is great. (Don't be fooled...they have the ability to be the biggest buttheads ever at times! ) I don't think that there is any fool proof formula to raise children to become compassionate, free thinking human beings. So when you see my kids talking about the latest episode of MythBusters and the junky cereal in my cart...please don't judge...just know that I am doing what I think is best for my boys and my long term goals are probably the same as yours! :
post #37 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by eden/averymum View Post
I think we all need protection from the mainstreem!
Is there a vaccine to protect me fromthe insidious mainstream I keep hearing about??
post #38 of 76
Moderation is the key to life.
post #39 of 76
It can be overwhelming thinking of all the things we want to protect our children from. In the end I think we all have to learn to live in the world and instead of focusing on the bad things I have an urge to shelter ds from, I try to focus on the things I want his young life to be filled with: lots of freedom outdoors to explore and discover himself, family meals with long conversation, celebration of our accomplishments in a modest way, holiday traditions, experiencing travel together, and the making of our own family culture. I recommend this book too often on mdc but it helped me put these issues in perspective; Heaven on Earth by Sharifa Oppenheimer.
In our house most of the "nasty" influences are eliminated by having no tv and having only a few carefully chosen toys.
post #40 of 76
You can easily avoid exposing your daughter to 99% of all the stuff that bothers you simply by not having a television.

I don't consider that to be excessive sheltering. My kids (5 and 8) know plenty about the world, the good and bad. They know about the war, about good and evil; they listen to NPR. At school they have learned about plenty of superheroes from their friends.

But they aren't being pervasively marketed to by commercials and they aren't watching a screen daily (except for our weekly movie night). They are outside playing or inside reading or playing legos etc. That's what works for us and I don't consider our family "extreme." My boys are neither naive nor uncomfortable around kids who have been exposed to far more media.

As for eating, it's neither difficult nor "avoiding society" to avoid fast "food" restaurants.
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