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do I need to protect my daughter from mainstream culture? - Page 3

post #41 of 76
Originally Posted by Greenmama2AJ View Post
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.
i agree. i want those values to be concepts like compassion, integrity, non violent communication and not being judgmental of others.

Originally Posted by karne View Post
My kids were extremely sheltered, especially dd, as young children, and we were part of a community (waldorf) that encouraged tht effort. 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. They seemed to have little ability to self regulate around electronics/media, all the "forbidden" stuff. These were the kids who were overboard with the stuff I was initially trying to protect my kids from. They had a lot of learning to do about being savvy about the world and media and thinking critically about what was out there. So for our family, we do as a pp said-make sure our kids exposure to what's out there is age appropriate, which is a tough battle all on it's own! We are clear about our values, we talk about why we may allow one video, but not the other, what commercials are all about, etc. I want them to learn to think for themselves and I am enjoying and trusting their learning process around this.

To me, as they got older, the easy way out would have been to have no media, no pop culture, etc. But I actually think we fool ourseleves if we think we have total control over this, because unless you live in a bubble you don't. For our family, it's been far better to have the boundaries be more flexible, talk about what's out there, and give my kids the tools they need to navigate the world-my super crunchy version of it, as well as more mainstream society.
exactly! not to burst anyone's bubble (or bash on Waldorf) but i know a couple adults who were Waldorf schooled from kindy- graduation and they are not intrinsically better people because of it. actually, neither of them are very emotionally intelligent and i don't find them to be any more kind or wise or mature than other adults who grew up going to mainstream public school. (they do get a lot of pride with identifying themselves as being "Waldorf") i don't believe schooling or religion or Girl Scouts/Boy Scouts or this club or that club will *guarantee* a child will grow up to be a good person.

Originally Posted by MaterPrimaePuellae View Post
I can totally see how this would happen. The question, though, is what to do about it.
I use facebook and text messaging and e-mail, and here I am on this board.... I feel like I spend too much time engaging with electronics rather than people, but I use it FAR less than most of the people I see around me. My sister and her boyfriend used to text a lot, and it was literally impossible to have a conversation with her without her texting him 2 or 3 times. It was maddening. Now that they have broken up, I feel like we have a relationship again. It was *that* consuming.
I know this is partially because of personality, but: I probably read 500 books from junior high through highschool. My sister, 2 years younger, read maybe 100. I think my brothers read the 10 or 15 required for hs and the Harry Potter series. That's it. It's not becuase they didn't like reading, but because they used all their time playing video games, watching tv, and texting. This is so sad to me.

i read thousands of books as a kid, teenager and young adult but i don't think that makes me any better of a person than my dh who hates reading and spent most of his childhood watching Bugs Bunny and playing video games.

as a teen i also spent many hours on the phone with my boyfriend but that had more to do with my parent's inability to relate to me than it did with us having a phone in the house. (for the record- we had limited tv time, never ate junk food, weren't allowed to dress super trendy or play video games and my parents harassed me constantly about even having a boyfriend and being on the phone)

my dh's parents, on the other hand, made their house the hang out spot and weren't so hung up on denouncing every aspect of pop culture that crossed the threshold. he also has fond memories of himself and his friends hanging out with his parents cooking, playing board games, watching movies and talking.

the key here is "engaging". his parents engaged him and his sister in conversations about the goings on in the world from entertainment to more serious issues. they used it as a jumping off point to relate to their kids instead of refusing to acknowledge the existence of the culture they lived in.

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.

Originally Posted by Kinipela79 View Post
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! :
i agree 100% with this. i think it is very judgmental and dangerously egotistical to decide that parents who buy their kids Dora stuff, etc...are bad parents and if a parent doesn't then they must be *good* parents. i'm not saying rush out and buy your kid all the silly junk that's out there or don't set limits on watching tv but make choices from a place of positivity rather than fear. it's good to want them to enjoy their day to day life rather than escape it. replace those escapist junky things with activities and pursuits that are in line with your values and spend time with your kids. try to understand why those pop culture things are appealing to your child and fill that need in a way that is more authentic to you and your values.
post #42 of 76
Originally Posted by stickywicket67 View Post
i agree 100% with this. i think it is very judgmental and dangerously egotistical to decide that parents who buy their kids Dora stuff, etc...are bad parents and if a parent doesn't then they must be *good* parents. i'm not saying rush out and buy your kid all the silly junk that's out there or don't set limits on watching tv but make choices from a place of positivity rather than fear. it's good to want them to enjoy their day to day life rather than escape it. replace those escapist junky things with activities and pursuits that are in line with your values and spend time with your kids. try to understand why those pop culture things are appealing to your child and fill that need in a way that is more authentic to you and your values.
I agree with this.

My DD LOVES Dora. She loved Dora without having seen a single episode. How? Her older cousin has some Dora toys - and plays with them. Her cousin has elaborate imagination games which may or may not have any reference to the show's framework. But my DD saw the toys and loved to play with her cousin. So she grew to love Dora.

We do own a small Dora stuffie and one of Boots. That's all the Dora stuff we own. My DD still sees it everywhere and it brings her alot of joy to see it, comment on it, and hold it while we shop. It's not going to wreck her. And it's teaching her already that we don't buy everything we see.
post #43 of 76
Originally Posted by moondiapers View Post
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.
OK, I have to fess up here. These two kids bugging the heck out of me just moved over here from the States, but I was trying not to get all colonialist about it : Like I said, I figure I can learn something from most people and most families.
post #44 of 76
The whole division of mainstream vs. good kind of bothers me. I guess I just don't think it's that simple.

I agree that we need to protect our children from things that we think will disturb them; that's a no-brainer to me. But lots of non-mainstream things are violent and disturbing.

I also agree that we need to provide them with a wide range of activities. We don't have broadcast television in our house - we don't want to pay for cable and live in a funny nook where you can't really get it off the air. I do think that for us it works out well. We do have DVDs but we chose them with care and limit our viewing some.

But that's our genuine values for all of us - I don't want to waste my time getting sucked into the latest reality show thing, etc. At some point I expect my son to start getting really interested in tv (hopefully for the good things like the science shows too) and if he does, I am open to having a family discussion about whether we want to reprioritize.

When it comes to buying things, I like to practice thoughtful purchasing. But if there were a pair of quality, ethically made shoes that also had pictures of Elmo or Diego on them, and my son needed shoes, I honestly am not sure I would care if they were branded any more than if they were blue, or if they had celtic symbols on them. I think it's kind of - well, human, to decorate things and I'm not sure I value one kind of decoration over another, any more.

Also, I would suspect we've all met people who over-consume in the name of non-mainstream. I had a funny experience with that with a family that was really trying to get us to enroll our son in a local Waldorf school and emphasizing in the same conversation how Waldorf was totally non-consumeristic and they'd spent some ungodly amount on the perfect handmade playstand and silks... obviously that is their choice but I'll go for the garage sale stuff thanks - reuse being one of the three rs.

I think also sometimes people use mainstream to mean popular and to get suspicious of anything popular. Well, we have the original Thomas the Tank Engine stories. They're delightful. We don't reject them just because everyone else likes them. Nor do we approve them because they are. We try to use our judgment, and also to respect our son's tastes.

All things in moderation, including moderation, is kind of my motto.
post #45 of 76
Originally Posted by moondiapers View Post
I'm about to resign from my postition as childcare person and sundayschool teacher at church because of it
I recently stopped leading the children's choir at church for this reason. I was putting in significant time every week writing the skits, finding music, making props, etc. to go into a roomful of 8YOs who spent the whole time saying "this is stupid," "I'm bored," "I don't want to be here." We tried various things to deal with it - having one adult who was responsible for stepping out with particularly disruptive ones, asking what they wanted to do, being stern. Nothing helped, and the sad part is that I've seen their parents giggle at their behavior and make comments about how "cute" it is.
post #46 of 76
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post
For me it's not so much about protecting/isolating, but innoculating. At some point my kids are going to have to function in this world, toxic as it is.

Right now, that means we do shelter them somewhat. Or rather, choose what parts of the culture to expose them to. No tv because I want them to learn to live without "Want" constanly on their minds. I pick the dvds, and some things I let the watch and others I don't would surprise some people. But I'd rather they see something that reinforces our values even if it is a little "old" for them than the mindless drivel that is much of children's television.

As far as cultural issues, while we sheild them from a lot of media, there's no avoiding some things, and we talk about things. Rather than just letting them soak up unthinking what comes through the tube, we talk about these things in detail, in the context of our faith and values, to give them a good basis for handling these things when they grow up.

That's the kind of vaccinating we like!

Right now we're "sheltering" DD, just as we protect children from any harmful elements and situations. Then we'll gradually expose her to many parts of the world, while offering her tools for understanding them as a critical thinker. I like to think of Mary Wollstonecraft's writings when it comes to this issue-- you can't expose them too young, or they'll grow up jaded and cynical (and possibly just products of that culture), and you can't just wait and let it spring upon them like a monster when they are older, or they will feel betrayed and have no way of dealing... you have to guide them through exposure gradually, as they become ready. It's going to be a tough call as we go!

But to the OP, yes, we are finding we are more and more pulling away from mainstream culture and intend to let DD grow up for some time away from its influence, in earliest formative years.
post #47 of 76
It is so difficult to strike a balance that feels right! There are just so MANY influences leaping for your attention all day, everywhere you go.

I feel that my parents overall found a pretty good balance between blocking bad stuff and allowing us to experience what's out there...with occasional mistakes in both directions, either allowing something that was hard for me to handle or forbidding something I really wanted that probably wouldn't have hurt me. We did a lot of talking and critical thinking about what's available vs. what's desirable. It turned out okay, and I try to find the same kind of balance for EnviroKid.

One thing I think is helpful is talking about times you made a mistake in judgment for yourself, relating it to the judgment you're making for your child. For example, when EnviroKid was angry that I turned off the TV when he wanted to watch some random scary movie (the show we'd planned to watch was not on), I told him how when I was a kid and sleeping over with a friend who was allowed to watch anything she wanted, we watched a scary movie called Poltergeist about "horrible monster ghosts that came out of the closet," and then I was too scared to sleep ALL NIGHT LONG, had bad dreams about the movie for a long time and was afraid of many things just because I had seen them in the movie, and TWENTY-FIVE YEARS LATER am still afraid to sleep in a room where the closet door is open! (EnviroKid was aware of Mama's idiosyncrasy about the closet door but surprised to learn its origin.) I explained that I wished over and over again that I had never seen that movie, because even though I KNEW it was only pretend, it looked so real that having seen it made me unable to forget it. I do not want this to happen to him. Scary movies are something to approach with caution. I watched Poltergeist at my friend's house because I knew my parents would not allow me to see it if I asked; they were right!

Another thing I'm careful about is respecting my child's judgment when HE decides something is inappropriate. We always watch TV/videos together (once in a while, we'll let him watch a video alone, but only if we've seen it before), and if he thinks something is scary or "not nice", we turn it off right away. Even if I want to see it. I think knowing when to stop is a very important skill.

I grew up in a very homogeneous area where most of my peers watched all the cartoons and network sitcoms. My home and family were kind of "foreign" compared to the dominant culture. I didn't fit in very well and was teased a lot. My mom and I were talking about that recently, about how the teasing hurt me in ways I'm still struggling to overcome, and she asked me if I thought she should have done all the things to make me fit in: turned on those TV shows, bought me the trendy clothes, got me the trendy haircut, made our house look like a motel, served only American foods...and I felt a wave of panic! I said, "No! No! Because then there would have been no escape! Our family was weird, and that was the problem, but that was US, that was ME, and it was such a relief to come home where I wasn't expected to be one of THEM!" So that's one way it can turn out.

Oh, and I wouldn't describe my upbringing as "sheltered". Yeah, I was protected from slasher flicks, Barbie dolls, junk food, beauty salons...but I knew all about atomic bombs, the civil rights movement, abortion, and what you can see walking around New York City long before most of my classmates.
My parents and other adult relatives talked me through these things and helped me understand and work through my worries and find positive actions to counteract the world's problems.
post #48 of 76
I was sheltered from alot as a kid. Never watched much TV, never had a video game player, my mother decided what I wore (not typical kids' stuff, never any logos...) up until I was a teen-ager. They did get me a barbie and other "mainstream" marketed kids toys of the time, but my mom made a big deal about how ugly they were, how stupid the whole thing was.

What was missing from my childhood was the free and oped discussion. My mom is a very judgmental person and would ridicule me for my mainstream taste. This is what I don't want to do. I don't want to be a rigid parents, who forces my personal taste and sensibilities on my children. I may shelter, and of course I do--DS is only 3,5--and may explain why I think xyz is not a good idea, but ultimately my DC have a say and I have to respect their tastes and let them make their own "mistakes" as it were. We definitely talk alot, laugh alot and make sure to just plain play alot.

When I talk to my friends who were allowed much more exposure to mainstream society than I was, compared to them I had a much tougher time as a teenager, my parents never really understood me and to this day don't, whereas most of my friends have great relationships with their parents. But other people will have other experiences.
post #49 of 76
Sorry I haven't read it all yet, just getting this out there ... and I realize it's only one aspect but it's still an important one imo.

I had a pretty horrible upbringing. My connection to my parents was based on fear and disrespect, they used shame and corporal punishment to control, and I refused to be controlled. I had no attachment to either of them.

In contrast, my best friend in the world, has a COMPLETELY AP mother, breastfed until she was 5, same with her older brother, wonderful loving intact family, gentle discipline, cosleeping the whole thing. THey were and are such an amazing family. Yet, in our late teens and early 20s I - who had always been "fat and ugly" with a horrible body image, I was ridiculed by my family and everyone at school alike and it scarred me deeply - I lost weight and became fairly attractive. My family was very secretive about bodies, I never ever saw anything more than my mom's legs in long shorts. My friend has always been in decent shape, and is stunning.. a real beauty. Her mother always showed her now natural and beautiful the body was, and had no problem being naked or with her daughter being naked. My friend had the most horribly body image and extreme fears, she wanted a relationship but lived with the deepest fear that her clothes would be removed and the guy would be shocked and disappointed and disgusted...and refused to be intimate or have sex because of that. I certainly did not have that... sure I didn't look like the little hotties around but I was attractive in my own right.

We spent a long time dissecting this and wondering what happened here.. and the explanation we came up with is that I was a nerd. I didn't watch TV growing up, and rarely watched it as a teenager. I didn't look at magazines, I was not immersed in popular culture AT ALL. I didn't know exactly how ashamed I was supposed to be for being me, and not Britney Spears or whoever the models were in those magazines. She loooooooved TV. Whenever she could she was glued to it, and although her mom stayed home when they were younger, once they were in high school she did go to work full time and my friend watched as much tv as she could. She had tons of magazines. She was inundated with images of perfect skinny skinny flawless girls and women and it was what she truly believed was needed in order to be accepted. She was popular, and hung out with the cool crowd.. the hottest and most superficial of the highschool and college crowd and she said, it was all about image.

I think there is a lot to limiting exposure to mainstream culture, for both boys and girls. I don't want my little boys growing up thinking that the ideal is what is portrayed on television and magazines, they're setting themselves up for disappointment. It's not real. Humans are real, they have personalities, they interact. These images are not and don't but if you see them enough then they will become a big part of you.
post #50 of 76
The older I get the more I want to hide in my house and just believe that how we live is normal and not have anyone ask me about it or think we are odds so I understand your concerns. At the same time I don't think I protect my children from the mainstream very much but they are all aware that the way we live our lives is different to how our relatives and many of their friends do. FTR mine are 15, 11, 5 and 2.

We talk about things that they see, compare and contrast, look for positives and sometimes just put on our downright judgemental hats.
post #51 of 76
We don't have TV in our home...We do have a TV but it isn't hooked up to cable or an antenna...

That said we do use the TV to watch movies...And occasionally if there is a show we're really interested we'll hook the computer up to the TV and watch the stations online broadcast.
We loves cuddling up to good movies and ever since we can remember we've been collecting family friendly movies to enjoy with our kids some day. DD Is only 8mos old so she doesn't really care about the TV except if some thing really bright and flashy is going across the screen with pretty music :0)

My family didn't have TV growing up, ocassionally we would pull out the dusty TV out from under the basement steps and watch a movie as a family....But generally we were expected to find entertainment else where. I am really thankful that my parents did that, and I think it's made me more aware of what DD is exposed to...If DH is watching some thing that wouldn't be appropriate for a young child to watch (to violent or scary) I ask him to turn it off till DD is in bed...

I think there has to be a balance... We have DVD's that are appropriate for kids (with out the commercials!) and I don't mind if my children watch a video or two here and there... I know I can't sheild them from every thing, but I can shield them from some things in my home. I watched TV at friends house, and so I was up to speed on what every one was "talking about" TV-wise...But I wasn't constantly surrounded by it.

I hope that made sense. :0)
post #52 of 76
I'm still struggling to find the balance with this as well. I was raised by a single mother (raised as an only child) who was very religious. We never, ever had tv and only borrowed movies from the library - maybe watched one family movie a week (if that). It was always a big deal, too, popcorn, pjs, the whole works. Loved it. I would have to say my childhood was great, and I didn't really ever envy my friends who would spend hours watching tv and playing nintendo. Somehow, even being so young, when I would play/stay overnight at their houses I felt a cold-ness eminating from the things they chose to do with their time. I just wanted to play barbies or games outside. TV never really interested me a whole lot (other than a show here and there).

BUT when teenagehood showed up, my mother was not flexible and encouraging of me finding my own identity - she turned very controlling and angry and it scarred me deeply. Also, both of my half-sisters had very large families and both homeschooled their children. Both big on sheltering their children. Also, because my mother and sisters were into "alternative" family lifestyle choices I was exposed to other families who were very sheltering as well.

From all of that, I've come to realize (for myself) that there is a very precarious balance. On one end, young children should be protected - I don't feel like they are developmentally ready to deal with obtrusive and harsh things like extreme tv/movie watching, endless hours of video games (not to mention some age-innapropriate/violent material on both), commercialism, etc. We don't have a television in our home, but have gone back and forth, so my children have watched plenty of movies, and no, they're not damaged. I just notice they exude addictive, obnoxious behaviors when watching movies as opposed to no movies - so we've changed to watching a VERY occasional movie on the computer together.

On the other end of the balance, when children reach a certain consciousness of the world, I think it's important and valuable to listen to their needs. They are individuals that eventually need to find their own space, identity, "thing." In many of those sheltered (typically homeschooled) families I mentioned above (and many that I've witnessed as an adult), while their younger children were sweet and innocent, their older children were often awkward, extremely naive, and definitely lacking in certain skills (computer, social, world-aware) that would be necessary for them to have as an adult (something that, for them, was just right around the corner).

So, my plan, based on personal and observatory experiences, is to protect and nurture certain family values into my children while they're young. As they get older, I'll reevaluate their needs and watch and listen to their ideas, thoughts, and growing opinions and slowly integrate them into our world and society, while making sure that certain values I hold dear stay intact (compassion, self-discipline/love, global-consciousness, tolerance and respect, love for learning, etc). A form of loosening the apron strings, so to speak, while still keeping an eye on the parent/child dance.

Oh, and certain things that are natural occurances, such as death, I have no problem explaining to and discussing with my children. It's the artificial, "new" flood of our society and its ideals and numbness that I am mostly keeping at bay as much as I can, for now. There will come a time for that later.
post #53 of 76
Originally Posted by JoyfulMom84 View Post
We don't have TV in our home...We do have a TV but it isn't hooked up to cable or an antenna...
Is this due to a mutual philosophy by you and your husband/spouse/partner (if you are married)?

I would like to tv free or perhaps just have less tv. I'd also like to cancel our cable, both to save the $ (put it towards something else) and also so that the temptation to watch whatever, whenever isn't there.

I personally do not watch much tv, but DH loves tv. I see addiction to television already in our toddler.
post #54 of 76
I ccould have writen your post.I wish you were my neighbor.
post #55 of 76
I cherry pick. I expose them to just enough for them to be able to relate to their peers, and I also want them to feel they are able to decide what their tastes are, within appropriate boundaries.
post #56 of 76
Originally Posted by mata View Post
I cherry pick. I expose them to just enough for them to be able to relate to their peers, and I also want them to feel they are able to decide what their tastes are, within appropriate boundaries.

This is what I do, too.

Also, I don't limit something just because it's mainstream. I only limit it if it conflicts with our values, or our style of parenting, whether it's mainstream or "alternative."
post #57 of 76
I don't shield my kids from things that I find objectionable. Rather, I take any opportunities that come up to talk with my kids about WHY I object to certain things. I think that's positive!

Eventualy, no matter what you shield your kids from as children, they're going to grow up an move around the world independently. I feel good knowing that my kids will be doing that with a solid base of knowledge and educated opinions behind them.
post #58 of 76
Yes. I think its fine to shield kids from some of life's tougher issues until they are at least 8 years old. Just limit Tv and help them choose good playmates. By the time you let the world in for them, they will have your values and your "view" on life.

My friends often teased me that I kept my kids a little sheltered when they were small .......but I'm having a lot less trouble with my kids than many of my friends have with their kids.

Philomom, mother of a 14y dd and a 12y ds
post #59 of 76
Like others, we try to find balance. Dd is 2.5. We don't have TV (we have a tiny one in the closet, no service), but we will almost certainly watch occasional DVDs when she's a little older--I think a family movie night, with age-appropriate movies and popcorn can be great!

We eat mostly organic, shop at the farmer's market, and offer lots of fresh fruits and veggies. But we do also give treats--more than I planned on, actually, because dd has severe, extensive food allergies. There is SO much she can't eat and experience (no pizza, no birthday cake, no food at restaurants or parties; she eats a separate snack at school); that we try to put some of the childhood pleasure back into food--this, for us, takes the form of homemade allergen-free brownies or cookies, or something like that.

We generally don't purchase licensed character books or toys, and our families don't generally but them--but I have no objection to her flipping through a Sesame Street at her cousin's house or having Winnie-the-Pooh toothbrush (try finding a character-free children's toothbrush!). I'm sure she'll watch TV at friend's houses when she gets older, and I'm sure that she'll learn characters from her peers at school.

What is key to me is listening to and watching her, and taking my cues from there. I can make all the plans I want, but all I can really do is see how media/mainstream culture affects her, talk with her about it, and figure out how to strike a balance that fosters her development as an independent person.
post #60 of 76
This is a tough one for me. I feel myself being pulled in both directions. I am pretty disgusted with society here but at the same time, this is the world we live in KWIM? Unless the select few of us who disagree go move to an island then I have to teach my child how to be a critical thinker and know inside what is right and what is wrong. I want him to think for himself. He will hear my talks about war, sex, crime, fashion, etc and he will hear my values growing up.

I also just think I am getting older. Each generation has shocking advancements that the older generation does not agree with. Think back to our grandparents with their outrageous hair and dance moves….gyrating their hips and listening to devil music. The our parents riding motorcycles, smoking pot, etc. When our parents had us, they were shocked by our rap music and internet use and *gasp* tube tops and short skirts. Now we have children and we are shocked by the texting, video games, sexual images, etc. Society changes and I think we need to adapt with it.

It’s important to expose my child to everything and put my values into him so when he is a teenager, he can choose the right path and not be manipulated by his peers. As much as I want to shelter him and not have him watch tv or play video games….I just can’t. This is the world we live in.

With that being said, I definitely think you need to expose age appropriate material. Of course I am not going to let DS watch slasher movies at 7 years old or play video games with killing, etc. It’s all about balance.
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