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

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#61 of 76 Old 09-18-2008, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by CanidFL View Post

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.

yes. i agree with this sentiment. there is no use in denying/ignoring the evolution of our society, the society we live in- "modern culture".

some things have gotten 'worse' but some things have gotten much much better.

in just 60 years we have seen all whole lot of improvement in our society also- civil rights, women's rights, workers rights, protection against discrimination for people with disabilities, etc..
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#62 of 76 Old 09-18-2008, 05:24 PM
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I think this is the big challenge of raising kids today in the U.S. (or any other industrialized first-world nation). I know exactly what you mean about wanting to run off and be Amish! When I think back to the world I grew up in, it just amazes me to think of how much simpler and straightforward things were. My gut instinct is to do what you can and instead of sweating the rest of the stuff, counterbalance it with a lot of contact with nature and doing fun, simple stuff together. We live in a huge city and so are surrounded by things like movie ads, bill boards and ads for rappers and tv shows, and even the buses that go by have ads on them, some of it totally inappropriate for young children to see. We don't watch TV but we are now running up against ds getting interested in popular music, what the other kids are watching and hearing on-line (Youtube doesn't have any filters, I just found out), so we have to be very careful. I think this is a huge subject and am very interested to hear how other people deal with it because at times it feels overwhelming. For example, marketing aimed at children, which it is with increasing stealth and subtlety, really makes me anxious.
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#63 of 76 Old 09-18-2008, 10:57 PM
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I can understand the OP question because I myself could have and would have written that when my dd1 was about that age. Thankfully we survived to have her now be in 1st grade but yes, it seems like our mainstream media and culture is like walking thru a field of landmines.

Even now, we wont put regular tv on unless its PBS. But even between shows, PBS has sponsors-- Beaches (lets go mommy!) chuckie cheese, Mcdonalds-proud sponsor of sesame street!! Or we rent dvds from the library for the week and then can rent them again someday if they want to see it again. But we do buy a dvd here and there.

I always thinks of what one of my best friends says- pick you battles. Somethings can slip by but others things you need to stand tall on. We eat a lot of fresh fruit as snacks and veggies, I cook from scratch etc. But we do occasionally have a happy meal. My dd didnt discover lunchables until she went to summer camp a few years ago. Another child at her lunch table had one so Mommy why cant we have these....Finally in the early part of the school year, I relented at the grocery store. She wanted one, it was $1. Basically 35 cents for the food, the remainder for the packaging. let her bring it to lunch the next day. Guess what, that day, she said there wasnt any lunch in it-2 crackers, a nasty piece of salami and ham and she was hungry and didnt want one again. Sometimes kids have to learn for themselves what good is and what bad is. They cannot go on just what we said. Havent had anyone ask for this again.

Just like a lot of kids are attracted to trains cars etc, they may like the Cars movie or Thomas. My 2 girls have several Thomas things. Liz likes the trains all set up and she plays with the trains sort of telling a story to herself where as MAggie likes setting up the trains over and over and still hasnt noticed Thomas has a name etc. I think if you "push" the whole this is Thomas, and do you want a bowl with Thomas on it or create an ownership, yes you will have an issue. But if you just set up the trains and some of the trains have faces, well its just playing trains or as my MAggie says- the "chooo chooos".

I think if you tread lightly, you will have an easier time. You will know what will work for your family and what will not. For instance, I enjoy a good beer with my dh. That dosent mean I need a sixpack, but one beer is fine in the evening. I also enjoy chocolate. We split some chocolates sometimes, but dont eat them every single day.

I think at this young of an age, its easier to keep them away from things and if you make it habit quietly and not make a big deal, it will work well. I think if you go cold turkey and be very matter of fact about it, it will make your kids go look for it and when they get older, they will go crazy for it. It sort of reminds me of college freshman year when the kids who grew up in a very strict environment got there- it was if the floodgates opend. Wow watch out, boy did they have fun! But it could lead to a lot of trouble and very poor decisions.


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#64 of 76 Old 09-19-2008, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by NYCVeg View Post

having Winnie-the-Pooh toothbrush (try finding a character-free children's toothbrush!)
haha i got a cute one shaped something like a caterpillar at the dentist!

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#65 of 76 Old 09-19-2008, 06:08 PM
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There are many elements of "mainstream" culture I choose to protect our children from, or at least help them have an introduction to certain things in a way that they feel safe and know that they do not have to go along with anything they are not comfortable with.

I remember being shocked and disturbed and even disgusted by many things as a child that everyone else in the world seemed to not even notice.

I think sensitivity to these things is a gift and an instinct. I believe that if we tune into it, we become even clearer about our own feelings. I think that when we feel a negative emotion about something in our culture that doesn't sit right with us, that is our emotional guidance system, telling us this particular thing is not life-affirming for us. It's OK to choose to avoid such things, and offer our kids protection from them.

It definitely makes me, and our children, different from most of our neighbors and people we encounter in our daily life. But I haven't found that to be a problem. I find other areas of common ground to socialize with neighbors around. I limit social contact I am not comfortable with or that seems to be upsetting to our kids. And I have been able to find many people with kids who are on this same wavelength to spend time with. Most of them I met through LLL.

DS1 March 2003DS2 Sept 2005,
and 3 , in our happy secular
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#66 of 76 Old 09-19-2008, 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
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.
I guess it's abit of mutal philosophy... We don't like all that is on the TV for our kid(s future) to be exposed to...And we're kinda cheap :0P ...Hate the thought of spending money on cable, it's expensive! We do pay for netflix and so we keep our quie busy with old movies, and some times get old TV shows on DVD through them and work through series...But we can genearlly choose a 25min segment and watch and enjoy with out commercials and be done with it for the evening. It's a good system that works for us. We really do like HOUSE and one or two other shows so we'll watch those on the networks website when available... We'd rather pay for highspeed internet than cable :0P

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#67 of 76 Old 09-21-2008, 03:09 PM
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As time goes on, we find ourselves retreating more and more from mainstream culture. We live in a community where that is easy to do--all of our closest friends are also tv-free and are working toward self-sustainability, so our families are not exposed to hardly any advertising at all and very little commercial media of any kind. I feel like I definitely need to protect my daughter from mainstream culture. But at the same time, I don't want it to be a shock to her later. I like the point that someone made early in this thread about exposing children to age-appropriate things. DD is only 2, and we feel she needs to spend her time playing with natural toys and exploring her world as much as possible. There just isn't room for commercial media in days filled with long walks in the woods, helping peel tomatoes, and playing with the cat.
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#68 of 76 Old 09-22-2008, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by LotusBirthMama View Post
Is there a vaccine to protect me fromthe insidious mainstream I keep hearing about??
Reading. It won't protect you but it does help balance things out!
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#69 of 76 Old 09-23-2008, 06:03 AM
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I suspect that parents worrying about the effects of society on their children is nothing new - probably cave woman worried about how that new fangled fire stuff was going to make her kids demand cooked meat all the time after they had it at the neighbours....

I don't think that you can isolate your kids from the culture that they are growing up in. Maybe better to teach them how to be discerning about what aspects of it they want to use, especially as they get older and are more independent. My sister and I grew up on a farm in the sticks, we never had access to any MacDonalds etc and god I felt so deprived at the time! So what did I eat as soon as I was a teenager and old enough to go into town with my friends? Yep junk food - couldn't get enough of it. But I grew up and am now a very healthy eater, and wouldn't venture into a fast food place unless it really was the last food available.

I think that the absolute best way to instill positive values into your children in the long term is to live the kind of life that you want them to. My mom was never a great TV watcher, but she was rarely without a book in her hand as I was growing up. My sister and I are avid readers now and have been all our lives, so much so that she is now doing a post-doc fellowship in American literature - she gets to read for a living now! We all turn into our parents in the end I guess. We have a TV but it's only on maybe once a week, to watch a DVD or something.
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#70 of 76 Old 09-23-2008, 12:07 PM
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I'm so thankful that the community I'm part of (Waldorf) doesn't push media on children. All my friends limit TV for their children and try to be mindful when buying gifts, etc. When I look at my neighbour's (English spelling!) for instance, I see how hard it must be to raise a child when they are attacked on all sides by insidious marketing practices. The little grade one girl across the street dresses and acts like a teenager. Her mum is really down to earth and shops in thrift stores but the little girl is very label conscious already. Apparently at 3 she threw a fit because her converse shoes weren't name brand. She already has a 'crush' on a grade 7 boy. The mum realizes that TV has a lot to do with this but it's very hard to limit it when all her friends get to watch. I would certainly want to protect my child from that amount of media influence if I could. Luckily, it will be easier for me but still a struggle I'm sure. DS is only 17 months and so far only owns one Thomas train which we don't refer to by name. Otherwise he is licensed character free. It's only going to get harder to keep it that way.
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#71 of 76 Old 09-23-2008, 01:22 PM
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Threads about living tv-free or media free have always made me feel a little bit attacked and for a long time I couldn't figure out why. As a nerd my tv shows have always been very important to me. Among my community of friends the odd Star Trek quote or Buffy reference is something that brings us together. How can I live media free and keep those wonderful stories away from my daughter!

This I guess gets back to what is exactly mainstream. Part of being a nerd is not buying into mainstream entertainment either - Sports? Blech. Prime-time soaps? No way. Random humilation based "reality" show No (not even Beauty and the Geek.) But I was positively buzzing after watching the primere of Heroes last night. (Mohinder I<3u, you big dork.)

As many have said I want my daughter to learn to think critically about what she sees out in the world. We also live in a house full of books so it is not like visual media will be her only input. I try to think in terms of age appropriate rather than yes/no.

So many ideas are like sugar. My DD has a lot of food restrictions because of allergies so when she gets something sweet she wants to eat as much as possible because she never knows when she'll get something special again. Letting her have a regular safe treat seems to aleviate many of these consumption urges. So goes TV, in my humble opinion.
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#72 of 76 Old 09-23-2008, 05:58 PM
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Yes! Protect her!

I have SO much more to say, but I've got to go for now...I'll be back later tonight!

"If you keep doing the same things you've always done, you'll keep getting the same results you've always gotten."

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#73 of 76 Old 09-24-2008, 02:17 PM
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Protecting children, within reason, I feel, is one of a parent's primary tasks...

For anyone who's interested, I watched a FANTASTIC documentary this past weekend about a family who protected their children from the outside world in the extreme. Surfwise. Check it out. Oh, and a great read on this topic too is Hold Onto Your Kids.

Me : living with and loving papa and the kids: Dd1 8/97 , dd2 8/04 and my sweet baby ds 5/09 : :
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#74 of 76 Old 09-25-2008, 02:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Kiera09 View Post
My answer is different.

My final goal is for my DD to be able to succeed in this world. So I would rather guide her and help her navigate the mainstream world than 'protect' her.

At some point she's going to go out on her own - and I want to make sure that she is well equipped to think for herself and not be overwhelmed by what she sees/experienced.

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.
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#75 of 76 Old 10-03-2008, 02:40 PM
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We do a lot of sheltering but in a way that comes naturally to us. We are a TV-free household - that is for the adults as well. This works great though so far DS is only 4.5 years old. We'll see how it goes. When he asks, we tell him most things on TV aren't that good, though some are, and that our antennae doesn't work. All true w/o mentioning that we could easily repair the antennae. We watch movies from netflix or the library so he certainly knows about Lightning McQueen for example. We also recently watched Star Wars and he's crazy for it.

We are also vegetarian but have told him that he should make his own decision in this regard. When visitors bring pizza w/meat into the house he often has some. He also knows that I eat seafood on vacation so he can see that we each navigate food in our own way. He's never been to McD's and we tell him truthfully (I think) that the "food" there is junk. That's what my parents told me and it worked out pretty well for all concerned.

He started KG this fall and I don't know if when the challenges will increase though I am sure that they will. Not sure how we will respond to them. So far we get almost no begging for toys or TV shows that he doesn't have.

I guess my point is that we shelter ourselves from the parts of mainstream culture that we regard as negative so it's not even in the house. He is exposed to zero advertising on most days. At least so far I have no evidence that he will go overboard when he somehow gets more access to TV but again, he's pretty young still so we'll see.
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#76 of 76 Old 10-04-2008, 10:01 AM
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I think it varies for each family. In our family I don't allow toys like Bratz dolls. My DD has known since she was about 2 years old that we don't allow them in our house. It's just something she has grown up knowing. The earlier you let your kids know what you will allow - the better IMO. My DD is now 6 and anytime we go to a store with a toy dept and pass the Bratz aisle she says something like "oh no, don't want to go that way." She knows there's no point in browsing such an aisle.

As far as t.v. we allow that in our home. I'm still the parent and just because my kids see 20 commercials in a row advertising new and cool toys (til the season - almost! ) doesn't mean they will get them. I'm still the parent.

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19 y-o
12 y-o (private school)
5 y-o (home schooled)
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