The proliferation of sex

Dear Daughter,

Sex is everywhere.

It’s on TV, magazine covers, in movies, music… you can’t be in touch with the outside world and NOT see or hear something about sex, really. In just the past few years, it’s become one of the most (if not THE most) prolific topics in our culture.

It’s difficult for parents to know how to handle this. We need to be more vigilant than ever to monitor what you’re seeing and hearing. But sometimes our vigilance falls short, or we’re not cautious enough. Other times we’re straight-up paranoid. If we don’t make it to the radio dial in time to keep you from hearing Jessie J belt out, “I’m feeling sexy and free,” we worry that you’ll be messed up for life. Like you’ll be lying around a crack house someday saying, “If only I didn’t hear the ‘S’ word in that song Domino when I was 9, my life could have been different…”

So yeah, sometimes we parents go overboard in trying to shelter you. But for the most part, I don’t think we do enough. I know for a fact that I don’t do enough. I sometimes take for granted that you’re a kid and you don’t even notice that half the stuff you see and hear is inappropriate. I cling to the fact that you haven’t had the life experience to know whether or not something is wrong. But my denial is foolish. Because there are plenty of other times when you DO hear the “S” word and look at me to see if I noticed it too. Or you cover your eyes when you see a young couple kissing passionately on a TV show commercial (many of which are shown on ABC Family. “Family,” really? That station is one of the worst for playing adult-themed shows/films.)

The thing is, I can’t shelter you from the proliferation of sex completely, unless I were to take away TV, movies, music… school. It’s everywhere and really can’t be avoided. And it shouldn’t be avoided altogether because you need to learn how to make good decisions despite all the junk being thrown in your face. It IS my responsibility as a parent, however, to teach you the good from the bad. To try to keep the bad away while you are young and innocent, but also to establish a foundation of purity, self-esteem and confidence in you so that, when the bad does leak through, you won’t be deterred by it.

Sex is everywhere. And our culture likes to make you think it’s everything. But it doesn’t have to be, and it’s my job to teach you that.

Love,
Mom

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Why you don’t need fame to be special

Dear Daughter,

You don’t watch a ton of TV, but when you do, it’s usually tuned in to the Disney Channel or Nickelodeon. The shows on these channels are fun, wholesome entertainment for kids, but there is definitely a pattern in them that makes me uncomfortable.

In almost every single show, at least one of the main characters is famous or has some sort of extraordinary talent. For example…

iCarly: Two high school girls host a web show that has millions of followers. And the main character, Carly, can sing.

Victorious: Tory is a drop dead gorgeous singer who attends a performing arts high school called Hollywood Arts. All of her friends can sing as well.

Sonny with a Chance: Sonny is a sweet Midwestern girl who moves to L.A. to star in a variety-type TV show. She, also, can sing.

Wizards of Waverly Place: A family of wizards tries to blend in with the real world but has a lot of mishaps doing so. The main character, played by Selena Gomez, can sing.

Big Time Rush: Four guys are selected to form a boy band and try to adjust to a new life of fame and fortune. Obviously, they can sing too.

Are you noticing a pattern here? While I think it’s great that Disney and Nickelodeon are discovering and raising up young talent, I don’t like that they’re doing so at the stake of impressionable children who are led to believe they’ll only be important if they have a good voice and/or become famous.

Daughter, I’m telling you now that there is probably a one in a gazillion chance you will become famous. Even if you had an amazing voice and acting ability, it’s not as easy to rise to stardom as Disney likes to make you believe.┬áBut I do want you to know that, even though you don’t have a web show or a variety TV show or are not a wizard, you are still extraordinary. You have the imagination that most people can only dream of, you are wise beyond your years, and you have a laugh that makes my heart sing. (And I’m pretty sure it sings better than Selena Gomez does.)

You don’t need fame and fortune to make you special. You’ve already become special on your own.

Love,
Mom