My friend, Ian Isanberg (@CoffeeWithIan), asked me to join him on his blog talk radio show, Parents Kids Music (Thursdays at 12 noon PST), to discuss the music I listened to growing up and the role that it plays in my life now as a mother.
First, WHOA! What a cool topic! Having a background in classical music certainly puts a different perspective on the discussion, not to mention the wide variety of music I grew up on- classical, jazz, top 40, The Beatles, punk, ska (I did grow up in the 90’s after all), and LOTS of Disney sing-alongs. Music had SUCH a huge impact on my upbringing, and thus far, it’s already having an impact on my little dude as well.
But something that came up in our discussion was how we as parents introduce our children to music. Right now? EASY. Play it in the car, play it at home.. just play it. But eventually he might come home singing something that makes me terribly uncomfortable. Like this:
And this is on mainstream radio. No joke. Every time I hear it, I yell out “Grab somebody sexy, tell ’em HEY” because it’s so freaking awkward.
Think about it. You’re out at a club and someone grabs you, and says, “Hey! Give me EVERYTHING tonight.”
Sounds like someone’s asking for a taser to the neck. I think that’s everything enough, right?
But that’s the message being put out there! I’m glad my firstborn isn’t a girl because of sleaze like this, but I’m also curious about how other parents approach these matters. I don’t want to be outright restrictive, because if we’ve learned nothing from the Harry Potter series, we know that forbidding or banning something is the best way to draw attention to it. I also don’t want to skirt the issue, act like it doesn’t exist and live in a state of don’t ask don’t tell. I want to be able to communicate openly with him, but that brings up the next issue.
WHEN? When do you approach this? When does singing along start to make an impact? Is this like Self Led Weaning where you let them lead the process of graduating from sing-alongs to top 40? Whatever the process is, I just don’t ever want him to think that “[drinking] a little more than [he] should tonight” is in any way an excuse for treating women like meat. I would honestly rather hear him singing the Flobots in all their explicit-languaged, socio-politically charged glory. At least their message isn’t hateful or demeaning, and no four letter word is as hurtful as hateful, diminutive language. It’s not to say swearing is okay, not by any means (until you’re old enough to understand and pay the consequences without mom and/or dad getting a phone call about it because you know we all do), but direct hate is so much worse.
So how, then, do we as parents approach these kinds of issues? Have you been there or is this just something you haven’t started thinking about?