How much does media affect our kids? Well, all before 8:20 a.m. these are the questions I answered for my seven year old. Keep in mind when you read these that this child has been raised in a home that teaches media literacy along with ABC’s and 123′s, and that my husband and I closely filter what we watch, hear, and play with.
You cannot escape it, you have to know how to repackage, reframe, and reteach it. My daughter is awash with negative influences from peers at school right now. I can’t control how other people raise their kids, I can only help mine sort through the messages and keep our family’s morals front and center.
Conversation 1 at 7:19 am:
Amelia: “Mom, I think for Halloween I want to be the vampire or the mummy from Monster High. The other girls are all going to be Draculaura. Can I be that?”
Me: “If all the other girls are going to be wearing the same costume, why would you want to look like them? Would it be more fun to create our own mummy or vampire? I will totally help you create an awesome costume, but I need to be up front with you right now, your father and I are not going to allow you to be dressed like a Monster High character. Can you tell me why?”
Amelia: “I know why. It is just that all the other girls are going to be it.”
Me: “Are you sure it is all the other girls, or just a couple that you are focusing on? Because I know for a fact that Emily and Angelina are both going to be ninjas.”
Amelia: “Well, I was also thinking of being Sam Sparks. Or a strawberry. Probably a vicious strawberry.”
Conversation 2 at 7:40 am:
Amelia: “At school the girls say that their clothes and accessories come from Justice. What is Justice?”
Me: “Oh, Justice is a store for girls in the mall. We can check it out sometime. I think you wear really cool clothes to school. No one quite has your style, little girlfriend.”
Amelia: “I know. My outfits are fabulous. I just wish I had more accessories. All the other girls say that is where their stuff comes from.”
Me: “Hmmm……I would be sad if I couldn’t pick you out on the playground because you and all the other girls look like a herd of zebras. Do you want to be all the other girls and blend in? Or do you want to be Amelia?
Amelia: “I want to be Amelia. Not a zebra. Is Justice the right kind of clothes for kids? Like no short skirts? Because I don’t need my business showing on the monkey bars.”
Conversation 3 at 8:14 am:
Amelia: “Mom, the princesses on that backpack look sexy. That isn’t really appropriate for school.”
Me: “I agree with you 100%.”
Amelia: “Maybe her parents don’t think about those things. Because those princesses don’t look like they do anything but stand around and be sexy.”
Me: “I think you are correct. That is why our family focuses on smart thoughts and brave actions. I think that girl is probably a neat little kid with a backpack that doesn’t send healthy or appropriate messages.”
Amelia: “Yeah, and she is a kindergartener so she doesn’t even need to be thinking about being sexy.”
Me: “True, and neither to second grade girls.”
Amelia: “Oh, I’m not. I’m thinking about all the dead pigeons in New York City.”