Friday, June 17, 2011

"Daddy, can I listen to Justin Bieber?"

We're driving around last night and from the back seat Baylee begins the conversation:

Baylee - "Daddy, when I'm five can I listen to Justin Bieber?"
Me - "No Baylee, not till you're 13.  And then it will be a maybe."
Baylee - "Whhoooaaa!"

Yes, I am a cruel father.

During youth group days I was asked numerous times by people if I thought their kid was old enough for Harry Potter.  The parents hadn't read them yet, knew I had, so they wanted some insight. I'm still asked that question from time to time, but also now is added to it inquirires on Hannah Montana, Justin Bieber, & the like.

First off, let the following be established and understood: I have read the Harry Potter books.  I have NEVER watched an episode of Hannah Montana.  I am INCAPABLE of identifying a Justin Bieber song. Just want to clarify all that so I don't lose any street cred.

Moving on...

I am in no way a parenting expert.  Like most parents, I'm figuring this out as we go along.  However, when it comes to decisions on media, Jeannette and I both decided and agreed on the standard that we wouldn't let Baylee & Jaxon watch TV programs that we felt were inappropriate to their age level. This isn't our only standard, but it is one of our starting places.

The character of Hannah Montana I'm guessing is 15, give or take.   Baylee is 4 years old.
Justin Bieber is 17 (I looked it up on Wikipedia).  Let me repeat - Baylee is only 4 years old!!!

Baylee thinking like a 15 year old or a 17 year old is NOT something that I want!!! 

She should be playing with her Pet Shop animals.  She needs to learn how to share with her brother better and how to clean up her toys on her own.  Thinking about what a boyfriend is or if she is thin enough are things I want as far from her mind as possible.

I'm not saying Hannah or Bieber are inappropriate - I've never seen/heard them.
I'm saying that I don't feel they are appropriate to my child's age level.

You know what character is 4 years old on TV?  Caillou.  
You know what characters are in preschool?  The Backyardigans.     

We try our best to limit the amount of TV our kids watch, and more often than not we are watching with them.  But if they are going to sit in front of the tube - they are going to watch things that are part of their world.  

Caillou and The Backyardigans are exploring the parts of life that Baylee is also experiencing, the things I want her thinking about. Hannah & Bieber are not.

Were Baylee actually 13 years old right now today, would I let her watch Hannah or listen to Bieber is for another blog post.  This being said, I want to clarify that I'm not slamming or judging anyone that does allow their kids to view these shows or listen to these artists.  Not at all.  This is just a question I'm asked a lot so I wanted to share where Jeannette & I are in processing this part of parenting life. Maybe it can help you where you're at. 

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