Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Who's the Parent?!

I am. Not the media. Not the school. Not Disney or any other children's programming company. I am the parent. I take full responsibility for what goes into my childrens' brains. From what they see on the television to what they hear on the radio; the words I say and the things that I do. I am the example and the person who should help them interpret and understand the world around them as they grow. I am the one who is their advocate through constant vigilance. Does it get tiring? Of course it does. Is it hard to say no sometimes? Yes it is. As a parent, there is no other choice. Anyone who thinks otherwise is kidding themselves, at the expense of the children.


I'm OK if this ruffles some feathers. So be it. I own my beliefs and opinions. I hope this is a trait that rubs off onto my children. This story in the news recently regarding the controversy of a new appearance for Merida, the princess from the Disney movie Brave, pissed me off. My gut reaction to her new look...who cares? Disney created her and they can do whatever they want to her image. My daughter is three years old and adores the movie Brave. She thinks that Merida is the Bee's Knees. She has already watched the movie more times than I can count and I am sure she will watch it many more. Will Merida's new image damage my young daughter's self esteem. Absolutely not. Why, you ask? Because I won't allow it. I am always willing to talk with my children about any topic and I will keep the conversation age appropriate. If we see a poster or a toy in the store with the new Merida, and my daughter notices or even cares, we will have a talk about it. That's my job.

To me, the comparison pictures look like Merida grew up. Before, she was a brave, confident, opinionated and active teenager. Awkward and beautiful. The after picture is as if Merida is all grown up. She looks like the queen she was destined to be. She had supportive parents that raised her right. She appears to have grown out of her gangley teen aged body and blossomed into a lovely woman. Why should this damage my daughter and her image of herself? If I were to sit around my house and say aloud how awful this new image is, how damaging it is, how against it I am, how Disney is giving off the wrong impression, my daughter would hear those words and like the little sponge that she is, take them as her own because I am her mother and as a child she respects what I have to say. She looks up to me and I won't take that for granted.

If an opportunity presents itself where I have to give little DJ my two cents on Merida's new picture, I will choose my words wisely. I may say things like "Merida has a pretty new dress" or "she is all grown up now". Maybe I could say "Merida is trying out a new conditioner and her hair looks shiny and full." It could be any number of things that come out of my mouth but I guarantee you that they will be positive words. Why shouldn't they be?

If the people out there hate Merida's before and after picture, than what would they say about me. Most days I sit around in my jammies or comfy house clothes. I rarely put on make-up and admittedly walk around with knots in my hair because I am too busy taking care of the house and the kids. My legs are stubbly because I haven't been able to shave in a while. But you better believe when I get an opportunity to go out with my girlfriends or on a date with my husband, I get all dolled up. I take a shower and wear perfume. I put on my make up and jewelry. I wear fun clothes, fancy clothes, maybe even sexy clothes. How dare I! I am my daughter's example of how a girl or a woman should appear. What I do personally is going to effect my daughter more than some cartoon will. That is the way it should be. I will not be ashamed, nor will I let my daughter be so, when I get dressed up or "better looking." My children love me and respect me no matter what I look like. That is how they will see the world because that is what I, as their parent, represent.

If I don't like or agree with something, than it is my job to make sure it doesn't enter my childrens' world. It is up to me how I express myself to my children. My daughter watched an episode of Baby Bratz about six months ago on Netflix. One episode was plenty for me and she knows that they are no longer welcome in our home. At her age, she does not understand why she can't watch that specific cartoon but she does know that it is a rule of mine. As she gets older, if she still wonders, I will have no problem telling her my reasoning. I could tell her now but at three years old she has no idea what "sexy" means and it would be pointless to try and make her understand. I told my daughter that I do not like that cartoon and that I thought it was inappropriate for her. Baby Bratz disturbed me because the little girl characters, still in diapers, were dressing up "sexy" on purpose. They put on elaborate make-up, wore tiny little shirts that exposed their belly buttons and walked in a way that flaunted their sexy little baby butts, complete with sultry leg poses. This was wrong on so many levels in my eyes and I chose to eliminate the cartoon from my home. I am not writing nasty letters to whoever created them. They are allowed to make what they want to. It is my right not to let my kids watch it and that is where it ends.

image is from http://games.softpedia.com

Not only is it my job to keep what I do not approve of out of my home, it is also up to me to make sure the other people in my childrens' lives know my wishes. A perfect example happened last Fall when my Mom and her partner took my oldest son out for his birthday present. They took him out for dinner, to the chocolate shop and then to the store to buy a new video game. My son was asking for games that my Mom was not 100% sure of. She was respectful enough to call me and my husband and ask permission. There are thousands of games out there and it is impossible to know about ever single one. It was not the most convenient time, but my husband and I took the time to step over to the computer and look up the video games in question. One was a definite 'no' because it contained 'rape' in the description. One of the games we could not find anything on at that particular moment so it was a 'no' until further investigation. I explained to my son that if he really wanted that particular game, he would have to take a rain check until we could get a better description. He, being fourteen years old, wanted his present right away and ended up picking one that could be a 'yes' right away. He understood and respected our decision even though he did not agree with or like it. He did question me later about the game that contained 'rape' in the description and I explained to him that I felt that playing a video game containing 'rape' was not necessary, that there are many other video games available that do not contain that subject matter and also that I know he is responsible and would never do anything like that but it still didn't need to be in our home at the time. He was fine. I say 'no' and my kids accept it. We are consistent and reasonable parents.

I can not be everywhere, all of the time. I am open with my children and they know where I stand. I ask questions and stay involved. If I am concerned with what will be done or watched somewhere when I can not be with them, I am not afraid to talk to the other parents or adults in charge. I am not afraid to tell my kids 'no' and explain myself when I do. They will continue to grow into confident individuals and respect me all the while. They are being raised by me, not MTV. They will not find their self worth from the media or the like. They get that from home.


  1. Good post! I don't have any daughters but I fully see where you come from on this. My kids notice if I dress up and "look pretty", they associate it with me going to work or going out with friends. They understand that sometimes it is important to put some effort into appearance and sometimes it isn't. They do have (reasonably) open access to tv and Internet but never unsupervised and if they stumble upon something inappropriate I explain why I don't want them watching that and they accept it. I think you're doing exactly the right thing, and who cares what Disney does? They won't care if we like it or not so long as there's enough money pouring in.

  2. Great post. I have two daughters, and I completely agree that their image of young girls and women will come from my influences rather than the media.

  3. Great post!! I also looked at the picture and thought "Who cares?!" When my girls and I are out and about, we have open discussions of the things that we see. I try to make sure that my children, girls and boys alike, know that they can ask any question about any thing, from the words they hear to the activites and other things that they see. "If it is something that you aren't comfortable with or that you don't understand, then ASK me."

  4. Great post! And, you're right, it's your responsibility to talk to your children, and have them understand.

    I was really confused about the complaint of her curls being smoothed out. She still has awesome curls, and they just may not be frizzy, but she is still sporting the crazy curls. I think I just love her hair, because that is what my hair is like. Hehe.

  5. Hi again

    Just wanted to let you know I have nominated you for a Versatile Blogger Award!


    Pop over and collected your award, and see my other nominees xxx

    1. Thank you! That is so sweet and cool. I will check it out :-)

  6. I really enjoyed reading this blog post! I like your upfront honesty. Is there a way to follow you on Facebook? I hope you'll also pop on over and "like" my blog :)

    1. I don't have a link to FB for my blog...maybe I should look into that ;-) Thank s for checking my out. I will look yours up too!

  7. Just thought you's like to know that after musing over your post, you inspired me to write one of my own. I hope you'll stop by and read it!

    My website: www.mamamusing.ca