Do you remember a couple of posts ago I wrote that my daughter and I went through the lyrics to a song to see if it was OK for her to buy and put on her iPod? That particular song has a lot of references to drugs, obsessive love, and addiction, and while it doesn't have a single swear word -- for which I am quite grateful -- and while it's a really catchy tune, I still don't have to plunk down $1.29 of my money to pipe those ideas into her head. At the time of that post, my daughter didn't want to plunk her money down, either.
Well, my daughter has spent the past five days singing a different tune. For some reason, she changed her mind and now says:
- She has to have that song.
- It's her favorite song.
- She understands what it means, she just likes the tune
- A 4th-grader's maturity today is like a 7th-grader's maturity when I was young.
- She's not 3 anymore, she can “handle it”
- It’s not that bad, they play it on the radio for 2nd graders.
- All her friends like the song.
- The singer is at least 21, an adult, so it's OK for her to sing about it.
- It’s only $1.29 at iTunes for endless playing.
- She’ll play it soft or with headphones.
- She’ll be satisfied for a while, like probably a whole month.
She even sent me an email (entitled Reasons I Should Get Your Love is my Drug) listing out several of these points. Morning, noon, and night, that child won't stop listing out reasons. I say nothing. And as I was writing the above, she was in the other room penning this (with my green Sharpie):
I see why you don't think I should have the song. I'm saying that I see your reasons, but Tom and I disagree. I know that you say that it's innapropriate, but it's something a lot of people know about. In this genaration, people know about stuff in fourth grade that you might not have known until sixth or seventh grade. I'm more mature than you think. I know you probably didn't know this when you were 10, but in this generation, a lot of people do. We find beer bottles in the road. We know about this stuff. It's as appropiate to 10 year olds in this generation as "SAM THE FARMER" is to a kindergardner. The lyrics talk about something that isn't very innapropriate to this generation's 10 year olds. Do you disagree and want to talk about it Y/N
As I'm older than she is and have way more life experience, I know a few things:
- That children today know more may be true, but it's a sad truth.
- She won't be satisfied for, like, half a day much less a whole month.
- She's a serial acquirer. She's not so much interested in the song as she is in getting the song.
- Listening to/singing inappropriate songs doesn't mean you're cool; it means you're inappropriate.
- This is the equivalent of a tantrum, and in my house, people who have tantrums, myself included, can never be given what they want.
- I'm in a no-win situation here. If I "give in" and let her have it, she learns to badger me incessantly because eventually, she'll get what she wants. If I don't let her have it, she stays "stuck" on this because it's about the getting, not the having.
So what's the problem? Is the song really that bad? Compared to other things out there, no. It's only partially about this particular song. The rest of it is about preventing her from becoming inured to sex, drugs, and violence.
The whole thing reminds me of a story I heard from a father, and I'm so sorry, but I just can't remember who it was to give proper credit.
One day as a man was sitting in his living room enjoying a quiet moment, his teenage daughter and a few of her friends came in. They wanted to go to the movies, in fact, to see this one particular movie that was R-rated. The daughter knew the rule: She wasn't allowed to see R-rated movies. Period. But she asked anyway. Her "Please, Dad, please can I go see this movie?" got her the expected negative. "But, Dad, the review says it just has some language, violence, and brief nudity. And so-and-so's mom let her see it, and it really wasn't that bad!" He again said no, telling her that he didn't want her to be exposed even to that. Despite her pout, he said she and her friends should hang around; he would go out to the kitchen and make them a snack.
It took the dad awhile (and he could hear the girls' mutterings as he busied himself in the kitchen), but eventually he came back to the living room carrying a big plate of fresh-from-the-oven, piping-hot brownies. As he offered them each a brownie, he said, "These are my special brownies. They're made from a special recipe and have a secret ingredient." As the girls raised the brownies to their mouths, his daughter asked, "What's the secret ingredient?" Her father replied, "Dog poop. But don't worry," he continued as the girls dropped their brownies to their plates, "it's just a little bit of dog poop. Not that much. They're really not that bad. You can pick it out if you don't like it." But the girls wouldn't eat them.My daughter's final argument of the evening as she lay crying on her bed: "I just want to be cool. I don't have any real friends." (Ploy or truth?)
I'd really like my daughter to accept that "No" means "No," not "Badger Mom until the cows come home so Mom will give in just to shut me up." (I know, I know: Snowballs in Hell, flying pigs, and whistling shrimp.)
I lament that the once-shocking ills of the world are now commonplace, mainstream, acceptable for the ears of our elementary school students. I don't want my daughter to seek out the tainted and be content with it.
And on Saturday, I learned what "Pokerface" means. I had no idea, and I truly could have finished out my years on this planet without that bit of knowledge. When will that become common knowledge to 10-year-olds? (You know, it's a catchy tune.)