Yesterday I blogged about Miley Cyrus and Sinead O’Connor in which I mention that my 10 year old daughter and 12 year old son watched Miley Cyrus’ video Wrecking Ball. A number of people asked me whether this was responsible parenting? Weren’t they too young? What exactly was I trying to prove?
Should your children be watching Wrecking Ball!!!
No. But they’d already watched it. And the fact is, I cannot control their every waking hour, and more over I do not want to. Rather I hope I have instilled in them the values of thinking critically and judging not just what is right or wrong, but also the several shades of gray. I trust my children to know better. But I am also under no illusions that most children (as well as adolescents, teens, even kids late into their twenties) at some point in their life might do something stupid. For a toddler this could be grabbing scissors and trying to cut their hair. For an adolescent this could be having a smoke or smoking up, shop lifting, threatening a child, yelling ‘bomb’ in a crowded cinema, and for teens and those kids well into their twenties, along with these stupidities add hard core drugs, alcohol, grand larceny, pregnancies and other acts which can cost them the rest of their lives. ( list of stupidities is by no mean exhaustive). My point is, kids will do stupid things which is where I’m a big proponent of the American ethos of 2nd chances ( and I do not want to get into the debate, right now, of the rights of ‘others’, foreign policy, or class in America).
Maybe I’m just a starry eyed immigrant-citizen —but I’ve seen 2nd, and 3rd, chances given before my eyes by everyday Americans to individuals, who, in other countries, would be wrecked and ruined, or, at the very least, their reputation forever suspect, as well as the reputation of their future generations to come.
Back to my kids. They can watch Wrecking Ball because I trust them to think intelligently about what they are watching and what they are doing. I hope they will not stray. Ever. But if they do, at least they will not have the defense of ‘I didn’t know any better’. Yes, you did. I taught you.
Look, the fact is whether it’s Miley or not, someone somewhere will always be taking their clothes off (and some boy/guy will always be doing something too…). I can’t always be with my children, and as they get older, peer influence becomes greater too– all I can do is hope and pray that they will always feel comfortable enough to come to me NO MATTER WHAT, and part of that is to not bat an eyelash no matter what they telling me or asking me– which, as a Pakistani/desi parent, I find easier to say than do, but I do it because I feel its the only chance I feel I have to try to impart my values into their reality of the world: which is Miley is alive and well and kicking and naked. And I have to teach them this is silly and that no one should do this and that no one should think it’s cool. Hopefully somewhere down the line, these values will stick…
And so in my bid to turn every waking second into an educational opportunity (my kids think I’m crazy) I gave them an assignment. Without telling them anything about Sinead O’ Connor I had them watch the video of Nothing Compares. I asked them if it reminded them of anything. My daughter immediately said “Miley and Wrecking Ball”. I told them that, indeed, Miley says she was inspired by the video as well as O’ Connor’s shorn head look. Then I had them read O’ Connors 1st letter to Miley. I instructed them had to high light points they thought important as well as things they did not understand. Did my daughter gain some new colorful vocabulary? Yup. But not an issue for me: knowledge begins at home and so better she learns what is and what is not from me than at school or elsewhere. We had a nice discussion, my kid and I, after which, my daughter returned to her favorite program Full House, and my son to his Pokemon. So should my children be watching Wrecking Ball? They’d already watched it, they showed it to me, and because of that I was able to give them a lesson on pimps and prostitutes and values they are unlikely to ever forget.
read my take on Miley and Madonna here