Jim and I were watching Good Morning America this morning, and they had some “boy band” on singing their latest hit. The name of the band doesn’t matter. And of course, there was a throng of screaming girls standing outside the studio, waving signs and looking as if they might swoon if one of those little boys walked up. The news personality or whatever it is they call them nowadays, was interviewing some of those little girls. She asked one of them how old she was, and the reply was “Eight.” Eight years old!!!
What is the mother of that girl thinking? I wondered how that little girl even knew about the band. I wondered why her mother (or her father) would take her to downtown New York to stand outside in the cold waiting to catch a glimpse of a boy band. I was shocked, thinking that when MY girls were eight years old, they wanted to be Brownies, they wanted to play on the girls’ softball team, they wanted to help me in the kitchen. IF they had a favorite singer, it was probably Kermit the Frog, singing that song about the Rainbow.
I know I am not that old, and that I am not that much of a fuddy duddy. When my daughters, who are 33 and 34 years old now, were growing up, I made sure they were dressed appropriately when they left the house. If they wanted to go to their friend Katie’s house down the street to play in the sprinkler, they were not allowed to walk down the street in their bathing suits. I didn’t let them walk to the store by themselves.
I never dropped them off at the mall. If they went to the mall, it was with me. I did not then nor do I now think that the mall is a place to socialize. It is a place to shop. With your mother. And if they went to the movies, I went with them, and sat in the same row as they did. They were not allowed to go on dates with boys until they were sixteen years old, and then they had a curfew of 10:00 p.m. And the boy had to come inside the house when they came to pick them up. And a couple of times in their dating careers, I said “absolutely not” to letting them go out with the young man when I met him. One was thrown physically out of my house for being disrespectful to my daughter in front of me.
Both of my daughters still love me and consider me to be their hero. And, they grew up to be successful, well-adjusted, happy members of society. One was an art teacher at a school for children with learning disabilities and is now assistant manager of a well-known high-end retail store; the other is a biology and special education teacher at a high school.
So, I really did find myself wondering if this little girl’s mother is using any common sense at all. If so, why is she encouraging such an obsession in a child so young? Is she living her own dreams through her child? Is she trying to give her darling daughter everything she thinks she wants?
Sometimes, I think kids ask for things they don’t really want, just to please their peers, and are hoping fervently inside that their parents will say NO. Maybe this child just wanted her mom to say no, so she could tell her friend she asked and her mom wouldn’t let her go. But sometimes, we as parents read the signals all wrong, and or we THINK this is what our child really wants, or we say YES to the most ridiculous requests because it was something we wanted when we were that age and were denied by our parents. I’m here to tell ya, folks, that just because your kid wants it, doesn’t mean they need it. And just because you CAN give them whatever it is that they want, doesn’t always mean you SHOULD. If you give them their little rock stars when they are eight, what are you going to be giving them when they are sixteen?