Monday, June 04, 2007

The Messages Our Kids Receive

Paris Hilton checks into jail today, and deservedly so. I only wish that she would stay there, because she is, apparently, a role model for our daughters. Ah, what a role model: A walking petri dish in designer fashions.

I am not perfect, and never claimed to be. I am not always a good role model for my child. However, I am also brutally honest with him about it, and do my best to admit to my shortcomings. I hate the parents who pass on the message "Do as I say, not as I do," and yet I am occasionally guilty of it myself. Still, I try to live a life that is an example. But these PopTarts do not care about you OR your children, and do not feel the need to behave themselves in order to be a positive influence on the next generation.

It is sad to say that our childrens' true role models are vacuous, self-indulgent creatures like Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. This fact was recently disclosed in a study, which also informed us that girls as young as first graders are carrying about purses with stuffed dogs in emulation of Paris.

THIS is why we need to be concerned about the Hollywood elitists.

It is very easy to lean back and speak disdainfully of such showy airheads. "Oh Britney and Paris! I won't give them the time of day," you might sneer. But... your kids certainly DO. The older ones snap up magazines with articles about them, and the younger ones roleplay.

What can be done about it?

Well, firstly it is obvious that only a poor excuse for a parent would allow their first grader to prance about, sporting Paris-like gear. When a parent is this egregiously stupid, it's rather difficult to reason with them. But a caring friend might point out to such a parent that surely THEIR children cannot possibly hope to grow up to acquire Paris' wealth and money, or Britney's talented stageparents who rocketed her to fame. This means that little Megan will develop her idol's lack of morals and laissez-faire attitude without the funds or means to back up or excuse her woeful behavior. From society's viewpoint, you can get away with much as long as you have beauty and money. It is very unlikely that Megan will inherit both or perhaps either, and thus she will find herself in a losing situation.

What Megan will inherit, instead, is a lack of morality that will contribute to her continued failure in life. She will not be a good team player, she will be focused solely on herself. When her aging parents, friends or family members need help, Megan will be too busy pursuing her next self-indulgent obsession.

Since Megan's examples choose themselves over others (even their own children) she will be a lonely young woman, putting herself both first AND second with everyone else a distant third. She has no reason NOT to do so, because she has never been taught that such characters are despicable. Because of this, she will also be a failure in the workplace.

Megan may get pregnant at an early age with such sexualized examples. She may choose to have an abortion or she may not: Either choice is a dangerous one for a young girl to make, and can be a psychologically scarring experience. Megan may also become a walking petri dish, herself, full of sexually transmitted disease or the possibility of them.

What can a caring parent do? For one thing, turn off the TV. Give up such paparazzi shows as Entertainment Tonight. When YOU re-prioritize, so will your children.

Parents also need to communicate. When you see such creatures as Paris or Britney, tell your kids what is wrong with their lifestyle, although you should do it carefully. While it might be tempting to completely damn them, you don't wish to alienate your children if they have already mistakenly chosen such women to be their role models

Instead, say things that invite participation and make your kids think, such as "Yes, Britney is very pretty, isn't she? What if someone isn't as pretty as Britney? Could she behave the same way? Is it bad to be only average or even ugly? How should Britney behave? Is it right to get into cars, deliberately flashing your privates in order to get attention? Is it right to neglect your children so that you can go out and get drunk and party? How do you think her children feel? What could her parents be thinking: Are they sad? Happy?"

Reasoning and communication are our only weapons in the battle for our childrens' lives. That, and the OFF button on our TVs.


Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

We make the culture we deserve to have.

Rather than look for answers from them we need to get answers from ourselves.

We build and fuel the monster, we need to take responsibility.

Hans said...

“When a parent is this egregiously stupid, it's rather difficult to reason with them. But a caring friend might point out to such a parent that surely THEIR children cannot possibly hope to grow up to acquire Paris' wealth and money, or Britney's talented stageparents who rocketed her to fame.”

There is a flaw in your plan. First, if a friend does not ask you for advice on their kids you don’t offer it. Second, if a friend does ask you for advice on their kids you still don’t offer it.

Carly said...

Hi Saur

AQ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AQ said...

AQ said...
Wow! I couldn't agree more.

I believe positive role modeling can make a ton of difference - more than any other form of teaching/training.

green said...

Good piece, saur.

I definitely think it's sad that there are "role-models" the likes of Paris and Britney.
Thankfully my daughter does not know who these people are and does not try to emulate them.

I do agree that parents need to take more responsibility and are to blame for these "role-models" and letting their kids emulate them.

I'm not a perfect parent either (who is) but I do try to be honest with my kids when they tell me about things they like that I deem as harmful for them.

Herr Krokodil said...


My girls turned out quite well if I do say so myself. I told them to behave or I would punish them.

Since I'm now a dirty old man I feel compelled to say Paris is so hot.

Excellent post.

United We Lay said...

It is VERY nice to have you back! I think parents have forgotten that they're responsible for their kid's behavior and that it IS effected by the cultural references we choose to present to them.

Debbie said...

I was so disappointed to find out Paris only has to serve part of her time. This will only make her more determined and that is what parents need to watch out for.

My sons favorite role models were the Ninja Turtle and Power Rangers and we always discussed right from wrong and that they were not real people just shows on TV. I think sometimes it is easier with boys than girls when it comes to role models. Not always but for me it was.

Me I wanted to be like my mom and grandmother! My how the world has changed!

The Lazy Iguana said...

Did you ever see the "stupid spoiled whore video play set" episode of South Park? It is great.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Daniel, I disagree most strongly. Of course, by your definition, then Saddam Hussein's oppressed people deserved him, and the Jews deserved Hitler. No, we don't make the culture we deserve. The culture is often made and influenced by an elite few. It IS up to the majority to challenge that, however. The problem is that America has been dumbed down and pacified with pap, and most Americans are no longer intelligent enough to reason this out or demand higher standards.

Hans, you are completely wrong in this belief, my friend. If you TRULY care about someone, and where society is going, it is your obligation to contribute to it positively. If you saw someone walking off a cliff, would you turn around and say "Nope. Not MY business"?

Carly, hello, precious one. Was this required reading for you? ;o)

AQ, Thanks, hon!

Green, thank you. And yes, you ARE lucky that your daughter doesn't know of these women. But that is, in large part, due to good parenting, I suspect.

Herr Krok, I know, I know: You have the hots for Paris and Anna Nicole (in her living state, I should add - I'm not accusing you of necrophilia). ;o)

UWL, Thank you so much! It's wonderful to BE back, too. I'm glad you agree.

Debbie, BUT your mom and grandmother were apparently worth imitating. Isn't it sad that so many moms AREN'T worth imitating any more?! I have an honorary daughter who needs a mother because her own mother is so deficient. It's very sad.

Lazy, No! But I'll have to check it out!