Sunday, May 24, 2009

I'm Letting Go

So--am I letting go of Amanda or is she slipping through my fingers? You all must be confused. I think I am too. All I know is that it's been a topic that comes up over and over again in my mind as we interact with my ten and a half year old daughter. It's not going away anytime soon.

She's been fairly good to this point about accepting my edicts about entertainment without question. However, as I wrote about today at the 5 Minutes for Books On Reading column, I am trying to let go. These are additional thoughts, so if you want the rest of the issue, please click on over.

I want to protect Amanda from "mature themes" and from attitudes that she might pick up in certain media (books and television and movies) that are contrary to our beliefs and values. She recently told me that she doesn't know why I'm so "strict" all of a sudden. Yes I may be strict about some things, but I'm really fairly permissive about many things (out of laziness more than a parenting philosophy).

I had already played offense on this one when another friend mentioned that her daughter has been asking about the Twilight series. I haven't read the series (yet), but from what I understand it's over-the-top in the mushy-gushy department. Yes, I am being "protective." I want to protect her emotions, her heart, and yes make sure that her s*x drive does not kick into overdrive before she's even in middle school! And for that matter, it makes me think that I wouldn't want a high school daughter who really does have a boyfriend dealing with all the yearning and burning either.

In spite of continuing to argue her case, she did tell me that her reading teacher, who is cool and beloved, banned Breaking Dawn from her class. She said that the others are fine, but she said that it made her blush, and so she didn't want it to be read in her classroom. She made a point to tell them that she didn't have any problems with the earlier titles.

I appreciate her making her thoughts known to these impressionable girls (who probably give her opinion more weight than their moms' words). I am glad to hear the support of another adult on part of this issue at least. I think it gave my opinion weight for Amanda to hear Ms. W. say the same thing.

What about you other moms of tweens? Are you facing similar issues? Do you have success tips to pass along?


morninglight mama said...

No tips, just terror on this end. Good luck!

Laura said...

I'm definitely facing the same challenges Jennifer with my daughter (grade 6). She too loves to read and it is so hard keeping up with all the books she brings home. I also said no to Twilight and she understands but it's still hard when all her friends are allowed to read them. I only finally allowed her to read the Harry Potter series this past year when I felt she was old enough to discern the whole witchcraft thing.

Lori said...

Ok I am one of those "feed" readers who has not commented in a loooonnngg time (sorry =( ) But can I say I stand up and applaud. Now I don't have girls, I have boys so Twilight is not an issue.

But when I read on MANY other blogs how caught up they are on the series it kind of shocked me. I too have not read the book (or seen the movie). But just from the outside cover and topic, it did not seem suitable. I ask..Where do you draw the line?

I would not let my daughter read it 10 1/2, probably not until 13 or 14.

Ok I have tons more to say, but I will stop. I applaud you for standing up on the side of caution, instead of doing what "everyone" else is doing.

Karla E said...

Jennifer, Once again I know the reason God gave me boys. As you know, Matt's the same age as Amanda and all I have to do is say a book/movie/TV show has "kissing" in it...and he runs screaming from the room. And the "Maturation" lessons in school are enough to convince him that girls are gross (for awhile anyway). He's growing up and challenging me in other ways...but not in this area.

Katrina @ Callapidder Days said...

I do have to agree w/ Karla that maybe boys are a little easier in this area. I am super-vigilant about the things C. is exposed to at this age, but at 10 -- he's more interested in sword fights and adventure in the books he's reading.

It really is great that the reading teacher reaffirmed your own standards to Amanda. I haven't read Twilight yet, but from all I've's probably not appropriate for another couple years.

Carrie K. said...

I have a 12-year-old daughter, entering 7th grade in the fall. She's my oldest - and my only girl. (I also have three sons.) In the past year, I started to loosen the reins (with limits) in regard to what I allow her to read. I read the Twilight series first, and then did allow Natalie to read them, with the caveat that we discuss them thoroughly as she read. I read the fourth book aloud to her so that I could skip the honeymoon scene and any others I found objectionable. The series has led to a lot of good discussions about infatuation, losing oneself in a boy, why we don't believe dating is a good idea until she is of an age to marry, etc.

I use the web site Common Sense Media a lot when Natalie asks if she can read a specific book. She is very open with me - we talk about books all the time - and so tells me if she comes across content that I might find objectionable. There have been two occasions when she came to me and said, "Mom, this happened in my book," and I asked her to please put the book aside until she was older. Once this resulted in tears, because she wanted to know what happened (it was a mystery), so I read the last chapter so I could tell her the ending. The other time, she accepted my decision graciously.

I find it harder with Natalie simply because she read so much more than my boys! My boys want to read adventure stories, alien stories, pirate stories, comic books - and so I haven't had the same issues. I do, however, appreciate the way books have given Natalie and I a jumping-off place for discussions on topics that might not naturally arise in conversation.