Alright so I didn’t actually burn them, but I wanted it to sound dramatic! I only just threw them away. Which is hard for my hoarding, “but you can give it to goodwill for someone else” side. So let me just start from the beginning and why Mr Bieber along with all other pop stars, will not be worn via t-shirts, book bags, folders, posters, etc. at my house!
My family and I live on an amazing street of 14 kids of similar ages, 8 of them being girls aged 5-9 who all play together all the time! And although that is awesome in itself because my kids have friends literally next door, I love that us mamas’ have similar convictions and practices of raising kids!
My friend Jacque got a bag of girl clothes from a friend of hers. She went through it and gave the remaining items to my two daughters. When I got home from work, my husband had gone through the bag and there was a pile of clothes on the island ready to go into the trash. I grabbed the clothes instinctively and asked what was wrong with them. On further inspection I realized every piece of clothing in that pile had the huge smiling face of Justin Bieber. Both my husband and I agreed, Ugh Gross! I shoved them into the trash to die a slow death of poopy diaper inhalation and “under the bed, week old sippy cup” curdle milk poisoning. Not a good way to go I would think. I confirmed with Jacque the next day that she intentionally left the Bieber clothes because she didn’t want her kids to wear them either! I love this street of Moms!
So why am I so anti-Bieber? Well, I’m not, not really. He obviously has some struggles, but who am I to judge? What I, my neighbor Jacque, and many other parents have a problem with is letting kids, big and small, girls and boys, OBJECTIFY & IDOLIZE others! We are unintentionally telling our kids at a young age they should have crushes, they should obsess about celebrities, and dress and act like the people in the entertainment world.
This is not to say that I will be putting my kids into a bubble to protect them from the big bad world. No, instead I will limit their access to items I deem unhealthy for their age and development. I will however, let them watch, hear or participate in activities that I feel do not represent my ideas and morals, but are an awesome opportunity to teach them about where our family stands.
For example, a show that we watch as a family is “Good Luck Charlie.” My husband and I enjoy the humor, and my kids like the physical comedy and playful story-lines. The Good Luck Charlie family do not always represent the morals I desire in my family, but the story-lines allow me to have a discussion about how we choose to live, compared to other families. The topic of frequent conversations is dating and relationships. I tell my kids it will feel like EVERYONE else has a boyfriend or girlfriend, but we believe that dating is for the purpose of finding a marriage partner, and unless you are ready to get married then dating isn’t something to dabble in!
And thus my problem with Justin Bieber shirts have come full circle!!! Kids today see other kids, teens and even adults pinning over celebrities and story book characters. We are teaching this younger generation to objectify, idolize and distort what a healthy relationship looks like. We are telling them that when a relationship gets hard, that person is not for you and there is someone else out there that will complete you. We are allowing them to distort love, intimacy, and sex. And convincing them that in order to find contentment and peace with themselves they must find a partner. There is no identity or worth in being single, in fact that means there is something horribly wrong with you!
I am not looking to get into an argument, spend the time it would take to pull up the peer-reviewed articles, or pull out my Licensed Mental Health Counselor Card, (because I have it on a 11 x 14 frame, it’s impractical to carry around!). I am just discussing a point of contention I personally have with raising my kids in this world, and one that I would challenge any parent to discover their own beliefs on!
Please don’t hide your kids from the tv or computer. But instead be wise about what they watch, who they hang out with, and discuss openly what your expectations and beliefs are, especially when they counter to society. Allow your kids to discuss with you their own beliefs and perceptions. Ask them questions, and allow them ownership of their own thoughts and opinions.
Truly listen and hear what they are telling you, instead of thinking up your next argument. You may hear that the reason they “love the Twilight Saga” is because they are desperate to be accepted for who they are, or love One Direction songs because they want to feel beautiful. Obviously, they will not say it that directly, but with some discernment and some filtering you may be able to sift through all the fluff and find the inner child of vulnerability and insecurities.
Parents, your opinions and values are setting the stage for your kids. Plant those seeds in conversations, listen to your child discuss their opinions, and just spend time together! And hey, Maybe your first parent/child activity could be burning some Justin Bieber shirts!!