Thursday, February 23, 2012

Twilight, and "good family values"? I'm sorry, but Edward Cullen is a creep.

Like most parents of tweens and older kids, I have heard a great deal about Twilight over the past few years. And now I hear, we can look forward to hearing the whole story again through Edwards eyes. Oh joy.

Even the adults rave about the books and movies. I am a die hard vampire fan so I must admit I was intrigued at first. I've read many of the different views of vampires and there really is something romantic about immortality. 
"Besides", other mothers kept telling me, "it has a great 'family values' message." I gave Twilight a shot, despite my prejudices towards emo guys that glitter. A vampire story is a vampire story after all. Twilight had been sold to me as the greatest thing to come to parenting since chastity belts were outlawed.  

There is nothing new about this story or the way it was told. Good girls have been attracted to the bad boy since the beginning of time, and if you play with a bad boy long enough you usually do get bitten. It only took one movie for me to become positive that Edward and Bella both have a livejournal out there somewhere, and it is filled with emotastic poetry. Teen drama activate!

As adults we are capable of understanding that Twilight is just a fairy tale, but there are twelve year old girls walking up to Robert Pattinson, the actor who plays Edward and asking them to bite them. That's a grip on reality right there.
But...  have to ask am I the only parent out there who was totally creeped out by Twilight? 

"The beautiful and dangerous" Edward watching Bella sleeping? For a vampire who can actually tolerate the sunlight, he spends a lot of time hiding in the shadows and most of that time is spent watching a teenage girl without her knowledge, or consent. Romantic for a vampire, but in real life. That's called stalking.

Edward insults Bella a lot too. He is jealous, needy, and seriously overprotective. Come on, after 110 years of being a teenager you'd think he would have overcome at least a bit of his teen angst.

 In real life a relationship that begins like this ends in abuse, emotional, psychological, and sometimes eventually physical. It ends with a girl giving up all she is to please a man who can't help being who he is.

By all means watch the movies by yourself or with your children, but if your daughters are among the Team Edward worshipers, do them a favor and tell them what really happens when you catch a bad boy. Obsession isn't love, it is lust and lust hurts, sometimes... it even kills.

Whatever values Twilight is teaching our youth, they aren't the values I want in my family.

But... maybe that's just me.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

"And I'm the strange parent?" Parenting habits that don't make sense.

There are a lot of things we do with our kids that don’t really make much sense to me. From simple things like telling our kids not to talk to strangers and then getting upset with them when they refuse to sit on Santa’s lap, to hitting a child to teach them not to hit.

We send children conflicting messages on a regular basis, and we don’t even realize we are doing it. People call their children brats and then are somehow surprised when they act like one. Some call their kids dumb, some call them lazy, some call them fat. 
When you label a person, they tend to become the label. When we label our children negatively, the negative effects show. When we label them positively, they actually live up to those labels.

Parenting is an art, not a science.

I’ve also never understood the concept of forcing a child to clean their plate, especially when we have such a high rate of obesity in our country. Yes, they need to eat healthy, but that doesn’t mean they need to eat when they aren’t hungry.

Sometimes, rules were meant to be broken. 
Part of the art of parenting is knowing when to bend the rules and when to break them totally. The most fun we have had as a family were the times we broke the rules; the days we ate dessert before dinner, stayed up way past bedtime to do something silly, or took a day off to just go hang out.

Many of us have forgotten what it is like to be a kid. When you look at things from their point of view, you see things you never noticed before. The world can be a very confusing place for a child, and as parents we need to remember that. 
They are people too, and they have a right to be heard just as much as we do. That doesn’t mean we always have to give in, but we can at least take the time to listen to them, to validate their feelings and explain our point of view. 
Most of all, I have never understood why people think we are raising children in the first place. We are raising adults, and we only have 18 years to get it right. If we screw it up, there can be hell to pay. Just something else to think about...