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Dec

13

 As this is only my opinion, we always adopted a very laissez faire approach to media materials in the house. Since the lure of the "Forbidden Fruit" is so great, we dispensed with any censorship and instead engaged in discussion why the lyrics of 50 Cent were so poorly written, the music bad, extremely crude and misogynistic (yet we never banned the music). Same thing with the TV show "Southpark," the artistic renderings of Playboy and certain websites.

Realizing that nothing was forbidden within an age appropriate setting, we faced no rebellion or major dishonesty on our son's part. Since the media is so pervasive, we did monitor what our son viewed and participated in, and managed to find ways to discuss the merits or lack of, in his media choices. We never told him that "Ludicrous is a bunch of crap and don't let me hear you listening to him or you're grounded." We did discuss the merits of what he saw and heard, the pros and cons. Not all rap music is bad, not all German Industrial Death Metal is bad, just as not all the content of Playboy is bad….In fact all of the aforementioned have very many positive things, I tried to concentrate on the good parts while comparing the bad parts with other things and values he knew was bad.

Somehow, kids are very resourceful and will find out about forbidden fruit, especially those children from strict or religious homes or homes where the children are under constant parental surveillance. Although this is anecdotal, I've noticed strict parents increase the allure of the forbidden, and this allows for the children not only to pursue the forbidden, but to need to lie about it to the parents creating a double whammy of dishonesty and the tragedy of leading a double life.

Our house was a haven for children from repressive homes, a place where frank discussion could take place without punishment, reprisal, or tattling to other parents. (On the other hand, we did tattle when we heard about activities that were illegal, immoral, or drug related). Our dinner table discussions were legendary, comparable to any salon in Paris, but the Boulevardiers being replaced with 10-17 year old tow headed kids. Honest, frank discussions about music, movies, current events, art, porn, and literature create a trust, a bond between children and parents that transcends any generational boundaries. As my son so eloquently told me, "The reason I never rebelled is because you never gave me a reason to rebel." I like to think that I had something to do to help my son become a world class free thinker, a son who actually had the courage to vote for Bob Barr while I wussed out and voted for McCain.


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