Risa Green: Loser Mom.

About a year ago, a friend of mine told me that her four year-old was obsessed with High School Musical.  I remember that I scoffed to myself, thinking how totally inappropriate it was.  Because even though I’d never seen the movie, I knew that it was called High School Musical, not Pre-School Musical, and I knew that I did not want my four year-old going near anything high school related with a fifty foot pole.  But when all of the kids in Harper’s pre-school class were running around singing Bop to the Top, and when Harper’s friends began to chatter incessantly about Sharpay and Troy and Gabriella, I started to feel bad that she was excluded from the fun.  I didn’t want her to be the loser kid who never knows what the other kids are talking about because her loser mom doesn’t let her watch tv.  I knew those kids in high school, and I’m sure they turned out brilliant, but I’m sorry, in high school they were just weird.  And so I caved, and I went out and bought the DVD, and now Harper knows every single word by heart, not to mention the dance routines.  And to tell you the truth, it wasn’t even that inappropriate.  Maybe a bit over her head in some parts, but nothing I’d be embarrassed for her to talk about.

But even though my cracked-under-the-peer-pressure story turned out to have a happy ending, I still find myself very often in the role of loser mom.  Don’t get me wrong, we watch a lot of television in our house – A LOT – but I at least try to keep it age appropriate.  Little Einsteins, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Higglytown Heroes – all good.  But Hannah Montana, That’s So Raven, Suite Life of Zack and Cody – they’re just not allowed.  In my opinion, just because a show is on the Disney Channel doesn’t mean that it’s right for little kids.  And yet, sometimes I feel as if I’m the only mom who thinks so.  Sometimes I feel as if I am all alone in loserville, with nobody but the homeschoolers who have fifteen kids and chore charts up on their refrigerators. 
Recently, for example, my husband and I went to see Hairspray.  To my surprise, the audience was filled with little girls that looked to be about Harper’s age.  I found myself feeling guilty.  Should I have brought Harper? I wondered.  Would she have enjoyed this?  As the movie went on, I realized that yes, she would have enjoyed it.  She would have enjoyed the singing and the dancing and the musical numbers very much.  But the rest of the movie had very adult themes.  Racial prejudice, weight prejudice, body image issues.  Call me what you want, but I was glad I hadn’t brought her.  I haven’t told her yet that black people and white people sometimes don’t get along.  I haven’t told her yet that in our society, it’s better to be thin than it is to be fat.  I haven’t told her yet that sometimes grownups can be mean to people for absolutely no reason.  Of course, I know she’ll figure these things out for herself, but why rush it?  She has the rest of her life to worry about her weight; do I really need her worrying about it when she’s five? 
cinnamon282004
11.02.07

I would have to be a loser mom too, I will not let my son watch anything with adults in it, If the T.V. is on a show someone else is watching, I will play with him in another room, or go in his room with him and put on yes, sprout T.V. or sesame street, or even the little einsteins, he doesn't watch a lot of it, but he does enjoy them sometimes. I agree with preserving his innocense (sorry if spelled wrong) as long as possible.

Monique44
10.15.07

Our children (girl 10, boy 7)watch tv only on weekends, and have not seen a lot of the most popular shows, including High School Musical 2. They sometimes mention show that friends talk about, but it's more in passing. So what if other kids can sing songs from a teenager show? I assure you that not a few parents are cringing while they do so.
While each child is different, be careful that its not your issue rather than theirs, and stick to your values, not other people's.
Quite frankly, I am shocked by the junk that's on Disney channel - attitudes, subject, values, etc. A mother with older kids noted how content has changed dramatically in the past 7 years, so you are probabl ynot overreacting. As far as I am concnerd, the older the better before they get exposed to that, so that they know what's wrong with the behavior.

MichiganMom (not verified)
09.27.07

I am a loser mom too and I told myself I wouldn't be. haha. I have the whole collection of Baby Einstein DVD's and my son has watched them since birth and still does at 18 months. He loves the music and colors. I let him watch Sesame Street and Dora too. That's all for his TV stint at this point. But I get all kinds of criticism from other parents for letting him watch any TV or DVD's. He is an active boy and doesn't sit still very often. But when he's playing inside or eating breakfast or lunch, I'll put them on and he loves them.
Censorship is not always a bad thing. I agree with you that our kids will see the reality of our society soon enough. Why not protect their innocence as long as we can?

teacupteachermom
09.18.07

I guess that I am a loser mom along with you as I completely agree with you and your reasons for sheltering your daughter. My 7 1/2 year old still enjoys some of playhouse Disney and Sprout TV. She watches with her 2 year old brother. And while she also enjoys High School Musical, she isn't allowed to watch all of the other Disney teenager shows. Our kids have their whole lives to deal with the ugliness of the world. Why not protect them while we can? They will learn soon enough about sarcasm, prejudice, meaness, etc. For now, let them watch age appropriate shows and be the little children that they are. They can always start watching all that is out there. Once they start, they can never really erase it from thier minds.

SKY00001
09.10.07

Can I say "Me too." I let my 3 year old watch "Josh and Drake" on Disney after he saw it at his babysitter's house. Her 8 year old loved it. I thought, it's on Disney, it must be okay. But it was not okay when he started rolling his eyes at me when I said something he did not like and arguing with me just like Josh and Drake and the other teens on Disney. He is 3 not 13. And I am not ready for the smarty pants attitude yet. So we have banned all shows with teenagers in them for now.

Very Tired
08.28.07

My children watch so much TV I am ashamed to even admit how much. Talk about a loser mom.

Samantha
08.24.07

Hairspray was fantastic. Wouldn't you rather the first glimpse at these issues be one with a strong, progressive message of equality and acceptance?