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Learning to Let Go

Friday, 5 March 2010

There comes a time, I suppose, in the development of every mother when she wonders if she is holding back her child…

Earlier this week, Beernut discovered that he could receive FM stations on his MP3 player. Truth-be-told, when he excitedly shared this information, I assumed he’d be listening to NPR. A reasonable assumption given that as his age I was listening to the likes of Michael Jackson (the one who was born white.), Ira Fistell, “Religion on the Line” with Carole Hemingway, and the Ken and Bob Company (remember EGBOK?). Yes, I was a committed KABC talk radio junkie as an elementary school student.

No, Beernut has discovered 97.1 AMP Radio — a station geared for teens and yound adults. Not a station meant for tweens. And yet I know that his peers are listening to this “music.” So much sets Beernut apart from his peer group (thank you, Asperger’s) and I don’t want to my own misgivings to make that gap any wider.

Against my better judgement, I put on the station.

  1. Down (Jay Sean featuring Lil Wayne)
  2. Paparazzi (Lady Gaga)
  3. Bedrock (Lil’ Wayne)

It was that third song that finally got to me.

Call Me Mr. Flintstone,
I Can Make Your Bed Rock (oooh..)

FrumeSarah: “Beernut, I really don’t think that this music is appropriate?”
Beernut: “Why not?”
FS: “Well, it has some subjects that just aren’t appropriate for someone your age.”
B: “What sort of subjects?”
FS: “Subjects like sex. For example.”
B: “Oh Mom.”

Several moments pass…

FS: “Hey Beernut, do you even know what sex it?”
B: (eyes rolling) “Of course. It’s about gender. As in ‘what sex are you.”, right?”

That’s right, Beernut.


So, dear readers, what say you? Leaving aside the fact that most of this “music” is pure dreck, what is the mom of a tween to do?

15 Comments leave one →
  1. Crys permalink
    Friday, 5 March 2010 2:33 pm

    If you have XM or Sirius there is a Radio Disney channel that plays the more kid friendly Top 40 songs. On XM I think it’s channel 115.

  2. Frume Sarah permalink*
    Friday, 5 March 2010 2:49 pm

    We don’t have XM. And Radio Disney is an AM station up here. So we can listen to it in the car. But his MP3 only gets FM stations.

    But I think I’ll try it in the car and see what happens.


  3. Friday, 5 March 2010 3:44 pm

    When my Little was 12, she began listening to KIIS fm (my least favorite kinds of music). I tried getting her to listen to Radio Disney, but she declared it “babyish” and would switch the station as soon as she could. Good luck!

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Friday, 5 March 2010 3:50 pm

      Yeah…I know that Poppyseed will LOVE Radio Disney. But if Beernut’s classmates are already onto KIIS and AMP, I don’t think he’s going to go for it either.

  4. Friday, 5 March 2010 4:14 pm

    I remember listening to Michael Jackson, Ken and Bob and all those other guys. All courtesy of mom driving car pool.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Monday, 8 March 2010 7:20 am

      Bet that made you REALLY popular with the rest of the car pool…

  5. Friday, 5 March 2010 8:13 pm

    I have no real advice, but I feel your pain. When BB had an MRI a few months ago, he was allowed to take a CD to listen to. He gave me a list of songs for me to download. Stupidly, I did so, thinking “how bad could they be?” The eyes of the techs opened wide when Apple Bottom Jeans followed AC/DC. Who knew. They at least are their own person, right? 😉

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Monday, 8 March 2010 7:14 am

      Wish I could have seen the look on their faces!!

      Our boys are definitely their own individuals 🙂 Thanks so much for reading AND commenting!!!

  6. Saturday, 6 March 2010 10:13 pm

    When I was that age my parents wanted to see the movie “Gigi” and my mother said they should take me (around 11 or 12) and my brother (say 8 or 9) with them. My father thought the subject matter not appropriate for kids that age. (Gigi is a great musical -“The night they invented champaign” and “Thank heaven for little girls” which is about a grandmother who is grooming her granddaughter to become a high class “kept woman”.) My mother said the music is great and they will not understand what the story the way you do, you”ll see.
    She was right, we loved it. Many years later (I was already in college) when listening to the record she asked me if I remembered what the story was about. I told the kiddie version and she explained the real one. I told the guy I was dating at the time and he refused to believe me. We both had seen the movie as kids and enjoyed on our naive level.
    Of course today things are so much more explicit that maybe you can’t have naive interpretations anymore.

    • Sunday, 7 March 2010 5:59 am

      Risa — I felt the same way about Gigi. I remembered it from when I was a kid and was a bit horrified when I showed it to my kids. But the stuff just went over their heads! They actually found it a bit boring.

      Frume Sarah — I wish I knew how to figure out what to limit and what to let go. We have so little control…. I limit things at home, but they listen to their friends’ music and watch things at their friends’ homes….

      • Frume Sarah permalink*
        Monday, 8 March 2010 7:19 am

        I just worry that I might be more cautious because Beernut already has some social strikes against him…

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Monday, 8 March 2010 7:19 am

      I had a similar experience with the movie “Grease,” which came out when I was about 9. Except that I really wasn’t allowed to see it until several years later. At which time, I STILL didn’t understand most of the grown-up material.

    • Monday, 8 March 2010 7:52 am

      Yeah, that reminds me of when I saw Grease, which my grandparents took me to see in the theaters. When I resaw it in college, I was shocked. Really, really shocked.

  7. Monday, 8 March 2010 8:59 am

    These are very interesting questions. As the mom of both a tween and another older son, who has severe developmental challenges (he has autism), I keep asking myself about what is appropriate and what is not. For instance my elder son is liking very “childish” programs: how do I handle the look of anyone his age seing tapes of, let’s say Barney or Thomas the Tank Engine, when they want to be glued in front of Cartoon Network or worse?

    On the other hand, his younger brother listens to music I hardly understand the words of, but if I pay careful attention I find them highly inappropriate language or stories… and if I ask him about what it means (to him, and in general), he would answer “whatever” or “who cares?” in this fashion that we probably all have heard.

    It is very difficult for us to try and listen with their ears, and hear what they hear in this music, I assume. I don’t remember my parents listening to anything I was liking when I was a teenager, and yes, lateron I started to realize all the sexual content of the words, but at the time it simply didn’t ring a bell, and it had absolutely no influence neither on my use of language nor on my behaviors. I went through very bad behaviors for a lot of other reasons than the music I was listening to.

    My only take on all this is that opening the line of communication with our teenagers is what matters most, being able to see when they are troubled and shocked, and not necessarily at the same things as us. After all, we hear words when they probably get rythm and beat, their emotions are triggered at a level that we have long overcome and forgotten.

  8. colleen permalink
    Friday, 12 March 2010 10:28 pm

    What’s so lovely to hear about is that despite your immediate reaction to be over-protective your son is acting like a totally normal pre-adolescent, and is far more influenced by his peers than by what you can say – whether you’re ready or not! I don’t think we were overprotected or suffered the level of censorship we seem to want to impose on our kids. I agree with some of the comments above, you can tell him why you don’t really like the music, but trying to forbid it of force alternatives probably gives the suggestive content far more importance (as Otir points out) than it occurs to him to be aware of, and of course will only make it that much more enticing. Although, if Emminem (sp?) or the like came on I’d probably shut it off straight away. (I like Emminem by way). I’m a few years away from this thank goodness, and probably not one to talk because thanks to Brian my 4 year old knows way to many of the lyrics of some questionable Beastie Boys songs (think Brass Monkey, and me and my horsey and a quart of beer) – but hey, they’re Jewish right?

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