In Which I Am THAT Parent: No You Cannot Download That Song.

I do not go into great detail here about my religio-politico bent.

Why? Well, for one, I don’t think religio-politico is a word.

And for two… if others don’t agree with me I think they are stupid.

We wish I was kidding.

Maybe that was a little harsh, but when it comes down to it, I don’t appreciate a good debate (I am an ENFJ – F for feeler and J for judger… it’s who I am… hitherhencetofore there is nothing not personal about a “friendly” debate)…

…and I am pretty sure my reasoning is infallible so why open things up for discussion?

There is no discussion when it comes to my political and religious views. I am always right.

Just ask my husband.

However, I do not detest those who hold other viewpoints. I just think they’re wrong. I don’t feel the need to save them from their wrong-ness. I just love them through it and hope my clear rightness is so lovely and clearly right… all will bend to my way of thinking.

Eventually.

Shhhh.

No one burst my bubble.

Aaaanywho.

Now I have a tween.

Blast.

taking the leap

*bubble burst*

This means there are countlesstitudes of issues that currently are and will soon be knocking at the door of my infallible convictions.

Unrelated, I may or may not have issues with control.

The big thing in our household right now is MUSIC –> Teens/tweens and parents and MUSIC.

*commence years of banging head against wall*

The song currently on the table: Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO

I will admit… it’s catchy… has some fun techno funk-ness happenin’. It seems benign…

And apparently *they* play it at the gym at school.

THANK YOU MIDDLE SCHOOL DECIDERS OF WHAT MUSIC MY 12 YEAR OLD LISTENS TO AT SCHOOL.

In my conservative defense, may I just copy/paste some key lyrics?

In the club party rock, lookin’ for your girl? She on my jock
Nonstop when we in the spot, booty movin’ weight like she on the block

Or how about…

Yo, I’m runnin’ through these ho’s like Drano

Or…

Step up fast and be the first girl to make me throw this cash

And/or…

One more shot for us, another round
Please fill up my cup, don’t mess around
We just wanna see you shake it now
Now you wanna be, you’re naked now…

Now… call me a prude, but… I don’t want this stuff feeding the mind of my 12 year old boy.

I. Just. Don’t.

My husband and I had a heart-to-heart … because my son wants the song on his iPod… because they play it at school… and friends at school have it… oh and can he have Eminem on his iPod too?

(Confession: I own a few Eminem songs … you may or may not have seen me sing lipsync a few bars… but he doesn’t get to listen to my music.)

Here’s the deal. We want him to feel like he’s relevant – can be in discussion with his peers… but…

But not if they runnin’ through they ho’s like Drano!

For him to have relevance, does he also have to adopt this life-philosophy? I am being a little dramatic…

But am I?

Why is it OK to play this music at school?

Why are 6th graders having dances?

What’s the benefit?

Are parents really OK with this stuff or are they ignorant… are they not Googling the lyrics?

Should I be googling the lyrics? I never listened to the lyrics…

We (the husband and I) struggle. We were both raised conservatively… and regard the protections we had. At 38, I can now see how I benefitted from not having access to all I really, really, really, really reaaaaaalllly wanted. I hated it then, but am so thankful now.

I truly believe I was spared some significant heartache and perhaps some natural consequence.

I know that I lied and sneaked. But not to to the extreme one might assume. But I lied and sneaked nonetheless.Β My defiance was limited mostly because I always got caught. So… I just stopped bothering.

But the question begs – was I more curious about some things because of restrictions or… without the restrictions would I have gone wild?

What is my son’s personality? What is the best way to help protect his innocence, yet allow him room to choose and not feel deprived… so he won’t feel the need to go wild?

I think no matter what, a “no” will leave any youth feeling deprived. I don’t think it is avoidable.

So. To some extend him feeling misunderstood and utterly bound is unavoidable.

Where do we go from there?

I suppose a focus on the bigger picture…. rebellion will happen along the way. It just will. Our struggle is dealing with each thing in a way that paints a bigger picture for him… so he receives protection from his parents… is allowed to feel like he has power to make some of his own choices… and in the long run raise him (and our girls) to desire to choose the high (or harder) road.

You see, this is not just about this one song… this is just one very important brick in the road we are building with our son. He is not our friend. He is our son… But someday we hope we will have that with our adult son.

We don’t want our rules to make him feel like he doesn’t fit in… Not that fitting-in is the end all be all. It’s just something that we feel should be weighed. We feel our son has great potential for positive impact on his peers and feel our actions as his parents can help or hinder that.

But above all — we don’t want him to fit in with a culture that sees fit the fellasΒ run through ho’s like Drano.

Seriously.

Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you.

1 John 3:13

********

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20 Responses to “In Which I Am THAT Parent: No You Cannot Download That Song.”

  1. Chantelle says:

    Woot Woot!! *applauding* Standing up!! Yeeha!! πŸ™‚ Totally agree with pretty much every word! (guess that means I’m not “stupid”) πŸ˜‰ Love your honesty about such things – the struggle, the importance, the love. Speaking of lyrics, “Have I told you lately that you’re awesome?” πŸ˜‰

  2. BrassyDel says:

    I have no advice, but I can empathize. My kids are still VERY little, so I’m at that early point of listening to the radio at home, and realizing I don’t want my two year old repeating these lyrics. Or hearing them.

    Party Rock is actually one of the songs that is current right now and bugs the heck out of me. It’s catchy, and it’s degrading. I like a lot of hip hop, and even some harder rap, but the degrading nonsense needs to go.

    Though, at 12 years old, it’s hard to limit what he hears. It’s on the radio, so maybe that’s why his school thinks it’s okay to play? Though I disagree. Even 15 years ago when I was in school, as a STUDENT I knew some of the songs they played at pep rallies and such were inappropriate. I think as a parent you have the right to complain, and I’m sure parents of daughters at this school might appreciate another voice – if they even knew the song was being played.

    If you decide to prohibt him OWNING the song, 12 is probably old enough to explain why? That’s an actual question. I know a 14 year old is old enough to start explaining that, but at 12? I just don’t know. Good luck!

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Our PTO has dances as a quick cheap fundraiser for 4-6th grade. The DJ works with school exclusively and plays a reduced and edited playlist. We have frequently reviewed his playlists as well. He does play some songs I don’t care for but they are the “cleaned up” version so other parents don’t have an issue.

    I think it is perfectly acceptable to limit your child’s music. You can’t control what he listens to outside your house, car or iPod but you can speak to the coach about his/her choice of music during gym class.

    Music and lyrics are great teaching tools IMHO. Lots of kids don’t pay attention to the words of the songs. 20 years go my sister did an experiment in her class. She printed out the lyrics to a popular song in a poem format and passed it out in class. The kids were appalled at the violence and language. She then hit play on the tape recorder and proceeded to let the kids know where the “poem” came from. Of course kids today are more exposed to such crap so it may not be such a shock. It can be a starting point of discussion with your son about why you don’t want him to listen to that music though. Garbage in = garbage out. Scripture even says that somewhere, Philippians maybe?

  4. the lazy mom says:

    I hear your heart. these are those tough questions we have to face as parents! Lazy Dad is a pastor so we have even more “pressure” in this area. One thing we stress to our kids is that we choose to be different than “the world.” We really try to draw a line on the sand between us and the world and why we choose to be different. This might be a good starting point for talking with tour son. And definitely the age to start doing so! πŸ™‚

  5. Jessica says:

    Oh, Jenny. This post could not have come at a better time, and I want to THANK YOU SO MUCH for this. You know my background growing up, too. Same conservative family as you. Did we still listen to the radio as kids? Yes. But we didn’t know the half of it. I hated how my parents were, but now, I TOTALLY get it. (In fact, I’m exactly like them. So much that at times, I don’t even like it.)

    Our oldest is almost fourteen, and get this — she and I stayed up late just last night having an in depth conversation about this exact topic: Listening to music. The older the girls get, the harder it is. And… I’m torn. Torn because I don’t want them feeling so alienated (though, let’s be honest here: most of the songs they’re not allowed to listen to are learned at school verbatim, anyway), but also because, more importantly, I don’t understand how society finds these songs okay, acceptable and normal for our kids.

    The song you listed? One of the ones I won’t let her download on her ipod, either. We’re the weird parents at the school (according to them). The verse you quoted is so, so true. Andy tells me it all the time. WE are the abnormal. We don’t let them have radios in their rooms, we approve (with passwords so that we have ALL the control) every single song downloaded on their ipods, and that’s only after literally reading the lyrics and discussing it, first. I just can’t get over what’s played on the radio… and what’s considered “normal” by parents of kids this age to listen to. And here’s the thing…

    The kid is very responsible. She’s had a 4.0 GPA for two straight years, and is trying to go for her third this eighth grade year as well. She even may not play sports because she doesn’t want it to affect her academics. (I don’t say this to brag at all, but to show where she personally, is coming from, in her argument. She feels that she’s proven she deserves this music freedom — because she’s trustworthy and responsible.)

    We have the same issue at school… though they don’t play many of the “bad” songs anymore, I did complain last year because one teacher was playing “California Girls” in the classroom (“we freak…in my Jeep”– REALLY? and I won’t even go there about another song by hers that says “Let’s go all the way tonight” over and over).

    Now, her new argument is that if one of the sites I use for determining if she can watch certain movies (yes, we are those parents who have an almost fourteen year-old and don’t let her watch MANY PG-13 movies… see why she is so frustrated? Most of her fellow 13 year-olds are watching movies rated R!) says that the music IS appropriate for kids say, age 12 and older, who am I to say that she can’t listen to it?

    Uh… I’m the parent. You’re the kid.
    “I’m not a kid. I’m a teenager.”
    You’re only thirteen. You aren’t even in high school.
    “Common Sense Media says it’s appropriate for ten and under.”
    Common Sense Media isn’t your mother.
    “But everyone else can listen to it. I already KNOW the words, Mom.”
    I don’t care if you know the words. You don’t need to be listening to songs that talk about sex all the time. And drinking.
    “I know not to do it.”
    You’re going to be inundated with this constantly… it wears you down. Really. After a while, it seems like the social norm. Believe me, I get it. I was there not too long ago. I’m a young mom!
    “Norm, Mom? Anyone who says *that* is not young.”
    Seriously? I know what I’m talking about. The answer is no.
    “But that won’t happen to ME!”
    But it does! We’re not worried about right now! We’re watching out for your future! We love you! You’re only thirteen! You don’t need to listen to this! Your dad and I think it’s inappropriate! You’ll be listening to all this in a year or so, anyway, when you go into high school!
    “But…” *tears* “I don’t pay attention to the words!”

    It just goes round and round… and ultimately, we have to say that it doesn’t agree with our morals, and we’re doing it because we love her. (Obviously, she hates us saying that to her.)

    And yet, no matter how much her frustration bothers me, I can’t let go and let my daughter listen to song after song about drinking, partying, and having sex. What is SO WRONG with us having morals? What is SO BAD about deciding that young kids shouldn’t listen/watch stuff like this?

    So thank you, Jenny. It took forever to fall asleep last night because I was feeling terrible. This post is just what I needed… assurance that there ARE some other hated (as in 1 John 3:13) people out there.

    HUGS

    Jessica

  6. Jennheffer says:

    Well said!!! I think every song your child wants to download and put on his/her iPod should be reviewed! I think the kids should sit down with the parents and go through those lyrics. As they are discussed, you will likely see the utter embarrassment on the child’s face as he/she realizes its not only completely inappropriate, but flat out wrong.

    Good job Paul & Jenny for screening your boy from this stuff. Sure, he is going to hear it outside your house walls, but you guys are doing a fantastic job of building that foundation in which he can stand strong on. Even though he might not appreciate that foundation right now…..

  7. Sheila says:

    You. Are. Right.

    That song should not be played at any school function.

    It should not be on anyone’s mp3 player of any age.

    Women are jewels and gems, not objects and sex slaves. The media and rock stars would like us to believe the latter, I believe the former. And I will it teach to all children who cross my path. Some adults too, although they get the knock up along side the head approach.

    Anywho…back to you!

    You’re 100% right.

    And your son will thank you when you’re older.

    *Note I am not as prudish as this sounds. There are songs I let my kids listen to that are questionable. Just not THAT questionable. Actually, that song is totally un-questionably not appropriate.

  8. thnx for posting this! we, too struggle with sort of thing ALL.THE.TIME with the girl! she no longer goes to a Christian school. she is in a charter school now so she is no longer sheltered the way she once was from”the world”. it was a huge adjustment for her, but i am glad we did it now, rather than waiting when she was college age then throw her the “to the wolves”… they recently had all the volleyball girls turn their shirts in because they had a saying on them (i got 99 problems , but my game ain’t one of them) that was part of a song that had cussing in it ( i was all in an uproar over it because i thought someone was being over-sensitive) and i threw a fit, until i looked up the lyrics online…i was shocked and appalled when i looked up the lyrics to the song “99 problems”, i don’t know why they were ever even allowed to put the lyrics on the shirt to being with!! anyway, i feel ya and i wanted you to know, you are not alone in your struggles with this…keepin’ ya in my prayers!! {{hugs}} and prayers… πŸ™‚

  9. jennielynn says:

    YES. A million times yes. This is where the parent gig sucks, but you have to do it. It’s a slippery slope and so many parents fail their kids here, because it’s easier to say yes. You and Paul are at the tail end of your influence on your son. Do not give up!

    And as your sometimes partner in the lying and sneaking, I’ll say we don’t have to go to the extreme our parents did. πŸ˜‰

  10. Jennifer Stewart says:

    Jenny – You. Are. Awesome. So far my 12 year old girl doesn’t care too much what’s in her iPod, but my 11 year old son does. For us the obvious factor that comes into play is that we homeschool so he doesn’t have quite the same peer influence. But We parents try to keep current on the music ourselves, and make sure our kids keep adding to their music selections. What’s really cool, is that it seems the friends who are their most valuable friends have just as conservative parents as we are. It sure makes it easier when they are surrounded by great peers – your kids included. Sometimes when a kid feels alone, all it takes is one moment of speaking up to find out that there are many other kids who have the same issue. It gives the kids confidence in their own power, and also may let them band together for good.

  11. Emily w says:

    Awesome Jenny! Love what you wrote! Not looking forward to those tween years, can’t the innocence of my three yr old last forever? Thanks for being so honest! You rock momma, and as an adult he will love you for it!

  12. Dawn says:

    Ah…the joys of parenting…I agree with you. Whether your son likes it or not, you do need to be his filter. After all, there is noone else that cares about your son like you do, and who will do what’s truly in his best interest.

    There are two things that we use with our kids that help in little battles like this: 1) We talk about the fact that we, the parents, are like an umbrella over our kids. It is our job to protect them from the rain that the world might throw at them. As long as they stay under our umbrella, they can rest assured that they are being protected, but if they choose to step out from under our umbrella, they run the risk of facing the consequences and being pelted with hail. We even illustrated this one night. It involved our boys huddled behind an umbrella, us trying to lure them out with some candy, and then throwing socks and small stuffed animals at them if they came out from behind the umbrella. They beg us to do this object lesson over and over.

    2) We use a story that I read in The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. She talks about the time when her Dad took her on a train ride. Corrie asked her father a difficult question about an adult subject, but instead of answering right away, he waited until they were getting off the train. Then, he asked her to carry his heavy traveling case off the train. It was too heavy for her to carry, though she tried. He replied, “Yes…and it would be a pretty poor father who would ask his little girl to carry such a load. It’s the same way, Corrie, with knowledge. Some knowledge is too heavy for children. When you are older and stronger you can bear it. For now you must trust me to carry it for you.” We use his wisdom with our kids all the time and talk to them about why they need to trust us to carry things that are just too heavy for them to carry. In fact, we just had this conversation about a movie recently.

    I don’t think your child’s school should be playing that music. In fact, I think that if the school was really aware of the lyrics, they wouldn’t play it. I taught high school English and we, as a school, had to be very careful about what was played.

    And, I know you don’t want to be the reason that your son doesn’t fit in or is different…I think all parents are concerned about this, but last year, I realized, I don’t think I want my boys to just “fit in”. Instead, I want them to make different choices in regards to things like this and I want to instill them with the confidence to know it is okay to be different and not like everyone else.

    Just my thoughts…but I wanted you to be encouraged…that you aren’t alone in this battle and your thoughts…them are what good parenting is made of!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Ooohhh! I love love love the Corrie Ten Boom story. That is so perfect – some knowledge is too heavy for children. I am writing this down so I can remember to use it later. My son is only 6. The only music he’s concerned with right now is Veggie Tales Sing the ’80s. πŸ™‚

  13. wendy hagen says:

    I feel you sister. And why do all the good beats have the worst (and by worst I mean inappropriate and dumb) lyrics? Yes, I google the lyrics too. And Baby Got Back was my favorite song growing up. And I watched the movie Grease at such a young age. What up?

  14. Michelle W says:

    I actually had to watch it on Youtube cause I never even heard it.
    If it helps at all, I couldn’t understand a word they were saying, but it did have a fun beat. Does he know the words? Does anyone that doesn’t google it? Would he google it?
    Growing up we belted out stuff we didn’t understand…
    Sky rockets in flight, Afternoon delight (OK ew).
    or Another one bites the dust.
    I’m sure there are hundreds.
    Of course, now the language is offensive, too.
    Ugh.
    Whatever your decision, it will be one made out of love for your son.
    So it’s good.

  15. Elizabeth says:

    By the way, here is where our school gets our DJs from for dances. They have a network that provided DJs who only play approved songs from the “Safe Top 30 List”. I’m not sure who or what determines that list but it certainly is something to bring up to the PTA/PTO. http://www.schooldancenetwork.com/

  16. jubilee says:

    I had a very sheltered childhood. No secular music at all except what I heard in snippets at school or a friend’s house. I so appreciate my parents’ dogged determination on this point. I had very little teen angst (compared to my peers, that is) and I believe a big reason for this is that my parents were hyper vigilant about what I watched and listened to and to whom I came in contact with.

    I believe God will honor you for your parental choices in these matters. And, honestly, that is more important than approval from children, yes?
    <>

  17. My daughters are 11 and 12 and I have the same issue.
    They don’t even know Katy Perry exists.
    I was out for coffee with friends who have preteens and all had the same experience last month of having to explain menage a trois after their kids asked about it because of the song Last Friday Night.
    Are they eventually know about all of this adult stuff? Sure, but it doesn’t have to be at the seventh grade dance.

  18. meg duerksen says:

    agreed.
    we are constantly going through the kids’ ipods and deleting.
    they find it from their friends or a certain teen can download off free sites that i don’t even know about and fills our library with crap.
    then her brother comes along and sees it and adds it on.
    it is a battle over here.
    no ho’s.
    no drano.
    it’s not ok.

    btw….i heard G6 yesterday and i thought of you.
    πŸ™‚

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