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parental advise?a REAL question for a change.? Answered

Ive got two young daughters age 8 and 10 and im concerned about there latest attitude regarding pop music and sexy dancing.The 10 year old is very bright (a+ mathematics) the 8 year old is also bright but lazy and very rebellious (bad grades) How can two kids be so different?Soon they will be awful teenages and im concerned as i live in a somewhat wild lawless society with a huge diverse social soup of weird cultural ideas and many truly dangerous narcotic substances on every street corner.How do i keep them away from all this?I see this pop music obsesion is taking there attention away from sensible things.I wish to create a hunger for knowledge into them but feel im loosing the battle against mass media.My instinctive reaction is to restrict there access but i dont feel this will work and i already see rebelion.I am now taking them out hiking and camping regularly to counter act the pop stuff.How do you walk this fine line with young kids?


Find them an interesting thing to do and a company to do it in. If your younger daughter keeps getting bad marks at school, maybe it means she simply doesn't want to learn what they are taught there. Find out what they are really eager to do: Maths puzzles, woodworking, Chemistry, make paper scale models of the Taj Mahal, whatever... Maybe you can teach them and a few other kids (your friends', their classmates) some basic electronics, or your friend can teach them Astronomy and take them on outings until 4 am to observe something, or you can force your wifes' greatuncle to read lectures on Entomology at a local school to a bunch of 8-12 year olds... But whoever it is, he must really like and want to teach them, and always be interested in what they have to say, and finding such a person is not at all easy.

If they have something great to do, then school would automatically transform at least to something they have to wade through with normal marks to leave them more time to do what they want. Their interest may also give them a way to shine in class sometimes, which can make the younger one more interested in what is studied in class now (a paradox, but young children are more interested in what they know, if it does go on and on for hours, of course :)).

It also helps if the company is a bit older than they are. It feels great when you learn from your friends for a change, not from your boring old teacher.

I'm a teenager myself (16 now) and I've been playing Physics with some kids 2 or 3 years older than me since I was about 10. I got something to do, a lot of wonderful friends one of whom is the teacher who showed us things and still does (up to 3 times a week, but at least one for 6 years already).

Another thing is that I prefer blowing bubbles in glicerine with them than smoking and drinking with some dark company that occupates the playground near my house after 9.

Actually, I don't KNOW how to. I can't simply come up to them and ask them politely if I could have some (what do they consume) with them, so even if wanted to, I still can't. Never believe someone telling you that your girls will end up in a gang the moment you let them out alone...

thanks and you just stay away from that dark crowd because as you all ready know that kind of activity is just a waste of time and dangerous and they will regret wasting all that time 10 years from now.

I know, but it's still a bit depressing that all my mum's friends always talk about letting their children out late, and them turning to crime and coming home drunk, etc,etc, so everyone but me can do it, and I can't in principle.
I don't WANT to, but when I think about it sort of feels bad :)

You seem to be in the right track! Give them time, lots of your time. Talk to them, become their friend. Listen to them, even if you feel disturbed or upset after listening to what they said. It is normal for them to test your limits, sometimes you may have to negotiate with them. Sit down with them and listen to their music and watch their suggestive dancing, ask them how will other people perceive them if they dance in a suggestive or erotic manner. Ask them about the music that they listen. Why the lyrics are so explicit? What is the image in the song of all women? Do you agree with the song's description of women or the relationship between two people that love each other?

I dont really think they even know what the songs and lyrics are about,there getting this stuff from there peers at school and they think its COOL.I dont actually believe in restricting info as ignorance of whats around you is exactly that ,ignorant. Rather go ,see and conquer BUT these are my daughters and its harder to apply that policy to them than other people ,so finding the balance between freedom and censorship is what im now thinking about.

As a parent you have the right to set limits. You want to teach your little ones modesty. They are not ready yet to decide for themselves about fashion, piercings, tattoos, lifestyles, etc. without understanding the  consequences.It seems that peer pressure is a problem. Talk to them about it. Teach them to be leaders and not followers and to decide for themselves what they like. Teach them not to allow others to impose their own tastes on them. My son once wanted to walk around showing his underwear. I told him that if I find him walking again or hear that he is doing it I would drop his pants in front of everybody. Problem solved! Tough love! One thing is love and another thing is silly sentimentalism, us parents can not afford the latter so we discipline with love. I don't care if someone calls me old fashion, children need attention from their parents.

Pick your battles which is the best thing my mother ever did with me.  My father picked every battle which is why I pretty much ran away right out of high school.

The goal is to guide, not demand.  They will make the choices that they will, and every choice has a consequence whether good or bad.  "If you do this, this will happen.  If you do that, that will happen."

Mass media is probably not to blame.  The desire to fit in and be "cool" (aka peer pressure) is probably more at fault.  Schools are hotbeds of what you're supposed to like and what you're supposed to be especially at 8 and 10 y/o.

Teenagers are probably a bit easier to deal with because they can understand more.  It's not like they turn into hideous people or anything, and that's probably where a lot of parents fail.  They start treating their teenage children like monster adults.  Teenagers aren't adults.  They're still changing neurologically and with what they can understand.  They still need guidance.

Working together is great.  Doing family activities is awesome.  Definitely continue that.

Stress and worry is always evident and leads to tense relationships.  Try to relax.  It will be ok.

Here in the US, there are parenting classes offered pretty much everywhere free of charge, and these classes are LARGELY about communicating with children and teenagers.  I haven't attended a meeting, but I imagine there's a lot of connecting with fellow parents dealing with similar situations.  If there are some offered in your area, you might want to consider it if only to reduce the stress and fear that you feel.

Best of luck and I hope you can find some calm!

I like your answers and i can see you thought about them for a while.I agree with you that they need to make there own decisions and make there own mistakes and im just gonna keep trying to instill common sense into them so that hopefully they can avoid any fatal mistakes.The last thing i want is a bunch of robot kids.Also something thats just popped into my head is that we have lots of animals whom the kids really adore and the dogs love the kids too.This is a very good thing,Thanks for your excellent input.


7 years ago

Well, if you live in a dangerous area then the first thing I'd do is move away from there. That should be a no-brainer, and something you ought to do regardless of what your kids are like.

You may be able to get away with limiting TV (or getting rid of it completely), but of course there's the Internet to fill in that gap...

Definitely get them involved in life-enriching activities - sports, after school clubs, weekend courses, that sort of thing. They're right on the line in which you can force them into this sort of thing, but it's better to convince them to sign up of their own free will. At least, get them to "trade" participation in one of these activities for something they think they want - extra internet time, music, merchandise.

Best of luck. I'll be in your position in just a few years...

Moving may or may not be an option. Afridave lists his location as Johannesberg.

yip thats right ,i dont live in a dangerous area (suburb) as such just a dangerous ,confused ,rapidly changing country with almost open borders with thousands of refugees crossing on a daily basis.its really a very interesting and dynamic place but a bit scary at times.

Ah, well that's harder. In that case the best you can do is instill a sense of self-assurance and pride in your kids, so they know they don't need drugs to be happy.

I happened to spend four years in a relationship with a single, divorced mom who's daughters were being innocuously cultivated to be barbie/bratz girls by their grandmother and aunt (her mom and sister). I spent a great part of my relationship playing bad cop and getting them at least partially broken of that tendency. It's not a road I'd like to hoe again.

I think NachoMahma hit what I'd say, especially regarding the concept of remembering that as parents one should be a parent first, buddypal second.

My own contribution would be this. Move away from Rome. As far as you can get. With TV and movies and fashion their allies, the pervasiveness of their influence is global now. Limit their television input to positive content, place parental controls on both TV and computer use, and be ever vigilant.

lol, no wonder i hain't got kids. Seems like no modern women I've met like that idea.

kids are great,they allow you to be a kid yourself its just the becoming a teenager bit that is scaring me,i remember when i was a teenager and a teacher or parent saying NO almost surly meant YES.I dont want my girls on that same track. Its much much more dangerous these days.

Yeah kids are great. What I meant wasn't a condemnation of children by any means. I just don't have any of my own.

.  The best thing you can do is spend time with them and teach by example. I see you already are working on the first part - hiking and camping sound great.
.  Talk with them about your concerns.  It doesn't have to be sit-down-and-listen-to-this-boring-lecture stuff, just casual comments here and there.
.  Listen to them without judging. They look at the world differently than you and I.
.  Allow them to make mistakes. That's the best way to learn.
.  Sometimes you will have to be The Parent and force them to do or not do certain thing. Being a Parent is not a popularity contest and your kids are not your friends. If things work out well, they can be your friends when they grow up.
.  Will any of that guarantee that your kids will grow up the way you want them to? Nope, but you can bet that they won't turn out your way if you don't. There are no perfect kids and there are no perfect parents. Do what you can and hope for the best.

YIP we are going out this weekend and last night we packed rucksacks and they were really exited. this is only the second time ive taken them hiking but weve been camping many many times.oI turn it all into a great over hyped event with each having a small first aid kit,water bottles,pocket knife and all the stuff and they are greatly interested in this.Ive got them making survival kits now ,that should keep there minds bussy for a while.one weekend i think ill take them on a survival weekend and then they can eat all there noodles etc.

talking with them is a bit difficult as they sometimes tend to clam up and say nothing.I KNOW IVE GOT TO GET THIS POP CULTURE THING UNDER WRAPS SOMEHOW THOUGH.its dangerous as far as im concerned.

I'm not a parent and I hope it's a while before I get into that role, but as an individual that has grown up in todays society, I have to honestly say that the best thing to do is make your position on these things known in such a way that it doesn't come across as a huge ordeal or embarrassing lecture...and you know what? They'll still disregard a ton of it. Let them make their mistakes... at some point little Johnny/Susie is gonna come home drunk or some such thing, and if the experience alone isn't enough, then talk to him the next morning AFTER the hangover, make your position known again, and hopefully the combination of those experiences results in the kid thinking, "maybe I should stop doing this or at the very least draw a line here." Trust me. As a young adult I've crossed SO MANY lines I cant even fathom the extent of stupidity I've been involved in or the risks I've taken. Bottom line is they're going to make plenty of mistakes, but all you can do as a parent is try to the best of your ability to instill morals and make sure they have the level of intelligence to know when to wake up and change their ways.

All great answers above - for my $0.2 Where you have 2 kids particularly of the same gender the younger one will often seem lazy - Often this is because they grew up with the older child doing things for them - even speech can be slow developing because the older child talks for them.

In addition the parent(s) often treat the younger child as the baby of the family despite their getting well beyond this stage.

As a wide generality you are most influenced by the friends you make - they smoke - you smoke - they drink you drink - they do .. well you get the idea. HOWEVER children as they get older always seem to want to buck against the rules, test the boundaries, find out where the line is and the cross it to see how flexible it is.

As said you need to develop almost superhuman communication skills. To become that friend you wish they actually had so they don;'t need to take up with the lawless, unwashed etc. They need stimulus the more you can give them in a controlled and reasonably safe environment the less likely they are to go out to find excitement by doing things you might think unwise (we all did some of those things but hey we were young)

I agree try to select a better area to live - try to get involved with your kids. Aim for mutual respect rather than control. Control won't work because your not always there.

Try to provide an interesting and stimulating environment (the devil makes work for idle hands) Try to make it fun.

Initially they are going to hate the change because people do but with luck and a lot of effort they will get to see that it works out better and they get better benefits from the change.

Make the life you want to offer more interesting and exciting then the alternatives you don't want them to follow.

This is what children do, you've got "growing up too fast" so treat them more like they are adults. (which they eventually will be)


One thought is to find people that you want your kids to be like and encourage your girls to spend time with them. That can't be forced, but if you get them to latch on to one person it can be a big influence. They don't have to be their age and it's a good idea that they aren't. That makes it an even harder sell unless the good influence person is only slightly older, then it's easier.

A comment by a young adult who was home schooled always sticks out in my mind "Who thought it was a good idea to put 400 16 year olds together?" It points out that teens often turn to each other for opinions but they're asking people that are no more experienced than they are. Getting kids to hang out with people older than them and a good role model is a great way to get them on the right track. You just have to find the right people.

Secondly I would voice your concerns about their choices, not in a judgmental way but in a frank discussion. For example "Girls, I love you and I want you to be happy. It worries me that some of these things like the dancing will lead you into situations that could hurt you. I know you don't want bad things to happen to you, what do you think you'd do if something went wrong and 'insert a specific concern'?" Discussing potential problems can be hard but they give you a way to show that you're not just being a lame grown up and you help them to think about future consequences. It also helps you understand their thinking on specific points.

A total lock down of media is unlikely to work, but slow and measured restrictions may slow down the effects on them. Get them to think about what they are watching and how much they are watching.

See if you can get them to set goals. The 10 year old sounds like she'd be easier than the 8 year old. Ask them "What do you want out of life?" help them shape their mental image of their own future and themselves as people. If they don't want to make a goal, it's likely a sign of stress about their situation in life and it's time to try and figure out why they don't want to project into the future.

Finally, the dancing and the attraction to glamor may be a bid for attention from their peers. They are trying to be accepted. Maybe there is a better way they can get attention from their peers or maybe their peers are the wrong type.

When they get to be teenagers you maybe surprised. They may switch roles.

Expose them to the things you think are good by taking them there.

Tough question, and one which a lot of us will be watching .