October 19, 2010

Sponge Bob and Madonna

When I was growing up, my parents didn't care what "everyone else" was watching. They made decisions about what I could watch (movies and TV) and made it clear that there were reasons behind those decisions. For instance, I remember in either fifth or sixth grade, a classmate had a slumber party. Excitement built as she informed us that we would be watching Desperately Seeking Susan. Then my world shattered when my mom told me I couldn't watch the movie. (Hey, I was in elementary school. It seemed like a devastating thing at the time). She called the host's mom and after a long discussion, the mom agreed to switch movies. I think we ended up watching Hairspray (the original version). I remember my mom explaining to me that Desperately Seeking Susan just wasn't appropriate for elementary school kids and, quite frankly, there wasn't really room for me to argue. Every now and then the movie is on cable. I still have not been able to bring myself to watch it. Here I am my 30's and I'm afraid I might get grounded for watching it!
Now it's my turn to police what my children watch. I don't want you to think we're glued to the TV. We're not. We do get out. We spend time at parks. We go to the library. There are days the TV is never on. But there are days it is on... and that's where it becomes my job to figure out what they can and cannot watch. My biggest "no" is Sponge Bob Square Pants. I will be honest here. I have never sat through an episode of this show. It appears to be ridiculous and that's enough for me. Plus, I'm just not keen on a character whose butt crack is always showing. My girls know they're not allowed to watch it and will even tell me if it's coming on next. At a birthday party a few months ago they were concerned they wouldn't be allowed to have cake because it was a Sponge Bob cake. I explained to them that while I think it's a silly show, they can certainly enjoy a Sponge Bob party... and I've even told them if they watch an episode here and there I'm not going to be upset. (For all you Sponge Bob lovers who are getting ready to leave me comments about why he's so great, just consider this... do your kids watch Yo Gabba Gabba? I can't tell you the number of parents I've met who think YGG is creepy but looooove the sponge who lives under the sea).
A week ago, grandma brought over the movie Matilda. As politely as possible, I explained to her that my girls aren't ready for this movie... and it's not just because I can't stand Mara Wilson. (Seriously, child actors who try to be to cutesy by lisping in movies, such as her role in Mrs. Doubtfire, are near the top of my list of pet peeves.) While I haven't seen the entire movie, I've seen bits and pieces of it, and it just seemed too dark for five-year-olds. I know what frightens my girls and I think this movie would disturb them.
Eventually, I won't have as much control over what they watch. They'll go to friend's houses and do as they please. But who knows... when they're adults they may see an episode of Sponge Bob on TV and, like my Desperately Seeking Susan moments, remember that Mommy said "no."

12 comments:

MaryAnne said...

I don't like Sponge Bob either, although I've never watched it for longer than a few seconds. We use our computer as our TV and record everything (through windows media), so my kids don't even know what live TV is. But sponge bob is the only toothbrush choice at the dentist...

Mrs. Werginz said...

I could not watch "Married with Children" or "The Simpsons". I am sure there were more but those are ones I remember and I have no deisre to watch them today. Good for you about no spongebob...my sister doesn't let her boys watch it. It says shut-up and stupid and just things she doesnt want her 5 and 2.5 year old hearing or repeating!!

Kim said...

When I was in 7th grade, I begged my mom to let me see "Carrie," but she said "no way." I thought she was so mean and strict. After all, I was 12 years old and very mature for my age, I mean, REALLY, MOTHER! Much later, in college, I watched the movie . . . then thanked the good Lord for my mother's protection over me!

Sarah said...

We mostly stick to Disney and the Wiggles in my house. When the kids go to my mom's, my 4 year old ends up watching Sponge Bob, and even Hannah Montana (thanks to my 5 year old niece). Neither my parents, nor my sister, respect my thoughts on what I want my children to watch.

Quadmama said...

Thank goodness I have girls... at our dentist they offer Disney princess tooth brushes. As for "The Simpsons," my girls are convinced that since it's a cartoon they can watch it (they can't). I actually let them watch a Hannah Montana movie and it wasn't too bad overall. It had a decent message and no kissing!

MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) said...

I remember several occasions from my adolescence when I was not allowed to go places or do certain things my friends were doing. It seemed so cruel to me at the time, but I'm sure I'll be the same way when the time comes. :)

At 21 months, our girls don't watch any TV yet, although I'll likely introduce it at some point in the next couple of years. I laughed yesterday when Baby B pointed to a stereo and said, "TV!" Poor, deprived kid. HA!

Quadmama said...

It was nice when we didn't have cable. Not only are PBS shows fairly educational, there isn't 24 hour children's programming.

ControBee said...

I know what you mean! I saw your post and thought about wanting to watch the titanic in elementary school and my mom sent me out the room. I was so upset, but deep down I knew it was too much for me! Sadly, I think that children now a days are not screened much and are "grown" because of no parental advising. I don't blame television shows I blame the parenting. So applauds to you for paying attention!

Quadmama said...

I think with some shows and movies it becomes hard to know what's appropriate. I've seen lots of young kids at the Harry Potter, Twilight and various superhero movies. Just because it's Batman doesn't mean it's for kids (especially the most recent movie).

Losing My Lap said...

Loved this post. I could totally relate. I closed my eyes during a slumber party where the hostess put on Top Gun and I knew I was not allowed to watch it! I also wasn't allowed to watch Dirty Dancing and it was a BIG point of contention with my Mom. So much so, that I was till whining about it when I left for college. When I turned 21, she got it for me as a birthday present. :) (So funny...my skin crawls when that kid talks in Mrs. Doubtfire. LOL!)

Brooke said...

I think you're making the right choice with Sponge Bob. I let my kids rent it from the library once and they learned the word "stupid" - I was not pleased.

Quadmama said...

The more I hear about Sponge Bob, the more I'm glad we avoid it!

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