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Should my daughter be allowed to watch The Bachelor?

Question

I’ve seen several episodes of “The Bachelor” with my preteen daughter. I don’t like the amount of physical affection, implied sexuality, and the notion of multiple dating partners. Would it be wrong to stop my daughter from watching it since so many of her peers talk about this program?

Answer

Your decisions as a parent should be guided by what you feel is right not by what is popular. If you feel that this show represents offensive values then it’s fine to prohibit your daughter from watching it after you explain your reasons to your child.

Please recognize that your daughter’s values are more affected by what she experiences in your family rather than what she views on television. You might consider watching the program with your daughter as an opportunity to engage her in a discussion of things that are of concern to preteen girls around issues of dating, physical affection, and being in love. Discuss how “The Bachelor” tells one women on the show that “you’re special” and then repeats the same thing to his next date later in the program. Rather than the show being a negative experience, the program may be an opportunity to open up a positive dialogue with your child.

Question

My 7-year-old is obsessed with cheerleading, and wants to try out for a team next year. I find it extremely offensive and would much rather that she participate in a sport rather than cheer others on. Am I wrong?

Answer

Parents shouldn’t be reluctant to take a strong stand and defend values they feel are important. However, I do question your view of cheerleading. It’s an activity that encourages kids to get lots of exercise, involves them in social interactions, and teaches them self-discipline in performing various routines. These are all critical skills that will help girls in so many aspects of their development. I’m not sure this is the type of behavior you would want to discourage with your daughter.

Question

Is lying normal? My 8-year-old seems to lie frequently to get out of trouble, but so many parents tell me they have the same problems with their children.

Answer

Children lie for many of the same reasons as do adults. They may want to get out of trouble or exaggerate a situation to make themselves look good. However, there’s a difference between a behavior being “normal” and “common.” The fact that it occurs among all kids doesn’t make it “normal.” Lying is one of those key character traits that is harmful to a child’s development, as it seriously inhibits people’s trust in your child. For that reason, I’ve suggested that parents take a strong stand on this issue. Punish lying when it occurs, and explain to children that it violates the foundation of trust that is essential between them and others.

Comments

  1. Reply
    Kate February 28, 2012

    I really appreciate you answer to the question about cheerleading. Often cheerleaders get a bad rap, but it can be an activity that builds character, leadership, strength, and social skills. As someone who uses cheerleading in these ways, I am glad to see that other people can appreciate what cheerleaders do. Thanks!

  2. Reply
    Dr. Ramey February 28, 2012

    Thanks so much for your note. I think we need to encourage our girls to participate in any activity that promotes the type of traits you describe, even if the activity wasn’t the personal preference of a parent.
     

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