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Dissing Hannah?

By Mike Snyder

I've been a volunteer classroom parent at my daughter's school since she started first grade in September. It's only once a month, for an hour-and-a-half. I help with whatever educational art project the class is working on that week. No experience necessary, thankfully, because if I ever decided to be an artist, I'd be certain to starve. Last week, we ripped up and glued cotton balls to represent different types of clouds, making only a minor mess of things.

On the whole, it's fun, allowing me to connect with my daughter in a new way as she grows older and more independent. I also get a good feel for how things go in her class and school.

I usually stay for the half-hour lunch after my "shift" ends. Most of the volunteer parents do. Lunchtime gives me a chance to see her close interaction with her peers, which can be eye-opening.

Last week, as lunch was wrapping up and the kids were lining up for bathroom break and recess, my daughter, who was wearing a Hannah Montana shirt, was approached by a boy in her class. He pointed to her shirt and said he didn't like Hannah but liked another Disney show better. Not in mean way, just stating his preference matter-of-factly. Then, he asked her if she liked Hannah. And she lied like a rug as I stood right next to her: "No, I don't really like Hannah Montana either." (An utter lie! How many times had I been subjected to my daughter's soulful renditions of "The Best of Both Worlds?")

"Then why are you wearing that shirt?" he asked.

"Oh, someone in my family gave it to me as a present," she said. (Okay, true.) "I just wear it to make them feel good." (Not just lying, but quick on her feet about it! And to impress a boy, no less! In first grade! My mind began racing with haunting visions of the tween and teen years to come. Noooooo!)

Despite bearing witness to a loss of innocence (mine?), I stayed out of the exchange. I usually tease or admonish my daughter about such things, depending on the offense, but it felt like I'd be intruding on her turf, so I chuckled to myself and filed it away to retell to her mother.

It's just the tiniest bit disconcerting to have been privy to this conversation. The departure from the truth to gain acceptance is worrisome. And while I passed on an opportunity to impart a lesson in morality -- even Ward Cleaver could raise an eyebrow and let the Beaver go about his business sometimes -- I know there'll be many opportunities to tactfully teach this particular lesson. But this case did not involve a capital offense.

So how about it, classroom volunteers, any fun stories to share about watching your kids -- or other people's -- be "themselves" as they navigate their shifting social environs?

By Mike Snyder |  January 22, 2008; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Child Development
Previous: The Debate: A Preschooler Problem? | Next: As Life Shifts, So Do Friends

Comments


My first question, is what is a 6-7 year old doing wearing a Hannah Montana shirt in the first place? What will she be watching as a teen, Showgirls?

Posted by: Moxiemom | January 22, 2008 7:35 AM | Report abuse

Moxie, can you tell me a little more about what you object to in HM? I'd never even heard of her until the concert came to B'More, but now my 6.5 yr old is starting to get a little interested (must be picking up at school, because she's never watched it at home -- it's on past her usual bedtime), and I'm wondering whether this is something I can let ride or should be trying to actively divert. I caught a few minutes last night, and it seemed appropriate enough (HM going to great lengths to get an autograph for a friend when she messed up the one he already had), but I don't know enough to tell whether that's representative.

On the official topic, I worry a lot about the "go along to get along" thing. My girl is by far the youngest in her class, and has always idolized the older kids, even when she was a baby. Being 6.5 with a crew of 7.5-8 yr olds is tough, but I'm VERY worried about her being the only 12-yr-old in a class full of 13-14 yr olds. I know it took me a LOT longer than 12-13 to figure out that it was more important to be liked for who you are than to do whatever it takes to be popular.

Posted by: laura33 | January 22, 2008 8:27 AM | Report abuse

I really wish you had not told us this story. I can only think that such a thing could embarress her if she finds out.

Posted by: Priscilla | January 22, 2008 8:31 AM | Report abuse

I think it is about time the parent in question stops her "helicopter" tendencies and lets her child experience school without constant parental supervision. Your child will be fine without you ... really.

Posted by: Willis | January 22, 2008 9:03 AM | Report abuse

"her"? The parent of this tale is the girl's father, as is clear from the article.

Posted by: owlice | January 22, 2008 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Geez, this is a rough crowd this morning! As a mom of four (17, 14, and two 9 y.o.'s) we have been through our share of HM-like idols over the years and they are harmless in the long run. My older girls were in love with the Spice Girls during their first run years ago and now couldn't care less about them now they are back. My girls never moved onto "Showgirls" or the like as the years went on!

As for Mr. Snyder, working in his daughter's classroom for 1 1/2 hours per month hardly seems like helicopter parenting to me. As for his story, it's an interesting issue and it's the kind of thing I would probably mention to my kid if I overheard it. I'm not afraid to let my kids know what I think about something like that, but it's a judgment call that could go either way.

Posted by: cherylinseattle | January 22, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

I think all children just want to be accepted; especially by their peers.
Children learn at an early age (2 or 3) what it takes to get a favorable response.

On topic, when I subbed in one of my boys' classes (1st grade), it was eye-opening. I got to the school early and so was loitering in the hallway so I wouldn't interrupt. Imagine my surprise upon hearing the teacher yell at the kids to shut up. We're talking loud, guttural, out of control SHUT UP! I immediately made my presence known and her whole demeanor changed.

Posted by: momof3boys | January 22, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

I was home from work yesterday afternoon and heard all my kids (from 5 to 16) laughing in front of the TV downstairs. Yep it was Hanna Montana, so I joined in for a glimps. I thought the show was hilarious. Good, clean, entertaining and appropriate for all ages. And this opinion comes from a guy that sings along with Barney, laughs at Seseme Street, and who rarely ever watches any TV at all. (except for American Idol, which is another great show good for the whole family.)

Mike, I think peer pressure plays a larger role than parents in shaping the opinions of our children. It goes both ways, but I think peer pressure is more for the good than it is for the bad.

Posted by: DandyLion | January 22, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Two episode descriptions of Hannah Montana follow. I think Hannah Montana is completely appropriate for tweens and teens, I do not think that thematically, it is appropriate for a 6, 7 or 8 year old girl. Hannah Montana is 14, what could she possilby have in common with my 6 year old? I'm not opposed to Hannah per se, I'm just opposed to exposing our girls to the hair/make-up/boy stuff before it is appropriate. They will become obsessed with their appearance soon enough. Then again, I won't purchase Bratz for my daughter either, but I guess that is a whole other discussion.

"Miley & Lilly play matchmaker for a Hannah Montana fan named Becca. The object of Becca's affection is Oliver & the girls manage to get them together. Oliver wishes that they would have stayed out of his love life though, when Lilly and Miley find out something upsetting about his new squeeze. Jackson learns why the chicken crossed the road...To get away from spoiled Rico and his demands!"

"Miley and her friends want to meet Ashton Kutcher at his movie premiere & Jackson & Cooper want to meet the beautiful girls who want to meet Ashton Kutcher. So both Miley & Jackson decide to disobey their father and sneak out. The super-sneaky siblings get a surprising eye full when they spy their dad at the movie theater on a date. Miley becomes upset because he lied to them by saying he would be at a meeting and she thinks he's trying to replace their mother."

Posted by: Moxiemom | January 22, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

When my girls were younger I was working full-time so I didn't get the chance to work in their classrooms. The culture of their elementary school at the time was such that parents were not encouraged to volunteer more than one hour per week.

We moved from the DC area and the elementary school here really uses parent help in a big way. Parents are encouraged to volunteer one morning or afternoon a week and you are used to help out the children academically. Such volunteering allows me to get a window on what my boys are doing in school and how they stand academically. Most weeks I don't get to work with my child, but it's fun if I do. My boys like it when I'm there, even though they sometimes get teased by their friends. If I see something happening that I don't like (like my son not paying attention at math time or whatever) I will bring it up later if I think it is necessary. Overall, volunteering has been a positive experience for me and has allowed me to understand my kids' school on a new level.

Posted by: cherylinseattle | January 22, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

moxie,

I'm still not clear on whether you've ever watched Hanna Montana. Your comments don't seem as though you have. 6 - 7 is spot-on for the maturity level of this show. It has little to no appeal for tweens and teens. It's squeaky clean and focuses almost entirely on being a good friend, being true to yourself and laughing at yourself. The dad's role is not one of those stupid doofus dads. He is strong, a leader and fully in charge and both kids respect his authority. There are no off-color jokes or inferences. The characters are dressed modestly. There's a lot about positively dealing with teachers, siblings and embarrassing situations.

I encourage my daughter's interest in HM, as opposed to High School Musical and other shows with smart-alecky kids and an overdone focus on the opposite sex. The values messages are consistent with our values but don't come across heavy-handed.

Jus' sayin'. It's difficut to have a cogent conversation about any topic unless one has viewed one or more episodes.

Posted by: mn.188 | January 22, 2008 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Moxiemom, you need to get over yourself or at least sit through your child's reading comprehension lesson. There is an obvious moral to each of the HM episode plots you have listed.

Posted by: MH | January 22, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Moxiemom- I think a lot of the shows set in high school have absolutely no appeal for real high schoolers, or even most middle schoolers. They're meant to be exotic for )young kids, as they star exotic (read: older kids, but the content is very mild. True, there are references to liking boys, and the girls are super stylish, but, frankly, that started in elementary school for me and my peers. HM is a nice show.

If you're freaked by HM, I encourage you to listen to Dan Savage's take on "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody" on "This American Life." DAN SAVAGE is sickened by this show. DAN SAVAGE. It's hilarious and a bit scary.
http://thislife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?sched=1176

Posted by: atb | January 22, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

I'm with Moxiemom. I agree with later posters that there appears to be a moral in each of these episodes, and I'll accept the description of modest clothing/appropriate language. But what I want for my child is more than that. I want her to enjoy being an 8 year old. I want to find opportunities for her to get the same positive input you describe about HM from stories about girls her age.
HM is a moot point with us, as we don't get cable, but the larger point is the same. We look for books and videos that feature girls her age, not older girls. Like Moxiemom, I don't buy Bratz. That's a value judgement I make, based on what I think is important. I might be making a mistake or overprotective in not letting my child watch HM, but I am comfortable with that, just as others are comfortable with the decision they have made to let their children watch HM and the like. Is there a reason I am missing that we can't let people agree to disagree on decisions such as these?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

My DD is a teen, so no HM fans here, but I do get the rare treat of hearing all about things from her and her friends when we drive them places. We have the only minivan in her circle, so when six or seven of them want to go somewhere at once, we're often called to drive, and somehow they forget that even though they have separate climate control and windows back there, it's the same vehicle and we can hear everything they say. I have heard dirt on who kissed who, who dissed who, and who isn't allowed to sleep over anymore because she sneaks liquor into the house from home - and none of this would have been shared if I didn't overhear it myself. It's been great. I highly recommend this method of surveillance for your young teens. :-)

Posted by: Rebecca in AR | January 22, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Laura:

My daughter loved being the "babied" one all the time in pre-K, and she was the youngest with a summer birthday. I held her back - she's one of the oldest now, but the baby-act is almost gone and she's a great student who gets attention now for acheivement, not cuteness (she's also very small). She's an 8 year old second-grader and that works well.

Moxiemom:

YEA!! I'm with you! Why encourage young children to focus on dating and boys now? That's what I like about American Girl dolls - which get bashed for being expensive but they encourage reading and learning.

Posted by: Amelia | January 22, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Contrary to popular belief, I am not "freaked out" by HM and indeed I have watched several episodes. My 12 year old neice LOOOOVES it! What I object to is the fact that it seems we are growing up our girls too fast. That apparently 7 is the new 14. Frankly, we don't watch a whole lot of t.v. but both of my kids still enjoy most of the stuff on Boomerang and PBS - Cyberchase is a big hit. There is a time and a place for everything. Why the rush - why would you want your daughter to begin focusing on appearance, teen friend squabbles and dating at age 7? There are many ways to teach the morals MH mentioned w/o Disney teaching your kids.

Posted by: Moxiemom | January 22, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Umm...it's television. It's entertainment. I haven't seen HM, but I do remember watching "The Brady Bunch", and "Charlie's Angels". I seriously doubt HM is any worse than those two shows.

Now, "Family Guy"? At 6 p.m. on the networks? That's nuts. But my kids know I won't permit them to watch it, I'll insist they turn it off, and they may have to endure a lecture.

I have one child who still loves "Thomas the Tank Engine", but would rather be deep-fried than admit it to any of the classmates. That's 4th grade, folks. I still catch the kid making train layouts (kid-powered) at home though. And so do some of the friends.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I am with moxiemom on this one. I do think the Disney shows are mostly clean. I think the worst part of some of them, is that the kids may appear slightly obnoxious. Probably no worse then what they see in real life. The real problem lies in kids idolizing older kids. At what point do they get to enjoy being a kid. I second American Girl dolls. Pretty pricey but they encourage and celebrate being a girl from ages 7-12. The problem lies in every one is in a rush to grow up (including the parents). I don't want my 8 year old daughter thinking about what life is like in middle school or hs dating scene. Let her enjoy being a girl in elementary school. If your kid likes HM at 6 or 7, what do they like as tweens and teens? I also remember watching the brady bunch and wishing there were more stories about the little ones because I could not relate to the older kids much.

Posted by: foamgnome | January 22, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

If your kid likes HM at 6 or 7, what do they like as tweens and teens?

The Simpsons

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Children today are tyrants. They contradict their parents, gobble their food, and tyrannize their teachers.

Socrates
469 BC - 399 BC

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

What I object to is the fact that it seems we are growing up our girls too fast.

Damn that Barbie anyway! See what she did?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

"Damn that Barbie anyway! See what she did?"

Hey at least Barbie has a career although she seems to have trouble sticking to one job. Those Bratz, it seems, only work the pole. Do you have to pay for Bratz with singles only?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

"Damn that Barbie anyway! See what she did?"

"Hey at least Barbie has a career although she seems to have trouble sticking to one job. "

And Barbie never got laid while she was hanging out with her "girlfriend", Ken!

Posted by: Jake | January 22, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Barbie never got pregnant at 16 like the soon to be released Jamie Lynn Bratz doll.

Posted by: Moxiemom | January 22, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Barbie couldn't, ever see an anatomically correct Ken?

Me neither.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

It is normal for little girls to be interested in teenage and grown-up goings-on. All the traditional Disney animated films portrayed 16 year-old princesses (why didn't anyone complain that they were too young to be getting married to their princes?). Better for them to see the clean disney channel stuff than a lot of other options. When I was little we all watched, loved, and sang along to Grease -- fun movie but talk about inappropriate for little kids! Hannah seems okay for kids, just keep them away from reality TV.

Posted by: Child of the 80s | January 22, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Hannah seems okay for kids, just keep them away from reality TV.

And Family Guy!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

"Is there a reason I am missing that we can't let people agree to disagree on decisions such as these?"

I agree with this. I suspect each family has it's own different set of values and concerns -- language, sex, violence, commercialization, blasphemy, etc. etc. etc. My parents' hot-button issues were violence, commercialization, and the tittilation version of sex. I almost never saw the big shoot-em-up blockbusters, and there's no way my mom would have let me go to a Porky's-type T-and-A movie. But they happily took me to the Blues Brothers, even though I was only 14 when it came out -- language wasn't a big deal for them, and the violence was cartoon-type violence. And it's still one of the best movies I've ever seen. :-)

Posted by: Laura | January 22, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

I hope mom had a friendly conversation with her daughter to tell the daughter about the down side of prevaricating; i.e., getting caught in a lie or developing a reputation for lying.

Posted by: Edwin Bennett, MN | January 22, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

You mean Dad, right? Because it's Dad who went to the school and wrote the article.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

"I hope mom had a friendly conversation with her daughter to tell the daughter about the down side of prevaricating; i.e., getting caught in a lie or developing a reputation for lying."

The kid is a pretty slick liar for a first grader.

"And she lied like a rug as I stood right next to her: "No, I don't really like Hannah Montana "

Yup, lied more than once right in front of the parent. And parent does nothing!!! Way to go!!!

Posted by: Jake | January 22, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

re: Yup, lied more than once right in front of the parent. And parent does nothing!!! Way to go!!!
Posted by: Jake

That was not the appropriate time to do anything; especially not in front of her peers. When the lie is "harmless" there's not point in embarrassing the child. Later that day would be the time to address it.

Posted by: momof3boys | January 22, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

"Yup, lied more than once right in front of the parent. And parent does nothing!!! Way to go!!!"

I can see where you'd want the parent to jump in right then and correct the lie, BUT - it would be pointless. She'd see that Dad humiliated her in front of a classmate, and miss the lesson entirely. Did your parents never *really* embarrass you? Mine used to correct me in front of my friends all the time and it was awful. I would much rather wait and tactfully discuss it later.

And by the way, adults tell social lies all the time. Some for the common good, some for personal gain or avoidance of embarrassment. Can't blame a kid for learning what she sees in the world around her.

Posted by: AL Mom | January 22, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Foam - re: American Girl dolls. Target and AC Moore craft stores have dolls similar to the American Girl dolls. YOu can buy the knock off doll and the AG book. My daughter got her AG doll as a gift. We pick up extra outfits for her at the above mentioned stores for $10 ea. Which reminds me. I've got to find out when Little House on the Prairie is on!

I also think there is a fundamental difference between what we watched and what is available to our kids. At 12 I watched Charlie's Angels - 12 yr. olds today are watching Gossip Girl. BIG, BIG difference. I think it is important to think about what they will "graduate" to after HM if they are watching it at 6 or 7?

Posted by: Moxiemom | January 22, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

"Why the rush - why would you want your daughter to begin focusing on appearance, teen friend squabbles and dating at age 7? "

That's not what HM or my daughter are focused on. Again, have you seen the show? The friend squabbles and resolutions are the same as the one my daughter deals with in first grade, e.g., whether or not someone is speaking to you today, how to deal with friend triangles and friends who treat her differently one on one than they do when a third person is involved, telling your parents the truth, getting along with siblings. There's no dating on Hanna, even if someone might -- on occasion -- "like" someone. Again, it's not High School Musical or the dreadful Suite Life of Zach and Cody. What I want my daughter focused on is being a good friend and learning to resolve conflicts between friends. She learns those skills from us, from books, from watching tweens she knows display those skills. American Girl is out of our price range and she is bored by them anyway. She does, however, read a great many books about -- God forbid -- teenage girls who love horses and dogs. So what if the characters are 8, 11, or 13? If they are polite, respect adults, are focused on hobbies and friendships and have the same struggles our kids have?

This isn't about Bratz dolls. It's not about someone else raising our teaching our kids. It's about paying attention to the details of things are kids are interested in and making the call based on our own observation and values - not based on the fact that someone else yells "dating" and "Bratz dolls" whenever a show, book or toy arises in conversation.

Posted by: MN | January 22, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

"No, I don't really like Hannah Montana "

This is what is known as a sudden shift in preference or opinion and is perfectly acceptable for all ages. People have the right to change their mind at any point in time, especially kids. To characterize it as something wrong or immoral is an exageration and It's moronic to think that it deserves any kind of corrective action.

Yes, Jake, I'm talking to you!

Posted by: DandyLion | January 22, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

I agree with a lot of posters that say our children are growing up too fast. It's not just a girl thing either. I believe it all begins at home and parents have to be oh-so-vigilant in what they allow into their homes: music, television, internet, magazines, even some friends. It's not always fun (especially if "all the other kids are doing it") but it pays dividends in the long run. You are your child's advocate. If you don't look our for his well-being, nobody else is going to.

Posted by: momof3boys | January 22, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

"I think it is important to think about what they will "graduate" to after HM if they are watching
it at 6 or 7?"

Masterpiece Theater!

Posted by: DandyLion | January 22, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

moxiemom: Thanks about the AG tip. My daughter received two of these dolls from relatives. She likes them but is really too young for them right now. So they sit on her shelf until she asks to see them. But they don't have a lot of clothes because they are so pricey. But my mother made a few outfits. I will check out those stores. I don't think my daughter will always like the home made period dresses that my mother made. I would like to get her some more modern clothes for her dolls. But at $25 an outfit. Ouch. I will go see what the other stores have in stock.

Posted by: foamgnome | January 22, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

MN: I think a big part of the objection is that so many of these shows focus on teenage romance. Something that really isn't realized in 8 year olds. Or at least it shouldn't be. BTW, moximemom mentioned a store for a knock off AG doll. I agree with you they are quite pricey. If my daughter did not get them as gifts, we probably would have only bought one for her. And I imagine dolls are not every girls cup of tea. But whatever happened to books about 8 year olds. There must be other books out there. I used to like the Beverly Cleary series but I imagine they are pretty dated for todays girls.

Posted by: foamgnome | January 22, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Go DandyLion. :-)

Moxie, I agree with you to an extent, but I think I have a very different recollection of those shows from the 70s and 80s. I remember watching Charlie's Angels (or, say, Battle of the Network Stars) as a kid, and not quite believing that you could build a whole show around braless, bouncing bimbos in tight/low-cut shirts. Yes, objectively, they've got nothing on some of the stuff we see nowadays (at least they weren't all anorexics with giganto implants, right?). But compared to what else was on TV at the time, it was pretty shocking.

I do agree that we need to pay attention to what our kids watch and who they idolize (precisely why I will NEVER allow any Bratz in my house). I just think it's easy to forget how shocking and "dangerous" the things WE liked seemed back then, when it all seems pretty innocent in retrospect (naked baby on "All in the Family"; first gay character in "Soap"; single parenthood in "One Day at a Time"; love and death up close and personal in "M*A*S*H"; etc. etc. etc.).

My concerns for my daughter are pretty similar to the ones my mom had for me -- primarily, that I don't want her to buy into the "girls as sex objects" line. Which is pretty much the same battle my mom faced with Charlie's Angels. Plus ca change. . . .

Posted by: Laura | January 22, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget that the first network usage of the word "incest" was on Quincy Jones, M.D.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 22, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

These comments are ridiculous. Somehow we're now debating Hannah Montana.The fact that you parents couldn't parse out of this story the issue of peer pressure, and whether to take advantage of a teachable moment at the risk of admitting spying, is something! You guys are dense!

To comment on the experience of this parent, and not hannah montana, let me ask: " Do you want your child to grow up being comfortable with who they are and what they like, or do you want them to learn to feel ashamed of something and to deny if everyone else likes something else ?"


Of course you want the former. Why not discuss the situation w/ your daughter in private? You were spying on your kid, and you saw something that you may never have the priviledge of seeing again: your child responding to peer pressure. It would be inappropriate to chide her for what she said, but I think it would be entirely appropriate to have a conversation with her in private about WHY she said what she said. Did she feel uncomfortable admitting to liking something when the other person didn't like it? Was she trying to impress the boy? This all is harmless enough, but your daughter, at age 6, could understand gentle reminders from a loving parent that it is Ok to be proud of something that one likes, and there is no need to lie about it. She may nor may not feel comfortable responding differently the next time around, but at least she got an affirming message about being herself.

Posted by: ars | January 22, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

I just wanted to second the AG doll recommendation for girls, they have always been pricey but I really wanted Molly when I was a kid but my mom didn't believe in spending almost 100 dollars on a toy that she didn't know I'd even play with so she made me save all my allowence to buy it. It probably took me about a year to save the money but I really appricated her more than the Felcity doll I got a few years later for a gift.

My mom even let me call to order the doll (she was on the phone to give the credit card information and make sure I did it right).

As for affordable outfits, a lot of mine came from craft shows. Even though I'm way beyond doll age I still have both of them and have a good lesson to share with my kids

Posted by: americangirl | January 22, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

I should go on the record to say that HM is not my first choice of TV shows for my daughter to watch, but I've checked it out and I regard it as a harmless diversion. I allow her to watch a couple of times a week AFTER homework is finished. (Bratz is NOT allowed, however.) And, in general, I regard harmless diversions as healthy, in moderation. That said, I certainly respect other parents making their own judgments and rules.

I don't want my daughter to grow up too fast, either. I wish times were simpler. But my wife and I make sure that our kids know the difference between right and wrong, which brings me to my reaction that day: Should I have had a talk with my daughter that night about what I witnessed? Since it bothered me, the answer must be Yes.

Thanks for the comments, even the ones disagreeing with my choices.

Posted by: Mike | January 22, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

American girl - it's the books I like so much and they are FREE at the library - and not that expensive to buy.

Also - here's a tip: as my older daughter got to be over age 10, she didn't want the large $100 A.G. dolls so much as she wanted the "mini" dolls - these are the EXACT same dolls (Felicity, Molly, etc.) but only about 8 inches tall. They come with only one outfit, but the outfits can be changed around and the BEST part is they are only about $20 each.

My daughter played with them in her various dollhouses of different sizes. She seemed to enjoy the $20 mini much more than the $100 doll that was 18 inches tall!

Posted by: Amelia | January 22, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

I agree with ars at 3:07. what is with the commenters on this blog? why so judgmental??? the poster didn't ask your opinion on the virtues or age-appropriateness of hannah montana! get over yourselves, stop judging other parents (why do some people take such delight in that?) and just answer the question posed to you.

Posted by: sophie's Mom | January 22, 2008 6:36 PM | Report abuse

I've never seen Hannah Montana, so I'm not going to weigh in on whether it's appropriate for young kids to watch.

Part of me thinks that Mike probably did exactly the right thing in not having a discussion with his daughter about the lie. He knows her much better than we do!

But the other part of me agrees with what "ars" said above at 3:07. This situation may have been a perfect opportunity for Mike to let his daughter know (after school, of course) that she doesn't have to hide who she is to gain the admiration of her peers. In fact, having the guts to profess one's own opinion, even if it isn't a popular one, is a wonderful trait that most people find very attractive. More importantly, having the courage to be yourself at a young age could build self-esteem, which helps a child to withstand more serious peer pressure later on as a teenager.

Anyways, Mike's actual question was whether we've had any similar occurrences with our own kids. My 4-yr old son is in preschool, so I haven't witnessed a lot of complex dialog going on among the kids in his class yet. He has absolutely no shame about pretending to be a little puppy every day, barking at his friends and such. I love that. Kids are still pretty innocent at this age.

Posted by: Linda | January 22, 2008 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Hannah Montana has created a stir - because the Disney program is corny in the Ozzie and Harriot kind of way.
Ohg
http://thefiresidepost.com/2007/11/29/hannah-montana-miley-cyrus/

Posted by: Ohg Rea Tone | January 22, 2008 8:48 PM | Report abuse

I, too, do not think that Dad should have corrected or questioned his daughter in front of her classmate. I'm glad he stayed out of it. I'm inclined to believe it was just one amusing incident that Dad can laugh about and retell, as he has done in this blog. The only word of caution is this: You might want to watch your daughter to make sure that she is not a "people pleaser" -- someone who reinvents herself and fabricates just so that other kids will like her. I'm a teacher, and I've seen a few kids fall into this trap over the years. You want your daughter to be confident and assertive, someone who stands up for herself and stands behind her opinions. But I don't know your daughter, so please do not think I'm making assumptions. Just a word of caution. And I have no problem with Hannah Montana. My 6-year-old loves it, and she's not begging me to wear makeup or talking about boys. She's not obsessed with clothes or anything of that nature. She likes to laugh, smile, learn new things, enjoy life, be with her friends, play outside, make artsy stuff, and read. She's not perfect; she's just a kid. She'll be fine, with or without Hannah Montana.

Posted by: Lisa | January 22, 2008 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Growing up, I was a people pleaser who lied to, hopefully, get approval. If someone liked Barbie, I liked Barbie. If the next person hated Barbie, I hated Barbie. I said that I had things I didn't have. I lived in terror of being caught in a lie by my peers or my parents. With peers, it was always confrontational--"You're a liar"... And, it was alot of work to try to keep my lies straight.

I always hoped that my lies would make people like me. But I found that people like people who are genuine. I've found that it is alot easier to be honest than to lie awake at night trying to figure my way out of a lie.

I am trying to think of what would have worked to help me, because the lying was the outward part of the problem and the fear of being ridiculed or shunned was the underlying problem. Maybe relating an incident in which the parent felt the same way would help? There might be some children's books in which the characters face peer pressure, feelings of inadequacy, etc.


Posted by: Mary | January 23, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

If your daughter is watching Hannah Montana, you shouldn't be surprised how she interacted with the young boy.

Posted by: wallpass | January 28, 2008 9:15 AM | Report abuse

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