Monday, January 23, 2012

reading and not-so-nice words

There is a second-hand children's clothing store in Federal Way, Wa that I always go to for my kids clothes.  It's not too close to me, but whenever I run to our storage locker I always hit the place up for anything glorious (as seen here).  This time meant a glorious buy 2 get 1 free coupon when you sign up for their email list. Sadly Brianna has now officially outgrown the consignment store sizes...but I can still find Kai things and there are always books and toys and baby stuff that I can't wait to get my hands on again.  When I started going there 6 years ago we found Brianna a princess crown and wand and so it has forever been named the "crown store" in our household.  

Going to the "crown store" is always a treat.

While browsing through some books Brianna picked a certain one up-- The Princess Diaries.  I told her I thought the writing was a few grade levels ahead of her since it was quite novel-like, but she insisted and who am I to hinder a mature reading ability?  We saw the movie so I knew it was cute and left it at that and she began reading it right away.

Today she came to me and said.."uhmm....this might not be a good book for me to read, Mom."  I asked why and she showed me a sentence that said the "a" wordI thought about it a second and made the decision that it was okay for her to continue reading it after our candid conversation since she knew the word was inappropriate to even bring it up to me.

Then she came back a few minutes later and said, "Mom...I really don't think I should be reading this."  I read another sentence thinking it would be along the same line when I was surprised by a wierd word.

So ya... we're going to hold off on that particular book--but I have to ask what age is it even appropriate at all?  It looked like 6 grade+ reading and although I understood the context of how and why each word was said, I still don't want my kid reading words like that.

I am realistic.  I think, unfortunately, kids are exposed to not-so-nice words and phrases because this is the world that we live in.  I try to  teach my kids what words are not nice and inappropriate and send them off into the world hoping that not only will they not say them but try to ignore them when they are heard.  So when reading-- it is sometimes tough to decipher whether you should ignore certain words in moderation or completely eliminate the option of them being read. I recognize that in retrospect those words are not the worst--although in this context they were meant as a negative statement which makes them such. 

I am really curious what other parents do? At what age would you let her read that book, if at all? And when she IS older, is there a point when you need to trust your child's judgement without being overprotective?

In our home we are pretty open on the right or wrong scenario.  Maybe this is not the ideal technique, but when Brianna comes to me with questions regarding something that might be deemed a "gray" area-- like attending a birthday party on Sunday which is a religious day for us...I just ask her whether or not she thinks it's right or wrong based on what we have taught her and to figure it out and come back to me and we'll discuss.  She's a smart girl and she KNOWS.  And she always comes back with a good "right" answer.

So I wonder, is literature the same? What's your opinion?

PS. I am really liking THIS helpful site for ratings/reviews on media.  


Pittman Four said...

That has always been a struggle with my daughters. kat--who is in 9th grade now--absorbs books in minutes and it's hard to keep up. By the time she was in middle school, while I always googled the book and asked for the parent reviews. I relaxed. But, one thing that has bothered me about youth books is that Harlequin has a teen line of books that don't really look like theirs. They are not like the adult versions but they are a lot heavier than other books. But, as a mother of teens now, I'm still cautious about what they read, sad news is there is a lot of trash out there that is clouded in a pretty cover that looks great. I'm not so concerned about the not-so-nice words now because they overlook them, I worry so much more about the content and what the characters are doing. So fun being a mom these days. Long gone are the days of wonderful books like Jane Eyre... Which she reads all of those too---It is a must!!!!! Good Luck... It's a journey!!!

Garden of Egan said...

Reading this makes me so glad I don't have teenagers. They are exposed to so much stuff in music, TV and books. They need to have the strength to NOT give those people a voice.

I have no idea. I taught and prayed and hoped as I was raising my kids and then hung on for the wild ride.

heather said...

I think she's already learned what she needs to: If she's uncomfortable with the content, it's time to put it down.

It does get difficult as they get older and their reading levels call for books with content that is too mature for their age. I have one friend whose 7th grade daughter wanted to read Jody Piccolti(sp?)'s My Sister's Keeper -since it was a popular movie at that point -so she read it first and took a sharpie to words and paragraphs, and in some places she even stapled pages together... all to clean it up to a 'PG' level. Her daughter was perfectly happy with the arrangement because she didn't want to read the bad stuff either. I thought that was a pretty smart solution.

Cody and Danica said...

I only have a two year old and 4 month old so I can't tell you what I would do but my sister in law has a 13 year old and loves to read but my sil reads all the books first and tells her whether or not itsok to read. I remember my mom used to sharpie books but I was so young and naive. I would ask her what happened to the book and she said misprint...haha talk about avoiding but she is an awesom e mom. Good luck. Your daughter knows what is right and wrong. You have to trust her I guess.

Bridget said...

I've edited a few books before...once as a public service to the library's book. Ha ha. But usually, if language starts in the first couple of chapters, I'll just put the book down. This response is directly related to a book I read when I was 19. It had a lot of f-bombs. I knew that when I told a friend to f-off that the language affected me. I was shocked to hear it come out of my otherwise clean mouth.

Some books are fine on language though and the content is bad. When I was 12, I was reading a book with an unfamiliar phrase in it. I asked my mom, "what is oral sex?" She asked me what I was reading and then answered my question. Because my mother always answered my questions, I kept coming to her with more questions as I grew older. I believe that is important.

With my children (oldest is 8), I plan on letting them read most anything that is age appropriate. Because I love to read, I would like to read what they are reading and be able to discuss the stories and issues. I used to do that with my mom. It was through the discussions that I was able to decide for myself what I should and should not read.

You've definitely done something right if Brianna is making up her mind to not read something that she knows she shouldn't.

Anonymous said...

I’ve gotten to the point where I won’t even read a book at all if it has a cuss word, inappropriate scene or violence in it and I’ve made the same standard for my kids. Will they hear it, see it, or experience it at school or elsewhere? Perhaps, but why expose them to it, or allow it, if deep down you’re not ok with it. That’s my two cents...not that you cared...but I love reading your blog, so I thought I’d share anyway =)


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