Hubby and I have a tradition in our home, something that we've
enjoyed doing since our child was a toddler. My husband,
especially, loves it so much that he even does it in the car to and
from work. But now that our daughter is getting a bit older, I'm
trying to decide if this tradition of ours is actually helping or
harming her. What is it, you ask? Well, let me tell you: hubby, the
little one, and I love listening to cheesy dance music.
At first, it was great. We'd crank up our pre-set iTunes list,
twirl around the apartment, and lose ourselves inside the music's
syncopated rhythms. Most Saturdays, our house looked like a
family-friendly version of Flashdance, with bodies flailing. After
a long week, those 20 minutes of shaking our booties were the
perfect way to relax and reconnect. I'd add in weights for a little
strength training, and we'd cheer each other on after a
particularly daring or silly new move was attempted.
Inevitably, while listening to these songs, I started to learn
their lyrics, and what I heard was not exactly music to my ears.
Wow, talk about sex. Literally. Is it me, or do all songs these
days seem to talk about nothing but sex? Well, OK, I'm
exaggerating. It's more like 80 percent. The other 20 percent seems
to be about stealing, getting drunk, or doing something that is
considered at least a misdemeanor in most of the United States of
Now I don't mean to sound prude. I've got a wild side. But, as a
mom with a 5-year-old, I don't know how comfortable I am having my
daughter listen to songs with lines such as "Cheers to the frickin'
weekend," "I'm sexy and I know it," "They got their guns out aiming
at me," or "Watch me move, when I lose, when I lose it hard."
Some of you reading this probably think I'm overreacting. Songs
about sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll have been around forever. And I
agree, to a certain extent; I remember hearing songs with sexual
over- and undertones when I was a kid. George Michael's "I Want
Your Sex" was a very befuddling example, which I used to croon,
along with my parents, during long car rides to visit my very
traditional Eastern European grandparents in the Bronx.
But as a parent, I'm torn. My daughter doesn't yet know what sex
is. (She almost accidently discovered it, though, while getting a
drink of water late in the night on New Year's Eve, but we quickly
threw on the PJ's and deftly - perhaps also mistakenly - made up a
whole story about the "Grown Up Dance Party." We are so headed to
family therapy.) So does it matter that she's singing or listening
to songs about sex?
And, following that, could racy music actually be a starting
point for thoughtful discussions about tricky topics like sex, or
is it better to just stick with stories about the birds and the
bees? I have my ideas. What are yours?
Wendy Widom, Partner, Families in the Loop
Wendy Widom is CEO of Familes in the Loop (FITL), Chicago's hippest hub for parents and kids.
See more of Wendy 's stories here.
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