Thursday, November 5, 2009

Parent/Child Disconnect

Judy Blume was recently honored by the National Coalition Against Censorship for the twenty-something years Blume has been fighting against not only the censorship of her books, but the censorship of others. One of the moments of the night was when various people stood up and read letters from irate parents shaming Blume for what she wrote, and then thankful letters from children, thanking her for what she wrote.

Now, that really caught me off guard. Sure, I'd heard it before. Ellen Hopkins has talked a lot about it. It's the adults she's banned by and the kids she's thanked by. But for whatever reason, this article really made it clear that parents just don't talk to their children anymore. Why? Do they not want to hear what they have to say? Do they not care? Would they rather someone else handle all of the awkwardness of adolescence and growing up?

Why do parents want to rip books like Blume's right out of their children's hands while those same children are forever thankful for those same books?

People, this is how we start out on the path of Parent Fail. You know, parents aren't supposed to "get" teenagers and teenagers aren't supposed to "get" parents but shouldn't you know what's going on in your child's life? If they're finding solace and answers and help in books, are they doing it because they're filling a void they're not otherwise getting? Why does that void even exist? Why don't you sit down with your kid and talk with them and tell them really, they're ok, you're there to help?

But parents don't anymore. They rely on someone, or something, else to do it. Parents don't raise their children anymore. Schools do. TV does. The computer does. But what a shock it is when the parents come to find out they know nothing about their own children and are affronted by what they find out. Such a double standard, I know.

Why talk to your child when you can just ignore them and bar them from finding information out? Why allow them to read and explore when you can readily deny them that form of entertainment and fact-seeking so they remain your version of children for as long as you can manage? Is that really the best option? Doubt it.

You know, maybe if parents actually sat down and talked with their kids, they could find solutions to problems together. Children wouldn't feel like they're so alone and have to go out and find answers by themselves. You were there once, remember? Why not help your kid out a little, huh? They're going to find it anyway. Might as well be the parent you're supposed to be and help them along the way.

So instead of shaming authors like Judy Blume for the work she does, why not thank her? She was comfort to your child when you were spouting off about the immortality of her books. While you were too busy telling Blume how wrong she was, how children don't need to be reading stuff like that, your child was reading it, learning from it, enjoying it and thanking it for existing. What's so bad about that? So a 13 year old boy learns that his wet dreams are actually normal. Is that so wrong? A 14 year old girl finds out that her want to masturbate is perfectly fine. What's so bad about that?

Be a parent to your children. It is your job to be teaching them about this stuff. Awkwardness came with the package when you decided to fuck and keep the spawn that sprung. Shutting them in a closet and closing out the world will only hurt them. Why would you want to hurt your child?


Lilixtreme said...

This is beautiful! *tear* Do you mind if I read this in my Creative Writing Club meeting next Thursday?
You're an inspiration.

L.H. Parker said...

This is a brilliant post! It's so true. Bravo!

Ron Swarthout said...

Great job! Totally agree with you here.

Wicked Lil Pixie said...

Well said Donna. I totally agree! I was lucky, as long as I was reading my mom was happy. In high school I wanted to read the satanic bible for my world religions class, had to bring a note home for mom and she was okay with it. Helps that shes an avid reader too.

Donna (Bites) said...

Thank you so much, everyone! Lili, I'd be honored if you did! That's awesome! :)

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