40 of 45 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
A quick little story that ties into my review. One day, as I was teaching my class, I had a root beer in a bottle on my desk from lunch. One of my girls asks me, "Teacher, are you DRUNK?" Before I lost my top, I explained that it was soda. You would think that I teach a high school or maybe junior high class. But no, these are FIRST GRADERS. They are six. Although we could automatically blame the parents, who knows where she got this information?
SO SEXY, SO SOON, is co-written by Diane E Levin, and Jean Kilbourne. Jean has also written the book, CAN'T BUY MY LOVE, about how advertising gets us seduced into the world of consumerism. That was also a great book.
I am not a parent, but every year to me, it seems like the students are becoming more and more aware of things that they probably shouldn't know about yet. The authors state that it mostly has to do with the media. There is technology everywhere you turn, and when you don't have that on, you can look at the half naked models on the billboard on Sunset. Sex is all over, and as I was watching a commercial previewing a popular TV show, where all of the actresses are in sultry red dresses and biting into apples, trying to be sexy, I was staring open-mouthed at the screen, and I got it. I think that sometimes we get sucked into it. We are adults and we are "allowed" to watch whatever we want. But, the advertisers don't care about the young kids. They want to make the children a shopper for the rest of their life. That's it.
The authors claim that it's just not just about sex. Children and teenagers have been exploring sex for a long time. It's about how they are to think of sex. What used to be something to be shared between two people who care about each other, is now something transient. "Hooking up," not caring about anyone, just doing it cause it's there. I recently saw another commercial on TV where two people just met, they were talking back and forth while undressing, "I have never been to New York." "This isn't even my apartment." As they are taking off their Levi's and getting ready to have sex. So, basically, you just met, broke into someone's house, and now you are going to do it. This was on during the day.
In other books, you would probably read that if you just say NO to everything, your child will be fine. But, these authors take a different view. Say no to things that are inappropriate for their age, of course, but then...watch things with them. Be their filter. Talk about it. Or their parents and teachers will be the media, and you will have lost them. Most teenagers are going to do what they want anyway, with or without you knowing about it. But, if they go into the world with some information, and they respect themselves, they will be better off. Studies show that the parents who keep open communication with their teenagers are less likely to get into drugs and become pregnant.
As for the book itself, I found it a great read that I could hardly tear myself away from. I read it in a day, it was easy to understand, and it made me think about things for the rest of the night. It even gave you scripts to help you through some difficult conversations with your children. The reason I scored it a little lower was because some information was repeated in the book.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Even though I don't have kids yet, I found this book very helpful, not only in giving me information on what to do when I do have kids (esp. if I have a daughter), but also in understanding some things which I didn't have an insider's view on, such as how a young child's definition of a word like "sex" or "sexy" often has a more innocent connotation than an adult's, as illustrated in the story of kindergarteners Jason and Ashley. Jason got in trouble when Ashley told her parents he told her he wanted to have sex with her, but it turned out that he really meant he wanted to kiss her, and in his juvenile mind interpreted that grownup word in the way he would think of expressing affection. I also liked the information on how children understand the world and evolve in their understanding of more grownup concepts, like weddings, popularity, and where babies come from, by creating movies in their mind, adding a new scene every time they get a new piece of information. Since I was one of those kids who read too much and understood too little, I could understand what this meant, like when Kara told her dad she'd have to have two weddings if she married her female friend, so they could both have babies, even though she didn't question why her parents' lesbian friends only had one wedding and already had a baby together. It also illustrated the right and the wrong way to handle troubling things, like when preteen boys tell their teacher or parents they saw porn online, when a young girl breaks down crying because she thinks she's fat and wants to be popular and sexy, when preteen girls want to wear clothes that my parents would have never let me leave the house in, let alone even own period, when I was their age a generation ago, and when preschool kids are doing dirty dancing and playing teenagers by making out during creative play time.
It was extremely disturbing to read about all of this age compression (since when do *preschoolers* even know how to dirty dance and what grownups in relationships do?), though I was surprised to learn that the majority of the blame is really on advertisers and people in the media who heavily market creativity-devoid toys, adult clothing, and vulgar music to kids who haven't even graduated elementary school yet. I had always assumed it was because a lot of parents today don't know how to set boundaries, give in too easily, and are too busy trying to be their kids' best friends instead of authority figures. It definitely made me rethink the idea of letting my own future kids watch tv at that age. I have never believed in censorship or shielding kids from reality (after all, children a few hundred years ago were routinely exposed to things considered R-rated today, and no one thought they were traumatised for life), but I also don't believe in rubbing stuff like violent movies or vulgar music videos in their faces or letting them watch or listen to such things when they don't have the maturity to understand them. I also was surprised to realise how little creative play children do nowadays; everything is either electronic instant gratification or toys themed on movies or tv shows. Apparently a lot of kids today don't know what to do with blocks, clay, paint, or normal dolls and stuffed animals. I've always been annoyed at how so many toy stores sex-segregate toys (God forbid a girl might want to play with Legos, a football, or toy trucks, or a boy with dolls, stuffed animals, or My Little Pony!), but I wasn't really aware of the true extent of how many toys nowadays really discourage creative play. Even children's birthday cards are sex-segregated nowadays, even if a card with a train on it doesn't even contain the word "boy." Hopefully the advice in this book will help me to raise my future kids as people and not stereotypes.
The book also contains information on how to deal with raising a teen in today's oversexed climate. I acknowledge that I was extremely rare to have had no interest in dating at that age (I always believed in the old-fashioned idea of dating towards marriage and not just random casual serial dating to have a good time), but there's no telling if my future kids will be as old-fashioned as I was or if they'll want to start dating or sexually experimenting while they're underage. The authors stress that setting boundaries, talking to and treating your kids on an age-appropriate level and like their concerns matter to you, living what you preach, and limiting/screening the amount of television and pop culture that comes into your house from an early age make it more likely for children to become teenagers who dress appropriately, know the value of money, don't see themselves and relationships as cheap, meaningless, and disposable, know how to use their imaginations, and value themselves for what's inside instead of basing all of their worth on their body size, popularity, and whether the most popular boy sits near them at lunch. The resources given at the back of the book are also wonderful, and provide a lot of extra reading material and things to think about.