Like most parents I take my parenting role very, very seriously. I love my kids and I want them to turn out as fine and upstanding citizens. I basically do not care what they do just as long as they treat others and themselves with respect. I try as much as I can to be a good role model. That is not to say that I succeed every time. There are times when I fall flat on my face. For example when I play sport my adrenaline can sometimes get the better of me. I might yell at the umpire and utter the odd expletive. Sometimes my frustrations show. Sport can bring out the worst in me. My kids have witnessed it and unfortunately I see much of myself in their behaviour on the sports field.
Even so I try my best to tell them what is right and what is wrong when they are playing sport. For example I blasted my eldest recently. He seemed to think it was ok to do professional fouls. He once even said to me when we were playing together, “Barge him over, don’t let him through.” I told him that I wasn’t going to cheat. Last year his mother was watching him play an indoor soccer tournament. She had to leave, she was so embarrassed with the level of aggression and cheating. I spoke with my son about it after. He said that professional fouls were just part of the game, everyone does it. I told him he should be different and play in the right spirit. “But dad … “, he implored, “.. the coach has said he will take anyone off who doesn’t do a professional foul if the other team is in danger of scoring.” I was appalled. I told him to never do a professional foul while I am watching and if the coach pulled him off for it that I would give the coach a piece of my mind too. My son was appalled, ” You cannot be serious????” Sadly this is the nature of sport today, even at amateur and junior level.
Parenting is so much more complex today, especially with social media. So much information and communication is happening. It never stops. Around the clock our kids are communicating and sharing information. A lot of this information is quite explicit. Some of it is derogatory. It is disrespectful of women. It is disrespectful of people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transsexual. It is often racist. Kids share explicit photos of themselves in states of undress. They share photos of parties where binge drinking and drugs are the norm. The language that they use can be disgraceful. More than once I have caught my kids sharing explicit and disrespectful information. My wife and I are firm and let our kids know what we think is acceptable and what is not. It is a 24/7 job policing your kids on social media. You can try banning them, they will just set up a secret account. So my wife and I take the view that we need to guide them through the minefield. I am not sure how well we are succeeding.
Recently I read an article about teenage sex. Basically the article implied that because kids are so sexualised through the various forms of media today that they have rather disturbing views about what is acceptable sexual behaviour. The article explained how many young girls are consenting to anal sex. They do so because they think it is normal. Young men are apparently watching all sorts of porn on the internet. Apparently anal sex is prominent. What happens is that young men think that anal sex is just a normal sexual behaviour and pressure their partners to allow them to do it. The young women feel that it is the only way to be attractive to the young men. Suffice to say that young women are more frequently having to receive medical attention because of injuries sustained through this sexual activity. The young women also require counselling and support because of the self loathing that occurs as a result. It is horrific.
As a deaf parent how do you monitor your kids access to music? Music today is very explicit. For a hearing parent they at least can hear music and censor what they feel is inappropriate. However, because music is largely downloaded from the internet, many parents simply will not know what their kids are accessing. As a deaf parent it is virtually impossible to know what your kids are listening to. I found out yesterday just how much is slipping under my radar.
I was in the car with my kids driving to indoor soccer. We play in a team together in a fortnightly competition organised by Melbourne Deaf Football and Futsal Club. My kids are hearing but this comp encourages CODAs (Children of Deaf Adults) to participate. My kids love their music. When they get in the car the first thing they do is tune in their phones to the car radios Bluetooth. The names of the particular songs they are listening to appear on the radios digital display. Usually I do not take much notice. But this day I glanced at the display to see what they were listening to. A song came up called Anal Beads. I was horrified. My son, realising that I had seen the title, hastily changed the song.
The songs title troubled me. I began to wonder what on earth my kids might be listening to. I know songs are very explicit today. But a song called Anal Beads? How revolting. How could anyone possibly write about something so horrible. On the way home we stopped at McDonalds. I sent my kids in to get our order and stayed in the car. The song title troubled me and I decided to Google it.
The lyrics of the song were simply sick. For the meek minded I suggest you read no further. Below are some lines contained within the song:
Anal Beads ….. It goes POP POP POP when coming out my a@######
And it feels good!
Shove it up real good (please.)
I was simply revolted. I was revolted that anyone could write something so vile. I was revolted that any music company would allow it to be recorded. But mostly I was revolted to think that our kids were listening to this! Your kids are listening to this! Did you know? I naturally was furious. I held my tongue until I got home. I then confronted my kids and asked them to delete the song which I hope they have done.
It is quite sickening to have to write this. I write it not to shock people but to raise some awareness about what our kids might be listening too. As a deaf parent I want other deaf parents to know what their kids might be listening to. Hell, even hearing parents should be concerned. I am pretty sure that the smart kids only listen to this sort of crap when their parents are not around. But kids of deaf parents have no such constraints. It is just awful to think what these innocent minds might be listening to. All of it freely available on the internet. I can only suggest parents, whether they are deaf or hearing, carefully vet what their kids are listening to. If you have any concerns Google the lyrics.
Please be diligent. The last thing we want is for our kids to normalise this sort of crap. The research is clear -kids are becoming sexualised far to early and its damaging. If you are a parent, especially if you are a deaf parent, make sure you know what your kids are listening to – It aint pretty!