Are Lindsay Lohan and 'Twilight' Raising Your Kids?

Filed under: Opinions

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Is TV raising your child? Credit: Corbis

It's not easy being a mom. It's probably not easy being a dad, either, but I wouldn't know about that, would I?

Several years back, my daughter was just shy of 5, when she turned to me as we waited in line at the local CVS and said, "Mommy, why does Lindsay Lohan need to be saved?"

I must have had a confused look on my face because she then pointed to the counter, where, in front of the cash register, a pop culture magazine blared "CAN LINDSAY LOHAN BE SAVED?"

lauren lise baratz-logsted

Lauren Lise Baratz-Logsted is the author of 19 books. Courtesy Lauren Lise Baratz-Logsted

My daughter was a huge fan of the movie "The Parent Trap," and I realized it was time for a talk. Before I knew it, we were having an intense discussion about how Lindsay's choices had led to her being in a position where insurance companies were reluctant to insure her for films. My daughter, obviously wanting to help Lindsay, said we could insure her, igniting yet another discussion -- only, this was along the lines of, "Honey, we're not millionaires. On a good day, maybe, we're single-digit thousandaires."

The other day I received an earnest letter from a mother. The letter was about my novel for teens, "Angel's Choice," which is about a girl on the fast track for Yale who, on the eve of her senior year, gets drunk and loses her virginity in an act she can't even remember later, but that results in a pregnancy.

The woman wrote that she loved the book -- yay! -- but she was concerned about giving it to her own daughter. She was worried the book would give her daughter the wrong ideas, that it would fool her into thinking that, in spite of our choices, we can still get whatever we want.

An earnest letter deserves an earnest response, so I wrote back that I understood her concerns as a parent, but I pointed out that Angel by no means gets everything she wants and does indeed pay dearly; that Angel, herself, acknowledges, "My story should come with a warning, and that warning should say, in big letters, HEY, KIDS, DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME!" Angel further acknowledges that the only reason she's able to do what she ultimately does is because others have made the choice to support her, but that could always change.

I enjoyed my exchange with this woman, in large part because it got me thinking, and, yes, this all somehow loops back to Lindsay Lohan.

Parents want to keep their kids away from sex, drugs and some versions of rock 'n' roll. Parents don't want their kids exposed to Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunctions at the Super Bowl, and they sure don't want their kids to see Miley Cyrus pole-dancing on top of an ice cream cart.

Parents want to shelter their kids from anything that might be "inappropriate" on the screen and in books, sometimes even going so far as to try to get books banned from schools and libraries.

But here's the thing: You can't shield your kid from everything. As I learned that long-ago day in CVS, whether you like it or not -- and sometimes at inopportune times -- pop culture will find its way to your kid. I can't shield my daughter from every TV program or book I don't completely agree with.

What I can do is experience those things with her and help her interpret them. I can teach her that actors and rock stars and professional athletes are people we admire for their talents, not necessarily for who they are in their personal lives. Most importantly, I can model for her every day what it is to be a strong woman who gives issues a great deal of thought and works hard to achieve her goals.

It's not the job of TV or "Twilight" or even Lindsay Lohan to raise my daughter. It's mine.

Novelist Lauren Lise Baratz-Logsted is the author of 19 published books for adults, teens and children. Her most recent books are "The Twin's Daughter," a young-adult Gothic mystery that Booklist says ". . . is rife with twists and moves swiftly and elegantly," and the sixth volume in "The Sisters 8" series for young readers that she co-writes with her husband and daughter, Greg and Jackie Logsted. Read her blog on Red Room.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.