Friday, February 5, 2010

Really, Tyra?

I was watching The Tyra Banks Show a couple days ago, and the conversation that went on really irked me. The guests of the show were parents who entered their children in beauty pageants, and Tyra was clearly not a supporter of such activity.

She kept asking the parents questions like, “Does your child want to be in the pageant, or do you want your child to be in the pageant?” She was very much against the idea of a parent making her child do something the child didn’t want to do. I got the impression that to her, being a child was all about the child doing whatever made her happy and not being forced to do anything unpleasant.

She was also horrified to hear some parents limiting the amount of sweets and hot dogs their child ate in order to keep their children in shape for pageants. She made comments similar to, “Brownies are good for kids! Hot dogs are good for children!”

I am not writing to comment on children participating in pageants, and I realize the comments were made in the context of pageant-crazed parents. I’m also not trying to be too hard on Tyra, because I think her show sends out very positives messages for young women. However, I got the impression that, when Tyra made comments like, “You shouldn’t force your child to do something he doesn’t want to do,” or, “Junk food is good for kids,” she felt this way about all aspects of children’s lives, not only those related to pageantry. I reply to that with a resounding, “Are you kidding me, Tyra?”

You are horrified that a parent would make their child do something they didn’t want to do? So when a child doesn’t want to brush their teeth, go to school, look both ways before crossing the street, go to bed, or be polite, the child shouldn’t have to?

You think brownies and hot dogs are good for a child? Guess what? They’re not. I agree that parents need to let loose and allow their children to enjoy life, but if we are being totally honest, brownies and hot dogs really offer zero nutritional value to a growing child. They’re much better off eating a myriad of other foods.

Part of being a good parent involves making your child do things they don’t want to do. How will they learn to do the right thing if you aren’t expecting them to do so? Part of being a good parent also means monitoring and limiting what your child eats.

In short, good parenting isn’t all about making your child happy right now. It’s about guiding and directing them to ensure that they have a happy future.

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