"Barack really thinks some of the Kardashians-- when they watch that stuff -- he doesn't like that as much," said the First Lady, "but I sort of feel like if we're talking about it, and I'm more concerned with how they take it in -- what did you learn when you watched that. And if they're learning the right lessons, like, that was crazy, then I'm like, okay." - iVillage interview
As you might expect, this quote from Michelle Obama generated quite a little bit of debate, most from people denouncing the reality show “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” as mind numbing trash and declaring Barack’s opinion as the “right” one. Many who weighed in online were horrified that Michelle would even consider letting little Sasha and Malia watch that garbage. Interestingly, many of those horrified people acknowledged either that they have never seen the show or that they are not parents themselves.
I was originally going to write in support of Michelle’s stance, particularly since the Obamas don’t allow their girls to watch any television that isn’t related to their schoolwork during the week. I have a daughter who is 13 (the same age as Malia), and I let her watch the Kardashians, so I was prepared to argue my position.
However, the more I thought about all those outraged people, the more I realized that defending my position as being right is not the point. No one is “right” on most parenting issues. Being a parent is about continuously making decisions that impact your kids, and the cumulative sum of those decisions shapes, to a large degree (not completely), how your children turn out. I would guess that about 90% of the parenting decision we make on a daily basis do not individually have a giant impact; it’s the totality of those that gets you to your end game.
There is no right or wrong way to raise a kid; everyone does it a little differently. If you see things veering off in the wrong direction, you assess and adjust. If adorable little Sasha starts dropping the F-bomb in front of Barack, then it’s probably best to take another look at whether exposing her to foul-mouthed Khloe is the greatest idea. But that’s a decision that Barack and Michelle would make, factoring in many other aspects of previous parenting decisions as well as how Sasha is doing overall.
It’s so fun for people to criticize how other parents raise their kids and point to things they do wrong. But the truth is that no parent is perfect, and who among us would want each of our parenting decisions dissected and analyzed, particularly by strangers? What parent hasn’t said something to the effect of “Johnny will probably talk about that in therapy someday”?
It all comes down to this quote from Michelle: “Like any mother, I’m just hoping I don’t mess them up.” Amen to that, Michelle!
Filed under: Parenting