QUESTION: My husband and I have decided
that we will not allow our 8-year-old daughter to own a Spice Girls
CD. I probably don't have to tell you that they have a very naughty
image. It is unfortunate that this image is being marketed to girls
and boys in my daughter's age group, but our daughter and her friends
are still fascinated with them. Just last night our daughter was trying
to find the Spice Girls Website so she could answer a quiz and find
out which one she is most like. That is exactly the kind of thinking
I don't want from her.
ANSWER: Clearly, being barred from owning
a Spice Girls CD is not stopping your daughter's fascination with
the phenomenon -- quite the opposite. By voicing only negativity,
you could encourage her to identify with the very thing you are railing
against. Consider taking a more curious and less reactive approach.
It can be difficult to see a healthy outcome through
fear-colored glasses, but consider your past, and separate fear-driven
reaction from reality-based concern. Start by talking with your husband
or a friend about your worst fears -- you may be projecting catastrophe
where it doesn't exist. Are you expecting scenarios in your childhood
to repeat themselves in hers? What do these "naughty" girls symbolize?
Did you experience a tumultuous adolescence? Do you fear your daughter's
development into womanhood?
Seek to understand the nature of your daughter's attraction
to the Spice Girls. If you control with no attempt to understand her,
you're likely to cause her to feel misunderstood -- so try to approach
the subject more neutrally. Let your daughter know what you think,
but also ask her to explain what she likes about the group. Don't
argue; simply listen. You will be establishing a safe atmosphere for
discourse. Accept her views, even though you don't agree with them.
Talk with other moms about the subject. The "Girl
Power" that the Spice Girls are known for may have some redeeming
quality that you will be able to support -- which could provide an
emotional bridge for your daughter and you. It is not too early to
create these kinds of bridges, instead of walls of misunderstanding
that may later shut you out of each other's lives.