Her eight-year-old asked, for the first time, to download some songs. And being a music lover herself, this mom wanted to make it an up-beat, fun, first experience. But then her daughter asked to download a song about oral sex.
I could relate to all of her concerns. If she said no, her daughter would ask why. What’a wrong with a song about a ‘whistle’, Mommy? Then she would be pressed to choose between explaining the metaphor (oral sex), or NOT explaining it–which could cause her daughter to feel confused, curious, or possibly ashamed.
She ultimately decided to let her daughter download the song, since she figured that drawing attention to the sexual innuendo would be the worst scenario. But I commented on her blog that I thought there was another option.
What I found most interesting was this woman’s reluctance to say no without giving her daughter a reason.
I completely agree that she should not explain a metaphor about oral sex to an eight-year-old. If the daughter was sixteen, it would be a different story. I never allow myself to opt out of talking to my kids about subjects that make me feel uncomfortable. God tucked children into families, not peer groups, for guidance, and I believe shying away from discussions because I’m uncomfortable is the same thing as abdicating my role to their peers.
But, this mom could have said no to her daughter without explaining why. This is an option that God grants to parents! He even models this parenting style, himself–quite a bit! Just think of all of the times God has told you no, and refused to explain himself. And it isn’t because God is mean or disengaged or uncaring. It’s because he’s wise. He sees a far wider scope than we do, and he asks us to trust him.
My kids know that we try to say yes to as much as we possibly can. But they also know that there will be things we say no to. And while we often give explanations, there are times we don’t.
In this eight-year-old music downloading scenario, I probably would have said, “Honey, this man is singing about something entirely different than a whistle. The song has a double meaning, and I will talk to you about it when you’re older, but not yet. I need you to trust me on this, and we’re not downloading that song.”
I’ve been surprised at how willing my kids are to accept this sort of appeal. Though they aren’t likely to admit it, kids feel secure when parents act like parents.