I usually let Sweetness zone to 15 minutes of TV in the mornings while I grab a cup of coffee and try to turn into a useful human being. Today I noticed that old episodes of Boy Meets World was on one of the cable channels.
I remember loving Boy Meets World. I think about the current kid shows...iCarly, Big Time Rush, Zach and Cody...and the difference is stunning. I think the biggest difference that stands out to me is that the main character in Boy Meets World had loving, stable parents. iCarly has a dad out there somewhere, but she lives with her older brother (a bit of a dorky rebel who quit law school to be a sculpter, but hasn't managed to fess up to his father about that yet). Big Time Rush is about 4 teenage boys who move to Hollywood to become music stars. Only one of the 4 boys has a mother around. The rest of the boys apparently left their mothers behind in the midwest somewhere. Zach and Cody live in a hotel (or a cruise ship). Enough said, right?
See any parents or adults? Nope.
And the adults are hiding...
What's the deal with that? One of the main themes of Boy Meets World was the independence struggle that teens have with their parents. The sneaking out. The dealing with hard situations with their friends and needing adult guidance. The crushes. In the current kid television shows, there is no STRUGGLE for independence...the kids ARE independent. There are no "lets keep the door to the bedroom open while you study" scenes, because it is totally okay for the kids to date whomever they like...however they like...at any age. There is no parent around to say anything about it. It goes without saying that the kids are thrown into situations in those shows that no loving parent would stand back and observe from the sidelines. And really, that seems to be the point of all the shows: that the characters peer groups are their advisors and their families. That is who they are shown to interact with and that is who is important to them.
Am I making a big deal about nothing? Maybe. Perhaps Boy Meets World had its own 80's version of counterinfluence that I'm missing because I am a product of that generation. But I think that is exactly why this concerns me. Because I don't want my kids to grow up thinking it is normal for their friends to be their advisor and their parents to sit back and let them be independent when they are teenagers. I want to be there to provide boundaries...to see dangers before they see them and be willing to make unpopular choices to keep them safe. I get that the teen years is a time of separation from one's parents as they prepare to be on their own as adults...but that is supposed to be a process that runs throughout their teen years, right? Not as soon as they hit 14. It is supposed to be a little bit of a push/pull situation as both the parents and the teens learn what they can handle and what they can't.
Sigh. Okay, that's my rant for today. Stay tuned till next week when I blog about the dangers lurking in breakfast cereal commercials... (just kidding)