Values Versus Pop Culture

No matter where you live and how sheltered you keep your family, Western values are infiltrating our households.

How do you prevent American values (i.e. that beauty, wealth, and power are the keys to happiness and success) from taking hold in your children’s mind?

What is an effective manner to convey that religious and family values are superior to pop culture?

How have you personally managed to hold onto what is real as opposed to what is currently glittering?

Share your thoughts!

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  1. We make family dinners a regular occurrence even though it can be hard since everyone has different schedules. I once read that children who regularly eat with their family have a far lower rate of substance abuse, and that makes total sense when you think about it.

  2. As I was reading one of the pop culture magazines the other day, I realized that people are admiring and attempting to be celebs whose beauty is just skin-deep, and most of them spend lots of time in rehab! Are these the people I want my daughter (now eighteen months) to admire? Thank you for bringing up such an important concept so that I can mentally prepare myself to impart my values, not Us Weekly’s values!

  3. As a parent coach, I advise parents to watch tv with their children and discuss what they are seeing and hearing. Talk about the consequences of these behaviors and what your family and faith values are. Also take time to listen to what your children have to say and how they are being influenced. Hear them out and reflect together on the pop culture vs your values.

  4. We talk about good decision making; we watch movies with our girls and keep a running commentary (“Wow, that sounded sassy” “ooo, I bet that hurt her friend’s feelings when she said that” “Oh, man, that is a touch decision, what should she do?”) It is probably annoying, but it seems an effective tool to be informal about it rather than a long lecture. I also have my “touchstone” friends whom I call to bring myself down when i get frantic about a pop culture moment. They help me remember that there are more of us thoughtfully parenting than it feels at times. Family dinners…yup, all about them. delicious.

  5. Eating family meals together is extremely important. My son’s best friend has very permissive parents who never sit down together for dinner. It is amazing what a difference this ritual has made in the development of our child compared to his friend. His friend, at age 7, is already very much concerned with being “cool” and using language that he hears adults use, even though he may know that it is not a good way to speak. Eating dinner with your children allows them to participate in the conversations and they feel valued. We also have taken to reading a grace before each meal from a tiny Book of Graces that has added meaning to our family gathering.

  6. At bedtime we talk. We share our three good things for the day and discuss other things that went on during the day, things we were involved in whether real-life experience or pop-culture observations. My three year old loves it and my ten year old counts on the trust I have in him to confide in us.

  7. I think pop culture is helping all of us. The Spears sisters – one in and out of rehab and the hospital, one pregnant at 16 – and other celebrities are helping to make pop culture a little less glamerous right now.

    I have taken my kids to help those that are less fortunate – soup kitchens, meals on wheels. But even with that, it took a major life changing event (loosing my job) to focus us as a family unit on what is truly important – family and friends. My children got to see the support that I got from our family and our well selected friends. I hope they take those lessons through the rest of their lives. We are truly blessed, and good things happen to good people!

  8. Pat Wallace says:

    I am a grandma and a believer in feeding childrens’ minds with positive thoughts: talk about women/men in our towns, country that make a difference; both in present day and in the past. Use the local news paper for inspiration. Touch on the negative but concentrate on that positive stuff!!! AND MAKE IT FUN!!!

  9. My daughter is really into Hannah Montana right now and all the nice clothes and material things she wears. She really wanted a Hannah Montana room so I went ahead and decorated Hannah Montana Style but I threw in some scripture with it. Amongst all the posters and such I printed out Psalm 45:11, 1 Peter 3:3-4, Deuteronomy 6:5 and then I also found this song by Three Cord Wonder called Made Perfect and the words fit perfectly.

    The girl you see in the mirror
    isn’t who I see, When I look at you I see reflections of Me, You don’t like your face so you paint over My masterpiece, You hide your face so you hide My face and fail to believe

    I made you the way that you would be most beautiful, I planned you way before the universe was born, When you try to change yourself it only makes Me cry, I don’t know why you try to make better what
    I made perfect!

    My daughter is only 8 but I think these little things will help!

  10. Lead by example, turn off the TV and read more, play more, teach your children to connect with nature and their source, acknowledge your children’s feelings, give them what they crave most – your attention, and affirm their great value and worth just for Being.

  11. My girls are teenagers now – and let’s face it they are BOMBARDED with this stuff constantly. In school, on TV, on the internet. I as a parent would love to just keep a lovely pink baloon around them and keep them safe from it, but that’s not realistic – nor would I be a good parent if I did. They need to live their own lives and frankly, they have to travel through the muck to do that. What I have done, their entire lives, is TALK to them about this. Sometimes we joke about, sometimes it’s serious, sometimes we struggle with what it all means. But the KEY to dealing with it is COMMUNICATION. ANy kid just needs to know that you as a parent are aware of what they are seeing, experiencing and that YOU take an interest in their life, their joys, their struggles, their questions, their mistakes, their successes and that you know what is going on in the world. They will, however, believe (and tell you) you don’t have a clue. But, rest assured – in the deep places of their small souls – their hearts will hear you and know you love them because you cared enough to TALK.

  12. Krista Armitage says:

    I allow my children to see what is out there, within reason but continuously talk about it. We also talk about what is right and how people feel. With Valentine’s day around the corner we talked about why everyone should get a Valentine and how someone would feel if they didn’t. Talk, talk, talk and let them see and then talk some more! This is what really teaches children good values.

  13. I think the best way to show them what is really important is to spend quality time with them, and appreciate who they are.

    I have a little story about my daughter. She was about 6 years old, and went to a friend’s house to play. When she came home, she had her nails done, and her face a bright pink.

    I personally don’t wear makeup, or paint my nails, so she’s never see that at home.

    I talked to her about it that night, and told her she was beautiful even without the nail polish and the makeup. We talked about how true beauty comes from the inside, and shines through the actions you take. And we talked about how to say no when someone pressures you into something that you don’t want to do.

    She is 13 now, and recently went on a bell choir trip. When she came back, she said: mommy, the girls had to get up an hour early so they can put their makeup on, and do their hair: why do they do that? Don’t they know those things don’t make you more beautiful?

    You have no idea how happy I was to hear her say that!

    Make time to praise your kids for the things they do now, and show them by example waht’s really important.

  14. We attend church regularly and discuss what is learned each week; We limit what our ten year old son is allowed to watch and play (movies, video games, etc.), and openly discuss why we have stricter rules than the ‘parents down the street.’ Communication is key. If we just tell him WHAT to do, he’ll want to rebel later, but if we discuss WHY we want better things for him, then he’ll understand and eventually adopt our beliefs as his own. We also use real life examples. We talk about other kids in his school and what they do, and compare it to other people we know (celebs, family members, neighbors, news stories, etc.) and let him see both good/bad consequences. We role play and give him ficticious but realistic choices to make, and let him talk it out. Hopefully, thinking things out ahead of time will help him to make better decisions when he’s faced with a quick choice to make in the future. We also ask him if the other kids’ impression of him makes him who he is – and he realizes that he is defined by HIS thoughts and what HE wants to be, not by what other people think of him temporarily or want him to be in a particular moment.

  15. First off, my husband and i try to keep our own ways of living in perspective. Before we give our children “advice” on culture matters, we make sure to get our kids perspective just to see where their hearts are. After making sure we understand, we ALWAYS take them to the word of God. Everything your child could possibly be dealing with is addressed in the word. We try to hold them accountably to what the word says because we as parents can so easily push our kids away based on our on perspective of things. Sometimes a thing is not necessarily wrong, it is just a bit to the extreme. I now realize my parents were not all that bad!!

  16. I don’t believe there are easy, magic-bullet answers to this question. I think the best we can do is to raise our kids, from day one, so that their needs are met, so that they feel loved — and then, later on, to make conscious and clear to them through conversation through the rest of their lives that this is what we’ve done and continue to do for them and that this is what we think is worth doing by all people for those that they care about. Attachment Parenting, Unconditional Parenting and other such approaches come to mind especially. By doing these things, kids will develop as strong, stable, independent yet sensitive and empathic individuals. As they get older and are better able to talk about new things, we would then also make conscious through conversation how so much of what surrounds us goes against all of this, how so much is actually harmful and unsupportive of healthful things even though it may often seem harmless or even attractive. This will provide new ways to consciously keep one in touch with real feelings and real needs, in touch with their true selves and their best capabilities. Through all this, they’ll be best able to truly and meaningfully meet their real needs, either by themselves or with the help of others, instead of having vast and varied repressed and misdirected needs which would cause them to try to meet their needs in false and unhealthful ways. In other words, I think the best way to prevent anything unhealthful for kids or people in general is to make them as immune as possible to unhealthful things, and that only happens by making them as healthy as possible in the first place — through healthful parenting first and foremost and forever, always ideally modeled through deed and not just talk, and later through a healthy dose of skepticism and transparency about what goes on in the world around us.

  17. Since you can’t keep your child from being exposed to pop culture – we talk a lot about it — how TV is not real life – you never see Miley on the school bus and you never see them shopping for groceries. It only shows the fun parts. So you can’t expect your life to be like TV – it’s just for fun. We also talk a lot about what they hear about the Spears sisters and how being a pop star is not as great as it looks. Would they like to have Brittany as their mother? No! Even though she is so pretty? No! It is silly to spend so much time worrying about how you look, when what people really like is what kind of person you are inside. We do limit how much time they can watch TV and explain why we don’t like them to watch certain shows – and we watch with them and talk about what we see and comment on things that we don’t agree with. We say things like, you would never talk that way to your teacher would you? They do that on TV to make it funny – but in real life people should not talk that way if they want to have a good life….etc…

  18. We monitor what our kids are exposed to as far as music, TV, games, movies, friends, etc…. We talk often about values and use other people as good/bad examples. We attend church regularly and both our boys are in an evening group at church during the week. Right now I’m taking on a mission at my son’s middle school to stop them from playing ridiculously inappropriate music at the school dances. Consistency is key…but it’s not easy!

  19. Though it sounds radical, we do not have a television in our home. I have five children, the eldest is seventeen and the youngest is eight. Instead of tv, they go to gymnastics, art, sports, and extra curricular local programs. Their friends have gotten used to the fact that my kids do not have a tv, and they are admired and respected because they are always chosen for sports teams, and to draw and paint for activities in school. They have more time to read books, more time to talk to me and my husband because we are not glued to a tv. I’m a teacher for over 25 years and I can tell you that kids come into class bored because the teacher is not as funny, interesting or entertaining as the characters on TV. My own kids have almost always gotten good grades because they are eager to absorb whatever materials they are being taught by their teachers. It is something to think about!

  20. You can’t teach anything just by telling them. You have to live it – lead by example. You can’t tell them God is important and not go to church and pray with them. You can’t tell them to be generous, and not let them see you give – time more importantly than money.

    We must practice what we preach; as always, children still learn what they live.

  21. Be the example! Dress responsibly, talk responsibly, spend money responsibly and treat others responsibily. Most importantly… spend time with your kids! Talk them to the park, the zoo, the live theater, etc. Let them see that the world is more than just TV and video games.

  22. We have to work so hard at keeping the pop culture from replacing time honored values in our home.
    We do this by spending tremendous amounts of time talking and listening to our children. We listen with our hearts and our minds, stresing the importance of being caring, loving individuals rather than flighty unpredictable people with only their own pleasure in mind. I often use examples from the media to do this. I try not to be judgemental when pointing out that materialism, wealth and popularity are only short lived and can come with disasterous consequences. Our daughters are old enough to see the consequences in others lives so it speaks to them more than we can at times. I also encourage them to build up and not tear down. This is a trend among the youth that is terribly disturbing and it is so destructive. I encourage my girls to pray for and be compassionate toward those who are unkind.
    Recently we were in a river in Tennessee and we were wading. Our youngest commented about the current being very strong. She even took a tumble, luckily Dad was holding on. My very quiet husband told her when she was safely on her feet that this was the nature of the world and all of it’s draws. (Pop Culture) While walking along we are anxious to experience life and see all that it has to offer but unless we go against the current, stay out of the deep holes, watch our footing carefully, and hold fast to our Father’s hand we can very easily be swept away! It was a sweet time for us all and sparked a discusssion on the way home about situations and circumstances best avoided. I thank God for oportunities such as this and know that we forfiet many of them by immersing our children in the “must haves” of our culture.

  23. We use a set of virtues cards, designed by the Each morning before my daughter leaves for school she chooses a virtues card and we go thru the 5min exercise with her. This gives her tools to use in her thoughts and interaction with others.
    When she gets home from school we aske her how and when she was able to practice the virtue.
    This sets a pattern within her, that a major purpose of our being here is to acqiure the virtues latent within each of us. We believe we have been created noble and there have to live our lives as such. Instilling this in children allows them to have tools that will last the a lifetime and allow for them to respond in a noble and refined fashion to life

  24. Teach your children to be generous. Focus on giving all year long and appreciating the blessings in their lives every day. Spend as much time as you can with family and friends and stay away from the TV.

  25. I try to lead by example. I work hard at trying to be myself and not cave in to other peoples expectations of me or my children. I enjoy life and point out the beauty that is all around us, while still reminding my children that no two snow-flakes are the same and that although not everyone share are values – they are deeply loved.