I pride myself on being accepting and tolerant. I don’t have to agree with your lifestyle choices to love you or even like you. I teach my children to “Love God and Love People” and not just at church, but everywhere. I love this about my parenting style, BUT I draw the line when schools, kids’ organizations, and yes, even children’s television channels decide to do that job for me.
Recently, I learned that a kids’ cable channel would be introducing its first “coming out” story line. I rarely write or stress over what is placed on TV, as I do not allow the television to raise my kids. However, when a network designed for kids begins to address issues such as this, I believe it’s time to speak. The age group watching the show that will be airing this story line is far too young, in my opinion, to watch it play out on a television show designed for them.
I know our children see things on TV. I am not naïve, but on adult programming networks, the responsibility is on the parents to either shield their kids or have meaningful discussions about what things they may see while watching those shows. If they see it on one of my shows (which is unlikely), I can answer questions they may have in real time. However, a channel geared toward children should be a place where kids can be kids, and parents shouldn’t have to worry about whether a storyline would not be age appropriate and confusing for our children. I thought this channel was designed to be age appropriate! I admit, I do not sit and watch these shows with them all the time. The network has earned mine and many other parents’ trust that the things aired will be suitable for children. I would not have these same expectations with an adult cable channel or even local network TV anymore. But on a kids’ channel?! REALLY?!
To be clear, I have absolutely no issue with the individual’s orientation; rather, it upsets me that a children’s network is introducing this topic and content before I believe my kids to be ready to understand it meaningfully. I would never teach my kids to avoid or treat a person differently based on race, gender, or sexual orientation. But I also reserve the right to have these discussions with my kids, when I feel they are ready. If they are now going to inundate my children with topics beyond their understanding at the young age between 5 and 10, I don’t see how I can continue to support them. I also feel this storyline presumes that we even understand the difficulty and circumstances of a person “coming out” at a tender age. I’m not sure how to navigate those waters with my young babies just yet, and I do not need a network attempting to do it for me.