- How much more of a hue and cry would there have been if instead of 5 hunky topless Webb High boys at the party, it was 5 curvacious Webb High cheerleaders in skimpy swimsuits fawning over a birthday boy?? Nope, no sexual undertones there. Guess it's ok for teen boys to be "eye candy" to a teenybopper girl crowd...
- Can anyone find it in any parents' magazine where Watching "My Super Sweet 16 Birthday Party" or whatever it's called on MTV with your kid is recommended? Advised? Looked favorably on? I know it's good practice to watch TV with your child, but when is this show or really anything on MTV these days good to show your teen?
- I do keep seeing detractors of the party take shots at Brittany herself, which I think are unwarranted. What 15-year-old wouldn't eat up all the money and attention thrown at her? Accordint to all the official (and unofficial) sources I've read, she's actually a pretty level-headed young woman and a good student. Let's lay off the "bratty/snotty" comments directed at Brittany and hope she stays that way. There are much better targets for criticism here.
- Hey, dad - if I were you and you and stepmom are as swell as people say you are...I'd look into some more favorable visitation and custody rights. I'm just sayin'....
- Supporters of the mom, including the mom herself, have responded publicly on the web and in letters to the editor. Common to most of the defenses have been three points: 1) A 15-year-old girl "deserves" to have the very best birthday party that can be thrown for her, b) We are all "jealous" of the fact that she can throw this party for her daughter and we can't, and 3) people shouldn't "judge" others when they don't know the whole story
While the correct way to deal with this situation should be obvious, I'll spell it out because so many people seem to have such a wrong idea.
First of all, yes, our children deserve the best we can give them. They deserve to have good food, good clothes, warm beds, education, free time, access to opportunities, fun, friends, sports and most of all love and attention. They deserve these things because they are precious human beings who are basically directionless and defenseless in the early years of their lives. However, they also deserve instruction, discipline, structure, challenges, examples, rules, responsibilities and guidance as well as all the others. Parents should be constantly aware of providing all of these things to their children. If you fall short in one area, you risk raising a child that's either so spoiled they expect all the good things in life or so cowed by life they expect nothing but hardness and disappointment. Finding the correct balance is absolutely essential in raising a well-rounded, mature child that will someday be ready to be a responsible adult.
So in some cases, while we want to give kids as much of a good time as we can when they are children, all that fun has to be tempered with responsibility and an idea of excess. These folks don't realize that, while taken separately each of the elements of this party might not've been too bad by themselves, all together shows this teen that the more money you can throw at something, the less meaningful each individual part becomes. And when you throw so much money into one bash, the actual fact that the girl was turning 15 became an afterthought for gifts, extravegance, and any other descriptor you want to throw in. In the girl's eyes now, there is no reason to ever expect restraint or an idea of good taste as long as there's more money to buy even more things.
No, a 15-year-old girl does not "deserve" to have such a Bacchanalia (and to a teen, it probably was the equivalent of a Bacchanalia, regardless of whether there was just eye candy, pixie sticks and oh-so-innocent "booty shaking" instead of wine, women and song) - she deserves to have a responsible parent that knows the meaning of restraint and responsibility. So far she doesn't have that. Thank goodness Brittany seems to be bright enough to be developing that sense on her own.
Second, no, we're not jealous. If I threw that kind of party for my son or daughter I'd expect to be led away in handcuffs for contributing to the delinquency of (several) minors or a straightjacket. Contrary to popular belief, most parents don't have to buy their kids' love.
Finally, are we "judging" you? That seems to be a popular pejorative these days, that anyone who finds fault with the way others are living their lives or raising their children is "judging" them. I seem to remember that's a pretty popular term used by guests of the Jerry Springer show, so I suppose they came by it honestly.
No, we're not really judging anyone. I'm not actually saying anyone's necessarily a bad person, although methods leave much to be desired. It's quite possible there is actually a lot of love involved, and this is the only way she knows to express it. I don't know her, and can't judge her on that, obviously.
But if I and the majority of Knoxville parents (which I'm hope feel the same way) see the obvious damage being done to an innocent 15-year-old's values, ethics and morals that was done a few weeks ago, then yes - I'm going to point that out very quickly and firmly to make sure everyone understands what is going wrong.
And not just yes, but hell yes.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Some Further Points on the "Bacchanalia"...
A couple more salient points about the "Sweet 15 Birthday Party" controversy that has gripped Knoxville the last few days...