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Prude parents or safe boundaries?

(36 Posts)
mears Thu 19-Dec-02 23:25:52

My friend's 15 year old has a huge poster on his bedroom wall of topless model. Her breasts are looking at you as you walk in his room! Anyay I told her that I was shocked she allowed him to have that on display. She reckons I am a prude because she thinks it is healthy behaviour for a boy that age.
On further discussion with a group of friends our response was evenly mixed. Half approved, half didn't. I fully expect my son of the same age is having a good rummage around 'dirty' magazines - that is normal 15yr old behaviour. I think half the fun will be that it is illicit and he thinks I know nothing. My friends son buys FHM magazine with her blessing.
The discussion went on to alcohol and there was again mixed feelings about allowing 13-15 year olds to drink alcohol. Some didn't think it was much of a problem for kids of that age to come home having evidently been drinking.
I think if there are no boundaries then kids will try and shock you with something more daring.
Am I just an old fashioned prude?

anais Thu 19-Dec-02 23:37:20

Hmm it's a difficult one isn't it? As far as topless posters goes, I think to be honest it's fairly harmless. I like to think that if little boys are brought up with enough respect for women that they won't choose to look at this sort of thing but I think that's a little unrealistic

To be honest I think it's natural and fairly harmless. I wouldn't encourage it, but neither would I choose to police what my kids have on their walls. Of course this is theoretical as my kids are only 4yrs and 20 months!

As for the alcohol, I have more of a problem with this. I don't like the thought of kids this age drinking. It's peer-pressure isn't it, and if they're being pressured to drink, then my worry would be that they were being pressured to drink to excess. Even a small amount of alcohol is unhealthy for young kids. I wouldn't be happy just to accept my 13-15 yr old drinking.

There you go, that's my thoughts on the matter. Will be interested to see what others say

prufrock Fri 20-Dec-02 00:45:13

My Mum lets my sister of 14 drink alcopops at parties, and I am outraged. I drank from a very early age, but it was wine (or "pink water" that gradually got redder as I got older. this taught me to appreciate the taste - and wine is good for you in moderation - not something you can say about bacardi breezers.
As for the soft porn, yes do it - but I agree mears, it should be a somewhat furtive thing- even now, married with one child, I will not have sex at my parents house. I's one thing for other generations to know you do "that sort of thing" quite another to flaunt it, which I think this boy is.

WideWebWitch Fri 20-Dec-02 00:45:14

Mears, I don't think I'd be happy with the topless model picture either. I wouldn't tolerate this at work so why would I tolerate it in my house? I think that will be my view when ds is older but who can tell what will be asked of me by then? I dislike the whole objectifying of women a la page 3 etc so I certainly wouldn't be happy to have this kind of poster on a wall in my house. So no, I don't think you're a prude. I do think it's normal and healthy for young boys to be interested in women's bodies but I'm not sure I'm happy with the way these are presented in lad mags like FHM etc. (or porn for that matter, but that's another thread maybe).

Re alcohol I'd rather a 15 yo was allowed the odd small glass of wine with a meal than ban it altogether in a house where wine with meals is the norm - I think there is a danger of it becoming something exciting because it is banned. I think I'm right in saying that the English generally have more problems with alcohol than say the Italians or French who regularly drink with meals and accept alcohol in moderation as a normal part of life. Hmm, but my case for not banning alcohol doesn't tally with my case for banning lad mag topless pictures does it? I do think the two are different though: topless pictures offend me, normal alcohol consumption does not.

threeangels Fri 20-Dec-02 02:58:31

I dont agree at all with the poster and most defenatley with the alcohol. What are these parents thinking. Dont they see that we have enough problems in the world with underage drinking. I realize 13-15 yr olds arent driving alone but what happens when they are by law able to drive. Whos to say they wont drink and get behind the wheel. They could kill someone and ruin their life along with the ones who stupidly supplied the alcohol. I'm not saying this will happen but giving kids the right at such a young age to drink may certainly lead down that road.

SimonHoward Fri 20-Dec-02 06:17:20


You are not a prude.

I grew up in a very relaxed atmosphere with regards to nudity (my parents had a very tasteful nude painting on the wall from before I was born) and it was not something that was of any concern to my family. My brother did worry my parents though by covering his walls with posters of Bros (a male band for those too young to remember).

As for the drinking, if they are allowed a little bit at home then that is fine but I really do not agree with youngsters going out and drinking unsupervised.

aloha Fri 20-Dec-02 07:55:08

Agree completely with www. Particularly on the poster issue. My house, no sexist posters please. I wouldn't be totally thrilled with FHM but wouldn't prevent it being bought however.

jasper Fri 20-Dec-02 08:18:14

mears I think you have some very dodgy friends

mollipops Fri 20-Dec-02 08:54:10

Agree not the sort of image I would like ds to have of women at this age...

Felt much the same about dsil and dbil letting my nephew read raunchy mags from around age 12. Yech. Mind you he is now almost 21 and a lovely young man so who knows really. Just not a decision I would make.

cazzybabs Fri 20-Dec-02 11:16:16

My parents gave me money to go to the pub when I was only 15 - but I was responsible and I never got drunk (that came later) unlike my friends who lied to thier parents about where they where going! I think if I had got drunk then my parents would not have allowed me out..but then I am a girl and there is not the peer presure to go and see who can get the drunkest as there is for boys!

forest Fri 20-Dec-02 12:06:51

I haven't got older kids so I have no idea what I will be like when older but with regards to drinking - I drank from a young age (11). My dad would buy me bottles of martini to take to parties, I had glasses of wine in the house etc. Whilst living at home I never had the urge to get wrecked as alcohol wasn't something forbidden and I respected my parents. However, I did turn out to be a heavy drinker which I only got under control once I got pregnant. So did drinking early set up my later drinking habits or would I have become a drinker without the introduction at home?
As for nude posters - I am completely on the wall as I have no feelings one way or the other.

GillW Fri 20-Dec-02 13:24:41

Wow forest - "As for nude posters - I am completely on the wall" - Mears's friend's son has your picture in his bedroom?

mears Fri 20-Dec-02 14:05:36

Spoke to my son this morning to guage his views. He says that he just wouldn't want to put a poster up because I would 'go off my head'.
He was not perturbed about it but accepts that it is not permitted in our house. At least he respects my views. On the drink front we have let him have the odd beer. He is not impressed by his 'drunk' peers and has no desire to get into that state. I hope he keeps that attitude.

Lucy123 Fri 20-Dec-02 14:38:06

mears - this is an interesting subject.

I was brought up with all the don't drink etc rules (and I broke them!) but Dp was brought up with no rules as such, just a firm knowledge that he would have to live with the consequences of his actions and that rules would be introduced if he gave his mum any reason to. So for example if he drank himself silly on a Sunday night (aged 15), he would still have to get up and go to school on Monday morning. If anything got broken at a party, he wouldn't be allowed to have parties.

As adults I think we're both fairly well balanced! He is admittedly a bit of a drinker now, but so are many friends who were brought up like I was. I think any strategy can work as long as you (the parent) are comfortable with it. So no, I don't think you're a prude! On drinking I remember standing on street corners downing bottles of Mad Dog 20/20 (remember that?). I would so much rather that dd felt she could drink a little at home.

Chinchilla Fri 20-Dec-02 14:42:00

I think that Forest could be right about the early drinking thing affecting your later drinking. My mum's cousin died young as a result of alcoholism. Their family always used to go to the pub together, and have several drinks. It must be hard to get the balance right so that kids don't feel like they have to go behind their parents' backs, but also so that they don't go mad with it. I used to drink Martini at parties too (classy chick!), but now am not that heavy a drinker. In my day (mid-late eighties), you could easily get served in an off-licence, as long as you had a bit of make-up on. I think that my parents must have known that I drank, but they never said anything.

On the poster subject, I am not keen on that sort of thing, but if the parent of the boy thought that it was OK, then who are we to judge!? I won't be allowing that kind of thing on my ds's walls, but then some of the FHM pictures of 'celebrities' are almost as bad nowadays.

pamina Fri 20-Dec-02 15:56:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

anais Fri 20-Dec-02 22:27:21

Scary, Simonhoward. Is there anyone here who is too young to remember Bros? You're making me feel old now

I think www has a good point about alcohol. My objection was to kids drinking with mares and unsupervised. To my mind it's a completely different thing to have the odd glass at home. Although having said that, my parents still ration how much I drink when I'm at home!

pluto Fri 20-Dec-02 22:37:28

Drinking at home, with meals, mixed with water I think is OK once you're 14ish. As for full frontal boobies on the bedroom wall...yuck! Buy them some interior decor mags...

Cadi Fri 20-Dec-02 22:49:19

My son is now 18 and did have a poster on his wall I wasn't comfortable with - no biggie it was artistic rather than pornographic - but I asked him to move it out of my view (I suggested inside his wardrobe door) as it bothered me as a woman - he chose to throw it away after hearing how it made me feel uncomfortable and my reasoning I know he has pornographic magazines, I'm pretty sure he knows I know, we don't mention it - he knows my views, he'll come to his own conclusions.

Alcohol, we never had a problem with our teenagers drinking but drew the line at them falling in paralytic. They did it a couple of times and were given such a hard time I think they decided it wasn't worth the grief from me They drank on social occasions with us from about 14 but never huge amounts. We also bought my son some cans of lager one time when he was going to a party - lowest strength - if we hadn't he would have bought a 1/4 bottle of spirits like his friends were doing With lager they usually puke before they get to passing out stage, spirits are a lot more lethal.

I do think if you lay down rules that are too strict then all they will do is hide things from you, it's important to give them boundaries but ones that allow them to make their own decisions too. Most teenagers will try alcohol, I really don't think that telling them they can't will stop them, they'll just disguise it or not come home at all.

SimonHoward Sat 21-Dec-02 08:37:48

Something that seems to be coming through from all of you is that a pinup of a woman either undressed or partially undressed is not acceptable, why is this?

I'm a bit confused over the whole problem of this as I have never had anyone complain about the Gothic Eroitca that adorns the wall in my landing and other forms of nude art that hang on my walls in other parts of the house. I have had several good remarks though.

aloha Sat 21-Dec-02 10:13:30

I think photographs are different from art as they involve a real woman who is there for his pleasure IYKWIM. I don't like porn because having written about it a few times, it's a terrible world that thrives on exploitation of people who are ill and abused and involves drugs, people-trafficking, under-age girls, rape etc etc. It is full of very bad people doing very bad things. Most sex crimes are fuelled by pornography and I feel that the increasingly sexualisation of children (all children) has been fuelled by the movement of the values and look of pornography into the mainstream in an unprecedented way. I accept that my son will be interested in naked bodies and sex as he gets older, but I don't want porn in my house or for him to think I approve of it, any more that I'd like him doing crack in his bedroom while I smile on benignly. Pin-ups are different in degree of course, but still present an image of what a woman is and what she's for that I wouldn't want in my house. Once he has his own home, he can do what he likes. Art is different both in content and in intent. There, now you'll all think I'm crazy, but that's what I believe!

Tinker Sat 21-Dec-02 10:57:08

Not sure about the early drinking leading to a respect of alchohol. We often had watered down wine with our meal from a very early age (parents were complete Francophiles) and neither me nor my 2 brothers developed a healthy attitude to drink. No alcoholics but we've all viewed the weekend as a time to go out and get p*****.

forest Sat 21-Dec-02 15:44:52

Gill W - I meant on the fence!!! I think my brain has completely gone since having dd!
Aloha - not all pornagraphy is sordid and some women do it because they enjoy it not because they have been forced into it or have a drug habit.

anais Sat 21-Dec-02 21:55:38

But surely there is a big difference between topless/naked pictures of women (or men) and pornography? I think porn is degrading, and IMO it certainly doesn't project a positive attitude to women. But the human body is a beautiful thing, and not something we should be ashamed of. As long as kids (boys and girls) are taught to respect their own and others' bodies then I don't see the problem.

SimonHoward Sun 22-Dec-02 09:56:54


Why do you think it is degrading?

I have to agree that there is a sordid side to pornography but there is also a side where it is a business like any other and the majority of the people in it are there because it is what they want to do.

As for porn fueling sex crimes, I agree and it has been documented. But in every case I have heard of the people involved have taken it to the extreme. It's not like the collection of mags/videos the majority of younger men tend to get we are talking seriously obsessed here and as with any obsession it cannot be healthy. The problem is would society as a whole stop all forms of porn, some of which are enjoyed by a large amount of the population, just to stop these people from getting it easily? If they are then all these people will do is look overseas to get what they want because they are obsessed about it so in the end all you do is remove it from the people that are least likely to commit a sex crime.

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