Recently, I sat through “Chipwrecked” with my six-year-old son. I had played him a selection of trailers and left the choice of film up to him. When he chose this film, though, I found myself in a dilemma. In my opinion, he had chosen the worst film on offer. Does a parent’s duty include having to sit though naff films? And how far can you go to impose your “good taste” on your childs “bad taste”.
I realised that this dilemma isn’t an uncommon one for me.
Whether it is the plinky plonky children’s CD, some saccharine stuffed TV character or some thinly veiled advertising ploy of a children’s magazine, I waver. I should be stronger, put my foot down, say no, shouldn’t I?
A real eye opener was a friend of mine. “How can you put yourself through this”, he said. The “This” is a television series featuring an effeminate pink dinosaur that surrounds itself with sycophantic child actors, its mission being to infiltrate your mind with offensively banal songs.
Before my friend's comment, it had never really occurred to me that I had a choice in the matter. It sparked something off in me. It was like a kind of liberation. Hey! Parents have rights, too. Just say no to your children’s “bad taste”.
But even as I tried to picture my new sensory emancipation, I saw the smile on my son's little face and felt bad. How could I deprive him of something he so obviously enjoys? Can it really be that bad, I mean it's not turning him into some kind of zombie or anything, is it?
The TV programme was, thankfully, reaching its conclusion, prompting the pink dinosaur to sing its closing mantra, whilst bobbing mesmerizingly on the screen.
“I love you, You love me, We’re a happy family”, the eyelids fluttered,
“With a great big kiss and A hug from me to you”, the pink hands clasping together,
“Won’t you say you love me, too?” blow kiss with hands.
Ah, the little love, I thought, looking at my son. He is happy. We are happy.
Yes, I thought, wistfully - I love you, you love me. We’re a happy family...