Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Was your reading monitored as a child?

My parents didn't monitor my reading. Sure, they only bought me Christian-themed books and Christian-YA books. But I lived at the library. I grew up in a small town and I had read every single book in that library by the time I was sixteen. I was reading Danielle Steel at 14. I can't remember the name now, but they were these serialized military Rambo-style books that were popular in the 80s. I read a lot of those.

I feel that the world was all the better because I read so much and so widely. I had a sheltered, quiet upbringing. Fiction brought an entirely different world to me that I wouldn't have known existed. So, because of that, I don't monitor what my step-children read. Let them see the world through many sets of eyes.

And, for the record, I had no idea what most of the sex in Danielle Steel's novels were about until I was 16. I generally skipped those parts and went right back to the romance dialogue. :)


PS This will be my last post until July. I will be traveling back home to see my parents and then heading to a Star Trek convention. See you in July :)


Megalicious said...

My parents were very overprotective of me, because I was the oldest and because they're both very religious. I remember my uncle giving me "Christine" (Stephen King) when I was 12 or 13, and then my mother took it away & didn't let me read it. I was pretty bummed =P

Rebecca Leigh said...

Interesting topic Krista! My reading was also not monitored as a child. I have two daughters and my oldest is ll. I do not monitor what she reads per se.

I say per se because I do keep track of what she's reading. I'm surprised sometimes when she tells me that the middle grade and lower YA books she is reading are violent (she reads some kids Manga, Gregor the Overlander, etc). But I am also available to her when she wants to discuss what's going on in the book. It's working fine so far this way.

I feel she is mature enough to handle choosing her own reading list and although I hear many mothers that do, I do not read the books ahead of time to "make sure they're okay."

I've actually had someone ask me recently (a bit accusatory) "would you let your daughter read what you write." My answer was "definitely, when she's ready"

This might mean that I need to monitor my younger daughter when she starts reading though, since they are complete opposites and my 4 year old is a bit of a wild child -- LOL :)

zellakate said...

Interesting topic! This seems like an augury, because I was just wailing about the evils of parents censoring classics on Twitter a few hours ago.

My reading wasn't really monitored as a child, either. Well, my parents tried, but we had a chaotic homelife and I was a fast reader, so nobody kept track of what I was up to. ^^

The weird consequence of that was when I was a preteen and teen, I read almost exclusively adult books (and classics, most of which were originally considered adult reading). Most of it was not adult in content, though some of it was--I remember reading Mario Puzo's The Godfather when I was about fourteen or fifteen--but YA didn't appeal to me. Now that I am an adult, weirdly enough, I still read adult fiction, but I also read a lot of YA. :P

I don't have kids, so my views on the subject are all theoretical--and mostly driven by my intense hatred of censorship--but I believe that parents should take a moderate, common-sense approach to their kids' reading. Obviously, there are some books that kids at certain ages should not read because the child is simply not ready to handle certain topics, but I think it is a mistake, not to mention misguided, to assume that preventing children from reading about controversial issues will shelter them from those issues. I think parents should instead take those opportunities to talk to their child about the topic, rather than blaming the book, which is usually merely a messenger.

Jean Davis said...

I raided my mother's vast bookshelves as a kid and read all kinds of things. She was just happy that she wasn't having to buy as many books on our weekly trips to the bookstore. She had a small shelf that was off limits, but with so many other choices, I never bothered to ask why.

My kids read a wide array of books and they haven't plopped down with anything I'd object to them reading... yet. I may need to make that off limit section on my own shelves soon.

Krista D. Ball said...

I read an erotica book (in a Victoria setting) when I was 12. I thought it was dull. Nothing happened except stupid sex stuff, most of which made no sense to me. It just sounded icky. :p

When I was 16, I read another erotica. I found myself tipping my head to the side and thinking, "Huh. People can do that?"

When I was 19, I read another erotica. I said to my partner, "Hey, we should try this."


Arlene said...

I too owned the library in the small town, population 300 including cows, I grew up in. I read Homer and Nancy Drew. Mark Twain and the bible--talk about violence! My parents paid no attention to what I devoured in the corner, and I blame them for my inability to focus on anything boring.
I hated Dick, Jane and Spot, and my son learned to read with Calvin and Hobbes. He'd read one word, me the next. I didnt monitor what he read, and I wished I hadnt failed as a parent as he doesnt read much as an adult. Except cartoons of course.
Hope you have a great time with your family, Krista and I can't wait to hear all about the star trek convention when you return.

Melisse Aires said...

My reading wasn't monitored at all as a child. I have a much older brother and would raid his shelves, so I read plenty of things that were too old for me. Didn't seem to make me older and sophisticated, rats.

I have three teen daughters, I don't monitor their reading. I do monitor their activities and behavior, but not their books. I don't monitor their websites anymore either since they seem to have good sense about internet privacy