When I drive the carpool, my middle school daughter and her friends are raving about and singing along with the Pink song, “True Love.” It’s got this fun bubble gum beat, and mostly I can hear the refrain, “True love, it must be true love.” Great.
Then I went on YouTube to hear all the lyrics and watch the video. The object of the singer’s true love is a guy who, when he’s not lying on the couch ignoring the crying baby is tooling around on a bike like a third grader. He’s goofing off while his wife sings, “I wanna’ slap you on your whole face.” She calls him names and sings, “I hate you. I really hate you so much it must be true love.”
And this is the line that really worries me, “Just once try not to be so mean.”
What do I tell my daughter? I want her to fall in love with a man who respects women.
Loves a Do-Right Man in a Do-Wrong World
Good for you. You pay attention to what your kids are watching and hearing. Now, take a deep breath. You listened to music worse than this and survived. (Sister Sunday herself is known to get all karaoke when “Stand By Your Man” starts playing, even though the man in question is a louse.)
Don’t panic, but do take this opportunity to start a conversation. Most parents will spend more time discussing the purchase of a car with their kids than the choice of a future spouse, even a far-in-the-future spouse. But we’re Catholics. Cars come and go; marriages are forever.
Ask your daughter what she likes about the song. If it’s the catchy beat, well, good news, you agree.
Then bring up the lyrics that worry you. Ask her what she likes about her best friends. The reasons are the same for most of us throughout our lives: “She has my back.” “I can trust her.” “I can tell her anything.” “We have so much fun together.” “She makes me laugh.”
Start a conversation about how what she wants in a friend is also what she will want in a boyfriend.
Few of us say, “She’s my best friend because she’s so mean I just want to slap her.” Or, “She’s my best friend she’s such an (insert unprintable name here.)”
Start a conversation about how what she wants in a friend is also what she will want in a boyfriend or a husband. And the same things that make you avoid the mean girls at school are the same things you should avoid in a boy or a man.
Then ask her to consider the men she loves most: her father, her grandfathers, a brother, etc. Chances are she’ll talk about their kindness and goodness and caring and strength. And maybe the silly way they play air guitar or still think they can manage a handstand. Chances are it won’t be their cruelty or thoughtlessness, especially since you did the single best thing you could have done for your daughter; and picked a do-right man to be her dad.
So, keep talking. Keep listening. Keep loving your daughter, and don’t fret. And while your at it check out some of the music we’ve recommended on our site.