real activity?" discussion. "/> InCultureParent | Cheerleading, Katy Perry and My Six-Year-Old

Pin It
Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Cheerleading, Katy Perry and My Six-Year-Old

By

Our soon to be six-year-old is now taking cheerleading classes once a week after school. Her best friend S does it so we didn’t even go into the “why not do some real activity?” discussion.

And now she is building up a repertoire of pop songs that she hums and sings while she is playing, and that has made us think.

Picking up English

I do not remember at what age I started to listen to music. I guess it must have been around the age of 10. In Germany, it was the age of the radio station and the tape recorder. I listened to programs aimed at young people, some of them dedicated to discovering new music. Most new music came from the UK back then.

I had an FM radio that I sometimes hid under my pillow so my parents wouldn’t notice when I listened to it in the evening when I was supposed to sleep. With the size of a radio then, it was pretty uncomfortable…

I remember a couple of situations when I was at school, where someone would sing an English or American song and others would correct the lyrics. Those discussions were sometimes hilarious. Let’s face it: we were pretty bad at understanding English.

Later, like most youngsters with a certain geek factor, I watched Star Trek. A friend of mine at the time bought the original English version on VHS tapes and I was quickly doing the same. The original versions were just so much better. I never actually watched a single episode of Star Trek: Voyager in German. Instead, I bought every single one on VHS.

At the time, this “immersion” enabled me to go see original versions of movies without subtitles. A lot of my friends did that, and it is easy to forget that your average German will not be able to follow a movie that is not dubbed. I was privileged in a sense. Even more so later, when I absorbed French.

Natural and Easy

Why am I going on about that?

Think about my daughters. They grow up with Arabic, French, German and English. They don’t have to make any effort to understand pop music or a movie. They will still misunderstand the lyrics because they might not know some words, but they will clearly get the sense of pretty much anything we can throw at them.

Imagine a German girl of six years at school doing cheerleading club. They listen to some music, say Katy Perry’s “Hot n Cold.” They move around and have fun and the whole thing is pretty much an advanced gymnastics club with music.

But add to that the ability to understand English, and all of a sudden you’ll find yourself in a discussion about the lyrics and whether that song is appropriate or not. My daughter is singing things like “Yeah, you PMS, like a bitch, I would know.” Hm. It is pretty hard to find pop songs that are really ok for young children.

I have to admit: I didn’t see that one coming.

© 2011 – 2013, Jan Petersen. All rights reserved.

More Great Stuff You'll Love:


6 Favorite Children’s Books about Ramadan

Our top picks for Muslim and non-Muslim kids alike

Are French Kids Better Behaved Because They are Spanked?

Should spanking be part of your parenting toolkit to have well behaved kids?

An Islamic Perspective on Child-Rearing and Discipline

Does Islam's reputation for severity and harshness apply to how Muslims raise children?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Jan, who is German, works mainly from home as a software engineer. His wife, who is Algerian, stays at home to look after their three girls aged 7, 4 and 1. They live in the U.K. and are raising their children multilingual in Arabic, French, German and English.

Leave us a comment!

1 Comment
  1. CommentsSafina   |  Monday, 21 December 2015 at 4:43 am

    comment #4:Indeed!We have numerous etiicnhties whose masses are steeped in the music, art, and ethos that is native to them. But, how quickly the disturbed cry that’s so Euro-centric’ goes up when we employ Gregorian chant, Anglican chant, polyphony and anthems in a mass that has its ritual roots in the heritage of those of us who are Euro-Americans! It would be crude for any of us in our day and time to disparage black, asian, Mexican, etc. cultural expressions, but disparaging our own European culture by any and all is quite tolerated, accepted without so much as raised eye-brows.Too, I have observed that, really, the music of most of the ethnic groups in our land is not actually black (African), or Viet-Namese, Chinese, Korean, or Mexican: it is a rather bad adaptation of shoddily orientalised or Africanised western music. One will never hear music that is truly and historically oriental at any of our various ethnically oriental churches. Even the famous mariachi band music which is ubiquitous amongst our Spanish brethren is not representative of true Spanish music. (Far from it!) The mariachi band is Maximillian’s and Napoleon III’s last laugh, for its inspiration was the military bands which played at the marriages ( mariachi’) of the hated French occupiers. Most of the Hispanics in our midst have disowned their true Spanish musical heritage. It would, after all, be SO Euro-centric.









Notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail.
Or leave your email address and click here to receive email notifications of new comments without leaving a comment yourself.

Get weekly updates right in your inbox so you don't miss out!



Why I Travel 13 Hours Alone with My Kids Every Chance I Get

Travelling with children, while definitely more of a mission, contradicts the old saying that “life is about the journey, not the destination.”

A Diverse Book for Preschoolers in Celebration of Multicultural Children's Book Day

A book that honestly and simply celebrates the every day diversity that children experience.

Why My African Feminist Mother Gave Me the Identity of My Father's Tribe

She gave me an identity so different from her own.

2 Children’s Books about Jamaica

Explore Jamaica with your child.

Costa Rica with Kids: Two Weeks of Family Travel

Two weeks of Pura Vida in a country with so much to offer families.

Should I Worry about My Child's Accent in Her Foreign Language?

See why Dr. Gupta takes offense to this question and where children learn accents from

How to raise trilingual kids when exposure to Dad's language is limited

My kids only get 1-2 hours of the minority language per day-help!

What Cultural Norms Around Bare Feet Taught This Mother in Guatemala

Her baby's bare feet ended up being a lesson on poverty and privilege.
Hi Kim! I am so glad that this article was useful for you and made you feel validated as a parent. It's not often in this judgmental world of parenting we get that, right?! That's the main reason...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
I love reading your work. I can olny imagine what it would be like to have such beautiful customs and true community. I understand why it is so very very important to keep these traditions alive. Be...
From No Kids Allowed: How Kenyan Weddings are Changing
Your mother in-law seems somewhat reasonable. Many Chinese Mother In-laws are not. In their scenario, they would be number 1 to the child and you would be number two. Many want to have a bond closer...
From How My Chinese Mother-in-Law Replaced my Husband
I think Konstantina is actually responding to what is probably more familiar/praised/or preferred socially as well. I was an English teacher in Poland with a distinct accent. I struggled to get Engl...
From Should I Worry about My Child’s Accent in Her Foreign Language?
Noor Kids' title "First Time Fasting" is another great rea...
From 6 Favorite Children’s Books about Ramadan
This article was shared in a community I run to connect globetrotting parents and everyone LOVED it. You should join us! We all relate to your experience. Many of us, including me, are in the same b...
From Why I Travel 13 Hours Alone with My Kids Every Chance I Get
Please help: I Love my wife and my son. I am also EXTREMELY involved as a dad. I had to move to china ( in a tiny tiny town) where I am the only foreigner so that my wife can take over the family bu...
From How My Chinese Mother-in-Law Replaced my Husband
Thanks for writing this!! My baby is 7 months, and I love having her sleep in my room. I don't mention it too often to people who have had kids because they seem a little judgy on it. So tonight I...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
Honestly, it looks like the author married into a very backward and old fashioned family. Not stimulating children's curiosity, differences between boys and girls, and women slaving in the house, wh...
From French versus Italian Parenting in One Multicultural Family

More from Our Bloggers