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Parents should stop pretending to be pop stars

Thanks to the X Factor, another middle aged mum has humiliated her kids on telly. Isn't it time parents started acting their age and behaving like proper role models, asks Daisy Buchanan.

By Nic Hopkirk 26/09/2012 10:58

 

Rex Features

 

We’ve always been quick to point at pop music as something we should probably protect our children from.  Shielding your children from MTV, Rihanna’s crotch, Kanye’s profanities and Nicki Minaj’s moves has become second nature to the parents of most young children. But are the kids the ones we should be worried about? The kids are alright - but what about the parents?

 

The X Factor auditions are notorious for humiliating prospective contestants, but Ofcom thinks it may have gone too far by showing Alison Bruton’s performance. Alison, a 51 year old mother to children aged 14 and 16, was shown singing Lady Gaga’s The Edge Of Glory. Louis Walsh described it as “like somebody drunk at a wedding”. Her children were filmed watching her, and their visible distress prompted 35 people to complain. (According to Ofcom regulations, “under 18s must not be caused unnecessary distress or anxiety by their involvement in programmes”.)

 

Alison wasn’t just imitating Lady Gaga when she appeared on the X Factor - she was doing an impression of a star struck adolescent

 

The boundaries between the different generations are blurred. Parents are more likely to borrow their children’s Skrillex album than ask them to “turn that racket off”.

 

As fashions fluctuate, it’s normal to see Grannies in neon and teens in tweed. Pop has become graphic, sexual and outrageous, and for the most part, the teens who have grown up with it seem capable of appreciating it without copying what they see.  But for their parents, it’s a different story. They don’t just want Moves Like Jagger - they want to shock like Lady Gaga, dance like Rihanna and dress like Little Mix. And it needs to stop.

 

Being a pop star is a lot like being a teenager. You dress outrageously, behave as if you’re desperate for attention and talk about your sexual conquests in embarrassing, exaggerated length. There’s a time and a place for all of those things, but ultimately they’re behavioural traits you’re supposed to grow out of.

 

It’s just not dignified to be a mum in a meat dress. Parents are meant to be part exasperated and part indulgent when their offspring develop intense obsessions with cultural icons. Alison wasn’t just imitating Lady Gaga when she appeared on the X Factor - she was doing an impression of a star struck adolescent.

 

You need your parents to act older and wiser than you, so that you’ve got realistic role models who are outside the Top 40

 

Parental tension is part of teenage life, but it’s supposed to come from the fact that Mums and Dads don’t understand what their offspring are into. You need your parents to act older and wiser than you, so that you’ve got realistic role models who are outside the Top 40. Sadly, I don’t think Alison Bruton will be the last parent to humiliate her children by acting out in her middle youth, but in the meantime, perhaps more albums need a Parental Advisory warning - one telling parents that some music isn’t meant for their ears.

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