The Play Forum is a collection of voices from parents and people in the toy and children’s entertainment industries. Read what’s on their minds, and join the conversation.
When children are in their preschool years, it seems easy to engage yourself in the things they like because they’re often so cute. You sing the theme songs to their favorite TV programs, read silly books, buy them their favorite characters, and so on. When kids get older, their “loves” are less cute, ranging from superhero stories that are getting more graphic, human, and less animated to your daughter starting to “gasp” over the lead singer in the latest boy band. Many of us have been there ourselves, but we forget the sheer excitement that singing the latest song from that oh-so-amazing boy band can cause in young fans’ hearts.
Realizing that our tween daughters were getting more and more enamored of the latest British invasion band One Direction, a group of parents decided to jump in and join the fun. Earlier this year we took our daughters and a group of their tween friends to see the One Direction documentary–style film This is Us. It was quite the experience!
It was interesting to learn what all the fuss was about, and these young artists actually seem like fairly simple guys. We learned their names, got to see their parents, and got a glimpse at what has grasped the fascination of an entire generation of young girls. Thus, our Halloween idea was born. What if the dads dressed up as an ’80s rock band called Wrong Direction and the moms would be their screaming, crazy fans? So we plotted for a month.
To remain authentic to an ’80s look, the band T-shirts (You have to have a logo!) were designed and painted by the moms. In true boy band spirit, the band split up before it even started with two of the dads dropping out because of a conflict. The moms went all out in their proper ’80s attire with ripped leggings, big neon earrings, neon mesh hand covers, and, of course, big hair!
The best part was that whenever the moms (groupies) saw the Wrong Direction guys, they screamed and shrieked! The tween girls immediately reacted saying, “We don’t do that,” and the parents thoroughly enjoyed replying with, “Yes you do!”
It really was a lot of fun, and it showed that parents are people, too. We loved our generations’ bands. We screamed and shouted like young kids do today. The message was heard loud and clear among the tweens: we want to be part of our children’s worlds. Sometimes it takes a stunt to get the message across, but the bottom line is, we’re trying to enjoy this life stage with our kids and have some fun in the process.
Fun also has a way of neutralizing drama. By showing our kids some of the silliness, we’re suggesting they have fun and enjoy the music but not be dramatic over every single thing these boys, or any other band or celebrity, does. The old phrase of “actions speak louder than words” really was true in this instance.
Have fun with your tweens!
Cristy & Katherine