Where Ladybugs Roar

Confessions and Passions of a Compulsive Writer

Monday, April 16, 2012

Everything I Know About Relationships--I Learned from Books

Okay, luckily, that's not true--for me, but B has started reading, and I've noticed since her reading has exploded--she's started diving into social situations a little more. I'm starting to wonder if the two are related. It wouldn't surprise me if the medium of fiction is helping her figure out what isn't intuitive about relationships between people.

It's a good thing.

Sort of.

I've also started to preview books for her, and she's getting to the age where there will be romantic relationships in books. The later Harry Potter books had them. Grimm Legacy had romantic relationships in it. She's just now reading Ella Enchanted (which I read a while back and okayed.) The realization that she might be using novels to figure out how to interact with people puts a lot more pressure on me to make sure she's reading books that will give her an accurate and healthy portrayal of social situations--at this age. I don't intend to micro-manage her choices forever, but she's only 10, and she hasn't developed the social skills of her peers. Peer pressure and romantic relationships top the list of what I want to see handled well in a book.

Even books that might, technically, be safe and seem harmless like Twilight--aren't really safe for a child who is basing her conceptions of a healthy relationship with the opposite sex on fiction. B is an extremely literal child. Vampires aside, the relationship between Bella and Edward isn't exactly healthy or ideal. Other kids might recognize that, but I'm not entirely sure B will.  T has a bit more social savvy than her but I also don't think he'll be as drawn to books with a heavy romance B plot.

Luckily, there are still a ton of books around that'll appeal to an eager reader, but I am examining them on levels I'd never expected. Being a parent--changes everything. Why should reading and reviewing be any different?

So, have you ever enjoyed a YA or adult book that you also wouldn't let one of your kids read until adulthood?


  1. Hi, Wendy. @sirra_girl re-tweeted you and I hope you don't mind I followed your profile to your blog.

    First, this is a great site! And, second, my husband would totally agree with you about Bella and Edward. He thinks their relationship is awful! Even for teenagers!

    Our HB is only 4 and right now she only "reads" mommy's Runner's World magazine -- for the Disney Marathon ads. But I'd like to follow your suggestion of "approving" her reading when she gets to be 10.

    As an English professor, can I suggest you create some discussion questions that you and B can use to examine behaviors, expressions, and dialogue that is exchanged between the characters?

    With HB we work on reading facial expressions when we read picture books to her. This is to help her connect language with behavior. Maybe your daughter could work with you to understand how people in love speak to one another?

    Thanks for letting me drop in!

  2. Hmmm... my parents never really oversaw my reading. I'm sure there were books they hid from me, but once I had one in my hands, they never took it out. Also I'm not a parent, so I can't really answer your question. :(

    I can say though that I was saved by the very broadness of my reading experience. Because there were so many books with so many different ways to do things, I didn't take any one book as the absolute way to be. But overall, they did teach me most of what I knew about people and how to interact in the world.