Who doesn’t LOVE pandas, puppies, and babies dressed up as astronauts? Well, as cute as the Kia Babylandia commercial aired during the superbowl may appear, the message that we should tell our kids that babies come from OUTER SPACE is wrong! It’s so wrong that I had to write a post about it, and I couldn’t wait until Friday (although this kind of belongs in my Friday Freak Out series!).
This commercial has been one of the favorites, lauded as cute and relate-able, and the dad is described as creative and imaginative. However, I think he’s scared and misguided. The twitterverse has focused mostly on the cute pandas, the fancy effects, and the funny ending, but has largely ignored the problems with this commercial. This commercial incorrectly tells parents that…
- when their kids ask, “where do babies come from”, they should make up a fairytale planet such as Babylandia instead of being honest and informing them of the facts.
- they should avoid the topic of sexuality because it’s something that doesn’t deserve the truth.
- when their child is sharing what they know, it’s ok to cut them off mid-sentence.
- when they don’t feel prepared to answer a question, they should make something up instead.
What messages SHOULD we be emphasizing?
- Babies don’t come from outer space.
- It’s ok for kids to ask their parents about where babies come from. Actually, they SHOULD ask their parents!
- The car is actually a great place to ask/answer questions about sexuality.
- Take advantage of teachable moments, especially when the moment is because a child asks a specific question.
- Listen to what children are saying, so they feel respected and comfortable asking more questions.
- Sexuality is a natural part of human existence, and sexual expression isn’t supernatural or alien.
- Parents don’t have to be scared to answer questions- if you’re not sure how to respond, tell them you’ll answer their question later (and then DO IT!).
I know that Kia has to sell cars, and that their fancy voice-commands demonstrate that this fancy car has an ‘answer for everything’, but this commercial just reinforces the idea that kids don’t deserve the facts about life, and parents don’t know how to teach them anyways. Parents should be a child’s primary sexuality educator, and this commercial does nothing to help parents feel empowered to take on that role. In fact, it does the exact opposite.
Need help talking to young kids about sexuality? I highly recommend the book but how’d I get in there in the first place? by Deborah Roffman (2002), which talks about answering children’s questions according to their developmental stage. It’s an easy and approachable read, focusing on kids 6 years old and under.