Apr 22, 2014 45 Share

Free to Choose


Sesame Street character Elmo holding stuffed rabbit.
Photo by Richard Termine

On a trip to Arizona three years ago, my son Mickey asked to visit the airport gift shop. He rummaged through a display of stuffed animals. “Hey there little fella,” he said, clutching a small stuffed bear to his chest. For the next hour until it was time to board, he walked through the airport gripping his new toy.  

For years therapists have urged us to encourage more “age-appropriate” interests. We have. But at 21, Mickey is still drawn to Sesame Street characters. His bed is piled with so many plush toys there’s no room to roll over. He sleeps with a large Sponge Bob pillow.

I’ve come to wonder if wanting him to be more age-appropriate says more about our comfort level than about Mickey’s development.

Professionals tell us he has a “spiky” profile: test scores show an uneven scatter of strengths and challenges. His interests are spiky too. He does have what would be considered age interests suitable to his age: he loves watching sports. He enjoys hanging out the mall, eating at the food court and buying t-shirts at Banana Republic (which he calls “The Gentleman’s Store.”) He wears Beats headphones to listen to music—Raffi as well as rock. We encourage his interest in championships, players, team rankings and game rules, which gives him conversational currency with peers.

But if carrying a small Sesame Street Grover beanie in his pocket makes him feel safe, why shouldn’t he? Don’t we all have our transitional objects, or habits and rituals that reassure? How many adults panic at the idea of leaving home without a smart phone? Why do we expect our children on the spectrum to be paragons of age-appropriate maturity, when we ourselves frequently choose age inappropriate activities or interests? One of my husband Marc’s favorite movies (sorry hon, I’m outing you here) is the animated Pixar flick “The Incredibles.”

Instead of focusing on having age appropriate interests, wouldn’t we all be better off focusing on teaching our kids the appropriate times and places to pursue those interests?  Listening to Muppet music on an iPod with ear buds is fine; carrying a Muppets backpack is not. I don’t want anyone bullying him.

When Mickey was a toddler, he was evaluated by Dr. Stanley Greenspan, the architect of Floortime Therapy, a developmentally-based intervention that stresses following your child’s lead. Dr. Greenspan taught us to enter into Mickey’s interests. “Those passions are the window to your son’s emotional life,” he said.

Last night when I poked my head in his room, Mickey was engrossed with his iPad. “I’m watching Snoopy,” he told me. “He’s for everyone. Come see.”

I sat beside him. “Looks like Snoopy is doing his happy dance.” 

“Yes!” he said. “I’m getting ready for my play date with Jake this weekend. Jake loves Snoopy.”

I shared that with Jake’s mother. “Aw,” she said. “I struggled for years to come to terms with him skipping down the halls and singing Barney songs.”

The bottom line is this: Mickey works hard all day to meet other people’s expectations of suitable behavior. If he wants to watch blooper reels from “Reading Rainbow” and outtakes from “The Muppets Movie” when he gets home, that’s fine. Why shouldn’t he seek out things that comfort or amuse him? We all do. Marc and I have watched so many “Seinfeld” reruns we could do a responsive reading of the dialogue. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

It’s his leisure time, not ours. Mickey gets to choose. I respect his choices because I respect him. I’ve stopped caring if his interests don’t fit someone else’s idea of appropriate.

As long as they’re appropriate for him.



Comment Options

Yumi Fujiwara (not verified)

I'm like your son as well.

I am 16 and have ADHD. I enjoy the animated series Magic Adventures of Mumfie, magical girl anime such as Pretty Cure, Magical DoReMi and Himitsu No Akko-chan, as well as many other cartoons. I like them because they not only appeal to kids, but to older audiences as well-for example, Mumfie is very entertaining and enjoyable (why else would it have a higher rating than SpongeBob or My Little Pony on IMDB?), and I could relate to Scarecrow-he's just like me! Some of the shows I like also have huge fanbases of fans older than the target audience. When I was in elementary, I enjoyed preschool shows (Abby on Sesame Street was just too adorable!) as well as a few of my classmates (Thomas and Friends was a big favorite with the students I knew-they loved collecting the trains and watching the episodes, and we once watched it before Easter break), and now I look back and think "What the heck was I thinking?". The same thing goes for Popples and Teddy Ruxpin, which were good as a child, but as a teenager, are tedious. As for the plush toys, I sleep with a Mumfie doll every night. I am looking for the Scarecrow stuffed animal my brother had as a kid, even though I have a figurine of him. I also love Pretty Cure plush dolls. My favorite ones are Cure Happy and Lollipop Hip-Hop. By the way, the Muppets weren't originally intended for kids. Jim Henson decided to use puppets to catch the eyes of bored adult viewers of televison, in a similar manner to The Simpsons. The older Sesame Street episodes wouldn't be fit for today's kids either-for example, kids are seen playing with farm animals unsupervised and without shoes on in one version of the intro, there are scary things like a segment where a baby falls off a ladder and is saved by a clown, and innapropiate sterotypes like "The Girl With Fat Legs". SpongeBob (although I hate it) isn't kiddie, either-the show was originally going to be an adult show, but was toned down because it looked appealing to kids, in a similar manner to a childhood favorite of mine, PowerPuff Girls. In conclusion, it's okay to like cartoons and stuffed animals.

davidwarner (not verified)

thanks for sharing us this

thanks for sharing us this info. it is very intresting one. funny pictures

Jan (not verified)

Stuffed Toys

Our son will be 21 in June. We will go to Vegas, show him how to be responsible. Next we are going to San Diego to Sea World. He can't wait to go to the Build a Bear there, he says the store there has animals you can only get there. There must be over 300 stuffed toys in the and garage. He still plays Lego, then plays Black Ops with his friends. Over the years we try to limit the stuff toys by doing Wild Life Build a Bear toys, and Long Beach Aquarium adoption animals. It's just the way he is. He carries some Lego with him and portable PSP toys & his Kindle everyone. Every one is different & love able.

Anonymous (not verified)

I could have written every word in this blog!

My son does the EXACT same things!  He loves sports and Sesame Street.  He loves American Idol the New Orleans Saints.  The school kept telling him he couldn't talk about Sesame Street.  He recites the ending of Sesame "Sesame Street was brought to you today by the number 2 and the letter C" when he's nervous and anxious.  He loves sesame at home and watches that and basketball buzzer beaters on Youtube!  Of course his anxiety went through the roof.  In fact, they were stopping ALL stims he did to relax.  It broke my heart because I know how much he LOVES Sesame.  In fact, his first really full sentence to me was "Mommy, Nino is BOY in Spanish."  He heard Grover say that on Sesame.  Every time I think of that moment I cry.  We have to reach our kids throughTHEIR world, not make them conform to ours because in trying to make them conform to what we are comfortable with, we're chipping away at their esteem. 

Jill (not verified)

Toys

My son's obsession is all things Disney.  At 19 y.o. every square inch of his room is covered in Disney.  There are PLENTY of "normal" adults who collect toys-Barbies, Star Wars and other Sci-fi related items, cars, etc and no one blinks an eye about THEM.  I think that sometimes when people get a label it becomes a lense through which everything is filtered so that everything is seen as a product of that label.  If he were carrying around Yoda instead of Elmo, the psychologists wouldn't have anything to say.

Jump that berm...JUMP IT (not verified)

Absolute Truth

And for all people on the spectrum.  I'm 27 and hi-func Aspergers and i've dealt with my own version of this societal need to impose "norms" on those perceived to be "different."  Ironically, it comes most at the hands of my father, who also has Aspergers.  This notion that you must conform to a societal perception of "normal" in order to be successful or happy in life is repugnant when applied to people whose brains are literally wired differently from those of the "normal" people.  I grew hearing how I wouldn't be hired at a respectable job if I couldn't control my fascination with certain things, never being instead encouraged to pursue those interests into a career.  I realize this is very reflective of just my experience but I can't help but wonder how many other kids out there on the Spectrum have had their development hindered or even halted by this selfish, self-serving and vain approach to difference.  

Teddy (not verified)

Age appropriate

Thank you for your words.I feel that Phillip's home time should be about what makes him happy and comfortable too.He's only 5 and will be starting kindergarten in the fall.Your words have given hope and relief.Thanks again for your thoughts. 

Sue Dunietz (not verified)

Age appropriate

This subject has been a bugagoo of mine for many years, along with the one-size-fits-all solutions to educating disabled kids (i.e., the swing from "they should all be in special ed" to "they should all be educated in regular classrooms with a shadow and special help").  I believe the author is absolutely right.  In fact, since one size does not and never has fit all, I would go further and say that for some more severely disabled children, "age appropriate" is often downright inappropriate.  My teenage daughter has both Downs and autism, giving her both the very limited cognitive capacity of lower-functioning Downs and many of the behavioral and other developmental "oddities" of autism.  We're completely on board with insisting on reasonably appropriate social behavior and as much self-care as possible, but I frankly do not care whether her recreational interests are at all age-appropriate as long as they don't involve hurting anyone.  She loves Barney, Raffi, Sesame Street, and other such performers and characters.  Her taste in books still runs to children's picture books and "easy readers," which she is still incapable of reading to herself.  IT IS OKAY. We actually refused to send her to a school where the principal proudly told me that they insisted on age-appropriate everything - if she even wanted to take out a library book, they would insist that it be age-appropriate.  The rationale for this was that the kids would eventually be out in the "real" world, and people would laugh at them if they were still reading Dr. Seuss.  Well, you know what?  My kid is never going to be out in the "real" world.  Not because I don't want her to, but because she CAN'T.  The best we can expect at this point is maybe some kind of sheltered workshop, and that might be a stretch.  Any place she is likely to end up, they're not going to care a whole lot if she still likes Barney, and she won't be the only one.   She doesn't understand "age-appropriate" reading and video materials, and will simply refuse to engage at all if that's her only choice. Why should she be denied the opportunity everyone else gets to enjoy books and videos that are at her own functional level?

Dean McIntosh (not verified)

Choice

I am an autistic 35 year old who regularly displays symptoms of PTSD due to the manner in which he was treated as a child. I say this because I want to point something out that is pretty important in my eyes.You describe age-appropriateness as seen through the eyes of the normie, and to be certain, their application of that is really quite disturbing in some ways. But this works both ways, too. I would be absolutely in tears constantly if I were a child or adolescent today. In this age of Elmos and Harry Pottys, my relating to such characters as RoboCop as a sick nine year old would be tolerated like a gay pride parade in Texas.Contrary to what people might think, we live with a media that encourages us to think of ourselves as children or babies non-stop. Adult considerations are never displayed in any form, and the idea of a film from the last twenty years displaying any kind of situation that is unique to adults is laughable. Even the idea of adult Human males being allowed to look like adult Human males is an alien concept to today's media. Thus, we have an entire generation of seventeen year old girls who think that all twenty-one year old males should resemble what I derisively refer to as Justin Baby. For the record, I looked (and sounded) more man-like than that when I was twelve.Infantalisation is a very big thing in our media, and when subjects dwell on the fringe, those in power ramp up the infantalisation even more.By the way, as you would learn from my own writings online, I very strongly object to having my neurology referred to as if it is a separate thing to me. I have diabetes. I have a history of skin cancer. I have a gene that makes blood clots 5-7 times more likely to form in my veins. I am autistic. Note the differences in wording. Say them aloud and see how they sound. "Has autism" is a slur to me.

Anna (not verified)

Let it Go

I'm autistic and 14. My favorite film is Frozen and I play the flute. I'm still searching for the Let it Go sheet music.

Jump that berm...JUMP IT (not verified)

I'll be honest, if you're

I'll be honest, if you're part of a band or musical group at school or your community center you should try and find that sheet music (or sit down with someone who can transcribe it for you from a sound monitor) and suggest it as a project for your group.  

Stacy Berrin (not verified)

KUDOS

Well done Liane.  You have a beautiful way of taking a seemingly small thing and revealing its larger value.  I believe they call that wisdom.  As I head off to MA to the Option Institute for a wonderful week of self-acceptance and growth, it is wonderful to think about how lucky Mickey is have you and Marc as parents - allowing him to love whatever he loves for however long he chooses to - and even celebrating it.  I will be right next door to the Autism Treatment Center of America...aka the Son Rise Program...which teaches parents to do just that, connecting to their child through his passions.  You are, as usual, a great story teller and a great inspiration.

Elise (not verified)

Thank you!

Thank you so much for sharing this, Liane! Sometimes we worry so much about encouraging our loved ones with disabilities to fit more with the "norm", but we ALL have things that make us stand out. By trying to take those away, we devalue who they are as individuals. Mickey and I have our love of the Muppets in common, and I don't think it's because one of us has autism-- they're just funny! At Kids Included Together, we celebrate and respect differences. We train educational and recreational programs in how to better support children with disabilities and create meaningful inclusive experiences. This includes valuing diversity! Check out our website-- www.kitonline.org. Thanks again for sharing, and all the best to you and Mickey!

Marge Blanc (not verified)

Inner child

What a wonderful blog! When I think about the things that are 'age appropriate' for so many of us NT adults, they include a heavy dose of good guys/bad guys — and violence! What's not to love about the more innocent and 'unadulterated' role models of love, friendship, and caring! If more of us would choose the icons of our inner child, it might do us all — and the world — a world of good! 

Stacy Berrin (not verified)

KUDOS

Well done Liane.  You have a beautiful way of taking a seemingly small thing and revealing its larger value.  I believe they call that wisdom.  As I head off to MA to the Option Institute for a wonderful week of self-acceptance and growth, it is wonderful to think about how lucky Mickey is have you and Marc as parents - allowing him to love whatever he loves for however long he chooses to - and even celebrating it.  I will be right next door to the Autism Treatment Center of America...aka the Son Rise Program...which teaches parents to do just that, connecting to their child through his passions.  You are, as usual, a great story teller and a great inspiration.

Anonymous (not verified)

What's appropriate?

You're article hit home for us. I have an 18 year old daughter that LOVED webkins. There are boxes full of them upstairs and it was a process to work down to just a few in her room. She has one that she still sleeps with and we have found it making its way into her school book bag. She does know to keep it private. It is hard to get upset with her because these stuffed animals have filled a need for her to have companions and something to care for. She enjoyed nurturing them and has been able to channel some of her empathy into some of her social relationships. Developmentally she is still trying to catch up but is managing the best she can to develop relationships with her peers. The animals seem to be a security thing for her. Thank you for sharing!

Maureen (not verified)

Nice balance

Nice perspective... I am an ardent advocate for "age respectful" materials being used in schools for educational purposes. The distinction you make is both in choosing the context (when and where it would not have an adverse effect) and who is doing the choosing (if I am still reading the same Elmo book with a student year after year in school, then I am making that choice, not him). Some individuals with significant disabilities may only have access to topics or content that I (or the family) provide - so if I don't make efforts to expose them to new things and potentially expand their interests they won't have an opportunity to make an informed choice. Having (successfully!) traded out my 18yo nephew's stuffed yellow duck for the more mainstream (yet still yellow and stuffed!) zombie back-pack clip-on, I appreciate your thoughtful articulation of this issue : >

Steve Kieselstein (not verified)

Spot on Liane, though there can be tricky questions

As always, spot on analysis Liane, well done.  A long overdue article.  As I type this, the sounds of Zak, Wheezy and other Dragon Tales characters echo upstairs from the basement, where my 21-year-old son Aaron is mixing them on YouTube with some ribald clips from Avenue Q, and whatever else his imagination has conjured up tonight.  I would also note that this area does have some tricky calls, such as efforts to limit reinforcing self-stimulatory behavior that can't be fully extinguished despite our efforts, like hand flapping, to private environments.  While I favor that approach yet also don't try to limit Aaron's enjoyment of "age-inappropriate" characters any more, I do see the argument that both are reinforcing, and if you should make an attempt to limit one, you should do the same for the other.

Anonymous (not verified)

Amen! This is from a mom who

Amen! This is from a mom who just bought a Twilight Sparkle Princess pony for her 17 year old for his birthday. :) 

Judy (not verified)

Age appropriate

This article made me smile. My son is 19 loves My Little Pony. Yes we went to mcdonalds and got them all. He says he is a Brody and proud of it. A Brody are boys that love MLP. Yes other people may look at this behavior as strange. He is who he is he does not care what other people think. He got into the car with his mlp backpack and said to me don't judge.
He works and goes to the community college. I agree it is his down time and it makes him happy. He says in a few years he will sell all the stuff.
He will be on to something else. Thanks for this article.

Anonymous (not verified)

Free to Choose

As advocates with people that have disabilities, our goal should always inlcude having them be recognized by the community as valued members. You strike this balance by noting it is not so much whether one has a non-age appropriate interest, but help the person learn when to engage in that activity so that it is not a devalueing influence.  

Anonymous (not verified)

age appropriate behavior

I feel moved to add a comment, but it would pale in comparison to what the author has already said.  So I will settle for: Perfect article.  

Ron from Long Island (not verified)

Excllent

Excellent piece. My son is eight-years-old and he still watches "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse." Even though the show is geared towards pre-schoolers, he doesn't care because in his mind it's simple: he loves Mickey Mouse cartoons. He wants to be an animator when he grows up, so in his mind, this is preparation. He doesn't discuss watching the show with his friends - because he doesn't want to be labeled a "baby," but his mother and I told him that if he enjoys it, there's no reason why he shouldn't watch it. (My son also loves Charlie Brown and Snoopy and cannot wait for the new movie to come out.)And we ALL have our TV shows and movies that we watch to make us feel "safe" or good about ourselves. My kids love DVDs of an NYC-based kids show from the 70s called "The Magic Garden." I put it on for myself as much as for them, because just hearing the theme song calms me down and reminds me of weekday afternoons with my mother. I watch "The Muppet Show" with them and it makes me smile, not just because of the jokes, but because when I was a little, my Dad would come home from work and we'd watch the Muppets together. It's a comfort zone. (On a side note, when I took the kids to see the last two Muppet movies, I saw a LOT of adults there without kids - and I guarantee you that not all of those adults were autistic.)Your response is absolutely right. Yeah, there is a time and a place for such things - but isn't that the same for EVERYBODY?  

Crystal Nontell (not verified)

Age appropriate

Oh my lord, I would just like to say that your article is an absolute eye opener for me. My 6yr old son who is autistic has some "age-appropriate" issues in his interests column. It goes both ways with him though.  He is obsessed with TV shows that one would probably class as too young for him. He is always watching and then rewinding the "funny" parts. I believe we have watched the same 5 minutes of Henry Hugglemonster 1Million times in the past month. On the other end of it, he loves to watch sports with me. He will play "Just Dance Kids" for hours on end until he is all sweaty and his legs are sore.  If you ask him where a place is in the world, he will tell you and he could even point it out on the globe, which is far more advanced than any Kindergarten child should be. Some days I feel like I have a 10 year old son and some days a 3 year old son and I couldn't be more proud. As long as he's happy I'm not going to stop him from doing what he loves. Thank you for writing this article.Crystal

Phyllis Schieber (not verified)

Brava on your beautiful

Brava on your beautiful piece, and your spot-on attitude!

RoodAwakening (not verified)

So, what's "inappropriate"

So, what's "inappropriate" about The Incredibles?  ;-)

Vinochick (not verified)

OMG

You blog is so spot on!! My son is 11 but acts more like an 8 year old. I wish he had more age appropriate interests, and he does some, but he also stands out like a sore thumb. We can't get a diagnosis of autism from our insurance even though many people highly suspect he is. Anyway, I have come to embrace who he is and where he is emotionally, socially, and educationally. It makes life so much easier!

Marcia Kupferberg (not verified)

I love the muppets. Mickey

I love the muppets. Mickey rocks!!!!!

Les (not verified)

AT SEVENTEEN

I decided to title this: AT SEVENTEEN.
Thank you for your insight. I get way too caught up with my 17 yr old's choices of what to watch or listen to--lately it's "Match Game...70-whatever!" She just howls and cackles, and laughs, which does make me twinge from time to time. Then...stop! Rewind!! Isn't that better than threats of suicide because of mean, hateful children who are "normal"?? It is so easy to lose perspective--HER perspective and, yes, think she must conform to age appropriate activities and things. All in the name of her not being hurt, not invited, not included. But, that happens anyway-and makes me that much more...STOP!!
Thank you for allowing me to stop, to allow her to make her choices-what makes HER happy. Now, perhaps, I can rest a bit knowing she can survive with her choices...at least for now, at 17. And for those who won't invite her, don't include her...they will miss the experience of one if the most kind- hearted, we'll-meaning and intelligent people I know: my daughter...at 17. And I am proud to be her mother!

Ron from Long Island (not verified)

The Match Game

I'm a "normal" 42-year-old man and I love the Match Game. Seriously. Whenever I'm home from work and it's on, I always watch it and it always makes me laugh - and it brings back memories for me of watching it with my grandparents when I was a kid.Tell your daughter she has excellent taste. And I, too, often wonder just how "dumb" "Dumb Dora" really was.

Sandloks (not verified)

Elmo

I am breatheless. "Grover beanie in his pocket makes him feel safe". I wonder if this could help my son. He's a huge fan of cookie monster right now. 

We've found that having him

We've found that having him carry a beanie gets him through so many stressful or difficult experiences. Certainly worth a try!

Jan (not verified)

Gender appropriate behavior

We follow your lead with our autistic 12 year-old grandson, except his "inappropriate" behavior centers around sometimes choosing a girl's toy vs. a boy's toy.  It just so happens if whatever he is looking at has a star, moon, or sun on it, then that is what he wants.  Just last week he asked for a horse star in the drive thru lane at McDonalds.  I didn't figure out what that was until I saw a sign advertising pretty ponies with happy meals.  So, I paid for the toy and requested the pretty pony with the star.  In the bag was a boy's toy but I caught that before driving away from the window.  After exchanging it he was quite happy and that is exactly what I was going for.  Personally, as a chidl I remember playing with the "boy" toys at a neighbors as there were none of those at mine. 

Trudy (not verified)

Age Appropriate

Thank you! Great article. My daughter is 30, still carries dolls around. They have actually become a source of conversation - like a companion dog - without the poop ;)  She watches Barbie, Arthur, and Franklin videos, over and over again.  It takes nothing away from anyone else.I very much appreciate your articulate and candid article.Trudy Grable 

Tina (not verified)

Article on age appropriate

Hi, I loved your article my son is twelve and he like to comb dolls hair, he even asked me to buy him an air culer it's one of those as seen on TV things. My son is high functioning and gets good grade. The psychologist mentioned to me that his interest in dolls is not age appropriate. That I had to ween him off his interest in dolls. What do you suggest I do? His father was outraged with me and he said that I was causing gender confusion.. I have no problem with the dolls I even use the dolls to create scenarios that apply to life. I use them as a resource tool. Am I wrong by doing this ? Please help.

I'm just a mom, not a

I'm just a mom, not a professional, but for me it's about context -- where and when you use them. If dolls are intrinsically motivating, it makes sense to me to use them therapeutically.

Melinda's Mommy (not verified)

Free to Choose Toys

Hello, Loved your article! My daughter who recently passed away at the age of 27, had one "toy" that she loved. She would quietly laugh, smile giggle when I would hand her this toy, she would not want to let it go, if I would slowly take it away from her, she would reach and reach and reach as far as she could to still touch it and that says alot because she used to lose interest in any other toys really quickly. She would raise this toy above her head with both hands and twirl it, which would make me smile since she was not able to use her left hand very well and this one toy was the only toy she consistantly held with both hands. What was this marvelous toy you might ask? We called it her "Blue Fuzzy Thing"! When she was very little, she had a blue hat yarn knit hat with one of those large blue pom pom's on top of the hat, the first time she felt that pom pom, I knew I had to cut it off and give it to her! She loved that blue pom pom! Thankfully, it took a beating and washing and that blue fuzzying is still here in our house almost 25-26 years later. I look at it and smile, it was the very best toy she ever had! 

Debbie (not verified)

Acceptance

It really is about accepting our family members for who they are! My oldest step-son has serious ADHD, at 22 years old he is graduating from SUNY Oswego with a degree in public justice. He has accepted himself, his need for meds, and modifications. He has learned to be successful! And when he is home he flaps his hands due to thr overflow of excitement. And thats okay. We love him for him and so does his girlfriend, they love each other dearly. And on occasion I have noticed her flapping! This young man always said "I can't! I have ADHD!" he was barely a D student, with acceptence of him and structure he became a B student, a Eagle scout and has become a great adult. He will always have his quirks and thats okay!

Dawn (not verified)

Thank-you

Thank-you so much for this! Both my sons are diagnosed as Autistic, and the perspective you give here is invaluable to so many. My favorite part is where you ask if the whole "age appropriate" aspect has more to do with our comfort, that right there is huge. People need to understand that yes indeed that IS where a great deal of it comes from!

Beverly Carter Miller (not verified)

Autism

As I always say,"whatever makes you happy". And makes those around you who love you happy too.  

Beverly Martinez (not verified)

free to chose

Hello,I  agree totally with Free to choose. I have to admit it brought a tear to my eye. His choices/interests are definitely positive wholesome ones!!!

Louise at BLOOM (not verified)

Free to Choose

This was excellent. Thanks for sharing!

Carol Cassara (not verified)

Age appropriate

I loved this--appropriate for Mickey. He sounds delightful. And really, you're right, we all have our talismans.Carolhttp://www.carolcassara.com

Kathy Radigan (not verified)

I love this post!! I have

I love this post!! I have been dealing with a similar thing with my daughter LIzzy, who at 12 has all sorts of interests, she loves her princess movies, and we have done our best to expand them to the more age appropriate ones, which she also love. She also adores watching Monty Python with her brother and listening to Disney music and 80's rock on Pandora. She also loves to still watch some Nick Junior shows. I'm totally cool with it and use the same guidelines with her and my 9 year odl son.  There is a time and place for everything, And I think it's nice when our kids can be themselves and also watch them use a younger intersts to spark one  that is more "age apprpirate". i kow lots of adults who have doll collections, or collections of Hess Trucks. To each their own. Thanks!!

Candy (not verified)

Liane's columns always add

Liane's columns always add fresh insight and candid revelations. Thanks for another exceptional column.