When Your Little Kids Sing Along to a Catchy Song They Don't Know Is Obscene...

Updated on September 26, 2012
J.B. asks from Boston, MA
19 answers

...do you say anything? The song that I'm talking about is Whistle by Flo Rida. My little guys are 6 & 8 and they must have heard it on the radio when they weren't with me because I definitely change the channel if it comes on. Anyway...one of them was absently singing it the other day and probably assumes it's a song about whistling. Meanwhile, my two teenagers definitely know what the song is about and I shot them a look that said "DO NOT say a word." On one hand, I think that if I say something to them about not liking the song or that it's inappropriate, suddenly they'll be all ears and will want to know why. On the other hand, I don't want them absently going around whistling that tune and singing the words and have people think I let my kids listen to inappropriate music. To me, this is different from campy songs like "Sexy & I Know It" or "Baby Got Back," which they do know and think are funny and understand that words like "sexy" and singing about "butts" are kind of funny but not OK for their age. Versus Whistle, which is just dirty through and through but doesn't sound that way to little kids.

How do you handle this (other than not letting them listen to pop music - that horse is already out of the barn on that front here)?

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So What Happened?

LOL Sherri & Katie I'm glad it's not just me. It's SUCH a catchy song. It's in my head now, which it why I wrote about it.

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answers from Kansas City on

that's so hard!! i have the same gut-wrenching feeling...but then i remember that we were singing along to things like "Cat Scratch Fever" when i was a kid...

99% of the music back then i didn't "get" until i was much older - like in college, because i had heard it all my life, so i never even stopped to think about it once it became obvious. I heard "take it on the run" by REO Speedwagon the other day for the first time in years (decades?) and really listened to the lyrics and was so sad. i never realized that song was about cheating! :( lol! yes, i'm a BIT more oblivious than most lol.

BUT my point is kids put their own spin on things. i used to think a lot of songs talking about sex were just talking about two people "in love" and i never took it any farther than that.

i prefer my son be exposed to good music, even after it all. i love music. i wouldn't want to remove it - and really, once you start censoring, it's really hard to know where to draw the line. every kind of music has inappropriate themes. you'd cut out a LOT - a LOOOOT - if you tried to start really buckling down on it.

and oh yeah - it CRACKS ME UP when my kindergartener does the "wigglewigglewigglewigglewiggle" - complete with butt wiggle. however, i was pretty mortified when we walked through his gradeschool and he started singing "i'm sexy and i know it" - so it was a good opportunity to talk about what's appropriate and what's not. it's a teaching moment ;)

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answers from Charlotte on

I think I'd find another catchy song to play for her so that she'll forget about the first one.

I never had this happen, so that's all I can think of...


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answers from Los Angeles on

I hear what you are saying and I think that explaining why you do not approve of it would open up a whole other can of worms, so I would just wait it out and let it go and soon enough they will be on to the next catchy song.

FWIW: If you actually google the lyrics there is NOTHING inappropriate in them, it's just us adults that know 'what else' he could be meaning that makes it "inappropriate" and put a crude spin on it....but in reality even IF (and that is a BIG if) your kids could understand ALL the lyrics the song itself could very well be about someone learning how to whistle. Google it, you will see what I mean.

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answers from Dallas on

I say nothing at all and let them sing. I know one day they will have the same revelation about songs that I did as an adult. I just wish I could be there when they have that moment of realization of what the song is really about! I remember when I finally realized what Billy Joel's 'spoon up her nose' meant - I wore that song out on my record player when I was 11. I never understood why someone would have a spoon up their nose. LOL!

Really, in the big picture, this just isn't on my radar. No worries here :)

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answers from Biloxi on

Maybe I am old fashioned, but I hate when I hear little kids singing inappropriate songs.

I closely monitored what my son listened to when little. I did not leave popular radio stations on, we did classical or tapes and CDs. Musicals, Andrew Lloyd Weber's Cats, for instance, make great sing-a-longs, as do My Fair Lady, and others of that genre.

When he progressed to popular music I listened with him so we could discuss the lyrics and why they were inappropriate. Oh, I admit, some of the tunes are catchy, some I even like, but I did not need my child to become de-sensitized to overtly sexual lyrics.

There is a time and place, and a maturity level, for certain things. My son is 16 now and has a broad spectrum of music that he listens to. I find that he is less main stream, musically, than his peers. Oh, and we still discuss lyrics and their meanings.

You can corral the horse and lead your children to a different pasture.

:) Hugs

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answers from Grand Forks on

Haha. My friend turned off the radio when that song came on because she didn't want her 7 and 9 year olds to listen to it. I'm thinking that if they "got" what it was really about, then there are way bigger problems!

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answers from Washington DC on

I don't have any answers for you - just wanted to say that we're in the same boat over here. My 9 and 11 year old girls like that song, and have no idea what it means. The other day my friend posted on FB "My son wants to know why Whistle is inappropriate and why I told him to stop singing it." I asked her WHO told him it was inappropriate? Because that's part of the problem. I don't want to have to explain it (in fact, I WON'T explain it to my girls - I think they're too young to hear that) I guess my friend just told her 10 year old son that it's inappropriate, but then wouldn't explain why. I think that just opens up a whole can of worms. But I get what you're saying (and what she was saying) - you don't want your kid to be going around singing that! She was worried he'd sing it at school. I'll be interested to see if anyone has any good advice, because I need it too. Geez. Why'd he have to go make such a catchy tune so obscene?!?! I bet parents all over the country are trying to figure this one out. UGH.

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answers from Baton Rouge on

When I was growing up, lots of us ran around singing Patti LaBelle's "Lady Marmalade" because we thought it was cool that it had French words in it and didn't realize it was about a prostitute. We figured it out on our own when we were older, and I still love that song. My parents never censored my music or my reading material. We turned out just fine.
My daughter grew up with the Pink/Mia/C. Aguillera version of "Lady Marmalade," asked me what the French words meant, I told her that they meant "Would you like to go to bed with me?" and that the song was about a prostitute. And we kept right on singing along.

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answers from Chicago on

When we had this issue with my SD when she was younger, we just told her not to sing in public because it would disturb other people. We also told her not to sing or say anything that she wasn't 100% sure of what it meant, because she could be sending a message she didn't want to send.

That pretty much took care of it!

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answers from Dallas on

I have the opposite problem...I can't get my toddler to listen to "mommy's music". All she wants is her toddler tunes CD.....a person can only take so much BAA BAA BLACKSHEEP and POLLY WOLLY DOODLE for goodness sakes!! Bring on the Flo Rida. ;)



answers from Hartford on

I can totally relate! SOmeone got my 6 yr old a paper jamz guitar that plays Turning Japenese and I CRINGE whenever I hear it. But the thing is that they are young and innocent and all they KNOW is that it is a song about Blowing an actual whistle so even though I cringe whenever I hear it, I know that they are just enjoying the tune and some day will giggle with their friends about what the song is about.



answers from Erie on

My kids can belt out a Dead Kennedys song with the best of them. I don't mind the political stuff. Anything I disapprove of, I don't censor it, but they are told not to sing it in front of me (if I don't like it personally) or other adults (if I think they would be really offended by it). They don't much like pop music, though.



answers from Phoenix on

I don't censor my kids' music, but I explain that some songs are grown-up songs which we can sing at home and in the car, but not at school or in the daycare.
Oh, and get that on video so you can all laugh about it later!



answers from Las Vegas on

My older daughter watched Greece so many times, she knew every word to this song: (At least it was educational, right?)

Mr. Stuart:
The parts of a flower are so constructive that very, very often the wind will cause pollination.
If not, then a bee or any other nectar gathering creature can create the same situation.
Yes, anything that gets the pollen to the pistils, write it on the list.
I'll try to make it crystal-clear:
The flower's insatiable passion turns its life into a circus of debauchery!

Mr. Stuart: Now you see just how the stamen gets its lusty dust onto the stigma.
And why this frenzied chlorophyllous orgy starts in spring is no enigma!
We call this quest for satisfaction a what, class?
Sorority girls: A photo-periodic reaction!
Mr. Stuart: Oh, that's good, that's very good.
Hey, I'm lost where are we? Chapter 2, page 5...

Reproduction, reproduction!
Put your pollen tube to work.
Reproduction, reproduction!
Make my stamen go berserk.
I don't think they even know what a pistil is!
I got your pistil right here...
Where does the pollen go?

Mr. Stuart: Next chapter, In an abstract way, the same thing applies
To the reproductive organs of the more complex life forms.
But now we are dealing with sexual response.
Are there any questions before we begin reading?

Is it possible the female member of some sex on a couch
Could like get this guy all hot and she never even knew it?
When a warm-blooded mammal in a tight little sweater
Starts pullin' that stuff, is she sayin' that she wants to do it?
Johnny: Can't prove it by me, cause they change their tune
When you got 'em in the back seat.
With his heart beatin' fast! Sorority girls: They make it sound like a track meet, gross!
Yeah, then all they can do is say "No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no!"

Reproduction, reproduction!
Baby, give it to me now.
Reproduction, reproduction!
Is that all you think about?
Come on baby show me that you really love me so!
Ohhh, I think I'm gonna throw up!
Where does the pollen go?

Mr. Stuart:
The human is the only being capable of consciously controlling its number of offspring.
Any comments on this?
Paulette: Mr. Stuart, is it true that guys like you, you know, mature and all,
Carry some protection with them for sexual occasions?
Johnny: What's the big deal? Can't a girl just do that thing in a book
Where she adds up the days of her, uh, what do you call it, mentalstration?
Oh, that's really neat! Yeah, and what'll the guy say when the numbers don't add up right, huh?
Yeah, yeah, yeah!

Reproduction, reproduction!
Hope he's proud of what he's done.
Reproduction, reproduction!
He was only bookin fun.
See what happens when a boy and girl
Don't know how to play it safe?

Reproduction, reproduction!
Reproduction, reproduction!
Reproduction, reproduction!
Where does the pollen go?



answers from Dallas on

I caught my daughter singing "Pumped Up Kicks" one day and I was horrified. Now the song in and of itself is not obscene but it is about a kid running around chasing other kids with a gun. In a school district that has zero tolerance against violence I was adamant about making sure she knew what it meant. I asked her where she heard it (I had to look up the lyrics she was singing to find out what the song even was) and she said it was at daycare. Apparently they have a Muzack system at the daycare for after school kids and it is on there. I had a loooong talk with the assistant director and I haven't heard any obscene songs on the system since when I go to pick up.


answers from Dover on

I don't "sensor" my kids music but I do try to be conscience of what may be one when my little one is in the car. With my son, he loved to rock at a young age. I was a young mom and we enjoyed music together, and he knew what to copy and what not to. I'm older now (15 years between son and daughter) and more careful. Some of it is my age, some is my daughter's ability to remember and repeat EVERYTHING she hears (especially lyrics), and stricter rules in school (I don't want her getting in trouble). I still listen to my music, but I am aware of bad language and try to select something less adult in her presence.

She had never heard "I'm sexy and I know it" because I listen to hard rock and/or contemporary christian. She came home singing "I'm Sassy and I Know It" w/ attitude. When another kid taught her the "Sexy" version, I explained that she's too young to be sexy and she reverted back to the cute way to sing it.

In your case, you can try to be aware of what is on and stir them towards the more kid-friendly stuff. You can also say..."I know that is a catch tune but it has adult content so I need you not to go around singing it in public or at school. One day when you are older, you will understand why."


answers from Lansing on

I remember when my cousins son who was in preschool with my daughter and his mom was telling me how he kept singing

"I've got passion in my pants and I'm not afraid to show it" (Which is in the sexy and I know it song)

I laughed!

Yes, my kids have heard that song too and it is catchy. I don't really make a big deal about it then they don't either. And the next song comes on or I turn on some of their bible camp songs and songs like the whistle song are out of their memory.



answers from Atlanta on

Even though the horse is out of the barn, you can still put on more appropriate music for them. Get other tunes that are just as catchy to them and sing together.

Don't tell them what it's about.



answers from Sacramento on

Guess I am on the other end of the stick here, I cant stand "kids" music and my kids have always listened to whatever I listen to which is top hits music. If the words are really bad i turn it, but as far as flo rida, my kid has no idea what it means and honestly i never really paid attention either until my husband pointed it out, they mostly just like the whisitling, and I see no problem with that. If they are going to hear it somewhere I would rather it be with me and I know what they are hearing and explain what I need to and let go the minor things.

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