Diana Landen: When I saw the "Single Ladies" video that's creating so much controversy this week, it reminded me of the time my friend Ian wanted to dress up like a woman for the talent show in high school.
"You're not walking like a woman, Ian," my friends said. "Diana, show him how to walk."
I obliged by walking back and forth, mostly away from my friends. From my point of view, I was walking. From the guys' points of view, I was swinging my rear with every step. How would I have known what I looked like? I couldn't see my backside, and I wasn't interested in watching other women.
Kids don't have the same perspective as we do on how they look to other people. The children in the "Single Ladies" video have no idea that adults move their hips that way during sex. If they're anything like my kids at that age, they think a woman must really love her husband to be willing to make a baby. Movie kisses are still a reason to run from the room.
It's up to us as their parents to let them know that certain dance moves are for grownups, just like beer and makeup.
Children don't need to know that sick adults might get the wrong idea from the dances. We know, though, and we have to protect our kids.
We shouldn't be afraid to stand up and say something when people teach our children inappropriate dances, either. We're too old to worry about being part of the cool crowd. Besides, it's easy to do.
A couple of years ago, my daughter attended a summer dance camp. The recital at the end of camp started with a group of girls dancing sexily. The music in the background featured men telling women to "shake it for me." We sat in shock and clapped for the proud girls.
Afterwards, I sent in a camp evaluation. I told them what I thought of the dancing. I said I would not send my child back, or recommend the camp.
The response I got was quick and positive: I was not the only parent who had complained about the dance moves. It would not happen again next year.
When parents speak up, we can control what our children are taught. They're too young to understand the sexual meaning of many songs and dances or costumes. We do understand, and it's our responsibility to protect them and let them be children just a little longer.