Are Gossip Girl Books Suitable for Your Children

Two girls whispering.

Are Gossip Girl books suitable for your children? The answerdepends on many different factors. How old is your child, and what are the rules in your house? Do you strictly monitor what your kids read, or do you prefer to let them choose for themselves? If you have doubts about whether the Gossip Girl books are appropriate, it's a good idea to investigate them a bit further.

Are Gossip Girl Books Suitable for Your Children?

Before deciding, consider reading them yourself and finding out more about their content.

Content

The Gossip Girl books by Cecily von Ziegesar focus on three teenagers, Blair Waldorf, Serena van der Woodsen, and Nate Archibald, and the teens' friends and peers at and around an all-girls' private high school in New York City. The characters in the series come from very privileged families and generally prize designer items and material possessions, and they're used to spending a lot of money and being able to do what they want. Parents are not a huge influence in the books, and some of the characters are involved with drugs, drinking, smoking, eating disorders, and sex. Swearing is also common for many of the characters.

As a parent or caregiver, you may be concerned with how graphic or detailed the books' content is. In general, the level of questionable content is on the tame side but hard to define qualitatively. The books' swearing and sex is not gratuitous, but those and other factors that parents might view as negative are present in the book and are often a regular fixture in the characters' lives. Certainly, none of the Gossip Girl characters would make ideal role models, so as a parent, you should evaluate how seriously you think your child will view the behavior in the books and how it may impact his or her own life.

Talk with Your Child

If your child expresses interest in reading the Gossip Girl books and you feel hesitant about it, a good first step is to talk with him or her about the books' content. Let your child know that you're concerned about what might be in the books because you care about him or her. Sit down and have an honest conversation about how you feel and why you are unsure. Most importantly, let your child speak freely, and listen carefully to him or her.Many parents may sometimes underestimate their children and feel that sheltering them from questionable content is the best way to set a good example, but that strategy doesn't always work. On the flip side, some parents are so happy that their children are reading that they don't care much about what they choose to read. If you begin an open dialogue with your child, make your thoughts clear from the start, and treat your child with respect, it's likely that you'll be able to come to a workable conclusion about the Gossip Girl books together.

Read the Books

Even before you talk with your child about the Gossip Girl books, it's a good idea to evaluate the content by reading them yourself. Your child might be doubtful about anything you say regarding the books if you've never read them before, so you can speak with a lot more authority if you actually know the content. If you think it's okay for your child to read the books but you'd like to know more about how he or she processes them, you could consider reading the books along with your child and discussing them afterward. That way, if you have different values than are exemplified in the books, you can talk about those differences with your child ane make sure he or she knows where you stand on those issues. If your child is hovering on the cusp of an age that you think might be appropriate for the books but you're not sure, reading them yourself is also a good way to judge whether you think they're okay or not.

Books vs. TV

Though the Gossip Girl TV show is based on the novel series, there are several differences between the two. Not all character traits are consistent, and some characters and storylines are changed completely. Some parents feel that the Gossip Girl TV show is far more graphic than the books and that the show might not be appropriate for preteens and teenagers even if the books are. If you can, try reading a Gossip Girl book and then watching an episode of the TV show so that you can draw your own comparisons about what's appropriate for your child when you consider his or her development and maturity level.

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Are Gossip Girl Books Suitable for Your Children