As a dad, you have probably seen your fair share of overprotective parents. However, you also know how important it is to be aware of what your children are being exposed to via video games, television, movies and the Internet. None of us live in a vacuum, so the least we can do is to pay attention and be ready to have an informed conversation about the culture where our children live. Along the way, and quite by accident, it’s easy to forget to pay attention to the news. That’s a mistake because the stories that come across on the news, 24-hours a day, often include more sex, drugs, and violence than the average R-rated movie.
This is the culture we live in. The news outlets are in competition for attention, and that means disturbing images that range from IED casualties in Afghanistan to those high definition shots of the latest stunt pulled by the latest reality TV star shamelessly pursuing their fifteen minutes of fame. Like anything upsetting that comes across our desks, news and popular culture provide us with an opportunity to engage the kids in great conversation, to help them develop the ability to make positive value judgments, and to keep up to speed with the way they – and their friends – are thinking. So what is a dad to do? Here are 3 ways to parent in the face of disturbing news and a troublesome culture.
1. Ration the news, like any other media in the home.
There is so much content available it’s honestly tough to keep track. Help your kids out by making a list that’s acceptable to you and reasonable for them. Remember watching the twin-towers go down on 9-11? After watching for the umpteenth time it was simply too much. Take steps to avoid saturation.
2. Talk about it.
Stop the action and ask them what they think. Don’t just watch, talk. Pause the news after something particularly unsettling and ask the kids what they think. Ask what their friends are thinking? What they’re being told at school? Then make sure the children know that they are in a family that pays attention and is interested in this world.
3. Respond as a family.
When another horrific situation is splashed all over the news, respond by building a care package together for military personnel. Volunteer at a Veterans’ Hospital. Write cards to folks posted overseas. Teach by doing, so the kids know there’s always a response we can make.None of us live in a vacuum, so the least we can do is to pay attention and be ready to have an informed conversation about the culture where our children live. Click To Tweet
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask,“Did you see anything on TV or the internet this week that made you feel bad or sad? If so, what?”