Originally published on Chelsea’s Blog.
A recent article on SavvyAuntie.com, entitled “Tween TV: Talking to Nieces and Nephews About What’s On,” offers some insightful tips on how to deal with common issues of the preadolescent years. According to the article, television shows that target kids ages 9-11 nowadays “often take an edgy approach, in order to appeal to an age group that’s starting to test boundaries, assert independence, and maybe even provoke.” The article suggests that parents and relatives utilize such shows as tools for discussing certain issues with their kids. Hence, the common practice of using television in order to connect with children.
The article points out two shows, Good Luck Charlie and Victorious, which contain potentially disrespectful dialogue between children and their elders and suggests that parents and relatives take the opportunity to instruct their children on better forms of behavior. In other words, parents and relatives should use such episodes to inform their kids that although it may look funny on television, it won’t fly with adults in real life. So, here’s one way of working the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon into your lectures.
The article suggests that parents and relatives engage children in a discussion about relationships by asking questions like: “Can you imagine that ever happening with your friends?” Or: “What would you do in that situation?” Younger children might certainly be willing to give their opinions on the subject, especially if they aren’t yet able to fully grasp the concept of a crush. But if we were to extend this discussion to include older children, such as teenagers, I’m not certain they would be so open to this particular kind of conversation, even when approached with such seemingly innocent questions. If such is the case, it might be best to volunteer your opinions first: “I could never be the kind of person that would cheat on someone like that…” Or: “I think it’s best to just be honest in a relationship…” That way, it won’t sound like a lecture, but the ideas will remain planted in their heads.
A good point made in this section is to keep an eye out for your children’s favorite shows, and don’t hesitate to point out bad behavior. As in the section on back talk, you can use the television shows to discuss serious issues like bullying. The article mentions that you should provide your kids with resources in case they are experiencing social problems. A great site for your children, especially if they are nearing their teenage years or are already teens, would be TeenCentral.Net. This website has a wealth of resources with regards to bullying and other major issues and offers confidential, online support if your children seek guidance from trained counselors.
The article goes on to touch on topics, such as “Being Yourself,” “Body Image,” and “Sex, Violence, Drinking, Smoking.” It also offers a link to some helpful tips by Common Sense Media, a site “dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology.”
If you’d like to read through the entire article on SavvyAuntie.com, click here.
If you’d like to read through Common Sense Media’s advice for parents, click here.
If you’d like to visit Common Sense Media, click here.