Protecting Our Kids From the Negative Effects of Media Messages

Media Maladjusted Madness

If only we could close children’s eyes and plug their ears to 98% of what the world is telling them we could be more sure they would grow up with clean minds and whole hearts.

Since we can’t do that, we have to do our best to give them the tools
to interpret and deal with the messages they receive.

This way they would learn not to take media and society messages at face value,
but to evaluate them through their own understanding and value system.

Critical thinking and intuitive evaluating though
are not usually high on the list of what kids are taught.
But oh, imagine what it would be like if they were.

Freedom – Equality

I understand why kids are not taught these skills.
It is because if we teach kids to evaluate then accept or reject the message they receive
That must necessarily include the messages WE give them.

This means we must institute an atmosphere of freedom in our relationships.
Letting go of authority, letting go of the need for obedience and control.
Instead focusing on the independent thinking we are trying to develop in them.

Developing Critical Evaluation as a Habit

By developing the habit of evaluating our messages and acting on that evaluation
They will learn to do that for other messages as well.

Messages about their bodies, their health, their abilities and their worth.
Isn’t the world full of limiting and hurtful messages?
I’m sure if you just look around now, wherever you are at this moment
(unless, perhaps you’re in the forest)
you can see something that creates pain in our consciousness.

Learning Opportunities Abound

When something like this comes on TV or an AD on a website pops up
It can be a wonderful opportunity for learning together.

Take a moment to discuss it with your kid.
What message is that ad portraying?
What is the lie?
What is the truth?
What harm can this message do to people?
What would you like to see instead?

Kids can have the most wonderful perceptions.

These conversations are wonderful bonding moments.
They are also a chance to show your kid how you value them
You value their ideas, you value their minds and hearts.

I’ve been talking this way to my child from before she could speak!
The critical eye is part of our interaction.
She has the most amazing insights.
I learn from her regularly.

The Challenges of Teaching Critical Thinking (For Real)

In order to help her integrate the critical thinking habit 2 things were required.

1) Be Open To Criticism

If I wanted her to be critical of the messages she received
I had to open myself to that very criticism.
I had to let go of any expectation that she would do what I wanted her to.
My internal priorities had to change.

This was not easy as I was programmed from my own childhood.
Even with all the thinking about parenting I had done, the inner triggers were still there. So when she would follow her own path, instead of mine I would react.

“I said you can’t have ice cream before dinner.”

Honouring My Principles

Wait Vivek, can you really insist on that?
If you’re going to stand behind your principles and priorities,
Can you stop her from following what she feels like eating?

No I cannot.

What I can do is allow her the freedom to eat what she wants, and at the same time I can teach her how to evaluate her own eating choices. Balancing enjoyment and nutrition. Learning what the body needs and what the soul needs! (critical food thinking)

Ah and this brings me to my 2nd point.

2) If I was going to teach her powerful, independent critical thinking
then I had to be able to do it myself.

Did I do critical food thinking?
Critical relationship thinking?
Critical language thinking?
Critical work thinking?
Critical play thinking?

And the list goes on.

Crap!

When I was honest I could see that I fell far short of
being a good model of this important life skill that I wanted for her.

This recognition meant that I had to improve.

Self-development really is a central component of conscious parenting.
That is why two thirds of the blogs I write are about spirituality and self-development.
And only one third directly about parenting.
It’s ALL directly about parenting!

Improving Myself Is The Hard Part

My daughter is just fine.
It’s my deficiencies that cause all the problems!

This awareness is a great gift.
Seeing the natural wonderfulness in my child
Helps guide me in all my interactions and decisions.
It is why I work at deepening it all the time.

I suppose I must learn to see the wonderfulness in myself as well!

Protecting Our Kids From the Negative Effects of Media Messages

Leave a Reply