Have you watched the Disney channel lately?
If you have a child and you have a TV you’re going to get stuck on this station at some point. It’s not your fifties TV that’s for sure. And what are they really trying to teach our kids? Well I can’t get into the heads of the studio talking heads, but from my perspective I can see indoctrination hook in, addict, market hard, and then release is the fishing strategy.
It’s a challenging task to stay on top of the many ways my child is being targeted and this is the Disney channel not HBO.
I can see I have my work cut out for me if I want to raise an enlightened, mindful, centered, balanced, independent-thinking child.
There’s this way of writing for pre-adolescents and adolescents that uses their colloquial language; and I don’t mean like and you know what I mean, down-low, or 411 – that would be cool or interesting or awesome. No, just forget about grammar – split infinitives are so ever-present it’s difficult to identify all of them. Adverbs do not include the requisite ly at the end of the word. While other words are truncated to parts of the word – yo‘ instead of your.
Okay, you get the point.
So what can we do. Well you could get rid of your TV; but as my Mom used to lament when she was raising us – you can raise a kid in a vacuum, but at some point they have to go out and navigate the actual world.
I think you have to give your kids the tools to navigate the world in which they live.
Limits, structure, mindfulness, attention to process, paradigm identification and shifting, and timely present-moment, compassionate interaction
The best response is mindful TV watching. It’s an intervention similar to de-briefing after an interaction. This is the reason that child development experts suggest you watch TV with your kids.
After viewing offer interpretations and clarifications about the misrepresentation of things and why it’s funny vs. whether it’s a good idea to have that be a style of being in the world.
I understand that many parents use TV as a nanny of sorts when they have to get things done. Okay fine, then multitasking is required. An ear to what is happening on the TV and an ear to what you have to do. So that you can at least catch the big things and deal with them in a debrief moment or when they come up later in your child’s behavior.
You can’t let yourself be drawn in, you have to be mindfully present; it’s a mindfulness task for us parents to be sure.
Don’t be confused it’s not entertainment – it feels like it but it’s indoctrination. So if you don’t want a spoiled brat, who lies to you, has little respect for authority and hard work, and thinks you’re an idiot, all in the name of a laugh or fun – then you have to correct the premise and action on these shows.
This is a truly difficult job, requiring calm, mindful, intelligent, connecting conversation with your child. Just calling it stupid will shut your child down to you and cause him or her to think that the show’s premise is accurate.
So be mindful and be real; and most of all be centered, compassionate, and caring.
Remember the Stop, look, and Listen techniques.
See you tomorrow.