When our nation clued into the fact that seat belts save lives, it was the school that drilled it into our children’s mind. The children brought this information home and shamed their parents into wearing seat belts.
When the nation clued into the fact that smoking is bad for us, and second-hand smoke is especially bad for children, it was the schools that drilled these facts into the children’s minds, thus, children came home and shamed their parents into smoking outside or quitting altogether.
Our nation should be clued into the fact that violent video games, violent TV shows and violent movies breed violent thinking, overstimulate wrong regions of the brain and desensitize people. I include everything in these categories from online video games like “Call of Duty”, to horror movies like “Scary Movie”, TV shows like “Sponge Bob Square Pants”, to reality shows of many kinds, and even the TV news programs.
Maybe it is the schools that need to drill it into our children’s mind that all of this violent “entertainment” is bad for people. Maybe then the children would come home and “shame” the older children and adults in their life to partake of that kind of destructive “entertainment” out of the house.
In the meantime…
- Teach your child that it is perfectly acceptable and you would be proud of them if they were to step out of a room where anything violent is being shown or played. Even if it is you, their parent, showing or playing it!
- Teach your child that it is perfectly acceptable to close or cover their eyes if they are watching a movie and something scary seems to be about to happen.
- Teach your child that they MUST ALWAYS get your permission before watching any movie or playing any video game or participating in anything that is something that they think you may not know about. There should be NO SHAME for a child or teen in calling a parent and running something by them. If they are worried about being teased, tell them they can make up a story (though I don’t typically advocate fibbing), “I need to call (or text) my dad (or mom) because I forgot to feed the cat before I left.”
- Parents, get back to your own childhood. Teach your child that there are endless ways to have fun that are safe and do not involve violence. And yes, included in my list of fun, nonviolent activities are things like target shooting. A correct mindset about bows and arrows and even guns, (or knife throwing – as we do on occassion in our backyard) is not violence. Other fun things that you might remember doing, …building go-carts and forts, models, puzzles, board games, pool, carpetball, slot car racing, bike riding, baking, crafts……….
Fill your lives with fun and love! Have fun with your children and love them with your whole heart!
Tracy Lamperti, Psychotherapist, Consultant, Educator