TV's Influence on Children-3

Do You Interrupt, Interpret, or Mediate the Programs Watched By Your  Children? If your children are at all like mine, they watch very different shows than we did at their age. Shows developed for children today are infused with adult humor or may contain content that is not clear to kids.  Younger children will gain more knowledge if an adult or older brother or sister talks about the content or rephrases some of the larger words used.  Doing this shows young children that you are present with them and engaged in the same thing that they are.

When you have the television on and are watching a show, talk about what is going on with your child.  Ask questions and talk about what you think is happening.  When you have these talks with your child that center around what your child is interested in, they can see your views and values in their world.

However, if you are watching television with your teen, a direct conversation may seem annoying and pushy.  Teens like to believe they understand everything and do not need further explanation from parents.   Here I like to use "meta leveling" or sharing with another adult within ear shot of the teen.  This way, the teen hears what you believe and hears your values about the content of the television.

It is important to note that preschool aged children struggle knowing what is real on TV versus what is not real.  When you watch TV, you can have conversations to help children perceive, organize and understand the information in the program.  When you make comments like, "Wouldn't that be funny if real life cats could talk" when watching cartoons with with your child, you validate that they understand that TV is pretend.  You can influence your child's attitudes by commenting on their programing.

*Source: Parent Group Counseling by Frieda A. Lang, Ed. D.

Written by Alexa Griffith, LMHC, LCAC, NCC, RPT

Alexa Griffith, LMHC, LCAC, NCC, RPT is a licensed therapist and Registered Play Therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Alexa enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Alexa also does play therapyfamily counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield