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Posts tagged ‘adult’

Why Are Adult Themes In Kids Shows?

Why Are Adult Themes In Kids Shows?TV as Teacher

I am not sure how to begin this post. I know the words I am about to write will probably be misinterpreted by some and judged harshly by others but it is the way I feel at this moment. My daughter is 9, my son is 6. Tonight while watching a cartoon they have watched several times before. The story line went in a different direction. The two young characters in the show began talking about how one of the character’s Dad’s were going to have a baby. I thought I misheard it but I hadn’t they said Dad’s, as in 2 fathers.

My daughter promptly changed the channel. My son, not understanding the reference, asked her why she turned the channel. She got upset and left the room. I inquired with my daughter if she understood what they meant by two Dad’s. She said “yes, it meant boy’s liking boy’s…they were gay.” She said the show made was strange. I asked her to explain and she added it wasn’t something that she could explain. Sensing her confusion, I sat her down and tried to probe her further.

When did she first hear about someone who was gay? She said it was in a book or a show somewhere. Since I was unclear how the idea was presented I explained to her gay people are not bad, it is just part of who they are. It is nothing to feel weird about. They are just another form of a family. She seemed to understand the concept of “gay” better when I put it this way.

I recognize for a child who has knowns little to nothing about sexuality yet, the concept of being homosexual can be confusing. Most kids her age are not mature enough to understand what being “gay” means.  That is why I wish TV had not been the vehicle to introduce it.

Sex and violence in a kids movie?

Although the TV show did bring up something I would have addressed with her at some point anyway. I had to wonder why adult themes seem to be seeping into children’s shows? This is not the first time references to sex, sexuality and violence were blatantly broadcast in something made for children. Over Halloween, we attempted to watch the movie “Frankinweenie” and the boy in the movie actually says “sex and violence” within the first 5 minutes.

I know a lot was made about the “gay moment” in Beauty and the Beast but my concern is (from what I hear) the adult themes spread all over the movie. Far more overt then the “gay moment,” there are sexual innuendo and heightened violent scenes. Now I am not saying the makers of the film need to change their movie. By why not change the rating? Movies have gone from PG to PG-13 for less.

Skewing the demographics

Why does Hollywood seem to be hell bent on teaching children about adult themes before they are ready? Over the past year TV and movies have been much more lenient with what is allowed in a PG rating. Children’s channels previously free from overt violence and sexuality, like the Disney channel, are putting out adult like content such as their new show, Andi Mack, in which a teen girl discovers her older sister is actually her mother.

Why is this on a channel watched primarily by 2 to 11 year olds? Wouldn’t a show like this be more appropriate on a channel like Freeform or even Disney XD, which is geared towards teens?

From what I have read the reason for these adult theme children’s shows is the idea that children today are growing up faster and are looking for more “grown-up” storylines.” Sorry, I don’t by it. I think there is a  pressure on kids to grow up too fast and a lot of it comes from Hollywood and the media. These themes are being introduced more frequently in areas previously thought to be “kid-friendly.”

Not ready for prime time

They are coming up in shows and movies well before these kids are full equip, mentally and emotionally to

When I saw this graphic I was shocked. Had no idea something so violent was rated for a 14 year old viewer.

understand concepts like extreme-violence, teen pregnancy and sexual orientation. How could a 5-year-old be asking for shows with more adult theme like teen pregnancy when they don’t understand (and shouldn’t yet) what sex is?

The other prevailing school of thought is, we are only exposing children to something they will learn about anyway? So eventually they will learn about concepts like sexual abuse, drug addiction and murder. Should we be showing those images to a 5-year-old as well?

Some reading this post will think I am being overprotective, restrictive and even a bit of a homophobic. But I have talked to gay and straight parents about this. Many agree it is not so much the topic as the timing it is being introduced. For a teen questioning their sexuality or a 15-year old who is exposed to teen pregnancy, these are appropriate themes for a more mature time of life.

According to Dr. Meg Meeker, pediatrician and author,  “Talking to a child about sex when he is too young can be traumatizing, so parents must use their instincts and best judgement to take the cues and know when to begin talking to their kids about sex, letting them take the lead in their own time.”

TV time became a habit

I will admit this exposure by TV is also something of my own making. Most moms have done what I have. Put on Dora the Explorer for an hour when they were toddlers, so you can take a shower. But that has translated into TV become a daily part of family life.

Although, I am not happy about the adult themes popping up in shows made for young children. Family time is not about watching TV. It is about spending time together. I gave the content control over when I did this and let TV be the teacher. TV’s reference to a gay couple should not have been what prompted a discussion into differing family units and lifestyles. It should have been a more positively framed talk at a more mature, appropriate time.

By sitting them in front of the TV while I was on the computer or doing dishes, I created a habit. My responsibility and duty to preserve their innocence was given to Disney Channels and Cartoon Network producers. Blindly trusting them to keep the content safe and age-appropriate.

It is my job, not TV’s

In truth, they own me nothing. They do not know my kids and what they are ready for. Their goal is to produce shows they think people will watch and advertisers will buy into. It is my job to make sure the content is right for my children.

Still I don’t understand what the big push is to turn children into mini adults.  I know at some point I will have to have “the talk,” with my kids. When we I don’t want them to feel like they can not share their feelings with me because of something they saw on TV.

So for now, I will let my kids stay innocent just a while longer.  Adult life will come soon enough, quicker if Hollywood has their way. And when they are ready, and have questions. My kids can look to me to explain things…instead of learning it from TV.

Success in Parenting Series: Setting The Right Expectations

success in parenting

Success in Parenting Series: Setting the Right Expectations

By contributor, Ann Marie Flanagan

Welcome!

What are the chances that you have ever felt embarrassed about your child(ren’s) behavior in public? We have all been there! A screaming child in the checkout line? A teenager asking if a friend can spend the night…. In front of that friend? Oh, I know. Ever have your child tell an adult something not meant to be shared?

What is the answer to avoiding these awkward situations? Teaching social skills! We shouldn’t expect our child(ren) to automatically know how to act in different social situations, unless we teach them the expectation first. It seems overwhelming, but it is not when you break it down. I am going to give you the steps and an example.

First, choose one behavior you want to focus on. Think about your expectations and what that looks like. Is it realistic? What do you need to teach your child for him/her/them to fulfill that expectation?

Is it something that requires several steps? Write down the steps. Teach those steps.

How are you going to practice? Set up role plays or practice in a small setting.

Here is my example. When my daughter was 3-years-old she was still sleeping in my bed.

Behavior: I want my 3-year-old out of my bedroom at night.

Expectation: My child will be able to sleep in her own bed without an adult in the room.

Steps:

1.       She will go to her bed and I will sit on the floor next to her bed until she falls asleep.

2.      She will get in her bed and I will sit on the floor in the middle of the room until she falls asleep.

3.      She will get in her bed and I will sit in the door frame of her room until she falls asleep.

4.      She will get in her bed and I will sit in the living room where she can see me.

5.      She will get in her bed and go to sleep.

Practice:

1.       During the day, we will go into her room to discuss where she will be and where I will be. We can use stuffed animals to show this or we can each get in position. Talk about what a big girl she is for sleeping in her own bed. Talk about how her brother sleeps in his bed and her friends all sleep in their beds.

2.      For each (adult) movement out of the room, discuss what will happen before it is time for bed. You may even want to practice at nap time or role play. You can have the child practice with another adult or a sibling. Find what works for your child.

 

Timing:

1.       Set up a realistic time frame. This will not happen overnight.

2.      Spend a few days with step #1 and begin talking about step #2, etc….

3.      Move to the next step. Some steps might be faster or slower than others.

4.      Celebrate the successes each step of the way!

Tip: Be consistent and stick with it

Would you like more information on how to get rid of tantrums? Send me an email for more information. My email is amsforjams@yahoo.com.

I have an online workshop available for purchase. It includes 3 modules and one 15-minute consult with me to develop your “plan of attack.” In addition, I invite you to join our Facebook group, at bit.ly/SuccessinParenting where we discuss our successes and struggles with parenting. In the Facebook group you can also find my “10 Tips to Help Your Child Learn to Read” Series.

You can also catch me live or on the replay on the live streaming app Periscope at @AnnMarieFlanagan where I broadcast weekly on general topics including behavior, academic, and independent functioning skills for children.

Thanks again for allowing me to spend some time with you!

Ann Marie

 

 

5 Ways to Keep Your Kids From Fighting

5 ways to keep your kids from fighting

Are your kids constant bickering driving you nuts?

Maybe summer boredom has set in because my kids have been at each other’s throats in recent weeks. The constant bickering, tattle-telling, and arguing have been driving me up a wall. So much so I have resorted to hiding out in my bedroom. I often wondered how I could go from missing them every second I am away, to a level of frustration, exhaustion and raised voice that I never even knew existed?

What had changed? Was this just a phase like everyone was telling me? I had a hard time believing that this would just pass. After several weekends alone with them, breaking up silly squabbles and spending the whole time yelling and frustrated, I decided I needed to do a bit of research. [ctt title=”I needed a plan of attack so I would not have to spend another weekend at my wits end. ” tweet=”I needed a plan of attack so I would not have to spend another weekend at my wits end. #momlife” coverup=”O52Pm”] What I discover was some tactics to approach this situation in a new way. Now these 6 methods might not work all the time, but they helped our family scale back on the fighting and start to enjoy each other again.

  1. Get off the computer and your phone!

    This is huge. I found that I was spending more time then I realized behind a screen. This was resulting in my kids feeling less paid attention to and acting out more. I will admit that going on the computer was my escapism. It was my way of avoiding having to deal with the fighting and bickering. Once I got off the computer and put don the phone my kids behavior improved.

  2. Try whenever possible to spend one on one time with each child

    It seemed that most of my children’s behavior was motivated by trying to get attention. This was something I remember seeing Kate from Jon and Kate Plus 8 do (Yes, prior to all the drama she had  amazing mom insight) She would organize a special day where they would spend it with only one child, doing something they choose. This creates a deeper bond between you and your child and helps you to learn more about them as an individual. Plus they feel special and attended to and don’t need to fight for attention from you.

  3. Do not referee

    My sister-in-law gave us this valuable piece of advice about 4 years ago and she was right on the money. Trying to determine who started what, who was mean to who and who is at fault between two warring siblings will drive you bonkers. “Fighting is an act of cooperation,” according to renowned parenting expert, Dr. Kevin Lehman, so they are both at fault when they fight. Once I made it clear that the blame would be shared, the fighting lessened.

  4. Make clear the consequences of misbehavior

    Part of my problem was I was spending so much time trying to figure out who caused the last fight and who instigated the next one that I was to flustered to even set an appropriate consequence. I was maddening and dizzying. Once I sat both kids down first thing in the morning and stated in plain terms. Do not excuse anyone’s actions including your own, if you do this then this will happen

  5. Outline what respect is and how it should be show to each family member 

    Observing my children talk to each other disrespectfully was unnerving enough but once it started to spill over into backtalk and dis respect for myself and other adult that is when I knew something had to be done. Now the moment I hear a snotty disrespectful tone I pull the child aside and explain specifically why that talk is not acceptable behavior, how it makes the person feel and how they would feel if it we’re them. Then it is imperative they apologize to the individual. I explain that they do not have to agree with the person but they must still speak to them respectfully.

Now if only some adults could learn that. Maybe they need a time out!

Check out these books by Dr. Kevin Lehman

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Be A Kid Again. 5 Ways To Have A Child Like Summer

being a kid again this summerAdulting is hard. Paying taxes, earning an income, maintaining a home.  It’s hard to work all day  then June Clever it when we get home. With the end of the school year approaching and the beginning of summer right around the corner, I think back to childhood and summer break that seem to last forever. One of  the cruelest jokes of being an adult is losing our summer break. As an adult we lose this precious play time and are told to work the whole 12 months of the year. Since I am looking forward to a relaxing, fun summer, filled with freedom and frolicking (well, in between work of course,) I have decided to recapture that childlike summer feeling. I invite you to do the same, at least for a weekend. [ctt title=”Reclaim the childlike fun that adulthood stole from us” tweet=”Reclaim the childlike fun that adulthood stole from us” coverup=”Z18GM”] (Ok, I’m getting a bit dramatic now) But seriously, tap into your childlike creativity, find something you want to do just for the pure fun of doing it. For at least a weekend leave your adulting behind and think like a child again. Here are some ways I intend to do this:

  1. Go watch the boys of summer and catch a live baseball game –  Even if you can’t take in a Major League Game, you can always cheer on the local t-ball team that plays down the block. Nothing is funnier and more childlike then seeing a 4 year old throwing their baseball glove carelessly in the air as the ball rolls by them. Priceless!
  2. Go get some ice cream with your kids – No, I don’t mean the low-fat fro-yo, I’m watching my weight version of ice cream. The good stuff! You probably can’t do this all the time but once in a while get a cone full of real ice cream that melts in the summer heat, drips down your arm and tastes divine.
  3. Break out the sidewalk chalk – Channel your inner Burt (from Mary Poppins,) get on the ground and start drawing. Make a hopscotch board, a winding path, or race track. Ok maybe you can’t jump into the picture like Mary and Burt did. But you can totally pretend!
  4. Play Marco/Polo – Remember the summertime pool games you played as a kid. Try them out as adult. You might not look the coolest doing an underwater handstand, but you will defiantly have more fun.
  5.  Enjoy the great outdoors –  Remember all those summer cookouts as a kid where you would just run around and play as the sun sets. Then you made s’mores by the camp fire and looked at the stars. You can still do that if you take the time. Take one evening, make some s’mores on the grill  and sit outside with the kids trying to find the big dipper in the night sky.

I know we can’t act like a kid all the time but sometimes tapping into your inner child is the perfect way to put life into perspective and rediscover what is truly important.


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