Isaac’s favorite movie is How to Train Your Dragon, a little bit of an odd choice for a two year old, but he loves it…it’s one of the two that he’ll watch all the way through.
But, a few weeks ago he started chasing the dogs around saying, “I kill you _____.” And he even did it to me a few times. I realized that it is from a scene in the movie where Hiccup says that to Toothless, but he doesn’t kill him, in fact they become best of friends. I honestly don’t think Isaac really knows what “kill” means, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t provide us with the perfect opportunity to teach him what it is and that it’s not something we say or do to people. Isaac has stopped his use of kill…instead he now says “I chase you” which is far more appropriate for what he is actually doing.
This got me to thinking. A lot of parents shelter there children. The best thing I can think of at the moment is in regards to school. A lot of parents pull there children out of public school for fear of bad influences (I’m not speaking about people who pull there children out for a better education, as I think this is an entirely different issue). I believe a better course is to teach your children right from wrong in the face of challenges.
I could probably be considered one of those “sheltered” people, but in reality I wasn’t “sheltered.” My parents taught me what was right, what was wrong, who were good people to hang out with and who could cause me to get in trouble, then they set me out in the world – I did the sheltering on my own. I chose not to do things that I thought were wrong. I was strong willed and only associated with people who shared my same values.
I guess my point to all this is I don’t believe in avoidance as a parenting technique, everything can be used to help teach a child. These teaching moments are what gives them a good foundation when they get into tough situations as they get older. But the only way you have those opportunities is if you are involved in your child’s life – you play with them, watch tv with them, read to them – don’t be a backseat parent.
I’m not saying let your child watch whatever, read whatever, play whatever, of course, you need to monitor it, but one bad thing might be better served as a teaching moment, than something they never experienced at all.