Parenting by remote control

May 20, 2009

There’s an old saying, sure I’m paranoid, but that doesn’t mean someone’s not out to get me. With so much fuss about the media, sometime we get the feeling we’re hearing the story of the boy calling wolf.  But the reality is that most retailers, even those making fine products, care more about making money than they care about the welfare of your child.  I’m not trying to be anti-retail here.  It’s not their job to be concerned with welfare of your child.  That’s your job.  They are in business to make money.

Unfortunately, when we combine retailers who will make a dime at any cost and parents who are not diligent in protecting their children, it is always the child who pays the price-in more ways than one.

We can hand our kids the remote, but we can’t parent by remote.

It’s not a matter of hiding our kids from advertisers, or demonizing every company that markets to kids.  It’s about awareness and communication. As Rebbeca Hagelin says in 30 Ways in 30 Days to save your family, “We’ve got to teach our children about marketing techniques and instill sound values in their heart along with the will to stand up against those who would use them. If we take the time and energy to equip our sons and daughters, then when they are confronted with damaging, clever marketing messages, they will recognize them and know how to reject them.”  (Chapter 4, page 41)

We need to watch television with our children and talk about the advertising as well as the programming.   We need to talk and to listen to our kids.  Ask them open ended questions so we can really hear what they are thinking.  We don’t want them to just regurgitate our beliefs, we want to help them develop thier own beliefe system, one that hopefully reflects our values.  Our hope should be to help our child know how to make a wise decesion, not just copy ours,  so when they are alone, and they will be sooner or later, they will make a good and thoughtul decesion, and they will reject false and damaging promises made by marketers.
The quotation comes from 30 Ways in 30 Days to Save Your Family, by Rebcca Hagelin, Published by Regenery Publishing, Inc.


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