How to teach your child to become free and fact-based thinkers in a world of the “fake media.”
As parents we want our kids to grow up strong, healthy and able to compete in a positive way. These days social media is focused more on promoting negativity since they know strong emotions boost sales and viral coverage. Lately the US, and many countries around the world, are experiencing an erosion of fact-based thinking and the rise of prejudice we thought went out in the sixties when our parents and grandparents fought for freedom and civil rights.
We realize that the ability to spread negative stereotypes and yes, even lies, has sky rocketed around the world since the consolidation of media companies about 20 years ago and especially since the advent social media.
As parents we have the daunting daily task to identify false beliefs our kids may have picked up at school or at the playground. And, it is ever harder to course-correct your impressionable children’s thought patterns.
Here are a few tips about how to keep your kids safe from thought-viruses:
- Afternoon conversations
By talking with your kids right after school and by engaging in calm activities such as painting or arts and crafts projects, building a toy village, and playing with your kids, you will be able to encourage a tradition of sharing each other’s daily experiences. This helps your kids to share their experiences and allows you to have a positive discussion, some joint fact finding excursions, and course corrections.
- Dinner conversations
Children who enjoy family meals are emotionally closer to their parents and connected. This allows them to be more open in the moment as situations arise.
Discussing attitudes and their origins, exploring facts and differentiating them from nasty rumors, exploring prejudices from a historic point of view, helps your kids to learn how to shape their own thoughts based your own family's traditions.
- Staying connected with your kids
By speaking and sharing experiences, thoughts, dreams and fears with your kids regularly you establish the trust that will allow them to come to you when they are baffled, disturbed, or hurt. You will then have a better chance to strengthen their resolve to build their own attitudes, fend of attackers, avoid their need to follow the “popular kids” blindly. Often when kids are engaged in group or even gang-style behaviors, they become a target for ridicule, they are taunted, or worse, when they try to get free and go their own way. It takes emotional fortitude and often physical strength.
- Standing up for what it right as a family tradition
One simple way to help your kids stand up for their own beliefs is to create a family tradition. Stories of how your own family members, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, friends and neighbors stood up for what is right, and how difficult it may have been at times, help your children know that they are not alone when it comes to being taunted or mobbed.
- Stay engaged in your children’s preschool, kinder-garden, elementary school experience.
Spend time with the teacher find out about the teachers’ belief system and attitudes early in the school year. Stay involved daily, if at all possible, for at least the first 3 months of each school year. Talk with the teacher, support the teacher to make sure they know and recognize your child and develop a close relationship together with your support for your child’s learning. When the teachers trust you and know you have their and your child's best interest in mind, they are more likely to communicate with you. Establish the habit of sending notes or emails back and forth early in the year. Once trust is established you can jointly make sure your child receives the support it needs in school.
- Get to know and relate to other like-minded parents
It takes a village to raise a child, is a common phrase. It is true. Your kids will choose friends and have playdates at each other’s homes. Get to know the parents and the kids. Make sure you share your belief systems and attitudes with each other. This will allow you to increase the visits with like-minded families and avoid visits with families who believe in spewing hatred. It also allows you to create a network of mutually supportive families to create an ecosystem of positivity in your child’s life.
Raising kids takes a lot of effort and raising emotionally healthy kids takes even more effort and time. Establishing a tradition of open and healthy communication will help your entire family to be mutually supportive throughout your lives. It improves your life satisfaction. It helps you support your kids in the way they need to be supported. Overall, the more trust and openness your kids experience early in life, the stronger and more confidently they will be able to forge their own unique path through life. To stay closely in touch with your entire family 24/7 check out www.vigilint.store.
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