It is interesting what we allow into our homes and cars by way of video games, music, movies, language and more…isn’t it? Here is a question to think about during this reading: What is God not God of in your child’s life?
I watched a PG movie with my family the other night. I would not have given the movie a PG rating. More of an upper PG-13 rating.
What does “PG” mean anyway? According to the MPAA, a “PG” rating is described as:
PG — “Parental Guidance Suggested. Some Material May Not Be Suitable For Children”: The Rating Board applies this rating when the members believe the film contains themes or content that parents may find inappropriate for younger children. The film can contain some profanity, violence or brief nudity, but only in relatively mild intensity. A PG film should not include drug use. (http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/question467.htm)
Oh, and check this out…
PG-13 — “Parents Strongly Cautioned. Some Material May Be Inappropriate For Children Under 13.” The MPAA added this rating in 1984 to denote films in which violence, profanity or sexual content is intense enough that many parents would not want to expose their younger children to the film, but not so intense as to warrant an R rating. Any movie featuring drug use will get at least a PG-13 rating. A PG-13 movie can include a single use of what the board deems a “harsher, sexually derived word,” as long as it is only used as an expletive, not in a sexual context.
“PG-13” didn’t even exist until 1984! Interesting. I always thought some “PG” movies made before the 90’s were a bit off.
So Hollywood is suggesting to me from the perspective of their solid moral foundation, how to be a good parent, and how to discern whether my kids should watch something.
(It is interesting that the original rating system was developed by a Christian minister at the request of Hollywood in order to appease the masses clamoring for protection. That system has “developed’ quite differently than it’s humble beginnings.)
But…what if my kids throw a fit (like most kids) that they don’t get to watch the movie, but “mom and dad” do!? My response? Parents have the responsibility to raise those children, no matter how old they are. A key verse that would support that thought is:
Mark 8:36 “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?”
Now apply it to parents and their kids… What does it profit a parent to gain their kid’s ______________ (affection? popularity? fill in the blank), but to lose their child’s soul?
Yikes. That gives me shivers! I compromise in this sphere sometimes. I don’t always choose the ugly battles because I want my kids to like me, or I want them to enjoy life with friends.
I once worked alongside a church leader who allowed their son to play very violent video games including the Grand Theft Auto series (extremely violent and morally deficient game that allows the player to commit acts of violent sex, battery, and other criminal behavior) because they wanted him to “fit in” with his friends. This is a dangerous, slippery slope, and personally, I find the mixed messages of that individual’s vocation and personal choices more than difficult to balance out. Imagine the adolescent trying to balance it out. It makes me wonder if others would look at any of my life/parenting decisions the same.
I wonder how much we willfully allow, even invite, into our home conforming to cultural norms in order to (ultimately) have a false sense of peace in our home. Can we play video games, watch movies, and enjoy a great fiction book? I believe we absolutely can, but the parameters we use to discern what is acceptable or not should be more about guarding hearts and souls than it is about what everyone else is doing.
How are you doing in your home?
Tony LaMouria, Counselor, Center for Human Development
I know I look small, but I need A LOT of interaction with other people just like you do. And the most important interaction? Interaction with my parents – you. And, well, the truth of it is… negative attention is way easier to get and lasts a lot longer than positive attention does. Positive attention is usually shorter and less predictable. So, I try to get the positive every now and then but it’s hard work and it usually doesn’t pay off, so I just go for what I know I can get.
How do I interact, you ask? Good question! Through eye contact, physical touch, and talking.
If I’m desiring eye contact, physical touch, and an exchange of words…
I know I can probably get all three by acting up.
I know that I can get them for as long as I want by continuing the bad behavior.
I know that, even if you are ignoring me, I can keep getting worse and worse until eventually you have to look at me, touch me, and talk to me.
If I’m desiring eye contact, physical touch, and an exchange of words…
I’m not sure if you’ll notice me quietly occupying myself over here or working hard on this project.
It almost seems like the quieter I am and the better my behavior is, the more I get ignored. I’ve heard you say, “Finally, some peace and quiet around here.” Then you look at your phone for a long time. I hate that!
Even if you say, “Good job on drawing that picture” the positive attention is over in less than 10 seconds and then I’m left trying to figure out how I’m going to get the other 29 min 50 sec of interaction that I need right now.
Mom, Dad, the good news for you is…
You are my favorite person.
I want you to teach me how you do all that cool adult stuff.
We don’t have to do anything super huge. I’d love to do almost anything with you if I can count on my Positive Interaction Bank getting filled in the process.
You can just hold my hand or rub my back for no reason. I love it when you do that.
I love your compliments more than anyone else’s.
I love your hugs and kisses more than anyone else’s.
I need you!
I adore you!
Your Little One
Corina Helgestad is a professional counselor who especially likes working with teen girls in such areas as self-esteem, cutting, suicide, depression, and anxiety. To learn more about Corina, or to set up an appointment click here.
“School is starting!” These words bring joy to some and strike terror into others. I remember as a boy when my parents came to pick me up after spending some wonderful time with my grandfather at his home on a river during the month of August. I was devastated that the time was coming to an end, and although I enjoyed school, I had no desire to go back. Obviously, each child has his or her own reaction to the announcement; one of my grandchildren couldn’t wait and loves school; another is very apprehensive; a third sees school as a necessary evil. In any case, the beginning of the school year brings anxiety as parents and children anticipate and experience change.
During the first days of school, there are a number of situations that confront every child. Peers, teachers, the very classroom or school atmosphere, to say nothing of homework and educational content. The first few days often set the stage for the year to come. Hopefully, most will hear about the excitement of having a new teacher, seeing friends, or being thrilled about a new class. However, there are also red flags such as not being included, feeling bullied by peers or picked on by the teacher, or being exposed to class content that is overwhelming or offensive to family values. In some instances, some learning difficulties will come to light that were not previously recognized. For others there have been family changes that have an impact on the child at school – a move, divorce, or other loss that may make adjustment more difficult.
It is especially important to understand and be sensitive to children’s feelings and experiences during this early time of adjustment. The old adage about “nipping it in the bud” fits here. There are things the concerned parent can do:
It is important to be particularly sensitive to the child and their communication (both verbal and non-verbal). Celebrate the positives with them and be aware of areas of concern.
If possible, listen and help your child problem solve issues that they are capable of handling. Sometimes just having a sympathetic ear is all that is needed.
When the situation seems overwhelming and more than the child can handle, it is time to step in. Even though the child may not like it, often times the teacher or guidance staff at school is the place to start.
Seek other advice and help when it is indicated. Parenting is difficult and it is hard to handle it alone; however, sometimes there are real medical, learning, or relationship issues that respond best to early intervention by a physician, psychologist or counselor.
Ultimately, as a last resort, you may have to make hard decisions in the best interest of your child. As parents, we reluctantly changed schools for one of our children and the adjustment was immediate and positive.
As a professional therapist and supervisor, I know how important encouragement and sometimes early intervention are. Too often, I have seen situations that could have been handled early on which develop into major problems. It bothers me tremendously when we receive a referral in May about a problem that should have been dealt with and solved earlier. Parenting is a wonderful and daunting responsibility. The task of raising a child from total dependence to independence brings both joys and sorrows. Taking positive steps now will help insure more joy as you and your child journey forward.
Lee Webster is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has over 40 years of counseling experience. He is also the founder and clinical director of the Center for Human Development. To learn more about Lee click here.