Violence, Gun Control…What Are We Teaching Our Children?

I will add now that it is quite possible to make your child neurotic and this stems from the parent-child relationship. When a parent routinely intrudes into a toddler’s world, not to protect the child in some way, but more to allay their own anxiety and worry in the role as parent. In fact, whenever a parent responds out of their own anxiety, anger, impatience, frustration, etc, it is here we are more likely to err, and where the toddler may feel confused or temporarily unloved.

Author
Author

The other day I was asked the question, “Do you think cartoons like Bugs Bunny can have a negative effect on  young children?”  My initial response as a lay person was to say, “I really don’t see any harm in pre-school children watching cartoons.  I certainly watched them as a kid and I turned out OK.”  Then I stopped to consider what I had learned about children (from birth to age 5) when I attended the Erikson Institute for Early Development some 35 years ago.  I wish now I had responded to the question with some thought and not “off the cuff”.  So now I’ll share what I really think.

Are violent cartoons ok?
Supervision needed

There are several variables to consider when it comes to young children:  1) are the parents thoughtful about what they want their children to experience; 2) is it understood that young children cannot separate reality from fantasy; 3) is it also understood that for young children, life events are reversible, (e.g.) someone dies – they come back to life.  Think of Wile E. Coyote who is always in pursuit of the Road Runner…Wile E. invariably falls off  a cliff when in pursuit of R.R., but not to worry, Wile E. will be alive and well in the next scene. 4) is the television being used as a makeshift “babysitter” to give the parents a “break”; or 5) do the parents sit with their pre-schooler while watching the cartoon, commenting on what happens when someone gets hit on the head (it hurts) or that shooting at someone with any weapon can seriously injure or even kill someone.

Some people have said to me, “Oh, come on…you’re thinking too much!  Just sit back and enjoy.”  When my daughter was a toddler and even older, I felt it was important to supervise her well-being almost constantly, stepping in when I thought it was necessary to say something or limit or distract her in some way.  As any parent will admit, a toddler can get into some kind of trouble in just a few seconds.  My younger sister (who had eight children of her own) commented to me years later, “With you fussing over your daughter so much, I thought she would grow up and be neurotic (crazy).  But she has become a very thoughtful and loving child; so, good for you.”

I will add now that it is quite possible to make your child neurotic and this stems from the parent-child relationship.  When a parent routinely intrudes into a toddler’s world, not to protect the child in some way, but more to allay their own anxiety and worry in the role as parent.  In fact, whenever a parent responds out of their own anxiety, anger, impatience, frustration, etc, it is here we are more likely to err, and where the toddler may feel confused or temporarily unloved.  Now I encourage all of us who worry too much about “hurting the child” to remember that, as parents, we ALL make mistakes.  It is only when we consistently respond or act on our feelings, that way fail to think about the needs of the child in any situation.

Now back to the discussion about pre-school children watching cartoons.  At Bowling Green State University in Ohio, the department of Human Development has done research on this very subject.  One professor there, Stevie Hossler has written about the mental and psychological effects of children’s cartoons:

 

TV effect on young children
Scary and dangerous?

"Children have become much more interested in cartoons over many years and it has become a primary action to some lives. Typically, children begin watching cartoons on television at an early age of six months, and by the age two or three children become enthusiastic viewers. This has become a problem because too many children are watching too much television and the shows that they are watching (even if they are cartoons) have become violent and addictive. The marketing of cartoons has become overpowering in the United States and so has the subliminal messaging. The marketing is targeted toward the children to cause them to want to view the cartoons on a regular basis, but the subliminal messaging is for the adults’ to target them into enjoying the “cartoons”. This is unfortunate because children watch the cartoons on the television and they see material that is not appropriate for their age group. The Children who watch too much cartoons on television are more likely to have mental and emotional problems, along with brain and eye injuries and unexpectedly the risk of a physical problem increases."

From the time that children start school to the time they graduate, they average spending about 13,000 hours in school.  Does that seem like an awful amount of hours?  Compare this to the average amount of television watched, nearly 18,000 hours (from the time they start school till they graduate).  This is a major concern because this excessive amount of violence in television will have an effect on their brain, their emotions and their sense of pain.  In a 2000 report on adolescent violence, the U.S. Surgeon General, David Satcher, MD, stated the following:

“More aggressive behavior in a young child’s life is caused by frequently watched entertainment that incorporates violence in it. This has become a public health issue and because of the research findings, the American Psychological Association passed a resolution in February of 1985,informing broadcasters and the public about the dangers violence on the television has on children. Three major effects have been proven by psychological research caused by children seeing violence on television are, that the child may become less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others; children who watch violence do not fear violence nor are they bothered by violence in general and the children are more likely to become aggressive or use harmful actions towards others."

Watching TV with mom.
Adult supervision

So, to make a long story shorter, the take-away from this is that excessive exposure to violence does have a deleterious effect on young children.  But the key word here is “excessive”…perhaps hours vs. minutes.  So, would you ever allow your young ones to watch cartoons?  Yes, I would, with the following understanding:  infrequently and always supervised.  The child needs to hear about reality from the parents; the ability to fantasize they’ve already got down…cold.

Is Amy Chua right?

As a medical director and child/adolescent psychiatrist of an Asian community clinic in California, as well as researcher in Asian adolescent mental health and an Asian-American woman myself, I’ll have to disagree from a clinical, research, and personal perspective.

Suzan Song, Child/adolescent psychiatrist
Is Amy Chua right?
Parenting

Is Amy Chua right when she explains “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior” in an op/ed in the Wall Street Journal?

The question asks for anecdotal responses, but I’ll supplement it:
As a medical director and child/adolescent psychiatrist of an Asian community clinic in California, as well as researcher in Asian adolescent mental health and an Asian-American woman myself, I’ll have to disagree from a clinical, research, and personal perspective.
Clinically,
Depends on how one defines success – obtaining professional degrees in ivy league schools, high income level, or “status” vs. personal happiness/fulfillment, well-adjustment, good mental/emotional and social health. Not socializing one’s child (play dates, plays, etc) could clinically create anxiety for your child in the future. Continue reading “Is Amy Chua right?”

Tiger Mom

I’m sure that all parents, to some degree, sympathise with this attitude. What mother doesn’t bask in the glow of a child’s success? But there has to be more to life than this, especially for the child, because sooner or later, he or she can’t be “number one

Here are some opinions about parenting.

creating society of ants
Uniformity
I will publish my thoughts shortly.
Mariette Ulrich | 20 Jan 2011
Tiger Mother parenting ignores dignity and heart of the child.
I’m sure that all parents, to some degree, sympathise with this attitude. What mother doesn’t bask in the glow of a child’s success? But there has to be more to life than this, especially for the child, because sooner or later, he or she can’t be “number one.” Fostering an unyielding (and unrealistic) attitude of “failure is not an option” is no way to prepare a child for setbacks in life. If the adventure of parenting is in any way an ego trip for the parent, it’s often the child who ends up falling under the bus.
“I see (and concur with) Ms. Chua’s point about some Western parents being overly concerned about damaging their children’s fragile psyches, to the point where they offer no guidance or correction whatever. Yet at the same time, children have souls, unique personalities, and human dignity. They are not, and should not be expected to perform as, machines. The goal of education is surely not to produce success-at-any-cost “winners”, but to expand the mind, heart, and soul of a human being.
The bigger consequence is that I find I’m socially awkward and simply do not fit into most people’s perceptions of family. Living in the western world people are used to family dinners and time-outs or groundings not being called names and being on the other end of a belt lashing. My self-esteem is on a constant roller-coaster ride and my confidence is arguably below average.”
Truble wit parenting
Parenting?

I don’t know if Amy’s daughters will eventually rise up against her but it may just happen that one day they get as little freedom and realize the emotional prison their mother had them caged into. Nevertheless, this is how it is for Chinese families and us children of this system find it acceptable when we’re younger because it’s what we’ve come to know as a child. It’s not until we become older and see other things that e realize how flawed the system we grew up really is.

I hope for Amy’s sake that her kids don’t turn out like me and my father but it wouldn’t surprise me if their relationship begins strain at some point.
Are there any parenting lessons to be learned from tiger mother Amy Chua?
There are certainly elements in what she is espousing that have scientific evidence that they constitute good parenting. Kids need limits and structure, and it’s good for parents to have high expectations for them—and if you want your kids to do well in school, you want to do things like getting involved in their schooling, having expectations of success and praising them when they do well.
On the other hand, the downside to what she is advocating, if I understand her correctly, is that if parenting becomes too authoritarian—and by that I mean overly restrictive, overly punitive, squelching any attempt by the child at independence or autonomy—those parenting practices have been shown to be related to elevated anxiety, depression and psychosomatic problems. Kids raised in those circumstances are less self-assured and socially poised, and more compliant.
In other words, on the one hand Amy states that children are fully capable, while on the other hand she controls them to such an extent that one might question whether she truly believes in them. How can we believe a child is “great” on one level, then treat them as if they are incapable of wisdom in practice? The approach screams of parental insecurity, not security.
A parent who is secure in themselves has no fear of their child’s imperfections and mistakes, but trusts that children are innately capable of finding themselves. Indeed, the struggle to identify their authentic voice is far more important than the perfect regurgitation of someone else’s dream of who they are.
Just a child
Just a child

Any extreme is bad. Overly Nice or Overly Strict, You Created the Monster

There exists in the cosmos a great measuring scale that balances out good parents with good children. If the parents stray either way from too light parenting to too strict parenting, the result at the other end of the scale is the same, a rebellious monster the rest of us will eventually have to deal with.

Featuring Recent Posts WordPress Widget development by YD