In Part 1 of my series (WYKAR1) I talked a bit about book banning and what could happen if a rating system was placed on books. Personally, I felt doing so was a disadvantage to young readers and that kids should basically be allowed to read what they want to in order to learn. This week is more about how parents can be less afraid of what their children are picking up.
HOW CAN YOU DISCUSS BOOKS WITH YOUR CHILDREN?
When I have kids, I am not overly worried about what my children may or may not read as long as they do read. I believe I would honestly be more concerned about them if they did not pick up a book, because I know how much you can learn from novels.
No matter what subjects were raised in the novels I was reading while growing up, I was never encouraged me to try out things I knew were immoral or illegal, so why shouldn’t my children know better too? In fact, I was less likely to do dumb stuff from what I learned in books and the occasional talk with my parents.
If I do decide to read the same books as my (future) children, it will be more likely because I want to share a love of reading with them, to converse about something we both enjoy doing, rather than because I want to stifle their independence and growth as a person.
As it is, adults fail to fully comprehend the different environment that kids today are growing up in, how different it is than that of generations past. Personally, I feel halfway between what was and what is in a changing world, so I can imagine how much more difficult it is for today’s parents and children to overcome that chasm.
But by maintaining an open dialogue with their kids, parents will have a better idea of their child’s maturity level, causing them to be less afraid of what their child is reading as they will have a better idea of what their offspring are being exposed to in today’s society. This should not only cause less stress for the parents, but possibly a better relationship with their family that could last a lifetime.
Before anyone says how hard it is to be a working parent, how tiring and time consuming it can be, really think about what that means. You are basically saying that you have no time whatsoever for your child and that begs the question why you bothered to have one in the first place if you can’t be bothered to raise them.
Yes, life is hard, but a measly fifteen minutes a week to talk about life and novels with your kids just might make all the difference in the world…
Let’s say you have three kids. Give each kid a designated week each month to have alone time with you for the aforementioned fifteen minutes and reserve the last week for a family discussion. Create a calendar for this purpose and keep it somewhere that all of you can see. (It also wouldn’t hurt to put a reminder on your computer and on your phone so you don’t miss your meeting together.)
In giving your children pre-arranged alone-time with you, they will see that you care about them as an individual and they will not feel quite so ignored compared to your other kids and feel less like you are playing favourites. It can make them feel special and loved, knowing that you notice them and want to take time to be with them.
By having a designated time for the family as a whole it can promote sibling relations by having book debates and discussions with each other, or you could just use the time to read a book together as a family. People are never too old to have books read to them, if they were audio books wouldn’t be so popular. Allow each person in the family to choose a book that you can all enjoy together (and keep track of it on the calendar to prevent arguments about whose turn it was).
If you start this practice while your kids are young then the teenager-to-come may still want to come talk to you, as they know you truly care about what is going on in their lives.
NEXT WEEK: How to Use Books to Learn About Your Teenager ( WYKAR3)