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Friday, December 12, 2008

Through the Eyes of a Child - Part 2

Through the Eyes of a Child (Part 2)

In last month’s article I invited readers to take 24 hours and see life (the television, the news, your home, your conversations… EVERYTHING) through the eyes of your child. Many sounds and sights of Halloween can be very frightening or unsettling to children

This month I want to continue this theme, “Through The Eyes of a Child” because topics of great importance continue to be on everyone’s mind and in everyone’s heart!

What types of conversations are your children hearing in your household today? How are your children being affected by the world right now? What are they thinking when they hear conversations about the economy? What is going on in their mind when they hear conversations about Barack Obama’s victory or the passing of Proposition 8 in the state.

Throughout my teaching career I’ve seen many types of approaches by parents to handling such issues with children. Following are three main types of approaches families have with their children regarding their exposure to the “outside” world.

Type A Family: These families were very selective about what their children viewed. They did not take their children to the movies and they did not own a television. They wanted to protect their children from the outside world. As the children grew to be 11 or 12 years of age they would gradually introduce them to more of the “outside world’.

Type B Family: These families thought the experience of their children should not be limited. They allowed them to watch television. They initiated conversations regarding life experiences. When their children saw a homeless person, these families would initiate a conversation about that. They invited their children to ask questions about anything and everything they observed.

Type C Family: These families appear to be indifferent to what their children were exposed too. It just didn’t enter into their thinking that such experiences were important. In addition, this type of parent would initiate a conversation about their child in front of the child. They also might bring up “adult” type conversations in front their children.

Today, being surrounded by the “world of media” I believe that parents need to be consciously aware of the exposure their children have to the outside world and address the important issues, providing children will background information on the topics they are exposed to.

I invite you to sit back and observe the world your child is being exposed to for 24 hours! Observe what he/she sees on the television or listens to on the radio. Observe the conversations he/she is exposed to! See if your child automatically responses to the input or ignores it. Observation is the first step. Become aware of what is happening!

After a period of observation you may know the next step you want to take for your family. It may be to initiate a conversation about a subject they are being exposed to. Or it might be to educate them about a topic. During such conversations, it’s important to separate facts from opinions whenever possible.

I actually had an opportunity to do this the other day with a young adult. This person had not been following the election and was curious about the candidates. So, I had an opportunity to describe each Party in an objective manner, also taking the economy into the situation. It was an interesting experience, attempting to take my “opinions” out of the conversation.

When children are given facts and background about a topic, AND without an editorial twist or a slanted perspective, then they have a foundation from which to think about a topic. Children are wise beyond their years and appreciate objective information. Later you can have a discussion about such topics and encourage everyone to share their ideas.

So, I invite you to once again, to look at the world your child lives in for 24 hours, through your child’s eyes? What are they hearing? What are they seeing? What is your child’s reaction to their experience?

It all begins with observation and seeing what is! And then following up addressing the needs of your children.

Sharon Ann Wikoff is a credentialed elementary teacher and EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) Practitioner. She is passionate about Listening 2 Children! She can be reached through her websites: and or at (707) 543-6355.

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