Teaching Through Television

Last weekend, one of my children was in a conversation with a parent I have never met before.  When asked what TV shows kids watch nowadays, I almost died of embarrassment when I was told my child replied, “for laughs and giggles, my family watches Little Women of Atlanta together.” I can’t imagine what this mom thought of us as parents after she heard that!

Now I have to admit, yes our children have introduced us to Little Women of Atlanta.  It’s a reality tv show that follows the daily lives of a group of girlfriends who happen to be little people.  The kids had it on one day and before you know it, we were all captivated. It opened up a world of conversation about quality vs. toxic relationships, boundaries, decision-making, expectations, consequences, victim mentality, priorities, and so much more! Now, this isn’t a show I would choose as quality family television, however when you use it as a tool to teach the lessons needed to be prepared for adulthood, it has its purpose.  

As parents, we need to prepare our children for all types of situations they may encounter in the future. Our hope is if we give them the tools ahead of time, they will have the prior knowledge and skills needed to make good choices when the situation arises.  We use real-life examples of experiences and choices of friends and family members and examples from characters in television, books, and movies to try to teach what to and not to do. This constantly reinforces our family values, our expectations, the difference between right and wrong, and how one small bad choice can lead to a lifetime of consequences. Parents can’t possibly think of every potential scenario, but constantly staying in communication with your children about scenarios all around you, will not only serve as a valuable teaching tool, but it also will continually strengthen the bond between you and your children. 

Unfortunately, I was not able to convey this to the mom who I’m sure walked away scratching her head about the type of parents we are. On the surface, watching reality TV with your children doesn’t sound like intentional parenting, but in small doses with ongoing communication, it can provide valuable life lessons.

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