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Moms Talk: Should You Shield Your Kids From the News?

From violence overseas to America's own Charlie Sheen, how do you talk to kids about current events?

Moms Talk is a feature on Dexter Patch that is part of an initiative to reach out to moms and families.

Dexter Patch invites you and your circle of friends to help build a community of support for mothers and their families right here in Dexter.

Each week in Moms Talk, moms, dads, grandparents and the diverse families who make up our community will have a new resource for questions about local neighborhood schools, the best pediatricians, 24-hour pharmacies and the thousands of other issues that arise while raising children.

Moms Talk will also be the place to drop in for a talk about the latest parenting hot topic. Where can we get information on local flu shot clinics for children? How do we talk to our children about the tsunami in Japan? How can we help our children's schools weather their budget cutbacks?

Last week we asked and recieved no feedback. So, this week we're turning our attention to something most people do in their spare time: watch television.

So grab a cup of coffee and settle in as we start the conversation today with a question many parents face on days like today:

Let’s face it, if you own a TV or have Internet access, you can't avoid Charlie Sheen and his (allegedly) drug-fueled rants, violent uprisings in the Middle East, government-bashing in the news and more. Adults may be able to filter out all the noise, but how does this affect kids? Even if they don't ask their parents, should moms and dads casually bring up the subjects? Where and when is the best place to do this?

Christy Vander Haagen March 16, 2011 at 07:05 PM
Absolutely. However, parents need to take into account the age(s) of their kids. I am a news junkie but do not put it on when the kids are up and around or even within earshot. Plain and simple, the coverage and commentaries are both just too ugly, in my opinion. Let alone BORING. We don't put our kids in front of the tv much anyway. When natural disasters occur, I don't scramble as fast to turn off the tv as I do throughout election coverage and reporting, of course, of crimes. I don't even watch those parts of the news. In my opinion, hearing about tornadoes, floods, fires and, sadly, earthquakes isn't a terrible thing for my six and seven year olds...it is nature and, though it is tragic, it is a fact of life. Pointless violence, wars and rants of an allegedly drugged up spoiled and narcassistic fool are not, in my opinion. worthy of mine or my kids' attention...nor are they suitable for such young kids.
Tracy Mattice March 17, 2011 at 11:52 AM
Christy..I have to agree, age is definetly a factor. We have two daughters and the oldest is 9 yrs old, we used to let her watch the news until she heard alot of break-ins and burgleries and when she kept hearing this we had a problem with her going to bed at night, and til this day she makes herself go to bed way before my husband and I do so that she can fall asleep while we are still awake. I was actually sleeping with her for about 2 or 3 weeks because she finally expressed to me that she is afraid of someone breaking into our home. She even had thought about it so much she had an escape plan...how sad is that?? She doesn't even feel safe in our home. Well with said, I thought it would be great for her to watch the news but we found out certain topics are not worth it.
Julie Woods March 17, 2011 at 06:48 PM
My children are grown. But I will say, I did not allow them to watch the news. Instead, we discussed world events informally. If they had questions I answered them to their level of understanding. I knew they would hear about these things at school and from friends...so I felt it important that we discussed it first. As far as celebrities behaving badly...We discussed that, as well.
Tamara March 21, 2011 at 04:10 AM
I agree with all three of you ladies. Limit the viewing to age appropriate stuff, but educate your kids. We have always been very conserative about what our kids watch, but I know many people are not. Be careful who you let your kids hang out with if this is really important to you. I remember when my 9 year old was invited to a little birthday party. Cute, fun and harmless - right? Well, usually, but this time it was to go see a PG-13 movie with violence, and scantily clad women. Uh - HELLO?!?!?!? Some people must not understand how what a child experiences effects their young brains...
Logan April 27, 2011 at 08:56 PM
OH MY GOD! PG-13! AT 9?! You don't have to be 13 to watch a PG-13 movie, you just need parental guidance... I'm not sure if you were aware thats what PG stands for.

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