Friday, August 19, 2011

Financial Friday: Organic Talk is Free

Situations can change with intelligent debate.

Last Wednesday my "Wonder Why" column concerned the portrayal of male and females on children's television shows. I could say that people had strong opinions, but that would be an understating the situation. I believe in respectful debate, so I tried to listen to all sides. One reader did have this to say:

I think that allowing your child's favorite TV programs and other social norms provoke conversation will not only allow you, as the parent, a portal into your child's perceptions but also feel more organic to the child than sitting him or her down for a "discussion." Many parents make the mistake of formalizing conversation and turn their child off to the idea of talking with mom or dad long before the dreaded preteen and teen phases.

The idea of "organic" conversation spoke to me. When I think of that term, I envision natural, true, unforced talk. I thought of several examples from my children's lives:

  • When putting on their shoes, we name "left" and "right."
  • We discuss colors as we take walks - the mailboxes, sky, trees, vehicles, etc.
  • We say prepositions, or position words, with our objects and locations - the bear is on the shelf, under the desk.
In all of those situations, our conversations are organic and my children understand the lessons well. For example, our discussions over colors leads to deciding if a mailbox is blue, or a light gray.

When Ty did this art project, we had an endless conversation about what you can do with a cereal box.

Instead of eliminating or limiting generally safe shows, using the problems as platforms for organic discussions (preschool or preteen) may be the safer route.

The idea of organic conversations with children seems so simple but I know I don't always follow through with them. What are other opportunities for organic conversations?

SAHM successes are important, and their value will show in our children.