Parent, Teacher, Author
To celebrate the February 28 release of my book, Sexualized Media Messages and Our Children: Teaching Kids to be Smart Critics and Consumers, I’m having a pre-release sharing of some special sections of the book.
Each chapter in the book ends with an In Their Voices section, which shares the personal perspective of a child, adolescent, parent, or professional. Having worked with many people to create these, there are some that will only be released on my blog! Take a look at the first one from Collett Smart below.
Collett Smart is both a registered psychologist and a qualified teacher and is currently completing her PhD. She has had the unique opportunity of working with children and teens in the UK, South Africa and Australia, for almost 20 years. Collett is the founder of Family Smart, writes on her blog Raising Teenagers and is in demand as a speaker, consultant and family advisor. Her professional advice is regularly sought in the Australian media. Collett is married with 3 children.
My firm belief is this – It is while a child is in the home that he gains from his parents the attitudes, values, and beliefs that will determine the kind of life he will live and the contribution he will make to society. I have more and more parents telling me that they are finding it difficult to parent within the current wallpaper that society provides. Nevertheless I continue to encourage parents to remember that they are society. What they model in their homes will assist in the shaping of their children. Parents have a far deeper role than they often realize. As a parent myself I acknowledge that our generation grew up with topics around sexuality being off-limits at the dinner table. This has left many of today’s parents feeling uncertain about how to talk to their children about sexual matters. Our natural reaction is to protect and shield our children from unpleasant and distressing facts, however most school-aged children are already aware of media that involves sexual themes. So, although we need to be careful not to burden children with information for which they might not be ready, I have found in my experience that children are far more cognizant than their parents assume. If we do not acknowledge and discuss this ‘wallpaper’ as a family, the concerns and anxieties of our children can become too frightening and difficult for them to deal with. Further, causing them to turn to unreliable sources, which compound the issues. It is through many avenues that children become critical media consumers, learning about themselves, their peers and the opposite sex. However, I strongly believe that it is in the home that children can begin to engage and practice the use of critical thinking skills about the messages they are being fed on a daily basis. The option of silence in our homes is simply unacceptable – There is no substitute for the lessons learned through family.