Updated: Oct 21, 2022
You work hard, you provide for your kids, you spend time with them, and you even have morning and evening rituals to make sure that you are connected...
But there are 3 areas that could be quietly undoing ALL of it if you aren't careful. Mixed messages on what's right can cause confusion and cause you to repeat yourself...or wonder why the kids are doing the exact opposite of what you taught. Some sneaky sources of messages that go against what you teach can leave you scratching your head...here are 3 of them:
1. Music - Did you know that a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that school-aged children listen to over 40 hours of music per week? Are you having 40 hours of conversation with your kids? That is a lot of influential time to hear from someone else more than you. Science says that messages that come through music stick to the brain more than simple talking so the message in their music not only has more time, according to science, it can have more impact, even if you are they try to tell yourself that you are ignoring the words and only listening to the beat. Science says that we don't hear that way, check out the infographic below for more. I
2. Friends - Peer pressure still matters. Teaching your kids exactly what your family values are and modeling those values in front of them will help ensure that they feel a sense of belonging at home first. Research says that kids generally seek gangs and or friends that dominate them in search of a sense of belonging, to hone in on which values you want to drive home with your kids as being most important to your family, here is a starter list:
3. Social Media - Friends you see pose one set of considerations, the friends you don't see are those that only exist online and/or those that have platforms that feel like friends to your child enough to create a different level of influence. Right now platforms like Musical.ly are growing in popularity amongst kids and YouTube is the #1 social media app used by kids. They listen to what their favorite YouTube-ers and Musical.ly champions promote or 'sanction' as acceptable. Traditional media and shows that have young characters full of sarcasm or vengeful behavior could rank here as well but we figure you already know about TV. For all of these areas, it means that the number of messages to kids that compete with what parents say have multiplied greatly.
The good news is that positive messaging in these same areas work just as hard to make your parenting job easier as the negative would to make it harder. For a few short years, you can help your kids and yourself by putting media that can pitch-hit as 'positive peer pressure' in front of them or in their ears while you ride in the car. A great bet to support your children achieving the healthy, confidence in what you teach is to know what values your family stands for, i.e. what your family is about and to intentionally give them media that supports your values in their younger core value forming years. It also helps to cut back or out those things that contradict (go against, confuse) your values. The process will give you healthy boosts for your sense of self, joy, and positive energy as well - so go ahead, map out your fam, choose what to "push play" on with your little ones, and have fun!
More information on how music affects kids: