Dr. B – If you’re watching TV with your children and you hear a commercial that sends a poor message like you must have this thing in order to be happy turn the TV off. Use it as an opportunity to have a conversation with your children that starts with, is it really true that … Children need to learn early that they don’t have to look like everyone else or believe what everyone else thinks in order to be accepted by others.
Carrie J – I’m sure you’re surprised to read that my mom often talked with us about the things we saw on TV, even commercials! This ensured that we considered whatever we saw and heard on a deeper level.
I found it fairly annoying as I got older but I must admit that it’s stuck with me and I still find myself reflexively checking for “truth” and noticing bullshit in advertising, movies, TV shows, etc.
For example, according to many cleaning products, when a kid makes a mess (whether accidentally or on purpose) the mom is supposed to laugh and shake her head before cleaning it up for them as they scamper off to do something fun.
Carrie J – Another cleaning product shows an incompetent father changing his baby’s diaper on the kitchen counter. Well, we can breathe a sigh of relief because the mom has a great disinfectant and wipes the poop off the counter before she prepares dinner on it. She also seems to think that her moron of a husband is as adorable as a meerkat in a seersucker suit.
Good for them, I say.
Now that my oldest is six I can start pointing these things out and asking her what she thinks. Here’s what my side of that conversation could sound like:
Wow. That daddy changed the baby’s diaper on the kitchen counter! Do you think that was a smart thing to do? Why not? Do you think that your daddy would do that with your sister? No, I don’t think so either.
I don’t think a lot of dads would do something like that. I’ve noticed that sometimes on TV they make it seem like dads aren’t able to take care of their kids and that only moms know how to do it. Is that how it is in our house?
If it backfires, and in my house it most certainly could, I could use misdirection:
It’s silly that the commercial makes it look like daddies can’t take care of their babies, isn’t it?!
Oh, you think daddy is better at taking care of you than mommy is? I see. Well, yes I remember that time …
I didn’t think YOU would remember that time …
Hey! Who wants to go to Disneyland?!??