Teaching Your Children Discernment

This child-rearing idea came from my sister Carrie, back when our kids were very little. Carrie observed that when her son (1-2 years old) watched violent cartoons, he would start acting out what those cartoon characters were doing. Until children reach a time of maturity (somewhere around 5-7 years old) to distinguish between fantasy and reality they need to be watched and helped to understand what is pretend and what is real. Many times because Carrie had to work outside the home, her son would be watched by others and she taught him not to watch the "bad cartoons." He could watch designated video tapes like Winnie-the-Pooh, The Flintstones, Inspector Gadget, Sesame Street, etc.

By the time her son was four years old, he would come into the kitchen when I would be making lunch and announce that a bad show was on and could I help him find something good to watch. By the time my daughter was two years old, she was coming and asking me the same thing.

Today, Carrie's son and my daughter are in their mid-twenties. They are careful what they watch and sensitive to violent programs. They both tend to lean more toward programs that enrich their lives, rather than just entertain.

They are both very involved with computer related subjects. They know how to use the internet in a very responsible way. I can honestly say that their good discernment of what they put into their minds started with this very simple principle of being mindful of the violence they were exposed to when they were little.

Teaching your children how to choose good from bad when they are young will equip them to make good decisions all of their life.

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