When you watch TV and movies, and even listen to music, with your children, what are these things telling them? What are the things they are reading teaching them, from the Twilight series to classics? Sex and drugs are the stables of much of the movies and TV shows out there, and they definitely aren’t left out of song lyrics either.
That being said, there are also plenty of these entertainment options that aren’t based on sex, drugs, and alcohol. It can be hard to weed out all of the bad, and doing so would just lead your child to live a more closed off life, making the reality of their teenage and adult years somewhat of a culture shock (and possibly leading to their own drug, alcohol, and sex issues).
It’s important to understand what your children are learning from their entertainment choices, and theirs. It’s also important to discuss these topics with them. You can’t shelter them and have them grow up to be safe, but you can teach them and be sure they understand how art can flow over into life.
Entertainment Industry And Drugs
So many shows and movies give the wrong portrayal of drug and alcohol use. Most often they don’t show people getting help for their addictions, and often they are even praised for being addicts, selling drugs, and participating in underage drinking. There are even movies and shows made specifically about drug use and selling that may appear to glorify these lifestyles, and totally miss the fact that addiction is an illness and is often a side-effect of other mental issues.
When your child is witness to these types of behaviors on the TV or big screen you definitely want to set aside some time to talk to them about it. Start off with the fact that addiction, no matter what a person is addicted to, is a mental illness and something that takes a doctor and some therapy (at the least) to help a person heal from. Explain the fact that their addiction is also affecting every person they come into daily contact with.
Addiction is not simply the problem of the addict. Many portrayals of addicts in entertainment fail to look a the effects that addiction has on family, friends, and even the work environment.
Sex is also portrayed oddly in much of the entertainment out there. Teens have sex and no one bats an eye (of course, shows like Gossip Girl showed teens frequenting bars and easily being served drinks as well). Instead of spending time on the show talking about the matters of birth control you often just see promiscuity.
This is the perfect time to teach your child about all the types of birth control out there. Don’t just threaten them with abstinence of nothing, since children (especially teens) are known to rebel against such rules.
Also make sure to talk about codependent issues (the Twilight movies), abuse issues, and other romantic relationship topics. You can’t cut out all movies that portray these topics, but you can turn each of them into a learning lesson!