Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A child of his generation

Ryan gets lots of clothes, toys, music and other goodies all the time from his nanny and her daughter, Caroline. The latest gift was a tricycle!

Sometimes, Caroline also introduces Ryan to characters like Spongebob Squarepants and the puppets on Sesame Street (apparently Elmo is Ryan's favourite). The latest was Barney the Purple Dinosaur.
A Spongebob Squarepants lantern that Ryan's nanny got for him
for the recent mooncake festival 
Although there is educational value in the TV programmes starring these characters, Richard and I have not introduced Ryan to any of them, mainly because we don't have any children's TV programmes on our cable subscription (actually, we only watch TV for football). That also means that Ryan doesn't get any time with these characters when he is with us. We also don't buy any merchandise featuring these characters so he doesn't have any stuff at home reminding him of them. I guess that keeps things in balance.

Having said that, I'm glad that Ryan is being kept "socially connected" and he is in tune with what children are into nowadays. Of course, it's not an issue at this stage but in time to come, he will need to build his own social circle and, while he doesn't need to have every toy/gadget on the planet, he should at least know a little about what the other children are interested in. I certainly don't want him to be a social outcast among his peers. He should be a child of his time and generation, not a child of mine.

I guess one fear that parents have is that their children will become fanatical about these characters but, in my opinion, shielding them isn't the answer, and shielding could lead to more undesirable outcomes. I would rather introduce my children to these things and teach them how to apply restraint and moderation. That would surely be a more valuable and practical life lesson and skill.


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