How Do You Decide What Your Kids Read?
My son is two now. Perhaps you remember his reading tips from way back when he was one. Now that he’s two, the real parenting is about to begin.
Before I had kids, it was the practical stuff in the first years that worried me—changing diapers, losing sleep, hurried dinners, etc.
But as my wife and I have adjusted to all of that—a lot of which I realized wasn’t a big deal after all, okay, except for the sleep part—I’ve begun see how the real fun is just getting started.
It’s all the emotional, psychological, hard-core parenting stuff now—knowing when to discipline and when to be patient, not letting my fears become my son’s fears or get in the way of his growth, knowing when to say no and when to say one more time, determining the types of discipline that he responds to best, and stuff like that.
As I’ve been told by more experienced parents, all of this will only get more difficult as he grows older. Now my parental sensors go off when he wanders in the next room without supervision, so what am I going to do when he’s wandering through town in his own car? Oh crap.
That brings me to my question for the day. As a parent, how do you monitor–or do you monitor–what your child reads?
Here’s an onslaught of questions:
- Is it all fair game?
- Do you want them to be intellectually and emotionally ready to read certain books…and, if so, how do you determine that?
- Are you guided by spiritual and religious values in determining what your kids should read?
- Is there a difference in reading a book to understand an idea or an issue better versus reading it because you believe in or embrace those ideas?
- Do you keep your kids from reading books or novels that you consider to have objectionable material?
- What are some of the other guidelines you use?
Obviously, a lot of this is subjective, as we all come from different backgrounds and have different styles and ideas about parenting. But it’s an issue that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately, and I’m not sure how to approach it yet.
Thankfully, he’s not reading quite yet, so I have time. The Elmo and Thomas the Train books appear to be safe…except for that one scene with Thomas and Lady in the train station. So graphic.
Anyway, I’ve had several people recently ask me for book recommendations for kids in the 10 to 12-year-old range, and I haven’t been sure how to answer those questions. There’s the obvious stuff, like Narnia, but what about To Kill A Mockingbird? Or does a 10 year old really “get” Animal Farm? That’s just one part of the parenting world that I’m thinking about these days.
I’d love for you guys to weigh in on this one–whether you have kids or not.
How do you decide what’s okay for your kids to read?