It happens to the best of us. We’re watching a TV show or movie with our kids and suddenly a scene we were not expecting pops on the screen. It could be one of sexual innuendo, foul language or someone making really bad life choices. We could dive for the remote and try to change the channel. We could jump in front of the screen and start singing show tunes. Or we could take a moment to discuss what has just happened with our kids.
(A quick disclaimer. If a scene is over the top, turn off your TV, apologize, “Sorry kids I had no that was going to be part of the show”, and find something else to watch. You don’t want to needlessly subject your kids to inappropriate material. But we’ve all been caught off guard by a family movie or TV show that slips something into the script that shouldn’t have been there.)
Now back to our regularly scheduled programming: So don’t ignore the offending scene and pretend it never happened. Your kids could interpret your silence as your approval. Not necessarily that you approve of the act but that you approve of watching such things. Yes it can be a bit awkward to discuss something like teenage sex in the middle of family movie night, but it could also be a great teachable moment that may not have come up were it not for an unsuspecting scene in the movie. Hit the pause button and engage with your kids. Maybe it would go something like this, “We’ve talked several times about the dangers of premarital sex but what choices do you think this character made to get herself into this potentially compromising situation? And how might you avoid finding yourself in a similar situation?”. Engaging with your kids like this can turn something bad into a teachable moment.
We are surrounded by teachable moments opportunities. Not just by watching TV but it could be a billboard on the highway, a window display at the mall, a song on the radio or the cover of a magazine. Teachable moments are not hard to find if you look for them.
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