Asking the Right Questions: How to Build Confidence In Your Child
By Dr. Ted Baehr
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By contemplating the entertainment experience together with your children, you can determine the lasting impact of the message. What becomes “known” through the presentation of evidence of a worldview creates memories that lead to actions, which construct the culture we live in. This is the fundamental reason that we must make culture-wise choices to fill our minds with the good, the true and the beautiful. If desensitized by poor media choices, we may justify or ignore ungodliness, then slowly be conditioned to condone a non-Christian point of view, and lose our value as salt.
Children usually think about the character they would most like to be and are prone to accept the underlying belief systems that their favorite characters model. Through discussion, a parent shares insight to expose inconsistencies with a Christian worldview, and the potential dangers of emulating those characters. Children often like or dislike a character based on outcomes of his or her behavior. It’s important to invite your child to consider the motivation and plausibility of characters’ actions, and whether or not the consequences of those actions are realistic. Viewing actions with discernment can diffuse the temptation to lose touch with God’s will, when tempted to mimic a role model.
Some media communicates positive values of honesty, courage and so on. So hopefully, your child will respond to questions about why they like a character with answers like, “Well, she was a good friend to him and believed in him no matter what,” conveying to you that your child is picking up on values such as loyalty.
Together, you can also discuss alternative solutions to the problems a character faced that may be more in accordance with biblical guidance. Children should be encouraged to put a name to their feelings, especially younger children who might not know what triggers their emotions. Asking children questions after seeing a movie helps them identify the source of their emotions and boosts their self-esteem. Any time you ask children their opinion; you build their confidence tremendously about participating in the real world. It is important to set a tone that supports the child’s responses and creative impressions of the story.
Editor’s Note: These articles are adapted from Dr. Ted Baehr’s THE CULTURE WISE FAMILY book. You can buy a copy from www.movieguide.org or on Amazon.