Monday, June 9, 2014
I had a bit of a parenting dilemma this week and my readers are often great help with these things.
The background is this;
Popps is now in Grade 2 and a keen reader. I try not to choose her books for her too much as I don’t always pick the right ones and really, it’s just annoying if other people choose your books for you all the time.
At school she is encouraged to choose books that will extend her further than Wimpy Kid and Dork Diaries and last week she chose a book called Chloe.
I heard about Chloe because Popps was fascinated with the book. Each night she started telling me about what was happening and how interesting this book was. “You just won’t believe this story,” she said.
Each night I was a bit concerned about what else might be coming in this book.
I was also trying to be open-minded and accept that books are ideal for learning the lives of other people in your society. Books are a unique vessel to teach us all to broaden our thinking, to consider situations from all angles, especially the ones that might make us feel uncomfortable.
I just wasn’t sure if I wanted to censor this one.
I read the entire book myself to be able to help me decide.
It is an interesting book for a junior primary school level and covers issues relating to child abuse, adoption, foster care, neglect of children, violent husbands, drug addicts and alcoholics.
These are not something that we would usually discuss around the dinner table and as far as I know Popps has no friends who would know much about these issues (though of course it is a possibility).
As she had read a third of the book already, I expected that she would probably want to read the rest, and wasn’t sure where I stood on preventing her from reading a book just because the content was awful.
However, once I had finished the book, I decided to compromise and told her she could read the book, but she was to read it at home rather than school so she could ask me questions if she needed to. I also told her it was a day time book, not a before sleep time book. She asked if there were any scary bits and I told her exactly what happens, and the part I thought she would be uncomfortable with, which is when a violent drunken father smashes in the door to steal his toddler back, and 13 year old Chloe is home alone with the baby and needs to save him from this scary man.
In this instance, Popps has decided not to read the rest of the book herself but asked me to tell her the rest of the story, which I did.
The parenting dilemma is, should we censor what our children read? If so, to what extent? I would like to throw out all the Captain Underpants books that don’t even spell words correctly. I’d like to have a limit on how many Wimpy Kids books can be read in one month and while I enjoy many Dr Seuss books I would like to have Go Dog Go removed from the house for awhile.
Books can teach us everything, but are there some that we need to wait to read?
Let me know what you think?