In order for children to reach their potential that you see for them, they have to learn. They have to learn many things, such as right and wrong, healthy and unhealthy, helpful and destructive, and so on.
Many parents delegate the entire education of the child to the teachers in school. This is a mistake. Although teachers do bear some responsibility for what the children learn, parents play an even greater part of what children learn.
Parents need to start by understanding that they are the most powerful role models that their children will have. And that they can hold that position if they don’t allow too much of outside influences to seep in. It may require that parents are protective of what input their children receive, but that’s part of the responsibility of child rearing.
This includes the internet as well. There are hundreds of websites and products galore offering parental controls and filtering services, so that your children can be “protected” from viewing sites and images that parents feel are unacceptable.
But the best protection for any child is for parents to have a very healthy communicative relationship with their child. A child who is happy and secure knowing that their parents love and respect them will look up to the parents as the real loving role models to be emulated.
If a child is unhappy or dissatisfied in any way, that is where they start looking for trouble, for those unexplored avenues of satisfaction that parents are not able to provide.
Obviously the dynamics of child-rearing are complex, and there are no guarantees. Education is basically about doing the best you can do, and then hoping that the child will absorb what you’ve taught him or her. As I’ve said in another article, it helps greatly if you establish an environment of a neighborhood and a school that is consistent with your own educational values.
If all of that is in place, then you have a good chance that even the bad influences of the internet will be minimized (not eliminated- but minimized!).
What I’m trying to say is that as a parent you can only do the best you can, with the understanding that eventually you’ll have to leave the child on his or her own.
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