Vi­o­lence in TV and movies dis­turbingly pop­u­lar

The Covington News - - Religion -

Ques­tion: What’s the ap­peal of all this hu­man suf­fer­ing and vi­o­lence on television and in movies? Why do peo­ple want more of it?

Dob­son: I’m sure it has some­thing to do with our de­sire for ex­cite­ment and our need to es­cape from the bor­ing ex­is­tence many peo­ple ex­pe­ri­ence. But, I have to ad­mit I don’t fully un­der­stand it. It is dif­fi­cult to com­pre­hend why peo­ple en­joy watch­ing such bloody events. A num­ber of years ago, the num­ber one television pro­gram in the en­tire year, watched by more peo­ple than all the sport­ing events or any other sin­gle pro­gram in the course of the 12 month pe­riod, was “Hel­ter Skel­ter,” the story of the Charles Man­son fam­ily. One in­ci­dent in that TV spe­cial was the mur­der of a wo­man, eight-months preg­nant, who was bru­tally stabbed in the ab­domen. Why would any­one want to see such bru­tal­ity? The pop­u­lar­ity of that pro­gram and oth­ers like it speaks dra­mat­i­cally about the de­prav­ity of the Amer­i­can peo­ple and our lust for vi­o­lence.

Ques­tion: As a sin­gle mother, I’d like to leave my chil­dren with friends or rel­a­tives for a few days and get some time for my­self, but I’m wor­ried about how this might af­fect them. Will they feel de­serted?

Dob­son: Not only is a brief time away from your chil­dren not likely to be hurt­ful -— it will prob­a­bly be healthy for them. One of the spe­cial risks faced by sin­gle par­ents is pos­si­bil­ity of a de­pen­dency re­la­tion­ship de­vel­op­ing that will trap their chil­dren at an im­ma­ture stage. This dan­ger is in­creased when wounded peo­ple cling to each other ex­clu­sively for sup­port in stress­ful times. Spend­ing a rea­son­able amount of time apart can teach in­de­pen­dence and give ev­ery­one a lit­tle re­lief from the rou­tine. There­fore, if you have a clean, safe place to leave your chil­dren for a week or two, by all means, do it. You’ll be more re­freshed and bet­ter able to han­dle your usual “home­work” when you re­turn.

Ques­tion: I have a very fussy eight-month-old baby who cries when­ever I put her down. My pe­di­a­tri­cian says she is healthy and that she cries just be­cause she wants me to hold her all the time. I do give her a lot of at­ten­tion, but I sim­ply can’t keep her on my lap all day long. How can I make her less fussy?

Dob­son: The cry­ing of in­fants is an im­por­tant form of com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Through their tears we learn of their hunger, fa­tigue, dis­com­fort, or di­a­per dis­as­ter. Thus, it is im­por­tant to lis­ten to those calls for help and in­ter­pret them ac­cord­ingly. On the other hand, your pe­di­a­tri­cian is right. It is pos­si­ble to cre­ate a fussy, de­mand­ing baby by rush­ing to pick her up ev­ery time she ut­ters a whim­per or sigh. In­fants are fully ca­pa­ble of learn­ing to ma­nip­u­late their par­ents through a process called re­in­force­ment, whereby any be­hav­ior that pro­duces a pleas­ant re­sult will tend to re­cur.

Thus, a healthy baby can keep her mother hop­ping around her nurs­ery 12 hours a day (or night) by sim­ply forc­ing air past her sand­pa­per lar­ynx. To avoid this con­se­quence, it is im­por­tant to strike a bal­ance be­tween giv­ing your baby the at­ten­tion she needs and es­tab­lish­ing her as a tiny dic­ta­tor. Don’t be afraid to let her cry a rea­son­able pe­riod of time (which is thought to be healthy for the lungs), al­though it is nec­es­sary to lis­ten to the tone of her voice for the dif­fer­ence be­tween ran­dom dis­con­tent and gen­uine dis­tress. Most moth­ers learn to rec­og­nize this dis­tinc­tion very quickly.

When my daugh­ter was one year of age, I used to stand out of sight at the door­way of her nurs­ery for four or five min­utes, await­ing a mo­men­tary lull in the cry­ing be­fore go­ing to pick her up. By so do­ing, I re­in­forced the pauses rather than the tears. You might try the same approach.

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