Parent wants kids to read, not watch TV
“Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press ... . ” — From the First Amendment to Constitution
DEAR HARRIETTE: I know that reading is important for building the mind. I have always been a reader, and I want my children to enjoy reading as well. The problem is that my husband loves to watch TV, and we live in a culture where binge-watching stupid programs is the norm. How can I train my children to love reading and not to become entranced by the TV? -- Time To Read
DEAR TIME TO READ: You need to strike a happy medium in your home. You may not be able to get your husband to become a reader, but you can limit screen time for your children and establish specific reading hours where you read together. If you start this practice early enough, you can help your children establish a rhythm that includes reading. Children tend to emulate what their parents do, so set a good example.
Do know that limiting television is not nearly enough. Young people are more engaged with their smartphones and other devices than television these days. You may want to create a policy where smart devices go into a bowl upon entering the home or, at least, during a period of time allocated for reading, studying and being with family. ••• DEAR HARRIETTE: My son wants to be a rapper. He has been making music and posting it on Soundcloud for a year now. He has performed at his school and a couple of other places. I am happy that he is exploring his creativity, but I do not want him to drop out of school to do this. He is a good student, in the 11th grade. I don’t want to come off as the overbearing parent, but I want him to go to college and get skills that will help him later in life, even if he does get a chance at this music thing somewhere down the line.
My son is talking about trying to go professional as soon as he graduates from high school. One parent suggested to me that I let him take a gap year to explore his options. He said I should give him the compromise to apply to schools and then ask for a gap year to be able to attend. What do you think about that? -- Rap Gap Year
DEAR RAP GAP YEAR: I know many families who allowed their children to take a gap year. They did this in part because the investment in college is significant, and if the student isn’t serious about it, it can turn out to be a huge waste of money.
On the other hand, I totally see the value in pushing your child toward completing his education. It’s tricky.
I like the compromise you put forth -- apply to college for the areas of interest he has, then request a deferment for one year. This lets him know that he has a concrete responsibility in 12 months and may motivate him to make the most of every day leading up to that. During the gap year, encourage him to be productive and creative as he pursues his dream. Toward the end of the year, assess where he is and what his next steps should be.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharri[email protected]riettecole.com or c/o Andrews Mcmeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.