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The Super 8

17-Jul-2013

On October 30, 1938, Orson Wells broadcast his infamous “War of the Worlds” Mercury Theatre episode (CBS radio). The first 30-minutes were presented as a series of simulated news bulletins from an “in-progress” invasion from Mars. While the “widespread panic” often referenced is an exaggeration, many listeners believed an invasion was actually happening.

April 1, 1957 the British television news magazine “Panorama” celebrated April Fool’s Day  by broadcasting a three-minute segment about that year’s bumper spaghetti harvest in southern Switzerland. The report was a well-meaning hoax, but hundreds of people were still taken in.

Everyone enjoys a good joke, but no one wants to be the victim of a bad one. More often than not, it’s hard to know where to draw the line.

Regardless of our stance regarding the fine lines between teasing, joking around, and bullying, All smart dads would be well advised to consider the following “7 Ways to Keep Your Kids from Being Naïve.”


1. Be a family that’s well-informed:

Read a daily newspaper. Subscribe to a couple of kid-friendly periodicals that are news-oriented rather than gossip and trash. If TV is part of the kids’ diet, require some news shows as part of the mix.


2. Engage your kids in constant dialogue:

Be prepared (and informed enough) to talk about current events with your children. Direct the conversation. Make it fun to be “up” on current events. Have a world map in the kitchen or dining room, and make world geography and current events a visual part ongoing conversation.


3. Keep the lines of communication open and fresh:

Don’t allow yourself to become oblivious to what’s going on in your kids’ lives. That means don’t be naïve yourself! Cultivate a culture of openness where checking things out with “the parents” is par for the course. Be an expected part of their knowledge base resource.


4. Teach a healthy level of scepticism:

Teach the kids to question everything, respectfully, and to apply the principles of academic rigor to all their interactions and conversations. Gullibility is also a cultivated condition. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Help your kids keep their guard up in a respectful, non-argumentative way. Make sure they hear stories about hoax situations, and that they are well aware that naïveté is unnecessary.


5. Learn with your children:

Make it obvious to the kids that mum and dad are always learning, too. Arrogance or “I’d never fall for that” declarations can make your children shy about opening up or asking questions. A family culture where learning is an ongoing discipline for everyone is not only a hedge against naïveté, but also a huge step toward success in school…university…life.


6. Have meal time discussions especially with your teenagers.

Because the frontal lobes of our brains don’t fully develop till 21-23 years of age, dads need to speak into their teenagers lives.

Research shows that teens who just communicate with their own peers often get it so wrong especially in ‘risk taking’.


7. Research concerning parent/teenager relationships.

A number of studies revealed parents complained that their teenagers always argued with them. Were as their teenagers talked about meaningful discussions with their parents!

 It’s all about perception.


8. Don't believe everything you see on the Net.

Even Wikipedia is a predominately unconfirmed knowledge source, and it is way better than most of the "Research" or commentary you read on the web. Likewise , teach your children to question Blogs, Twitter exchanges and Facebook fads. They need to pass this barrage of information through a sieve of questioning, debate and common sense.