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...that there is no mention of rape, dacoity, attack on the front page of the newspaper today. Though such days are rare, they are my favourite. Why? Because every morning before they reach the living room for breakfast, I quickly scan through the front page and hide the paper...avoiding answers to questions, explanations of terms ( that make me squirm)....
It started when my elder daughter in class II came home saying she had to read news headlines in the assembly the next day. I was quickly at work, identifying some educative, non controversial news and happily handed over the paper to her. We even practised reading it out. Then my son reached that stage and I was happy to see them both getting stage time.
By the time they reached a stage where they could read the newspaper themselves, I had to start hiding it. The school started giving a Kids' newspaper everyday and some bit of curiosity was taken care of. However, my relief did not last long. They came back with "So how is our newspaper different from yours?" "There is news that you may not want to know about - bad things that happen around the world. " "Like thieves?" they asked. "Yes" is what I could mutter.
This, I am sure, is a common problem that parents of 7 to 12 year olds face. We want them to be aware but there are pieces of news they can do without reading. Our newspapers are full of real and fabricated news that does not add much to awareness. Even if one manages the news inflow at home, there is a peer group that fills in bits and pieces. Issues such as sexual abuse, terror, safety and health should be spoken of and discussed but news that fills our national dailies need not enter our kids' realm.
Newspapers will have to be published and we will all subscribe to them but how our kids approach them, at what stage they start reading them, till when one continues to filter the news etc. are some of the parenting dilemmas we all have. Here is how I could think of dealing with it:
1. Discuss with them about news in assembly at school.
2. Pin point some interesting news that you may want them to read and sit with them when they do so. ( Their short attention span comes handy here as they dump the paper as soon as that piece is over.)
3. The kids' newspaper that they get in school ( HT Kids') comes handy. Ask them for it and read it with them. Show interest in what it says.
4. Last but not the least, if they come back with some news update from school and friends, do not rubbish it. Talk about it in the best possible way.
Do share any suggestions :).