Where’d You Learn That?

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READING TIME: 3 min.

I’m not sure about most moms, but during the day I often need other adult voices to fill the space in the room, so I will typically leave the television on in the background. I’ll tune in to a news program like The Today Show or to a DIY network; which is where it will usually stay until the afternoon when I’ll flip it over to TBS for a barrage of old sitcoms; Seinfeld, Everybody Loves Raymond, etc.

The other day, my son and I were playing in the living room when out of nowhere I hear someone shout “That b#%ch!” Being less than a year old, my son paid no attention to it at all, but for me, the words lingered in the air like a bad smell. As I turned around to see what obviously inappropriate TV show had come on, and I was shocked to see it wasn’t some trashy show at all, but Friends. Since when did Friends use such language?? And why am I so offended by this??

Now, with the exception of the occasional slip of the tongue, my husband and I don’t really curse, but we also don’t limit what we watch or listen to simply because there might be salty language or content. Some of our favorite shows include Breaking Bad, South Park, and Mad Men. These are all shows that I would obviously prohibit my son from watching, but for some reason, it never occurred to me that something as innocent as daytime TV might also be influencing him negatively. After all, he’s not the one watching it, right?

According to Dr. Andrew N. Meltzoff (an infant psychology), by the age of 2 most children have about 100 words in their vocabulary. By 2 ½, they’ll have added another 100. Almost all of the words children learn will be through listening to their parents speaking with them, through books being read to them, and listening to parents communicate with each other. And of course, children will also learn through 3rd parties like television and music.

Although I originally used the excuse that he’s too young to understand, I am beginning to realize that it’s not about comprehension; it’s about mimicking, and right now is a critical time for language development and learning the words he’ll use for the rest of his life. I teach my son new words each day like “book,” “ball,” and “car,” but how mortified would I be if one of those words ended up being “b#%ch” courtesy of the TV?

As we’ve taken on the role of parents, there are a lot habits we’ve had to change in our lives to be more baby friendly. We’ve baby-proofed the house to protect him from dangerous corners and electrocution. We organize our evenings based on his bed schedule. We’ve even talked about changing the radio station away from popular music once he gets old enough to understand lyrics. (Sorry Flo Rida & Nicki Minaj!) And with this realization, we’ve recently added one more. . . I’m going to start being more aware of what’s on in the background.

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From a fourth grade teaching career in Richardson to managing a letterpress studio in the Design District of Dallas, Krystal finally found her calling with the not-so-simple life of motherhood. She’s been married for her best friend and husband, Tim, for 15 years and enjoys spending time with her sons, Mark (born March 2011), Zachary (born January 2013), Nathan (born October 2015), and Jake (born July 2018). When not devoting her time to Dallas Moms Blog and her family, she enjoys eating cheaply and traveling often!

3 COMMENTS

  1. Great post. Thanks for reminding me that my kids are picking up on EVERYTHING. I usually turn on the Today Show while we eat breakfast, and just yesterday there was a story of a man killing his wife. Chloe looked up and said, “Why did he do that??” OH my word. She is three and doesn’t need to know that stuff even exists right now!

  2. awesome post Krystal.  I too, love to feel like there are other adults in the room, someone besides Barney and the Wiggles but this is a gentle reminder of how important our roles as mommies are to these precious little people!

  3. I really enjoyed your post. I am the grandmama and this made me think about the shows granddad maybe watchingwhen we babysit. I hadn’t thought about that since my own kids left home. But i will now. Thanks for reminding all of us play a part in what a child learns.

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