Home » Choosing Carefully: Books and Parents

It’s a startling discovery, made accidentally as you clean through the endless stacks of clothes, toys and unidentifiable projects (that decision to purchase a chemistry set now seems to be a foolish one. Alchemy stains all carpets and leaves the walls peeling gray). Your child is reading. Of this you’re glad. But the book itself is far too mature, far too demanding in its themes; a sampling of horror and nightmare inducing words. And this… is not what you intended when you encouraged pages. This is not what you wished for when you first offered stories.

There is a delicate line that parents must straddle when deciding what is appropriate and what is simply too impossible. Children are mercurial – their moods and interests are forever changing. This will be reflected in the books they read and the information they seek. But you must still be involved with decisions, urging them to find the better choices and the right materials.

Doing this requires three vital steps:

1. Discuss everything. The desire for books is to be celebrated. The desire for books that are far beyond for your child’s age is to instead be considered. Understand what your son or daughter wishes to read and why. Learn their interests and be certain of their ability to understand ideas that may be considered controversial. If the choice is deemed problematic, then explain why. Don’t simply ban the story.

2. Understand age. Each year offers new skills and comprehensions. And you must remember that, while you still imagine your child as too young for more than rhymes, they may in fact be ready for more daring pages. Recognize their true maturity and emotional age.

3. Seek recommendations. If books that do no please are found, you should not simply condemn them. You should instead find the common interests within them and search for stories that are similar in content but are tailored still for youth.

Choosing the perfect material can be a challenge. You must never tame the urge to read. You must instead tame the urge to learn too much too quickly.

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