We live in a nuclear family and it gets very problematic to watch OTT series behind closed doors. But I fear my 4 year old daughter is picking up strange things. The other day I saw her trying to emulate a lips kiss, sometimes she uses slang that is not appropriate. What should I do?
Response by Dr Chandni Tugnait: Hi, thank you for writing to us. It is understandable how distressing this situation may be for you.
It’s clear that living in a nuclear family has its benefits; it also has its drawbacks. Unfortunately, thanks to the popularity of streaming services, it’s becoming harder to monitor what your children are watching when glued to the screen.
All children learn through imitation and it’s important to monitor their activities with an understanding of the environment they’re exposed to. The first step is to be mindful of what you watch around her as children her age are quick to model what they see around them. It is important to remember that children are naturally curious and keen learners, and will often mimic the behavior of those around them. With this in mind, it would be prudent for parents who watch OTT series to take extra care to ensure that the content they are viewing is appropriate for all members of the family including any young children.
The best way to address this issue is by talking openly and honestly with your daughter. Start by asking her questions like what she likes watching, or why she has been saying certain words or making certain gestures. This will help you understand better the context in which she has learned these things and allow her to explore her interests further. It is also important to talk about respect and appropriate behavior in a positive manner so that your daughter understands that some behaviors are not acceptable. You could explain how some words could make others feel uncomfortable, or how they might not understand what she means when she uses them. Make sure you define boundaries and set expectations clearly so your child can understand them.
Additionally, you may want to introduce other activities into her life such as art classes, outdoors playgroups or music lessons; giving her an alternative outlet for her energy and creativity is likely to help her develop more age-appropriate behaviours.
Also, try limiting the amount of time your daughter spends viewing OTT series while ensuring they are age-appropriate shows with positive messages. Monitor these shows together to ensure they contain no inappropriate content such as violence or sexual innuendos. Also, have conversations, afterwards, highlighting any lessons learned from these programs. This would also help in sound cognitive development, social skills and emotional intelligence. Lastly, keep in mind that children are sponges who pick up things very quickly so make sure you are setting a good example!
As an expert, I would say it’s important for your daughter to learn about relationships and intimacy from a young age, but you also need to be careful about what she’s exposed to. I would recommend that you watch TV shows and movies together as a family so that you can all discuss them afterwards. The shows that aren’t meant for her age can be watched when she’s sleeping or at school.
Lastly, I would recommend you to get help from a qualified professional in order to address the problem in case you aren’t able to communicate effectively to your child. Don’t shy away from asking for help. If you’re not sure where to turn for help, your pediatrician can provide you with recommendations for therapists who specialize in working with children. Taking steps now to address any potential problems can help ensure that your daughter has a healthy and happy future. I hope this helps!
For further queries, feel free to book an appointment with us.
Dr. Chandni Tugnait is M.D. (Alternative Medicines), Psychotherapist, Life Coach, Business Coach, NLP Expert, Healer, Founder & Director – Gateway of Healing, with centres in Gurgaon and Faridabad.