Helping YOUNGER Kids (Ages 5-12) Shed Light on Fifty Shades Darker
This article is part two in a series. Here is part one for parents of OLDER children.
By Dina Alexander, MS
Whether it’s the commercials we see at the gym, trailers on Hulu or musical advertisements on ITunes, the newest installment of the Fifty Shades Franchise continues to find us and our kids.
So what is the plot of this year’s Valentine “love story”? In Fifty Shades Darker, we find the female protagonist in a depressive state because she has broken up with her mentally unstable, abusive lover. Since she just can’t live without the sadist, she gets back together with him and the two of them party, drink, engage in kinky sex, endure a kidnapping attempt, and then become engaged. Her fiancé continues with his controlling, manipulative, smoothing-things-over-with-money behavior and they prepare to live happily every after.
This movie and many other sources of media are teaching misleading and completely false ideas of romantic relationships, love, intimacy and healthy sexuality. But we don’t need to fear! We can prepare our kids by showing them examples of healthy intimacy and healthy relationships. Most importantly, we can engage our kids in various discussions that combat the destructive messages shared in the media around us.
Here are ten discussions you can have with your YOUNGER kids (ages 5-12, depending on your comfort level):
1. If something is popular does that mean it is ‘okay’? What are some things in our history that have been popular that have later been found to be detrimental? (bleeding people for medical benefits, advertisements that told people that smoking was beneficial, etc.)
2. Some people think that most women and girls want to be dominated and told what to do. Do you think this is true? Why or Why not?
3. What is shame? What is guilt? Why do people have these feelings when sexual topics come up? Why do some people thinks sex is ‘dirty’ or ‘bad’?
4. If someone gives you gifts, does this mean he/she loves you?
What does a healthy relationship look like? (romantic or platonic) What kind of behavior should you expect in any relationship?
5. What is intimacy? Why does intimacy make a sexual relationship better? Intimacy can be the best part of a relationship. It is dependent upon trust and can be expressed verbally and non-verbally. It is feeling closer to someone that normally experienced in common relationships. It can exist between two friends, but is usually used to reference a wonderful, romantic, committed relationship.
6. Why are our bodies amazing? Why should we protect them from?
7. What is love? How do you know if you are loved? What is the difference between being infatuated and feeling real love?
8. Why is curiosity awesome? It is totally natural and expected to be curious about one’s body and about sex. This is natural and helpful to one’s survival.
9. How do we say ‘no’ to someone who isn’t treating us well? Can you say ‘no’ to an adult? What are some situations we can say ‘no’? Let’s practice saying “NO!”
10. How does one’s self-confidence affect their decisions in dating and forming relationships? If you don’t see your inherit worth or think you unlikeable, might you be more vulnerable to the flattery of insincere or abusive people?
For more discussions about Fifty Shades, see this article: http://bit.ly/1EWfr2e
Although these movies teaches many negative ideas of sexuality in our culture, you don’t need to hide these subjects from your children. You can direct the conversations around healthy, helpful, honest lessons. If you are not sure how to begin these discussions, Check out 30 Days of Sex Talks, Empowering Your Child with Knowledge of Sexual Intimacy. Available for kids ages 3-7, 8-11, and 12+.
Dina Alexander is the founder and president of Educate and Empower Kids. Dina received her master’s degree in recreation therapy and has taught in various capacities for the past 19 years, including marriage enhancement and art for small children. She has also worked with teenage girls in a residential treatment setting, adults with drug addictions and special needs children. She is a dedicated, whole-hearted mom of three children and loves spending time with them and her amazing husband. Together, they live in Texas.