Should Adults Enjoy “Kid Stuff”?

Opinions on Debatable Issues #17

In the 21st century, fictional and heroic characters such as X-Men and Avengers are no longer exclusive for kids. Today, many adults are fervent fans of comic books, video games, and collective figures products that are used to be seen as childish and for kids only. This drastic change in the societal norm of what adults do for enjoyment or relaxation sparked heated debate around whether it is responsible and beneficial for grownups to familiarize themselves with the “kids’ stuff”. When adults start to play with children’s toys or games, they can communicate effectively and build a trusting relationship with their children to cultivate a disciplined, healthy, and balanced approach towards games and toys, resulting in improved parenting and self-management from a young age.

Understanding kids’ stuff allows parents to communicate with their children more understandably and effectively. Often, kids find it difficult to take in the moral lessons or rules that the adult family members try to teach them. My brother, who is a lively 9-year-old boy, refuse to listen to me, my mom, or my grandmother when we tell him to be humble, patient, and persistent. Like most of the young kids, my brother loves to watch YouTube, hates studying, and always wants to be the winner. My family tried many ways to communicate the message. For instance, we used the Chinese mantra called 《三字经》, the conventional Asian approach that my grandma used to teach my sister and me with. It did not work, not only does my brother had a hard time staying patient when listening to these lessons that he finds boring, but he also cannot relate himself to the ancient stories. So, my sister and I figured out an innovative way to convey the lessons: hero stories. Knowing that my brother is obsessed with Marvel and DC hero movies, my sister and I used the heroes as examples to hook my brother and facilitate his understanding of the gist of our points. When watching the protagonist getting beaten repeatedly but persisted in fighting the villain, I told my brother that the protagonist kept trying to obtain victory and even people with superpowers fail before they save the world. As a result, my brother understood the importance of persistence and the inevitability of failure/defeat. Because he admires characters like Captain America and Flash, he can understand and internalize virtues that are explained using them as examples. This shows the importance of adults knowing Children’s passion and interests. My sister and I could not have found this common ground to teach our brother those moral values without accessing hero TV shows, comic books, and so on. Therefore, when adults are familiar with kids’ stuff, they can effectively educate their children and cultivate a better relationship because children feel intrigued and understood through their discussions about things that they truly love. After building the communication channel, I found that it becomes much easier to tell my brother to manage his time well and find a balance between study and leisure. He knows to prioritize study before relaxing as he looks to my sister and me for guidance. My brother knows that my sister and I love watching hero movies and discuss fictional stories with him, and he sees that we can discipline ourselves to have a limited time for relaxation and do well in other important areas such as academics and athletics. As a result, through this common ground of interests, my brother came to gradually realize that finding the balance of enjoyment and study is not only possible but desirable. When parents show their children how to enjoy their interests while working hard and making achievements, the children are guided to learn to discipline themselves and find the right balance at an early age.

Some conservative thinkers criticize the popularity of children’s entertainment in the adults’ world, arguing that those behaviors fail to fulfill the adults’ responsibility of being the role model for their children to teach them maturity. The concern is that kids are likely going to indulge themselves to play video games, toys, and watch animated movies instead of study when they see their parents getting engrossed in the games or the shows. This argument is flawed because first, adults need time to rest and enjoy life. It is both impossible and unsustainable to restraint adults from doing “childish” things that make them rejoice. Second, a parent that a child cannot communicate or empathize with seldomly is a good model to provide guidance. My mom’s friend is a Chinese mom who grew up in China and is ingrained with the Chinese way of raising a child. Despite her son grew up in the US, which is more open-minded and accepting of entertainment, the mom restricted video games, comic books, or anything that is deemed “educational” or “addictive” from her son. It worked for a while, but when her son entered puberty and gained access to the internet and electronic devices, he indulged himself in games. Despite her mom criticized his behaviors and attempted to prevent any more gaming, the son did not listen. He grew more defiant and discontent with his mother on many more issues. The tension between them intensified to the point that they have a hard time finding a common ground to start a genuine conversation to work their problems out. Games can be addictive, but they can be used effectively to help parents and children understand each other’s thoughts and struggles. If parents demonize or devalue kids’ stuff, they are pushing their children away and set up a boundary of disconnection and misunderstanding between them.

The popularity of video games, animated movies, toys, and comic books among grownups is a desirable trend that can lead to more effective parenting and early-age self-discipline as parents and children build connections through this common ground and interest. We always say that to become close to a child and to make them trust us, we must be their friends. Friends are those who share habits, play games together, and discuss exciting movie plots. Being a mature model of responsibility cannot create that sense of trust and connection, so adults should embrace their own enjoyment and utilize them as a means to improve their relationship with the kids. 

Check out the other Opinions on Debatable Issues:

- Funding the Defenders: Not Enough to Curb Prosecutorial Power
https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/11/21/funding-the-defenders-not-enough-to-curb-the-abuse-of-prosecutorial-power/
- Thanksgiving is WORTH Celebrating, Even in Light of Its Origin
https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/11/28/thanksgiving-is-worth-celebrating-even-in-light-of-its-origin/ 
- No-First-Use (NFU) of Nuclear Weapons is NECESSARY
https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/12/05/no-first-use-nfu-of-nuclear-weapons-is-necessary/
- Governmental Regulations on Social Media: Necessary and Constitutional
https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2020/12/12/governmental-regulations-on-social-media-necessary-and-constitutional/
- Expell the legislators who endorsed "Stop the Steal" Immidiately
https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2021/01/16/expell-the-legislators-who-endorsed-stop-the-steal-immidiately/
- Unions help workers obtaining better terms of employment, but what are their downsides?https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2021/01/30/unions-help-workers-obtaining-better-terms-of-employment-but-what-are-their-downsides/
-Helicopter Parenting v. Free-Range Parenting: Which is better?  https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2021/02/06/helicopter-parenting-v-free-range-parenting-which-is-better/
-Online Shopping Has Taken Over Our Lives, But is it Actually Better Than In-Store Shopping?https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2021/02/14/online-shopping-has-taken-over-our-lives-but-is-it-actually-better-than-in-store-shopping/

-On the whole, peer youth juries in schools are not effective towards helping juvenile delinquents.https://mypathtowardsmindfulness.org/2021/02/27/on-the-whole-peer-youth-juries-in-schools-are-not-effective-towards-helping-juvenile-delinquents/

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