Why I Like Curious George

June 14, 2011 at 6:46 am (Attachment Parenting, Positive Discipline)

A few of my parent friends have pointed out that as much as their kids enjoy watching the PBS show “Curious George”, George always gets into trouble (makes a mess, does something wrong, doesn’t stay where he’s supposed to, etc…) and nothing ever happens to him for it.  He never gets punished or has a privilege taken away or a consequence imposed for his actions.  This may bother some parents about “Curious George,” saying that the show is not setting a good example for kids about what what should happen in the face of misbehavior, but I happen to think it’s a great example for parents.

Curious George does exactly what he’s supposed to do for his age and development (and species)!  By nature and by name, he is curious.  He explores his world fully and completely.  This is his job as a young, continually developing little person, er, monkey.  This is why my kids love the show–they relate so well to George’s genuinely curious nature and all of the honest (and funny) mistakes that ensue.  But what I find most refreshing about “Curious George” is The Man in the Yellow Hat.

The Man in the Yellow Hat never punishes George for his mistakes.  He is more concerned with solving the problem.  The man helps George put things away, fix things that broke, apologize to people who were involved in any indiscretions, and generally restore order.

The Man in the Yellow Hat doesn’t force George to apologize.  Well…George can’t talk, so maybe that’s why!  But George’s body language and expression, along with his cooperation in fixing the problem, is more meaningful than a forced “Sor-ry,” anyway.  People can see his remorse and feel his desire to set things right again.  George’s inability to speak provides an unwitting platform for making genuine apologies.

The Man in the Yellow Hat will give a heartfelt apology on George’s behalf.  And when he does, the apologizee says it’s not necessary.  The mistake has been fixed, and they enjoyed George’s authenticity–his curious nature–and appreciated his spirit.  The characters in this show are understanding of George’s developmental capabilities.

The Man in the Yellow Hat doesn’t put fear into George.  George is never afraid of what The Man will do or say to him when he finds out  what happened while he was gone.  George is able to present his problem to The Man and know that he will get help in return.

Now, if only The Man in the Yellow Hat would learn not to leave George unsupervised as often as he does…

6 Comments

  1. valleygirl said,

    Totally agree! Esp with that last statement. LOL The other show I enjoy and feel that I “learn a lot” from as a parent is Calliou. I always wonder if I strive for long enough I can exhibit that kind of patience ALL the time towards my kids! 🙂 Little by little I guess.

  2. lia dominique andress said,

    Can you believe that I was once around a group of folks in the Bay Area that believed Curious George was a racist bigot and wanted all the books banned?

    I actually think that my daughter should ONLY watch Curious George, lol. Great post. I should take some pointers from the Man in the Yellow Hat.

    Best!

  3. Kelly said,

    I have not seen Calliou, but it sounds like one I should check out! And I should make clear that this post today was based off of the TV series, not necessarily the books. Some of the older stories seem a little dated in the way the adults speak to George and in their perspective on “curious” behavior. One phrase in particular is standing out in my mind right now, “That monkey is naughty! Catch him and lock him up!” This is after George made an innocent mistake and knocked something over. I read that and think it’s not exactly an example of current views on child development and positive parenting. But the TV show has a lot more interaction between The Man and George and, being current, is more appropriate in demonstrating positive relationships between adults and children. It’s amazing to me how our parenting values and approaches are reflected in entertainment media…they can really date a piece of literature!

  4. eliminationcommunication said,

    I agree with this. It is so easy to squash age appropriate curiosity with the punish mindset. Making amends is more affective. It is hard to not to fall back on the knee jerk response.

  5. Lyndz said,

    Couldn’t agree more! And Caillou is an excellent one…still one of our favorites! The parents in that show exhibit AMAZING control…seriously. Great depiction of how parents SHOULD act. lol

  6. Betul said,

    Caillou is my favorite one as a mother and an early childhood educator..

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