When you mention the names of shows like Dora the Explorer or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse to parents, chances are you’ll receive some positive feedback about how instructive these shows are. However, as soon as you mention Caillou, the sense of exasperation is plain to see, and always seems to follow this bald, little boy.
For parents, this boy represents a bundle of grouchy madness.
No parents like him, except for me.
Ever since I came across this show, I’ve loved it. Truth be told, I enjoy this show so much that it wasn’t until I spoke about it with other parents that I found out about how badly parents perceived it.
“He keeps nagging and whining,” some said.
“My kids are only learning how to misbehave after watching this show,” others lamented.
“I don’t recommend that your daughter watches this show”, commented another.
Well, the truth is, yes Caillou is a whiner but to me he’s just acting like all other kids his age. So the way I look at it, sooner or later, at one point in her social exposure, my two-year-old will discover this type of behavior and will want to imitate it. It is part of her development to want to adopt this behavior, but it is up to me to determine what to do with it: To nurture it or to stop it.
Of course, this is easier said than done, especially in my case as I just happen to have one child which makes it easier for me to sit next to her, look her in the eyes and show my lack of appreciation towards the winding behavior (with more little ones running around the house, this would certainly be more challenging).
So just to be clear, my judgment on Caillou is based on my life with one two-year-old. After watching this show for over a year now, I can pick three reasons why I still believe this show is not as detrimental as some believe it to be.
Yes he whines, but….
Let’s start with the obvious one: Caillou is a whiner.
As I said above, I do agree with this point, BUT in the end, Caillou always learns his lessons. When he doesn’t want to fix his room, he can’t find what he’s looking for. When he doesn’t want to play with his sister, he gets bored and goes back to her. Whether he takes out the cat from his cage in the car, doesn’t want to go to the nursery, or no matter what else he does that his parents don’t approve of, he always learns his lesson in one way or another.
And that’s precisely what makes him different form all the other naggers and whiners out there.
He whines but he learns, while others keep at it until my ears are about to explode.
His parents deserve an award
I actually happen to like the parents more than I like little baldy. They are so patient, and so serene when they face Caillou’s tantrums that I am totally fascinated. I also like the type of answers they give him: Instead of just screaming in his face, they always have either a better recommendation to provide him, a more creative approach to the situation, or a more exciting way of looking at things.
They are always appreciative of their son’s initiatives, and make sure he’s aware of this.
They also don’t (always) give in to his nagging as they ask him to fix the mess that he makes. They make sure he’s aware that mom and dad are now busy doing other things and that he needs to be patient (which he doesn’t immediately get, but in the end he finds a way to keep himself busy).
A good sense of structure
So Caillou happens to be the older brother who sometimes hates being around his little sister, and sometimes wants to teach her stuff the way an older brother does. His parents are a happy couple, one that doesn’t need social media to remind the whole world about how happy they are, as they do some things together such as celebrating their anniversary, that parents like to do when their kids go to bed.
Their family functions a lot like any normal family does. I am comparing this show to Peppa Pig, another nice show with a pretty well structured family, but one where we just get a glimpse and short impressions of how the family functions. With Caillou however, we get a really good feel of how the family lives within the house, and in the community. Charity, giving away stuff, thinking of others, sharing, caring and altruism are all important values that are repeated throughout the episodes.
So while baldy happens to be a nagger, his parents make sure to teach him that there is a whole world outside his own little bubble, and that he needs to reach out to it in order to fully appreciate it.
Having said that, no kid’s show is perfect in providing all the values that we want our kids to learn. That’s why allowing for a diversity of shows is more beneficial to kids, than just sticking to one.
Besides, television is not an end, but just a means. It is up to us parents to teach our kids the real values that we want them to learn, based on each family’s standards.
Note: the image is a picture taken from the show Caillou
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