You Won't Believe How Super Bowl Ads Can Affect Your Child


Parenting: Teaching Your Kids Good Behavior After The Super Bowl
Who knew tortilla chips were so scandalous?
When your kids watch TV, they learn from both the program & the ads. Look closely at what they see.

With the Super Bowl approaching, most families look forward to that time-honored family-centered activity and everything that goes with it: watching football, yelling at the TV, and eating plenty of junk food. Even the kids get into the fun — they can stay up late to see the end of the game and wrestle on the floor with Uncle Bill at half time. While all that amounts to good family fun, there is one part of the Super Bowl evening that could be teaching your children some very bad habits.

When young people see advertisements as part of a family-sanctioned program, they see them as an acceptable part of that program. Essentially, they believe that what they see is appropriate behavior. They haven't been banned from watching it, so therefore in their minds, they figure everything they see is OK to imitate. After all, they're watching it with Mom and Dad right in the room. 

More from YourTango: How To Make Your Golden Years Shine

My favorite — or should I say least favorite — inappropriate commercial aired at a Super Bowl several years ago when a well-known chips brand thought it would be funny to show someone trip up an old woman eating a bag of their chips, so that he could steal it from her. Really, advertisers?

Now, in all fairness, not all Super Bowl ads relay bad parenting ideals: On the opposite side of the advertisement coin are the well-known beer ads that show those signature horses accepting the differences of a donkey, helping a fellow horse achieve greatness, or allowing a dog to accompany them. As you can see, these commercials are far better role models than the one previous mentioned. I look forward to seeing what the horses do each year.

So this year, watch the Super Bowl ads through the eyes of a child. What are those ads teaching your children about behavior? What do your kids learn about respect? And what are you going to do if the ads present any of these problem behaviors:

  • Bullying
  • Disrespect
  • Sexism
  • Ageism
  • Discrimination
  • Dishonesty
  • Lying
  • Greed
  • Selfishness
  • Anger

Don't worry, there will be plenty of commercials that also teach about healthy relationships. If the coffee-in-your-cup folks opt to advertise during the Super Bowl, you can bet your week's wages that they will be advertising family togetherness rather than their coffee. It's the way they have rolled for years. 

Watch out for the commercials that teach inappropriate behavior, and discuss that behavior with your kids. You don't have to do so during the fun of the game, but keep a notebook handy to jot down what you see. Then the next day, say, "What did you think about the commercial where the kid knocks down his brother to get the last cookie?" If he or she says it was funny, then you'll need to have a good long discussion about the nature of humor — and what's acceptable in "real life" relationships.

So, enjoy the game, munch on the wings, and watch the ads that pay millions of dollars for the placement. What have been your favorite — and least favorite — ads of the past? As a parent, how have you handled ads that promote poor values?

Renee Heiss is a retired teacher of Child Development and the co-author of The EnteleTrons™ Seriesbooks with engaging characters that teach science, language literacy, and character education. They provide a complete learning experience for your children.

More from YourTango: 5 Ways To Change Your Thinking To Become A Happier Person

More parenting advice on YourTango:

Share this with someone you love (or even like a lot)!

Let's make it
FB official
Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Renee Heiss

Family Coach

Renee Heiss is a wife, mother, grandmother, and retired teacher of high school child development.  She is the co-founder of Entelechy Education, LLC. and the award-winning author of Woody's World, in addition to being an instructor for the Institute of Children's Literature.

Location: Tabernacle, NJ
Credentials: BS
Other Articles/News by Renee Heiss:

What's Your Role In Your Child's Homework Routine?


Six-year-old Mandy has a math paper and a reading assignment to do for homework. She rushes through the math, leaving errors in her path like Hansel and Gretel’s crumbs. She reads an assignment about frogs, but skips paragraphs and doesn’t remember what she read. What’s a parent to do? You could try bribery, but that is a temporary fix. You ... Read more

A New Tool For The Parental Toolbox


What happened the last time you said, "No" to your teenager? I thought so! She launched into a verbal persuasive essay that would have made her English teacher proud. Then one of two things happened: 1) You caved and she got what she wanted, or 2) You held your ground and your teenager sulked for days, plotting revenge.  Is that any way to raise ... Read more

How To Make Your Golden Years Shine


Your last child is out of the house and on his own ...finally! Your retirement looms about three years into the future. Now is the time to give yourself a gift. When you start building a life that has Goals, Interests, Fun, and Thankfulness, you will look forward to those shiny golden years as if they were a GIFT with a bright golden bow. Goals—What ... Read more

See More

Recent Expert Posts

The Man Down the Street

He moved in down the street, "closer to his job," now he's unavailable. I can't stop driving past...

Girl Decorates Easter Eggs

Are You Addicted To Comfort?

Don't be afraid to push the envelope—you'll achieve greater happiness.

Woman Weighing Herself

How to Lose Weight Without Dieting

10 Steps to integrating mindful eating- find peace, calmness and sanity around food and in your body

Ask The Experts

Have a dating or relationship question?
Visit Ask YourTango and let our experts and community answer.

How to find the right pro for you
10 Reasons Mental Health Pros Should Join YourTango Experts

10 Reasons Mental Health Pros Should Join YourTango Experts

YourTango Experts can help your business go from good to great.

10 Steps To Improve Your Coaching Business

Take your coaching business from mediocre to great in no time…

Frequently Asked Questions About YourTango Experts

Thinking of joining? Here's all the facts you need to know to make the most of your membership.

Getting Your Guy To Join You In A Therapy Or Coaching Session

So how can your get your strong, self-reliant, superman to talk to an Expert with you?

Therapist/Counselors: Who We Are & What We Do

What exactly does a therapist/counselor do and can they really help?

See more resources>