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How do you talk with your children about TV?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

This is a question that I'm struggling with.

 

Clearly my mother's way was effective (I didn't watch much TV as a kid, and stopped having a TV by choice in my early 20's), but it wasn't very nice. She would just constantly tell me that various shows were for "stupid people". I'd start watching something, and she'd say, "K, that show is for stupid people! You're not stupid! Why would you want to watch a stupid people show?" Very few shows fell into the non-"stupid people" category.

 

Now, to some degree, I do agree with her about most TV shows being really stupid. But I don't think that's how I want to approach it with my son when he gets old enough to notice TV. We won't have a TV in the house, but I want to have ways of explaining and normalizing why that is, and why we don't feel that TV is a good use of time, without shaming him or putting down people who do choose to watch television. I also want him to learn how to self regulate TV watching when he's at friends' houses, and how to (positively and politely) suggest that he and his friend do something else when he's bored of the TV.

 

Any suggestions? What do you all do?

post #2 of 4

That is a great question and I wish I had a good answer. Maybe if I owned books about why not to watch television, like the ones in our "Good Books" discussion, I would be better equipped to know what to say. But I've only read one or two books on that topic and that was years ago. So I feel like I'm sort of winging it.

 

What my family does is rather black and white: we don't watch it because "it's bad". I know that explanation will need some improving as my children get older (oldest is 7). It helps that the private school our oldest two go to has a rule that says no watching TV - not just at school, but at home (only decent movies are allowed). Since you asked, though, I will try to think about it more and hopefully eventually get back to you with a better answer.

post #3 of 4

Our daughter is only three months old, but I'm sure that she'll be asking why we don't have a TV when she's preschool-aged. We hope to capitalize on a young child's natural propensity for being physically active and show her how her friends have to sit passively in order to watch TV, which is also not interactive like her friends, nature, or her toys would be. The conversation can expand as she grows to include the limitations on creativity and the way many TV shows are the mental equivalent of junk food. 

 

I do anticipate that when she's at a friend's house, she might be exposed to TV, and I hope we can educate her to be a critical thinker so she doesn't just absorb what she sees and hears but analyzes it in an age-appropriate way, starting out with simple things like "That's not what would happen in real life if you fell off a cliff!" 

post #4 of 4

We don't own a TV, which everyone finds strange when they visit us.  However we have lots of computers, so we do watch videos, etc.  I prefer if the kids don't watch daily anything, but sometimes if they're sick and I need them to take it easy...it just happens.  So far, our 5 year old has never asked us why we don't have a TV.  He does get very frustrated with his cousins who live out of state because it seems they're always playing video games instead of interacting with him.  I do agree that most shows really are stupid.  And it's gotten much worse since when I was a kid.  All the reality TV is just horrendous.  I guess, I hope my kids have lots of other interests.  I can't imagine having to teach them that TV is bad, just that there are more fun things to do, in general.  

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