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inappropriate TV? WWYD?

post #1 of 127
Thread Starter 
I have a wonderful 11 yr old DS. We get along well much of the time, but when we have issues it is often over TV.

DS wants to watch anything he wants. I do not want him to watch shows I think are inappropriate due to adult content - such as CSI, Prison Break, Family Guy, etc.

He also wants to go to inappropriate internet sites, but that is less of an issue due to the fact they are quick for me to check out.

He badgers me, on a daily basis, to watch these shows. He thinks I am too "strict", etc. Honestly, it feels like verbal harassment. I am tired of saying "no' over and over and over again. He wants me to "check out" shows before I judge them - but seriously, I do not want to spend my scant free time watching violents, icky shows. After all, I do not ask him to watch Steel Magnolias and the like.

I have tried being strong and just saying "no" but he is wearing me down, and I come across as a big old meanie.

So I have a plan.... We have satelitte TV with 5 theme packs (plus basic)...I am thinking of going down to just basic. I am hoping it will lessen the constant baragement. OTOH, he is a good kid, he is genuinely interested in TV...is this removing an interest?

I know life would be easier if I just gave in, but I genuinely do not think he needs to learn about the dark side of humanity from TV shows. UGH!:

Kathy
post #2 of 127
I'd let him watch what he wants. If his behavior changes and he seems to be picking up "bad habits" from the things he's seen then you might have a reason to restrict his viewing. Otherwise, who is it hurting?

My dd (almost five) watches our shows with us . . . she enjoys them and they aren't hurting her. My parents also let me watch what I wanted as a kid, and it didn't change me into a hellion. I think kids who have that sort of thing restricted too severely become obsessed with it -- the whole forbidden fruit thing.

Maybe you could let him pick one or two of the shows to follow, as a compromise? Or allow him a certain number of hours per week to choose whatever he wants to view?
post #3 of 127
If you don't want him to watch those shows, then don't let him watch. If he keeps badgering you, I'd limit his TV time or choices even furthur to teach him that badgering me is NOT the way to go about getting what he wants.
post #4 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jessy1019 View Post
I'd let him watch what he wants. If his behavior changes and he seems to be picking up "bad habits" from the things he's seen then you might have a reason to restrict his viewing. Otherwise, who is it hurting?

My dd (almost five) watches our shows with us . . . she enjoys them and they aren't hurting her. My parents also let me watch what I wanted as a kid, and it didn't change me into a hellion. I think kids who have that sort of thing restricted too severely become obsessed with it -- the whole forbidden fruit thing.

Maybe you could let him pick one or two of the shows to follow, as a compromise? Or allow him a certain number of hours per week to choose whatever he wants to view?
:
post #5 of 127
We have basic cable (12 channels or so) and we still get Family Guy. So, getting rid of all your programming might not do much, unless you can be assured of only getting Noggin (gack) . I thinkiFG is dumb, but my 13 & 18 yr olds crack up at it. The baby on that show *is* hilarious, I admit. I know peep here (MDC-here) do not know my boys, and I could be lying and the could be felons serving time. But really, they are very sweet, mature, intelligent & thougtful human beings.

So, I really don't care what they watch. I know, I suck as an MDC mother. I just really need to hand in my Good & Crunchy Parent card. DH, too, because he is even less concerned. He was a little kid in Southern Europe watching dubbed reruns of John Wayne killing injuns, and he turned into a pacifiist scientist geekola. And I when I say Geek-O-La, I mean Geek-O-La. I have to dress him some mornings. Oy. "Honey-- do *not* wear those pants with that shirt unless you want the other researchers to steal your lunch money".
post #6 of 127
Thread Starter 
I do not worry about his behaviour changing, so much as I worry about protecting his spirit.

A lot of the shows he wants to watch are graphic, and have mature content. Some of it discusses things I am not sure he is ready to learn about (Family Guy mentionned partial birth abortion, for example), and, well, I just don't like the tone. I do not beleive violence is entertaining, so why do they make shows that focus on it? And why do they continually push the envelope on graphic violence, gore and general darkness?

I rember watching a show on PBS years ago in which Dr. Northrup (I think) said she does not beieve in watching too much news - she did not beleive in letting that much negativity into the pysche. I feel the same way about violent TV shows.

I have a lot of reasons for being displeased with TV at this moment in time, I don't want to support such shows....I have strong opinions on the matter.

None-the-less, I have been s-l-o-w-l-y loosening the rules about what can and cannot be watched, and he watches stuff I do not think is appropriate in the name of compromise, but it changes little. He does not appreciate all he gets to watch, only thinks of what he is not allowed to watch, and does not listen to the word "no" on the matter, which gets very tiring. Quite honestly, I feel verbally harassed about the issue from my DS.

Kathy
post #7 of 127
Your reasons are sound. Stand firm, and don't let him wear you down. You are doing the best thing for him. And I would probably downgrade the satellite package.
post #8 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
I do not worry about his behaviour changing, so much as I worry about protecting his spirit.

A lot of the shows he wants to watch are graphic, and have mature content. Some of it discusses things I am not sure he is ready to learn about (Family Guy mentionned partial birth abortion, for example), and, well, I just don't like the tone. I do not beleive violence is entertaining, so why do they make shows that focus on it? And why do they continually push the envelope on graphic violence, gore and general darkness?

I rember watching a show on PBS years ago in which Dr. Northrup (I think) said she does not beieve in watching too much news - she did not beleive in letting that much negativity into the pysche. I feel the same way about violent TV shows.

I have a lot of reasons for being displeased with TV at this moment in time, I don't want to support such shows....I have strong opinions on the matter.

None-the-less, I have been s-l-o-w-l-y loosening the rules about what can and cannot be watched, and he watches stuff I do not think is appropriate in the name of compromise, but it changes little. He does not appreciate all he gets to watch, only thinks of what he is not allowed to watch, and does not listen to the word "no" on the matter, which gets very tiring. Quite honestly, I feel verbally harassed about the issue from my DS.

Kathy

What would happen if he watched what he wanted for while? What would happen if he heard 'jokes' about partial birth abortion? Do you think his personality would change? Would he think parital birth abortion is a joke? Take it to the next level...what would happen if he had more control over his viewing?

Of course, easy for me to say, as we don't get 12 zillion channels, so I know most of the progaming choices revolve around urging people to buy The Magic Bullet, and the newest butt lifter. I also get some crazy show with Mrs Brady about living well in your old age. Absolutely riviting.
post #9 of 127
Thread Starter 
Wow, you all chimed in while I was writing my second post. You rock, MDC'ers.

I do believe none of you turned into serial killers: It is nice to be reminded of that.

When it comes right down to it, I think it is a respect issue. He is not being respectful of my boundaries around TV, and I am not being very respectful about his desire for more TV freedom (although...my home is not a democracy. At 11 I do beleive I have the obligation to make some decisions for him) This issue has been going on for so long (at least a year) that sometimes I tune him out. I am so weary of it, it is a self presevation technique.

I don't like the fact that I am tuning him out, and that there does not seem to be a resolution to the issue, so I am hoping by going down to basic I am removing some of the impetous for the disrespect.

I have threattened to turn the TV into an art object (it's just a joke - sort-of)

Ugh. Advice still neded. Anyone BTDT?

Kathy
post #10 of 127
Talk about a kid testing his limits! Do not give in. If you have to, remove the TV from the house. Get serious about it. If he complains, shove a book in his hand. I went for three years growing up at that age without a TV. I suffered no ill consequences, except that I acquired an expensive book habit! Pull the plug on what you deem to be inappropriate. It's called parenting, and far too few people are doing it now-a-days.
post #11 of 127
EDITED. My kids hate when I post certain info, so I edtied due to TMI.

I would say, talk to him, hear him out. Communication is key to good relationships. You are his parent, but he is also a person with his own thoughts and ideas.

Just go slow, and keep things open.
post #12 of 127
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post #13 of 127
We love TV and we have no limits on it in our household. I do not personally enjoy watching or hearing really violent or scary things. My kids watch more of that than I do so they watch those things in another room if possible. Having more than one TV in the house has been really helpful for us with that.

The shows you listed that you don't allow are some favorites around here! We encourage each kid to pay attention to their own comfort level and personal boundaries, and we try to respect each other's limits as well. I don't think that has to mean that I need to control what everyone is watching though. If I have concerns over something in a show I share them in a casual way. We've discussed the reasons parents tend to freak out over this stuff. More often than not "questionable content" has been great food for discussing things with each other.
post #14 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by Morganfyre View Post
Talk about a kid testing his limits! Do not give in. If you have to, remove the TV from the house. Get serious about it. If he complains, shove a book in his hand. I went for three years growing up at that age without a TV. I suffered no ill consequences, except that I acquired an expensive book habit! Pull the plug on what you deem to be inappropriate. It's called parenting, and far too few people are doing it now-a-days.

While I respect your right to view TV the way you do, I think your last sentence is a little bit snarky. Does this mean that families with no restrictions on TV are not parenting?
post #15 of 127
I'm in the minority again it seems. I am right with you on restricting his viewing of violent tv shows. I agree with your point about not watching much news myself.

My dd1 is 11. There is no way I'd let her watch CSI - as much as I think it is a good show for adults, or even mature teens.

Reducing your cable to basic is probably good for the budget as well as ds issues. But we have basic and get CSI and Family Guy (never heard of that other one that you mentioned). So I'm not sure that would help with those.

I'd explain to him how frustrated you are about being nagged over his desire to watch adult programming (which is what it is). You aren't the mean mom who thinks he should watch Barney; you are making choices to protect him emotionally from things that (in your opinion for your child - and mine for mine as well) are just not appropriate for him yet.

My dd seems to do better when I remind her that the day will come that she gets to (whatever it is). Nagging me isn't going to get your ears pierced before your 12th birthday, but it will put me in a grumpy mood.

She also did a lot of nagging about her desire to buy clothes I thought were too mature for her - at a current favorite clothing store. There were some things there that we both agreed on, and plenty that weren't ok with me. The fighting over what was appropriate and what wasn't was really annoying. I am her mother; I am the adult. She gets lots of choices over her clothes, but some things are not ok with me. Much like the tv show issue. I explained to her how problematic the bickering was, and how we didn't have that problem at the Gap. She wanted to stay and shop in the new store, so she has really quit asking for things that are too old for her.

With tv, I'd explain to him why you don't want him to watch those shows, then restrict tv if he can't respect your very reasonable rules. What I wouldn't do is let him nag you into watching things that aren't age appropriate.

However, my kids get to listen to any music they want - so I guess my "age appropriateness" doesn't apply to that in my house.
post #16 of 127
I fully agree that you should go to basic. It's your house, it's your TV. Just explain that you are tired of this debate and that he is free to watch those shows when he's old enough to get his own space and pay for his own cable. The rights come with the responsibility. If he can figure out a way to do that (without begging money from grandparents or something...) then let him watch the shows.

In our family, we all watched the same things. The same will be with my daughter. I think television watching should be a family activity.

However, it's easy to do that from the start. A bit harder (heh, to say the least) with an eleven-year-old.

Good luck!
post #17 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
I do not worry about his behaviour changing, so much as I worry about protecting his spirit.

A lot of the shows he wants to watch are graphic, and have mature content.
This is why I don't let me soon-to-be 11 yr old watch these type of shows either. Or movies like "Scary Movie" or video games like "Grand Theft Auto". Even though "all his friends" do. So what? I'm his parent, not theirs!


Hey, I even felt the need to do my own bit of editing during some of the "Ugly Betty" episodes last season. He heard a few, "close your eyes" or "cover your ears" from me.
post #18 of 127
I think there's a difference between "what would you do in this situation" and "what do you suggest I do in this situation."

Lots of people here wouldn't restrict the TV as much as the OP. That's a legitimate option, but it doesn't work with KathyMuggle's values.

What I picked up on is the fact that she's setting limits, he's ignoring them, and she's slowly giving up on her ideals because of the child's nagging. And IMO that is NOT OK. If mom's rules are unreasonable, then let's sit down and discuss them- maybe the child is ready for more freedom and the rules could be changed.

But nagging is just the opposite- not a respectful discussion of the rules and the reasons behind them, but just a disrespectful way of trying to get what he wants. Even if the show IS appropriate, I wouldn't want to let my child watch after being pestered about TV watching. If he's not respecting the limits placed on the TV, or appreciating the compromises being made, then I'd limit the TV further. He needs to learn to treat his mother respectfully- which won't happen if he "gets what he wants" by being disrespectful.
post #19 of 127
Quote:
Talk about a kid testing his limits! Do not give in. If you have to, remove the TV from the house. Get serious about it. If he complains, shove a book in his hand. I went for three years growing up at that age without a TV. I suffered no ill consequences, except that I acquired an expensive book habit! Pull the plug on what you deem to be inappropriate. It's called parenting, and far too few people are doing it now-a-days.
Excellent.

Even as an adult , I find excessive violence can leave me very upset. I've had to censor myself. THere is some things that children cannot decide for themselves and mature adults have to help them.
post #20 of 127
Thread Starter 
OK...sevral people have said the word "nagging" - which is exactly what it is! I guess I will have to be more careful when I want housework done, know that I know how it feels!

I came to realisation last night after writing all this - what is going on is a power struggle. For the most part, children do not put an end to power struggles - parents do.

I either have to lighten up on the TV control or draw a firm line in the sand around TV and nagging. Given my own (and DH) concerns around TV, it will be the latter.

I also appreciate those who said "keep the lines of communication open". For example: I think part of the cause of this situation is he wants more freedom. We have been trying to meet this need in other areas, but he is focusing on his lack of freedom in this area (perhaps that is natural for an 11 yr old- and I need to accept that 11 yr olds want what they do not have? As an adult I am much more into appreciating what you have, but maybe that comes with time?). I have diffiuclty keeping the lines of communication open in this area, as we have rehashed the info so many times - we simply disagree. Quite frankly, I need a complete hiatus on the subject, and he seems to need to talk about it daily In some ways, the breakdown of communication is scarier, and less healthy, than the TV issue.

OK I am rambling. Please send me strength (we need a strength smilie of some sort) to do what I need to do in the most respectful way possible.

Kathy
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