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#1 of 39 Old 11-03-2011, 07:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My hubby and I have conflicting ideas about TV. I want to limit it more strictly for our 3 y/o and try to completely avoid our baby watching it at all. My hubby grew up watching a lot of TV (he's an only child so TV was a "friend" for him). He has said that we should limit TV but then he never follows through.

 

I went to a support group last night that was preferably for mamas and the children at home. Hubby agreed have me leave both kids in his care. He just put on Spiderman for our toddler on the laptop (yeah I have issues with that not being age appropriate) and then turned on the TV, watched whatever while the baby crawled around. Then he said the baby sat on the floor and was watching TV so he picked him up and the baby drifted off to sleep as they watched TV together.

 

Around 1 am, the baby woke and cried for a while until he did an explosive poop. I imagine it's a good chance that the poop was caused by the Wendy's Frosty my hubby shared with him.

 

Today, I have argued with the toddler about how much TV he can watch. I struggled to try to get the baby down for his morning nap but everytime I popped him over the breast, he woke back up. So right now I'm thinking why don't I just let the older one watch  whatever TV for as long as he wants, not worry about the baby sleeping or eating nutritious food and life will be easier for me. I am glad that everyone was happy while I was out of the house last night but I am jealous of how easy it was for him. I wish my day could be easy....

 

Anyway, I guess something I am looking for advice on is the TV issue. If you and your partner don't see eye-to-eye on TV, what has been your solution? Mondays tend to be tough since hubby lets the toddler watch TV a lot so I really want to come up with some plan to reduce TV viewing during the weekend.


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#2 of 39 Old 11-03-2011, 07:26 AM
 
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Do you have cable? Is your TV easy to access? How old is the baby?

I ask because, we dont have cable, therefore in order to watch anything on TV we have to stream it through netflix, which means DH has to make a conscious decision every single time a show goes off. IDK, his behavior would be okay with me every now and then, but not every time he watches th ekids.

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#3 of 39 Old 11-03-2011, 07:35 AM
 
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We also try to limit TV.  We have 3 kids - DD1 is 6, DD2 is 3 and DS is just 2 weeks.  We TRY to have no TV until kids are 2 - this was much easier for DD1, the others do watch some since the older one is watching.  What we do now is we have a "TV Day" where they can watch one show in the morning and one in the afternoon, then they have 2 days of no TV.  We don't have cable - they have some movies that we bought and once in a while we rent one for them too.  It works pretty well, but we do get asked a lot on non-TV days to watch, and to be honest, with the new baby they do get to watch a little more than usual if I need a nap or am just too tired to entertain!  Another thing we have done in the past is we got this timer thing - I think it is called "time's up" and you hook it up to your TV and you program however much time you want to have daily and once that time is up the TV shuts off and the time renews after 24 hours.  It was good for us but, there is a key that comes with it that you can use to override the timer and we found that we would just put the key in and give ourselves more time! lol  We do use it for the internet too - we spend too much time online!

 


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#4 of 39 Old 11-03-2011, 07:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Do you have cable? Is your TV easy to access? How old is the baby?
 



Yes (there is zero chance of me convincing hubby to get rid of it). Yes. Nine months.

 

I was also annoyed because he didn't change the baby's diaper or clothes before bed. I did make sure to change the baby's diaper before I left but an infant prefold was not going to hold up to 13 hours of wetting! I think that would even be expecting a lot even if it was a disposable.

 


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#5 of 39 Old 11-03-2011, 07:45 AM
 
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Because we let them.  Honestly I have a way I want my girls raised, DH has his own ways.  I limit screen time he allows it.  I watch their diet, he lets them eat as they please... whatever they want even if it's Cheetos from the gas station for breakfast.  Does it drive me nuts?  HECK TO THE YES!  There are stations and shows he won't allow so they are limited in someway.  I'm not sure if this actually makes it easier for him though.  I do know they have a heck of lot more fun when I'm not around and their relationships rock.  I'm pretty sure it's bad cop good cop mentality but thats only my  life. 

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#6 of 39 Old 11-03-2011, 08:48 AM
 
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How often does your DH 'watch' the kids on his own? If it's a very rare thing, he might just struggle to get into the groove. When I first started leaving DH alone with DS he just didn't know what to do & got frustrated easily and almost always took the easy way out (and/or didn't change diapers etc.) but now he has spent a lot more 1-on-1 time with DS and he is much more confident so doesn't resort to those things. He knows how to entertain him and is more in-tune with his needs and all... So if that sounds like your DH, maybe having a regular night once or twice a week that he's totally in charge (whether or not your home -- you could be taking a bath or sleeping or whatever) would help him gain the confidence he needs?

It drives me crazy when DH says he agrees about something but doesn't follow through with it. Sometimes though I think our agreements are unclear. So I know you said he SAYS he wants to limit TV time -- but have you talked about what exactly that means to each of you? Maybe once a week while you're out is fine in his view? Maybe when you say 'limit' you mean no TV but when he says it he means only an hour or two a day?

And finally, maybe he just needs a list of activities he can do with the kids. I'm addicted to pinterest lol and DH sometimes checks my "Toddler" board to get ideas of what to do with DS (visual bookmarking makes it way easier for him to see the ideas & try them!) And I might also tell him there's a story hour at 6:30 or that DS has been asking to go to the pet store to see the animals or that he hasn't had much outdoor time & could really use a walk. I try hard not to dictate his time but I know he really needs the suggestions because he's not around other moms or reading books & blogs and getting all the great ideas of things to do with a toddler that I get throughout the course of the day! Sometimes they use my ideas and other times they get busy doing their own thing -- but often just having the ideas as a backup plan helps them to figure out what they want to do together.

As a last resort, you could always try moving the TV to another location in the house so it's less accessible & he'd have to make a really deliberate decision to turn it on. We don't have a TV in our main living area anymore and that helps a ton on the casual/mindless TV viewing (we also don't have cable or netflix or anything, which really helps!) I tend to say DS is TV-free but a couple times a month he might watch a 3-min video on youtube or, more rarely, part of a cooking or home improvement show with me, so he's not 100% tv-free. One thing he loves is listening to music or audiobooks (which I find on youtube or B&N online storytime) so that kind of takes the place of TV-viewing for him.

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#7 of 39 Old 11-03-2011, 10:38 AM
 
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I have a similar situation. DH will agree on things, see eye to eye, etc., and then never follow through. It's too hard! (don't get me started)

 

Anyway, here's what you can do. Decide on a WEEKLY maximum for TV (example, 1 hour a day x 7 days = 7 hours a week.) Then if DH lets the kids watch 4 hours of TV when they are with him, then you just limit the TV they get for the rest of the week. They used up the quota, sorry! Yes, that makes you the heavy and BOY do I understand that. I am the enforcer around here, for sure. But oh well, someone's got to do it or their head will be filled with TV garbage 24/7.

 

We HAVE noticed a deterioration in our son's behavior since watching more mainstream cartoons. Lots more snark and attitude; his voice actually starts to sound just like the cartoon characters. That stuff has a real effect.

 

Anyway, my basic idea is you can only control what YOU are going to do.

 

Best of luck!

 

 

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#8 of 39 Old 11-03-2011, 10:47 AM
 
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Originally Posted by NellieKatz View Post

Anyway, here's what you can do. Decide on a WEEKLY maximum for TV (example, 1 hour a day x 7 days = 7 hours a week.) Then if DH lets the kids watch 4 hours of TV when they are with him, then you just limit the TV they get for the rest of the week. They used up the quota, sorry! Yes, that makes you the heavy and BOY do I understand that. I am the enforcer around here, for sure. But oh well, someone's got to do it or their head will be filled with TV garbage 24/7.

If you decide to do something like this, maybe you could take it out of your control and put it in your kids' control. So there could be a jar with 7 small tokens (coins, pompoms, whatever) and each represents an hour -- one is removed for each hour of TV watched -- and they only get refilled on Sunday so when the jar is empty that means no more TV. Then you aren't the bad guy, it's all the jar.

And if you want to be REALLY tricky, make it so they are only refilled on Monday!! Then you can 'use up' as many as you want/need to during the week and if they are all gone by Sunday then DH won't be able to let them watch TV while you're out. LOL that's a bit devious but couldn't resist mentioning it...

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#9 of 39 Old 11-03-2011, 11:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

Because we let them.  Honestly I have a way I want my girls raised, DH has his own ways.  I limit screen time he allows it.  I watch their diet, he lets them eat as they please... whatever they want even if it's Cheetos from the gas station for breakfast.  Does it drive me nuts?  HECK TO THE YES!  There are stations and shows he won't allow so they are limited in someway.  I'm not sure if this actually makes it easier for him though.  I do know they have a heck of lot more fun when I'm not around and their relationships rock.  I'm pretty sure it's bad cop good cop mentality but thats only my  life. 


Sigh. That is so true.
 

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How often does your DH 'watch' the kids on his own?
It drives me crazy when DH says he agrees about something but doesn't follow through with it. Sometimes though I think our agreements are unclear. So I know you said he SAYS he wants to limit TV time -- but have you talked about what exactly that means to each of you?
And finally, maybe he just needs a list of activities he can do with the kids. I'm addicted to pinterest lol and DH sometimes checks my "Toddler" board to get ideas of what to do with DS (visual bookmarking makes it way easier for him to see the ideas & try them!)


He doesn't spend much time with them both alone. Maybe once a week, I shower alone. On the weekend, he is much more likely to turn on the TV than do anything else with our toddler. He also has to be asked, then reminded to change diapers.
Excellent point about setting up a more concrete agreement. We've never talked about actual numbers.

Pinterest? I'm not familiar with that. I can use always use extra ideas for myself if nothing else.

 

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Originally Posted by NellieKatz View Post

I have a similar situation. DH will agree on things, see eye to eye, etc., and then never follow through. It's too hard! (don't get me started)

 

Anyway, here's what you can do. Decide on a WEEKLY maximum for TV (example, 1 hour a day x 7 days = 7 hours a week.) Then if DH lets the kids watch 4 hours of TV when they are with him, then you just limit the TV they get for the rest of the week. They used up the quota, sorry! Yes, that makes you the heavy and BOY do I understand that. I am the enforcer around here, for sure. But oh well, someone's got to do it or their head will be filled with TV garbage 24/7.

 


Yup, I already feel like the TV grinch.
 

 


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#10 of 39 Old 11-03-2011, 11:51 AM
 
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He doesn't spend much time with them both alone. Maybe once a week, I shower alone. On the weekend, he is much more likely to turn on the TV than do anything else with our toddler. He also has to be asked, then reminded to change diapers.
So what about every week you make a point of leaving them alone for an hour or two? Go out & do your errands or sit in a coffee shop or close the door to your bedroom & read a book (if you can avoid being disturbed!!) If it's a regular part of the weekly routine then maybe your DH will start thinking & planning ahead and enjoying the time more.
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Pinterest? I'm not familiar with that. I can use always use extra ideas for myself if nothing else.
Go to pinterest.com -- be careful, you might get sucked in!! Lots of ideas for kids (and also tons of recipes, home ideas, photography, all sorts of stuff). I have gotten a ton of ideas for DS this way, and they are basically bookmarks but they are image-based so you end up with basically a gallery of all your ideas (so you can just look & see what you want to do rather than sort through a long list of bookmarks in your browser).

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#11 of 39 Old 11-03-2011, 12:27 PM
 
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Oh how we suffer with this trouble too. Dh's family home had/has the tv on 24/7 whereas we NEVER had cable & tv was very limited for my brother & I. This has especially come to a head for us since dd was born 'cause every time I ask dh to take ds for a bit to give me a break or a nap he puts on the tv which is an easy way out imo but it is also irritating to me. I ask dh to take ds with the intention that they DO something that hopefully will use up some of ds' energy & give me a break at the same time - let's face I can turn on the tv. We're still working on solutions. Dh is very hesitant to agree to a set number of hours each week/day.


Surviving sleep deprivation one day at a time with dd (Oct '11) & ds (Oct '08).

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#12 of 39 Old 11-03-2011, 01:07 PM
 
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So what about every week you make a point of leaving them alone for an hour or two? Go out & do your errands or sit in a coffee shop or close the door to your bedroom & read a book (if you can avoid being disturbed!!) If it's a regular part of the weekly routine then maybe your DH will start thinking & planning ahead and enjoying the time more.
Go to pinterest.com -- be careful, you might get sucked in!! Lots of ideas for kids (and also tons of recipes, home ideas, photography, all sorts of stuff). I have gotten a ton of ideas for DS this way, and they are basically bookmarks but they are image-based so you end up with basically a gallery of all your ideas (so you can just look & see what you want to do rather than sort through a long list of bookmarks in your browser).

Oh my gosh...I think I've been sucked in by pinterest! Thanks for the link!

I was reading it and under the kid section, there are "busy bag" ideas. This might be a great idea for your DH to have. The kids will probably be more interested in them than TV. I'm already going to go out to the store and just get some felt orngbiggrin.gif

Also, I know what you mean about him just taking the easy way out! If DH offers to help and make dinner while I go somewhere or something, I'll come back and they are eating pizza, Chinese, or some kind of quick cooking thing that he had to go to the store for! It's frustrating because I feel like saying, Why can't you just look in the pantry or refrigerator and think of something to make like I have to do?

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#13 of 39 Old 11-03-2011, 01:17 PM
 
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I asked my husband for a two month trial period.  (I would have escalated it to a demand, except that it never came to that.)   I proposed  no cable, no antenna, no nothing for two months of true no-TV, and then if we had truly had no TV during those two months, we would have a discussion at the end of the two months. We actually had the cable turned off.

 

I find that most people can agree to a one or two month trial because they see an end in sight.

 

At the end of our two months, my husband was able to see that his life was just fine without TV, and he agreed to continue the no-TV practice.

 

Our two month trial started five years ago, and we've been TV-free ever since.

 

Cable is easy to cut off, and cable is easy to reinstall.   Yes, there might be a fee for reinstallation.  But then again, maybe not.  When we cut off our cable, the cable company was willing to do all kinds of things to try to persuade us to come back. If we had asked, I am certain they would have waived the fees to reinstall cable.

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I asked my husband for a two month trial period.  (I would have escalated it to a demand, except that it never came to that.)   I proposed  no cable, no antenna, no nothing for two months of true no-TV, and then if we had truly had no TV during those two months, we would have a discussion at the end of the two months. We actually had the cable turned off.

 

I find that most people can agree to a one or two month trial because they see an end in sight.

 

At the end of our two months, my husband was able to see that his life was just fine without TV, and he agreed to continue the no-TV practice.

 

Our two month trial started five years ago, and we've been TV-free ever since.

 

Cable is easy to cut off, and cable is easy to reinstall.   Yes, there might be a fee for reinstallation.  But then again, maybe not.  When we cut off our cable, the cable company was willing to do all kinds of things to try to persuade us to come back. If we had asked, I am certain they would have waived the fees to reinstall cable.


^This.

 

We did the same thing when we bought a house and moved. I was like "let's just NOT have cable installed and see how it goes!" - and we did and it was great and we are very nearly completely TV-free (and loving it).

 


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#15 of 39 Old 11-03-2011, 07:19 PM
 
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We have agreed that we can only watch things we BOTH agree are age-appropriate in front of him, and it has naturally lessened the amount of tv he watches (we also don't have cable, only hulu and movies) because we don't have as much we like to watch with those limitations. When he does watch TV it's nearly always in the evening after dinner for 1/2 -1 hour or a little more. I don't watch tv often during the day because I have other things to do. We also  don't watch anything specifically oriented to him (so no kid shows) so he seems to have an attitude of mainly that tv is not really for him, and he never asks for it- he usually wants to read or play when the tv is on. He is 2 now.

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#16 of 39 Old 11-03-2011, 07:23 PM
 
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I also just thought of this, but I learned a valuable lesson from a neighbor once. I don't remember exactly how it came about, but she said "what can I do? He's their father." his may not sounds like much, but it seems to me to be acceptance of each other's fault, and also each other's feelings and attitudes towards child rearing. He is their father, and they are his as much as yours- he will influence them, and has a right to as much as you do.

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#17 of 39 Old 11-03-2011, 08:45 PM
 
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It sounds like you are living with a bad babysitter, not the father of your children.  I suggest getting an actual sitter and taking him out to talk about specific ways you want him to step up and start sharing the load of parenting if this is something that is causing a lot of strain on your relationship.  My ex viewed parenting a lot like your dh seems to and it is a tremendous strain.  If it was one issue, like tv watching, than I would say that you should try to find a compromise.  It sounds like he is just not there for you as a co-parent though and I really suggest trying to find a way to address that issue as a whole rather than trying to put a band-aid on things by pushing for no tv.  IME not having a tv did nothing to make my ex decide to take on responsibility as an adult.

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#18 of 39 Old 11-03-2011, 08:55 PM
 
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yeah...I think this sounds less like an issue with hours of TV watching, and more of an issue of you not being able to trust DH to actively parent--instead of parking the kids in front of idle distractions while you're not there.  yes, he's their father--but the man ought to step up to that role a lot more effectively than what's been described here.  it sounds like it's not that he has different beliefs about TV watching, but that he's just using whatever works to placate the kids so he doesn't have to actively parent while he's alone.  not fair or healthy IMO.


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#19 of 39 Old 11-04-2011, 04:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The subject got broached last night because hubby noticed I was tracking our toddler's TV time on our fridge dry-erase board. I said I feel he's been watching too much and would like us to work together to reduce his screentime. My hubby's response was that he feels it is fine and he would rather pop him in front of the TV than play with him since he (hubby) is tired. Also when I said I don't want our kid being raised by TV, he said "I was and I turned out fine".

 

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I find that most people can agree to a one or two month trial because they see an end in sight.

 


I honestly don't know if I could convince him to try a single week without TV.


 

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We did the same thing when we bought a house and moved. I was like "let's just NOT have cable installed and see how it goes!" - and we did and it was great and we are very nearly completely TV-free (and loving it).

 



We recently moved and one of the things my hubby liked about the place we rented was that it was Fios-ready. I told him that was not on my priority list.

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It sounds like you are living with a bad babysitter, not the father of your children.  I suggest getting an actual sitter and taking him out to talk about specific ways you want him to step up and start sharing the load of parenting if this is something that is causing a lot of strain on your relationship.  My ex viewed parenting a lot like your dh seems to and it is a tremendous strain.  If it was one issue, like tv watching, than I would say that you should try to find a compromise.  It sounds like he is just not there for you as a co-parent though and I really suggest trying to find a way to address that issue as a whole rather than trying to put a band-aid on things by pushing for no tv.  IME not having a tv did nothing to make my ex decide to take on responsibility as an adult.


You are right - the TV thing is definitely part of a larger issue.
 

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yeah...I think this sounds less like an issue with hours of TV watching, and more of an issue of you not being able to trust DH to actively parent--instead of parking the kids in front of idle distractions while you're not there.  yes, he's their father--but the man ought to step up to that role a lot more effectively than what's been described here.  it sounds like it's not that he has different beliefs about TV watching, but that he's just using whatever works to placate the kids so he doesn't have to actively parent while he's alone.  not fair or healthy IMO.

 

Yes, I want him to be a more active parent. He thinks it is unnecessary. I suspect it is from his upbringing and culture. He views a dad's responsibility as bringing home a salary and later teach some sports. I believe his dad was quite absent from his childhood and I almost feel as if he is trying to justify his parents' choices (putting work ahead of family, not restricting TV time) by sticking with the same decisions.


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#20 of 39 Old 11-05-2011, 04:13 AM
 
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Yuck!  I'm sorry.  In my experience DH and I argued numerous rounds about an on line video game that DD was playing.  It got ugly.  He allowed her so much time on that thing it was ridiculous.  I'm talking hours and she was 6 at the time.  However it didn't take long for him to see the light, while he thought by making her read all the directions in order to play would help her reading and comprehension he didn't realize that it would take a toll on her mentally.  He finally saw that she would rather play the game on line than play with her friends outside.  NOT GOOD!  As far as the TV goes, we have a rule TV can be on in the mornings or in the evening but there is a huge window where the is absolutely no reason it should be on.  The shows are recorded and they can pick from the list.  The TV in our Living room is for sports.  Soccer (me), Football (us).  Otherwise it's off. 

 

He grew up as a Navy brat, TV was his friend at every new place he moved.  And he now realizes that it would have been better if his parents just took and active interest in his well being and hung out with him. 

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#21 of 39 Old 11-05-2011, 12:12 PM
 
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My husband has a TV addiction.  It's absolutely an addiction and he knows it.   He flips on the TV when I run into the other room to grab something!

 

Anyway, he's been working on his addiction for a few years and has improved quite a bit, but that doesn't change the fact that LO is 9 months and doesn't need to be chilling on the couch with my husband watching cartoons!  He doesn't need to be watching TV at all, and in fact was banned from it by the doctor because he is high risk for ADHD due to his birth mother's sketchy drug history. 

 

Although this isn't quite a SOLUTION per say, it was an improvement for us.  I made a play area for the little one, literally right in front of the couch.  We made an U shape with the square ottoman, couch and loveseat and there he has toys and a little play mat. 

 

This ended up being our compromise.  Keeps baby right at daddy's feet actually PLAYING  and so close which keeps daddy involved.  And instead of cartoons, he watches boring things.  The ottoman blocks the TV while he's playing but he does occassionally stand up and look at it / dance to the commercials, which is much better than the previous situation. 

 

He feels like he still gets to relax and get TV time.

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#22 of 39 Old 11-05-2011, 02:50 PM
 
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I don't think that preschoolers should be watching a ton of television, but I don't feel it's the devil, either. There's some kids programming that's actually pretty good. My DD's now four but is a big Team Umizoomi fan. She's learned a lot of math from that show.

 

He's their father. He should be able to watch tv with a preschooler for short bits of time if that's something he enjoys doing with his child. You can do what you enjoy with your preschooler when it's your time with him (which is most of the time.)

 

The baby doesn't need to be watching tv, though.

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He's their father. He should be able to watch tv with a preschooler for short bits of time if that's something he enjoys doing with his child. You can do what you enjoy with your preschooler when it's your time with him (which is most of the time.)


Sigh. I so didn't want to come out with an actual number here because I am seriously embarrassed. But, last weekend, hubby let our toddler watch the movie Cars three times in one day: we are talking six hours of screen time there (please don't kick me out of MDC). Also for at least one viewing, hubby had our toddler go watch it in another room because he was sick of the movie. So it's not always about spending time together. It's about my hubby wanting the toddler to be calm, quiet and "good".

 

 

 

 


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#24 of 39 Old 11-06-2011, 09:38 AM
 
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Sigh. I so didn't want to come out with an actual number here because I am seriously embarrassed. But, last weekend, hubby let our toddler watch the movie Cars three times in one day: we are talking six hours of screen time there (please don't kick me out of MDC). Also for at least one viewing, hubby had our toddler go watch it in another room because he was sick of the movie. So it's not always about spending time together. It's about my hubby wanting the toddler to be calm, quiet and "good".

 

 

 

 


Nobodys gonna kick you out of MDC...or even think less of you. You have a real live problem here with your co-parent and you are trying to fix it. Don't get down on yourself, man. Seriously. Being a part of this community is about sharing joy and supporting each other through troubles...and you've got real troubles. We're here for you, not to judge, but to try and help you with our combined knowledge and life experience.

 

Yeah, that's a lot of freaking TV...yeah, I would be freaking the hell out on my husband if that were his approach to parenting....but it's not my DHs approach, it;s YOUR DHs approach and to me, it speaks of an overwhelming underlying inability to cope with his life. I can't *really* say what I'd be doing if this were my reality, just like you can't say what you would do in my shoes, with some of the struggles I have with MY man. We've all got things in front of us we're trying to work through. You;re here, you're trying to work on this with a completely uncooperative partner...that says a lot.

 

A lot of the time, people who plug into TV compulsively and obsessively like your husband seems to want to, are escaping so hard from the relationships in their lives that it's not even funny. It's not about enjoying the TV or "relaxing"...it's about UNplugging from you, the kids, the reality of the persons life entirely.

 

Your husband needs help. The TV piece of things is not going to improve until the underlying inability or unwillingness to plug into and engage his life is shifted, big time.

 

I really almost feel badly for him. I mean, we all reach the end of our ropes...on a bad day, sometimes we're just trying to hold on, hour by hour...having kid, just the "everyday-ness" of it, can really be taxing. But your husband can't handle a Sunday afternoon...a regular day, taking a walk...laying on the floor and babbling when there is nothing else to do....he can't handle any of it.

 

 

The reason the kid is going nuts and getting loud and obnoxious is because he's trying to break through the wall of distraction and detachment that is up around your DH when he should be present and peaceful with your child. I really believe that for the most part, he is creating the very behavior he is trying to resolve with TV.

 

I say this lovingly and gently:

 

The problem is, your husband isn't present in his/your life. He doesn't want to be around your kids, he doesn't want to be around you. He wants to be in a silent room, with the TV on. That's what he wants. There are very many people living like this. Some of them are depressed, some of them are bored, some of them are generally overwhelmed with their lives.

 

He has something going on with him...an unhappiness that is deep inside him that he needs to resolve. Talking to him about "just stop, get off the couch and play with your kid" is like saying to a heroin junky "just put down the needle!" - putting down the needle, or clicking off the TV, is not touching the depression/overwhelmed feeling/boredom/etc that is the reason why the junky picks up the needle....or the unplugged-dad flips on the TV.

 

You need to stop coming at this from a "TV is bad for our kids" angle and you need to start making a serious plan for fixing your marriage. Your kid watching TV as much as you describe makes me shiver, for sure, but you going the rest of your life in a partnership like that one I think you're living with, makes me feel downright sad....even worse than that, is the way I feel when I imagine your DH, going through life so overwhelmed/depressed/whatever...that he misses so many joyous things, so much laughter and fun, because of his TV habit.

 

There is something deeply wrong here. Six hours of Cars movie is not normal...a normal dad, with no underlying issues of his own, does not let his kid sit down and watch Cars three times in a row.

 

He has a problem. A REAL problem.....you guys need help. I really really think you should stop talking about TV the way you have been...and start talking, instead, about the fact that this man is a complete ghost in your life.

 

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#25 of 39 Old 11-06-2011, 10:16 AM
 
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Yeah OP....I just went back and re-read your first post...the frosty is such a dead giveaway. Can you imagine what that looked like? Your son is completely glued to Spiderman, your little baby is crawling all around, while your DH is completely glued to his TV program...and then he is eating a Frosty and the baby is all "agghhhhh" :pointing to the frosty: and your DH can't cope with even a second a of crying..he can't/doesn't want to cope with the two minutes of crying that would come as a result of him finishing off and throwing away the frosty and then redirecting a baby to some other toy or whatever. So he just sits there and lets the baby have it.

 

In my mind, that speaks volumes. The man has no tools and no parenting coping skills. Resolving the TV habit is not going to fix anything..TV is not the problem. Just like drugs aren't the problem for junkies. The problem is your husbands RELATIONSHIP with TV and the fact that he is using it to shield himself from the horror of trying to parent with no skills.

 

The man needs skills. He needs tools to work with here....there is no amount of talking or chart making that is going to shift this situation in any meaningful way. Even if you unplugged the TV....he would develop an unhealthy relationship with something else to help him. Rage, maybe? Screaming at them and retreating to some other part of the house? I don't know.

 

But I can imagine how completely terrible it must be to try and parent small kids with zero skills. The REASON he has no skills may be perfectly honest, he may just REALLY be lacking...he may be actually depressed...who knows, he may just be completely unwilling and too lazy to get a clue....but regardless of what it may be, it has to change...because these kids are real, they are here...and you only get one shot to have a warm, loving, connected childhood experience with them.

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#26 of 39 Old 11-06-2011, 11:48 AM
 
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As the wife of a husband with similar issues I can really relate.  But also remember, he's a guy with feelings and if he's like most guys - stubbornness.  If you are forceful or demanding in any way it's only going to serve to isolate him further. Try to look at things from his perspective and see what's really bugging him.  I doubt you'll ever fully get a handle on his drug, but you both can, as a team, work together. 

 

Clearly you wouldn't have come asking for help if something wasn't wrong, but don't feel responsible for it.  Odds are, deep down, I bet he feels kinda shameful about it to. 

 

I work full time (till late at night), cook, clean and still somehow manage to get up at the crack of dawn and entertain baby, but some days it's REALLY difficult and I know how my husband feels,.  As the person that deals with the day to day aspect of everything that's going on, it's very easy for me to realize what the baby needs. 

 

One thing I've discovered really helps my husband is to have access to the routine as well as some ideas of what to do.  My husband is a writer, and is absolutely brilliant, but sometimes just figuring out what to do with a baby is really overwhelming for him.   

 

No matter what, you're not going to magically help him get over his TV problems, or his lack of presence, and to be honest I think ou'd be fooling yourself if you think you can change him in any way at all, but you guys can work as a team to come up with solutions.

 

Some other things that have helped my husband:

 

Access to the routine, so he knows about when nap time is, and snack time, play time, etc... it helps give him a sense of right now and not 'the next 8 hours while I'm all alone with a baby."   He's grown out of needing it, but it helped.  He would get really overwhelmed looking at the big picture.

 

Babywearing -  We got a traditional backpack type carrier that he wasn't embarassed to wear.  It helped give him a sense of control back.  He can do something whille still soothing baby.

 

Toys - it sounds kind of silly, but toys that he could connect with.   He can literally play with a BABY for an hour with just foam blocks.  He builds towers, and baby plays babyzilla.

 

Have you asked him what you can do to help support him on the days you're not around?   He might not know at first, but if you probe him with some suggestions, something might spark an idea in him. See if you can figure out what exactly he's having a difficult time with.  My husbands answers ended up being very confusing, but came down to, "I don't feel like I can get anything done," "I don't know how to entertain him..."

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#27 of 39 Old 11-06-2011, 11:52 AM
 
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And, sadly, your husband is pretty much like every other dad that I know on the planet that was born after 1975, so don't feel like he's some kind of monster, or abnormal.  It's not easy being a dad, and some just really don't know how to.  Just be sure you don't make him feel like he's some kind of horrible person or father.  Just figure out ways that you, as a couple, can move forward and improve all around. 

 

Another thing that helps is giving my husband some time to himself, to veg or get stuff done without us around.

 

 

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#28 of 39 Old 11-08-2011, 06:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have been thinking about this thread and running the recent posts over in my mind even though it's taken me a while to post again. 

 

On a practical level, we did better with TV this weekend: a lot less mindless watching. So he did hear me even though he was defensive. He even took our toddler to the playground. This Monday was definitely easier than last Monday. (I think Mondays tend to be tough because it's sort of detoxing from too much TV.)

 

I made a comment today about his addiction to TV. He denied it. I asked him if he could go a day without watching TV. He said "sure but I'd sleep all day and you wouldn't like that either." I don't feel that sleeping and TV watching are legitimate hobbies. (Of course, he's a tad perplexed by my interest in a Kindle since reading is not at all enjoyable for him.)

 

Quote:

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I say this lovingly and gently:

 

The problem is, your husband isn't present in his/your life. He doesn't want to be around your kids, he doesn't want to be around you. He wants to be in a silent room, with the TV on. That's what he wants. There are very many people living like this. Some of them are depressed, some of them are bored, some of them are generally overwhelmed with their lives.

 


Thank you for validating my feelings. I've told him that he's not really emotionally available. He doesn't understand what I mean.

I suspect one of his biggest issues is that he very likely suffers from sleep apnea. Sometimes he admits it's possible but sometimes he denies it. Sleep apnea can cause depression which I think he does struggle with to some extent. He is also a rather anxious person (I don't know if that is related to the sleep apnea or a completely seperate issue). He asked me just recently how he can be more happy. He realizes our life is pretty good and yet he constantly worries about something.
 

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Have you asked him what you can do to help support him on the days you're not around?   He might not know at first, but if you probe him with some suggestions, something might spark an idea in him. See if you can figure out what exactly he's having a difficult time with.  My husbands answers ended up being very confusing, but came down to, "I don't feel like I can get anything done," "I don't know how to entertain him..."


Good points. I'll have to sit down and talk to him about what I can do to help him be a (more hands on) dad. Although he's only have 2-3 hours max with the kids: my boob-loving baby would make 8 hours very difficult!

 

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Another thing that helps is giving my husband some time to himself, to veg or get stuff done without us around.


In my house, we always seem to have this push and pull of needs. I need his help with the kids. I also occasionally need a bit of down time. So it's hard for me to give him more time away from the family than he already has with working outside the home.


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#29 of 39 Old 11-09-2011, 05:00 AM
 
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Thank you for validating my feelings. I've told him that he's not really emotionally available. He doesn't understand what I mean.

I suspect one of his biggest issues is that he very likely suffers from sleep apnea. Sometimes he admits it's possible but sometimes he denies it. Sleep apnea can cause depression which I think he does struggle with to some extent. He is also a rather anxious person (I don't know if that is related to the sleep apnea or a completely seperate issue). He asked me just recently how he can be more happy. He realizes our life is pretty good and yet he constantly worries about something.
 



Yeah...I remain convinced that your DH is struggling with something emotional or mental. Sleep apnea is no joke and could absolutely contribute to a depressed state. I've just known of too many people who were that way with TV...who managed depression or anxiety or just plain hid from their lives and families in front of a TV screen. If somebody was zoned out for six hours a day staring at a wall, or looking at a tree in the yard out the window, while their wife tried in vain to reach them and their kids cried and rolled around at their feet, bored and desperate for some attention from their dad.....we'd call them depressed. We'd say "clearly there is something going on with this guy" - but because TV is such a socially acceptable way to zone out, people can spend unbelievable amounts of time staring into the screen and nobody says "hey, you okay?".

 

TV is not participatory.  TV is not building anything. In small amounts, or if you pick specific shows you actually really enjoy and get something out of, can be a healthy and enjoyable thing for an adult to do with some "down time". But when he's spending whole days just flipping around from show to show....it's not normal.

 

He is emotionally unavailable. Completely so. Your marriage is crippled right now, because your partner is SO far away. Your feelings of being abandoned for TV are completely valid and totally on point. His actions and words are, to me, classic signs of depression. I don't think there is even a question about that. The question is, how much of his life is he willing to let slip by him. How much of YOUR life are YOU willing to let slip by YOU? How much of your childrens early life are you willing to let them be without an emotionally present father? Because you know, lady, that when they are tiny like this, you can "fudge it" and make up for some of it and it's not going to feel SO bad or be SO memorable that their father is not present. But you are living on borrowed time, as far as that's concerned...and much less of it than you probably even know. Kids are smart....kids get it when someone is checked out.

 

Pretty soon it's going to be harder to make up for everything they're not getting from the "couch lump" dad they have right now. Pretty soon, the "all you" show is going to feel more than tired and old...it's gonna start to feel like it's just not worth it. He needs some help. It seems so insignificant to the TV watcher. "I'm here, you can talk to me, I'm just watching a show" - because they don't understand that it's even WORSE that they ARE there....I'd rather my DH was out at a bar wasting his time, than right in front of my face a million miles away. :( Having him there, but not helping and participating is horrible. It feels terrible for you and pretty soon it's going to start feeling pretty terrible for your kids, too. Take care of yourself, mama...take care of your life and your kids and your DH.

 

When you are in love with someone and you marry them and have kids with them....you are making a lot of promises. One of the most important promises you make, is to yourself and to your partner....and that promise is:

 

That when they are doing something that is threatening the integrity of the marriage, when they are doing something that could put you on a road to resentment, anger and growing apart....you have a responsibility to yourself and your partner, to say "hold the phone, buck-o, this shit cannot fly" - and the person who is doing the thing which is causing anguish for the other people in the family has a responsibility to stop what s/he's doing and take note.

 

Don't tell him "You watch TV too much and I don't understand why it's such a big deal for you to stop" - you need to say "WAIT A MINUTE....TIME OUT.....I feel I have a responsibility as your wife and best friend to tell you that you are in a bad place in your life right now and that if this distance between us keeps up, I'm worried about where we're going to be in ten, or maybe even five, years....we need to shift this, because we're slipping, we're headed to a bad place if we don't get to the bottom of why you need to be so far away from me" - and then you need to commit to doing whatever work is necessary.

 

It may seem like I'm making a bigger deal out of this than it is.....but ask yourself, if you are still dealing with this issue in five years....what do you think that is going to look like, on a practical level (as far as, bigger kids....it's not diaper changes and frostys anymore, it's missing soccer games and sucking in front of all your guests at the awesome tenth birthday party you planned) and also an emotional level (as far as, the way you feel about this is going to deepen, the level of hurt you feel is going to get worse and worse...until you either snap or start to numb yourself to it so you don't have to feel disappointment and hurt anymore).

 

It's"little" things like this that go unchecked, that lead to couples feeling like they just aren't on the same page anymore. You fight more...he retreats more into TV. You say "FINE" and you create distance yourself "I'll show him, I'm going to move on with my life like is doesn't matter" - but then he doesn't "chase" you....he doesn't wonder where you are, why you don't try to force him to come to things and do stuff with you anymore....he just keeps watching TV and sleeping....that doesn't play out well for your marriage, long term.

 

You can move past this. I really believe he needs help. I know of two women who struggle with this BIG time...and the TV watching (and in one case, alcohol consumption) seemed to skyrocket after the couples had children. Their men just kind of slipped away...at first, they were just completely overwhelmed with the "baby phase" and let mom do everything...and then they stayed away and the overwhelmed feeling just turned into depression and feeling pretty useless in their own lives. They never developed the "fathering" thing...they didn't ever feel any ownership over the parenting or running of the home and so they just started sitting their. Doing nothing. Well, nothing, except tearing their marriages apart and leaving their wives so lonely and angry.  It's an actual, valid issue and you need to get to the bottom of it because if you don't, you're not going to "get used to it" or "make peace with it" it's going to fill you with resentment and in the long term, do soooo much damage to your marriage.

 

GL. You can do this, together.

 

 


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#30 of 39 Old 11-09-2011, 01:04 PM
 
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AM,

 

I understand where you're coming from and I agree with you on a lot of it, but I don't think it's fair to make her feel like her husband is abnormal when he's really not.  His behavior is increasingly common to the point of being considered normal, especially within my generation.  And I don't think that it has to mean there is something intensely wrong with him other than simply having a compulsion to watch to much TV, just like gaming. A very high number of late Generation X-ers and Generation Y-ers are especially struggling with this very thing and I can name on 1 hand the number of people in my life that AREN'T addiction to the television.

 

There is no shortage of websites, articles, and research studies dealing with the issue of this very addiction.  

 

As someone that has dealt with very and continues to deal with similar things, I think that a strong confrontation would likely serve to push him away more rather than bring them closer together.  Nobody likes being told they have a problem, especially if they don't think that they do.   As a matter of fact, I don't know many foreceful subjects that go over well with Men.

 

 

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