An interesting observation re: TV watching - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 173 Old 05-05-2005, 09:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't limit my children's TV watching. They probably watch way more than average, I think they watch 2-4 hours a day. They are awake for 11 hours so I figure they aren't watching a lot more than they are. They regulate their own TV watching and turn it off when they are done and go play. My friends children are the exact same age as mine, their birthdays are within a month of my children's, and they are only allowed to watch 1 hour a day at most. But whenever we are over playing both of her kids are constantly asking to turn the TV on whereas my children can play for hours without even noticing that there is a TV. So my friend spends her time telling them no you can't watch and her kids keep asking. I am starting to think my theory is right - if I let them choose how much they want to watch and let them regulate it themselves then it doesn't become so important to them. I do monitor what they watch of course. Like I said they do watch quite a bit but to them it is just another part of their day. If I told them TV was bad they wouldn't have a clue what I meant - its just another thing they do - watch TV, do crafts, go to playgroup, play outside, play games, etc.

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#2 of 173 Old 05-05-2005, 10:16 AM
 
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I've chosen a much more complete solution to the dilemma of whether to limit TV ot not-- I've thrown the thing out. Works great.

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#3 of 173 Old 05-05-2005, 10:28 AM
 
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We don't watch TV M-F. It's me- but the kids don't care because TV has never been a real part of their lives. That box is too damn annoying to lsiten to yammer on for hours. the laugh tracks, the commercials, the snotty kids and cruel parents. That sick little Calliou! Ug! The kids watch a movie on the weekend. But they rarely turn it on otherwise. I can't tell you how grateful I am not to be subjected to the horrible sound of Sat morning cartoons. My kids didn't grow up watching a lot of TV. we only got one when our second child arrived.

Perhaps your theory holds true-- kids who watch can turn it off, and kids who don't watch can't turn away from it when they have access. i don't know. But then there are other kids who don't watch and don't care to watch. Which is the camp mine fall into.

I'm not a forbidder, my kids know Bart & Lisa, and Spongebob, but neither do i have the stomach for an intrusive thing like a TV on all the time. I almost jumped off the roof of my house when my youngest got wind of Teletubbies from a friend. I suffered through more Teletubbies videos than I care to recall. it almost did me in. 'Again again again again!".
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#4 of 173 Old 05-05-2005, 10:30 AM
 
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I've made the opposite observation - in my experience it's been those who had restricted TV who turn away, & those who have unrestricted access who don't.
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#5 of 173 Old 05-05-2005, 11:17 AM
 
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Interesting. We allow Goo to watch about 1 hour in the afternoons if she wants, but she has to turn it off at the end of the hour. I find she only asks for tv when she is over stimulated and needs to be a couch potato. I don't blame her. I get that way too!
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#6 of 173 Old 05-05-2005, 11:29 AM
 
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Yea, there is no magic formula, no perfect solution. Kids have different temperments and so will respond very differently to the same parenting practices, which is why we have to adapt our practices to them. One hour TV limit is a parenting practice that many children would respond favorably too (learning moderation in TV and never experiencing the forbidden fruit thing). Clearly your friends' children are not responding to it and your friend should try something different. Your practice works great for your kids, but wouldn't work for all kids.
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#7 of 173 Old 05-05-2005, 11:49 AM
 
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My sons would be in front of the television all day if I didn't limit it. My daughter on the other hand has never really been interested in the t.v. She would rather be outside all day.

Rebecca wife of Megan...moms to six crazy kiddos! Seth (15), Madison (13), Zachary (12), Trevor (12), Alex (10), and Nicholas (9)
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#8 of 173 Old 05-05-2005, 12:41 PM
 
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My oldest can watch whatever and whenever too, and she rarely asks now. I think unrestricted is the way to go - though we recently had to tell her no South Park after some embarrassing incidents.

When I was a child I was not allowed to eat any kind of sugar or basically anything I liked. So when I went to friends' houses, I was always sneaking in the kitchen and making PBJ sandwiches and sucking honey right out of the bottle. The kids who were allowed to have some sugar didn't do that. So we don't restrict sugar either.
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#9 of 173 Old 05-05-2005, 01:19 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greaseball
When I was a child I was not allowed to eat any kind of sugar or basically anything I liked. So when I went to friends' houses, I was always sneaking in the kitchen and making PBJ sandwiches and sucking honey right out of the bottle. The kids who were allowed to have some sugar didn't do that. So we don't restrict sugar either.
I know of a family that was the same way. When they would come to a potluck they would eat ALL the dessert first and nobody else would get any :


I have allowed maybe one movie a week and am finding the girls are playing more creativily since I have done that. Before that they wcould watch at least 2 movies a day.
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#10 of 173 Old 05-05-2005, 01:34 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greaseball
My oldest can watch whatever and whenever too, and she rarely asks now. I think unrestricted is the way to go.

When I was a child I was not allowed to eat any kind of sugar or basically anything I liked. So when I went to friends' houses, I was always sneaking in the kitchen and making PBJ sandwiches and sucking honey right out of the bottle. The kids who were allowed to have some sugar didn't do that. So we don't restrict sugar either.
my parents were PERFECT in terms of providing lots of healthy food but never forbidding suger or junk food.

Guess what - I would sneak candy bars and sugary foods when I babysat and todya CANNOT have candy or cookies in the house as I will eat them all immediatly. Moderation and lack of restriction is not the easy answer for all all kids. Honestly, I believe there are a HUGE genetic and tempermental variables when it comes to food and TV etc.

If my kids take after me, they are going to have food issues. And I dread all the "knowing" mamas and grandmas shaking thier heads at the potluck and saying to each other it is because we are too restricticting or too permissive or whatever.
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#11 of 173 Old 05-05-2005, 03:06 PM
 
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I think it comes down to different kids reacting differently. I think some people really do need more guidance/restriction than others whether it be TV, food, alcohol, or gambling.

We don't put a lot of time limit on dd's TV viewing... as long as it isn't all she is doing with her time and she is watching something we deem appropriate. She doesn't pester me to watch TV. In her case I think self-regulation with TV generally is fine. With sweets and junk food I think she needs more restriction. If it isn't in the house she doesn't ask for it but if it is here that is all she wants to eat until it is gone.

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#12 of 173 Old 05-05-2005, 03:06 PM
 
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When I was younger I had a friend who's family didn' have a TV. It was against their religion, but when she would come over to our house all she wanted to do was watch TV, she would watch anything and become a TV zombie... I would be outside playing and she'd be watching TV with my grandma!
I restrict what my kids are allowed to watch, and how much, but really they would rather be outside playing. My #2 son can be very TV Zombieish when it comes to TV. He will watch anything! I have caught him trying to sneak in TV time! My oldest will scan what's on, find that nothing is on, and turn the TV off. They do play creatively, and do many other things besides being inside all day watching TV, like some kids in my neighborhood. Plus we don't have cable or satelite, so that may inhibit the desire to watch even more TV.
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#13 of 173 Old 05-05-2005, 04:13 PM
 
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Mine can watch whatever, whenever, for however long they choose. There are no restrictions on media at our house really. We watch alot of TV compared to someone else probably. That being said, my kids can turn it of and go do something else without worry that they won't get "any more TV time" etc. My friends kids (who have thier TV choices made for them by their parents) are often glued to the TV for as long as the screen is on. They feel if they aren't, they could lose their chance or something.

Alot goes into the response kids have to TV watching, restrictions and the like. Kids are individuals. The children being in charge of their own media is just another aspect of how we live our lives (in our family). It's basically how we do everything.

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#14 of 173 Old 05-05-2005, 04:20 PM
 
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As someone who is interested in unschooling, it makes sense to allow my children to have free reign over what they do in the home, whether it be what to eat and when, what to wear, or how much TV to watch. Maybe we can even bring back South Park when they are old enough to understand what language not to use in public. :LOL

When I lived with my dad, the rules about sugar were a lot more relaxed. He found a stash of candy bars under my bed that I had taken from the freezer, and told me I didn't need to sneak; I could have one whenever I asked. I never had another one for as long as I lived with him.
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#15 of 173 Old 05-05-2005, 04:26 PM
 
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I wonder how it works if there is just no TV available... we moved the TV out of the playroom when my DD was about 6 mo and starting to just stare at it whenever it was on. She has only watched it a handful of times with us and will occasionally ask to see "LaLa" (her word for Elmo). We will pop in the DVD and she'll sit for a few minutes and then it is off to something else because she doesn't sit still for long (unless there are stickers involved).

I wonder if not having a TV as part of her regular environment, but not restricting will work? I hope so, my DH is a MJOR couch potato, so much so that he doesn't get things done and I hope my DD doesn't go that route.

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#16 of 173 Old 05-05-2005, 04:31 PM
 
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If my kids take after me, they are going to have food issues
Same here. DD1 (3) already has food "issues" in that she tends to pig out on foods she really likes. And, we have done everything "right" by all the books/ reccomendations as how to prevent food issues (ie. nursing on demand, only having mostly healthy foods in the house, but not having anything restricted or limited, offering a wide variety of healthy foods, not making any foods more desirable than others, a blase attitude towards different foods (no cleaning your plate, or eat this before dessert type thing)) We really strived to have a healthy attitude towards food, but when she is around a food she really likes, she tends to pig out. I think some people just like to eat more than others. That is all there is too it. I think everyone enjoys eating, but some people much more than others. In my family there were 5 of us, all raised the same way yet we have different attitudes towards foods. For example, both my brothers and my sister sometimes forget to eat and really don't put much thought into food. My dh can also go all day and forget to eat. If he is busy, sometimes I have to remind him to eat lunch or whatever. I have never, ever, ever forgotten to eat in my life and I love food.

DD2 is only 6 months, but already I think she will be more blase about food. She goes much longer in between nursing than dd1 did and is not nearly into boobie the way my 3 year old was and still is.

I think the same can be said for tv or computer. I can easily regulate my tv or computer usage, and don't tend to use it much, while dh and my brothers if given the opportunity will be on the computer all day.

I think some people are just more naturally attracted to certain things like food, tv, computer etc. and vary greatly in their ability to self-regulate regardless of how they were raised, really.

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#17 of 173 Old 05-05-2005, 05:04 PM
 
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I think, like all other things, it is fine in moderation. For our family, moderation is an hour a day or a whole DVD as a family. We do make exceptions when we bring dvd's for the car ride when traveling.
My younger son has NO interest in tv. Older son could take it or leave it. He would play outside over tv anyday. We have never put a lot of emphasis on tv. We don't condemn it like some families and we don't leave it on all day like others. Its just not a big deal in our family and thats the way the boys treat it as well.
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#18 of 173 Old 05-05-2005, 05:30 PM
 
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Ds is allowed to watch about 1 hr a day. He usually chooses to watch it first thing in the morning. I have never had a problem with him seeking out TV at other people's houses. He is far more interested in playing with whatever toys the other child has that he doesn't have at home.

I grew up in a household with no TV. As children, yes, we did go right for the TV whenever we were at other people's homes. I think it was just because it was such a novelty for us. However, every one of us were/are also avid readers. Now that we are adults, all of us watch varying degrees of TV. I watch maybe 1-2 hrs a day, depending on the day. Some days it's virtually none--I don't have the TV on during the day at all until late afternoon while I'm getting dinner ready, if at all. I only watch in the evenings if there's a specific show I want to watch, which usually only happens about once week.

As far as sugar, I grew up in a home where we ate healthy, whole-grain food most of the time. My dad was diabetic, so we didn't buy a lot of junk food, but it wasn't off-limits. If we wanted something sweet, we could get out the cookbook and make something. I have one brother who would eat sugar straight out of the sugar bowl--I wouldn't be surprised if he still does that! I have a terrible sweet tooth and am another one of those who can't have it in the house or I eat it all.
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#19 of 173 Old 05-05-2005, 05:37 PM
 
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Nothing like a forbidden activity to make us want to do it more!


Quote:
Originally Posted by UUMom
That box is too damn annoying to lsiten to yammer on for hours. the laugh tracks, the commercials, the snotty kids and cruel parents.
I agree! My solution, is to leave it on, but I turn the volume down all the way low, and leave the closed captions on. That way, if I watch it, I really have to focus on it and read the captions. Most of the time, we go about our business and ignore it. However, I do put my dd's favorites on for her. (Sesame Street, Mr. Rodgers and Barney). Even though I personally can't stand the purple dino, she loves it and it makes her happy. She likes to sing along, and learn the dances, so she does actively watch. I don't restrict anything, but the channel never lands on the cable cartoon channels. It is surprising how violent and obnoxious shows aimed at kids are these days!

My dh likes to watch the usual guy shows with killing, cars roaring and violence. I really try to encourage him to change his tastes now that we have children.
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#20 of 173 Old 05-05-2005, 05:42 PM
 
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This is funny... This will probably anger some people, but my parents had much the same approach to alcohol consumption when I was younger. I could always have a sip of their wine if I wanted. Wine coolers were treated kind of like pop -- I wasn't allowed too much, but I could have one if I wanted. I think that, as a result of alcohol never being treated as too big a deal or a forbidden fruit, I didn't go crazy in my teenage and college years. I could/can always take it or leave it, and I really think it was my parents' approach that caused that. Sounds like you're doing basically the same thing, and all I can say is: worked for me.
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#21 of 173 Old 05-05-2005, 06:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laziza
This is funny... This will probably anger some people, but my parents had much the same approach to alcohol consumption when I was younger. I could always have a sip of their wine if I wanted. Wine coolers were treated kind of like pop -- I wasn't allowed too much, but I could have one if I wanted. I think that, as a result of alcohol never being treated as too big a deal or a forbidden fruit, I didn't go crazy in my teenage and college years. I could/can always take it or leave it, and I really think it was my parents' approach that caused that. Sounds like you're doing basically the same thing, and all I can say is: worked for me.
: I was raised the same way by my dad about alcohol and talking about sex, too. Not the xrated stuff but if I had questions about sex he answered them truthfully as if it was no big deal. I've never been drunk in my life.

TV was the same way with me. I do screen what we watch on TV with kids around, but otherwise it's no big deal. Abi can take or leave TV. She'd rather play outside.

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#22 of 173 Old 05-05-2005, 06:56 PM
 
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I was just talking to my sister about this a night or two ago! My neice is two and watches t.v. She limits it herself. She'll ask to watch something, my sister will turn it on for her, and after a few minutes she gets bored and turns it off.

I agree with the pp's who have said that if they have the option they won't be glued to it like they would if they never had it. I so think that if a child is extremely limited in those things or made to think that it is bad or evil or wrong or whatever then they only want it more and begin to grow a fixation for it. JMO.

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#23 of 173 Old 05-05-2005, 06:56 PM
 
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I've noticed this pattern over and over and over again- with my friends, family, my own childhood, and with every child I've taken care of:
the children who do not have restrictions on TV choose to watch a few select shows that interest them, and will watch TV when they are very tired or sick.
The children who have limitations placed on TV are obsessed with it or at least much, much more interested in watching it at all times.
That's not to say that there needn't be limits on television content, but I've seen proof in enough examples to know that limiting TV just makes it a bigger deal than it should be.

DD1 7/13/05 DD2 9/20/10
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#24 of 173 Old 05-05-2005, 07:25 PM
 
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IMO, it's very much personality driven. My 5yo DS would watch TV all day long if I let him, my 3yo DD gets bored after 5 minutes.

Just like everything else in parenting, you have to use what works with YOUR kids- cuz everyone is different.

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#25 of 173 Old 05-05-2005, 07:25 PM
 
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#26 of 173 Old 05-05-2005, 07:47 PM
 
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I don't limit DD and she is an extreme example of a couch potato. So I don't know I am considering taking the tv away for a while.
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#27 of 173 Old 05-05-2005, 08:05 PM
 
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I don't limit my son and he could take it or leave it. When he leaves it, we turn it off or down. If he needs a little veg time, he's welcome to sit in front of it. Of course, it only boils down to 1-2 hours a day at most, but he never begs for it.
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#28 of 173 Old 05-06-2005, 11:04 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laziza
This is funny... This will probably anger some people, but my parents had much the same approach to alcohol consumption when I was younger. I could always have a sip of their wine if I wanted. Wine coolers were treated kind of like pop -- I wasn't allowed too much, but I could have one if I wanted. I think that, as a result of alcohol never being treated as too big a deal or a forbidden fruit, I didn't go crazy in my teenage and college years. I could/can always take it or leave it, and I really think it was my parents' approach that caused that. Sounds like you're doing basically the same thing, and all I can say is: worked for me.
My parents were the same way, however, I have struggled with controlling substance use since I was 17. Addiction runs strong in my family and although my parents were not affected, I was. I have to disagree that alcoholism is nurture... I believe that it is mostly genetic and that what you describe could be very harmful if a child has the genetic predisposition.

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#29 of 173 Old 05-06-2005, 11:14 AM
 
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The thing with the no TV kids that get sucked in when it is available is that you can't guess how long it will last. Meaning, don't think that they will watch it all day everyday when it is there. The novelty will wear off and they will be back to their other activities. You can't judge based on how a kid acts for a few hours (or a few days). My ds, who will be 4 in August, watches unlimited PBS. At this point, he has seen each episode multiple times and he is bored. He has gone thru light and heavy periods of TV watching in his life. I don't think you can judge how a child will handle TV watching based on what they do at age 2 or 3. Don't think that your 2 or 3 year old doesn't watch much and feel smug because that might change in a year. There is so much that happens developmentally at this age that I would be concerned if a child was watching hours of TV a day because there are other things that they need to be doing. I think it helps that the adults in this house don't model TV watching as a way to occupy time. I'm confident that reading will be more appealing to my ds than TV watching once he learns to read.

Mom to unschooling 4everboy since 8/01
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#30 of 173 Old 05-06-2005, 11:16 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Black Orchid
My parents were the same way, however, I have struggled with controlling substance use since I was 17. Addiction runs strong in my family and although my parents were not affected, I was. I have to disagree that alcoholism is nurture... I believe that it is mostly genetic and that what you describe could be very harmful if a child has the genetic predisposition.
I'm actually thinking that much of what we are talking about in this thread is genetic. It isn't surprising that mothers who don't have issues with food or TV would become mothers who wouldn't feel compelled to restrict these things for their kids. Their kids, inheriting their mothers' temperments genetically and nurture-wise, wouldn't have issues with TV or food. But the causal link isn't between lack of restriction and no issues, but between parents passing on (genetically and via example) thier own temperments that are predisposed to moderation towards food and veg time.

Parents (and thus thier kids) predisposed to overindulge in food and veg time cannot simply go the "no restriction" route and expect moderation to result.
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