Why do people feel the need to justify themselves (re: tv) - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 112 Old 09-06-2007, 03:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I know many people on here are against tv. That is their opinion. Others are not. But even those who aren't against tv always make little disclaimers in their posts like, "But I don't let him watch that much," or "I know tv is wrong but I let them watch a bit when I am really needing a break." People go on about how they know their child is too young or that tv is bad and seem to feel the need to justify themselves to others on here. That drives me insane. If your kids watch tv - so what?! Who cares? I let my kids watch tv and I have no guilt about it. My 19 month old is watching Dora as we speak. I could write a reason but I see no need to justify myself. Why are people so worried about what other people think? If you want your kids to watch tv then let them. I guarantee you will enjoy parenting a lot more if you stop letting other people make you feel guilty about really stupid things.

Shawna, married to Michael, mommy to Elijah 1/18/01, Olivia 11/9/02, and Eliana 1/22/06
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#2 of 112 Old 09-06-2007, 03:20 PM
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I think people justify because they feel guilty. And they feel guilty because the preponderance of evidence suggests that tv is bad for young children.

I do let my children watch tv, and I don't feel great about it.
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#3 of 112 Old 09-06-2007, 03:54 PM
 
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Initially when I got involved with AP parenting I would feel guilty until my eldest who is almost 16 reminded me that I allowed him to watch tv and his brain didn't rot.

My 2 yo dd does watch tv and honestly its a saving grace, she is highly spirited and even when she watches a video I pretty much am right there with her talking and playing. Frankly before I started allowing tv, there were days when I thought I was gonna lose my mind always being on. A few minutes of tv here and there allow me to catch my breathe. She simply is not a child that willl play with her toys and allow me breathing room. So when she has a rare 10 mins when she is engaged in the telly, its a time for me to decompress.

Needless to say I no longer feel guilty, I have been parenting for almost 16 years and there are enough things to feel bad about but the occasional frency fry and a little tv are not the things to feel bad about for me. Everyone though has their own comfort level though when it comes to these matters.

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#4 of 112 Old 09-06-2007, 04:01 PM
 
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<donning the flaming suit>

See, I think it is about the type of person you are. It's also about cliques and jumping on the bandwagon for fear of not being "accepted" into an elite circle if you will...not going against the grain...

DS watches alot a TV. Alot. And I refuse to justify my decision and make no apologizes to anyone. Here or IRL.
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#5 of 112 Old 09-06-2007, 04:01 PM
 
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* putting on flameproof suit*

Imagine this post...

"I l formula-feed and I have no guilt about it. I could write a reason but I see no need to justify myself. Why are people so worried about what other people think?. I guarantee you will enjoy parenting a lot more if you stop letting other people make you feel guilty about really stupid things."

Hmm.

(Yes, I know that the evidence isn't nearly as strong against TV as it is against FFing. If you prefer, substitute "feed my kids junk food" or "spank" or any other parenting practice that has some evidence against it.)

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#6 of 112 Old 09-06-2007, 04:18 PM
 
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DS CIOs . Alot. And I refuse to justify my decision and make no apologizes to anyone. Here or IRL.

DS is neglected. Alot. And I refuse to justify my decision and make no apologizes to anyone. Here or IRL.

DS is spanked. Alot. And I refuse to justify my decision and make no apologizes to anyone. Here or IRL.

....
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#7 of 112 Old 09-06-2007, 04:40 PM
 
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Ok. I just have one question. Are we talking about TV or are we talking about nearly identical TV-like devices? Because in these anti-TV bash-fests, it often comes out that the anti-TV folks use a VCR, DVR, or computer games (gasp! but it's Starfall!). And honestly, screen time is screen time. I just want all the cards on the table, since there's usually some fudging on this.

Oh, and my kids watch TV. And yeah, I don't feel horrible about it. I'm not living my life by this massive checklist that some people keep. I honestly do NOT feel totally Ok with the TV all the time. I'm aware that it sometimes borders on vegging out that seems negative to me. But my kids see lots of good things on TV too, like classical concerts, mechanical shows, documentaries about space...things that are best seen either in person (not realistic 99% of the time) or on a screen. And they have fabulously long attention spans (case in point, my 6 year old listened to 3 hours of Henry Huggins on tape yesterday).

I mean, there are lots of things that are less than ideal, according to research. It's best for a baby to have a pristine gut for as long as possible. My kids had a pristine gut until well after 8 months. Maybe we should compare things like that and then we can all feel good for feeling bad.

I think the TV discussion is a good one. And I think it's good for us to all look critically at what we do, so that we can continually improve and expand our minds. But when the AP/NFL police start comparing TV to CIO or spanking, 99.9% of the other side tunes them out anyway. And then the conversation ceases to be productive.
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#8 of 112 Old 09-06-2007, 04:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ThreeBeans View Post
I think people justify because they feel guilty. And they feel guilty because the preponderance of evidence suggests that tv is bad for young children.
:
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#9 of 112 Old 09-06-2007, 04:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by embers View Post
DS COIs . Alot. And I refuse to justify my decision and make no apologizes to anyone. Here or IRL.

DS is neglected. Alot. And I refuse to justify my decision and make no apologizes to anyone. Here or IRL.

DS is spanked. Alot. And I refuse to justify my decision and make no apologizes to anyone. Here or IRL.

....

That post is ridiculous and offensive. Letting your child watch TV is not abusive. All of the practices you mentioned are. But if you have to insult others to feel better about your parenting then go for it.

Shawna, married to Michael, mommy to Elijah 1/18/01, Olivia 11/9/02, and Eliana 1/22/06
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#10 of 112 Old 09-06-2007, 05:01 PM
 
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I can only answer for myself, but I sometimes do say something like that.

I think it's because I think television, like chocolate, is okay but should be consumed in moderation, in my opinion. Because it's so ubiquitous in our culture - my commuter train has television on it now! - I do feel the need to talk about how I limit it and why. At the same time I would never really want to give the impression that we are a totally no television family. We actually don't get broadcast tv (no cable and we live in a weird pocket where airwaves are concerned) but we do watch DVDs and sometimes I have watched YouTube with my son for videos of animals (there are some really cute ones).

So I guess for me really it comes down to accuracy. We watch some television/engage in some screen time. But we do limit it. That's not a judgement on anyone else's family.

~ Mum to Emily, March 12-16 2004, Noah, born Aug 2005, Liam, born January 2011, and wife to Carl since 1994. ~
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#11 of 112 Old 09-06-2007, 05:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by loraxc View Post
* putting on flameproof suit*

Imagine this post...

"I l formula-feed and I have no guilt about it. I could write a reason but I see no need to justify myself. Why are people so worried about what other people think?. I guarantee you will enjoy parenting a lot more if you stop letting other people make you feel guilty about really stupid things."

Hmm.

(Yes, I know that the evidence isn't nearly as strong against TV as it is against FFing. If you prefer, substitute "feed my kids junk food" or "spank" or any other parenting practice that has some evidence against it.)
See but that sentence could be a valid argument. I formula fed my first child. I almost died at his birth and didn't even see him until he was 4 days old. I was then confined to bed until he was 4 months old. I was so sick I could barely function and as well my bipolar went crazy and I had to be on lithium. I KNEW I had to formula feed and I made no excuses about it to anyone.

However, I do not consider feeding choice - which is a health issue - to be anything the same as tv. I have not seen compelling enough evidence to convince me that television is as seriously detrimental as some seem to think.

Shawna, married to Michael, mommy to Elijah 1/18/01, Olivia 11/9/02, and Eliana 1/22/06
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#12 of 112 Old 09-06-2007, 05:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by LeftField View Post
Ok. I just have one question. Are we talking about TV or are we talking about nearly identical TV-like devices? Because in these anti-TV bash-fests, it often comes out that the anti-TV folks use a VCR, DVR, or computer games (gasp! but it's Starfall!). And honestly, screen time is screen time. I just want all the cards on the table, since there's usually some fudging on this.

Oh, and my kids watch TV. And yeah, I don't feel horrible about it. I'm not living my life by this massive checklist that some people keep. I honestly do NOT feel totally Ok with the TV all the time. I'm aware that it sometimes borders on vegging out that seems negative to me. But my kids see lots of good things on TV too, like classical concerts, mechanical shows, documentaries about space...things that are best seen either in person (not realistic 99% of the time) or on a screen. And they have fabulously long attention spans (case in point, my 6 year old listened to 3 hours of Henry Huggins on tape yesterday).

I mean, there are lots of things that are less than ideal, according to research. It's best for a baby to have a pristine gut for as long as possible. My kids had a pristine gut until well after 8 months. Maybe we should compare things like that and then we can all feel good for feeling bad.

I think the TV discussion is a good one. And I think it's good for us to all look critically at what we do, so that we can continually improve and expand our minds. But when the AP/NFL police start comparing TV to CIO or spanking, 99.9% of the other side tunes them out anyway. And then the conversation ceases to be productive.
Exactly!

Shawna, married to Michael, mommy to Elijah 1/18/01, Olivia 11/9/02, and Eliana 1/22/06
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#13 of 112 Old 09-06-2007, 05:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Heavenly View Post
I guarantee you will enjoy parenting a lot more if you stop letting other people make you feel guilty about really stupid things.
you are soooo right about this. I find this very idea my biggest stress as a mother. But for me its a matter of fitting in to what I feel is the idea parenting style CLUB.
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#14 of 112 Old 09-06-2007, 05:29 PM
 
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Where is this club and how can I join? DD is TV-free, and I don't know anyone else locally who is. And I know a LOT of very crunchy moms.

I don't think TV is the worst thing in the world, but I find it weird (and, btw, a reflection of how incredibly pervasive TV is) that people on MDC don't get why people are concerned about it, or think that people who have a concern are only worried about what other people think.

Quote:
However, I do not consider feeding choice - which is a health issue - to be anything the same as tv. I
TV use is a health issue. Childhood obesity is correlated with TV use.

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#15 of 112 Old 09-06-2007, 05:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by embers View Post
DS COIs . Alot. And I refuse to justify my decision and make no apologizes to anyone. Here or IRL.

DS is neglected. Alot. And I refuse to justify my decision and make no apologizes to anyone. Here or IRL.

DS is spanked. Alot. And I refuse to justify my decision and make no apologizes to anyone. Here or IRL.

....

Call me naive... but are you being sarcastic? Or are you serious?

What's the point of your thread?
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#16 of 112 Old 09-06-2007, 05:44 PM
 
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DS COIs . Alot. And I refuse to justify my decision and make no apologizes to anyone. Here or IRL.
What is COIs?

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#17 of 112 Old 09-06-2007, 05:45 PM
 
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Eh, DD watches TV. Regular ole TV. We've got flexible limits on quantity, and stricter limits on quality/content, but TV happens in our house. I don't feel guilty about it in the least, because it's a conscious decision.

Just because you don't like it, letting a child watch television is not abusive. The comparisons to actual abusive practices like spanking are not only offensive to me, as a parent who allows television viewing, but also to those who have been subject to real abusive treatment.

Yes, vegging out in front of random television programming is not healthy. But an hour of Sesame Street or a little Food Network Challenge (DD's choice last night) is not going to rot a kid's brain, make her fat, or lead to the downfall of civilization.

Mama to DD : (7/23/03) & DS : (10/27/06) married to DH 7/20/01
and yet 90% more mainstream than the rest of MDC
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#18 of 112 Old 09-06-2007, 05:45 PM
 
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I think people do it here because if they don't add a disclaimer they will get flamed. <--- period.

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#19 of 112 Old 09-06-2007, 05:53 PM
 
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FTR, I compared TV to spanking, but I don't consider (traditional, mild) spanking abuse. (I am completely anti-spanking, but I have friends who spank and would not consider them abusive.) I didn't intend to compare it to actual abuse. I would, however, compare it to a number of other parenting practices--not abuse, but not considered ideal, and with evidence against them--that would not be defended on MDC.

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#20 of 112 Old 09-06-2007, 05:59 PM
 
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If you don't care, that's fine, but I would say other people justify it because they DO care, and they feel guilty that their kid watches too much, and want to point out that they KNOW it's not good.

I'd justify myself, too, because I think that no TV would be an ideal situation, and by choosing to have some TV I'm not living up to my ideals.
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#21 of 112 Old 09-06-2007, 06:00 PM
 
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#22 of 112 Old 09-06-2007, 06:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Heavenly View Post
That post is ridiculous and offensive. Letting your child watch TV is not abusive. All of the practices you mentioned are. But if you have to insult others to feel better about your parenting then go for it.
I think the poster's point was that some people DO believe that television viewing is harmful to children, and some of them might even believe that it is *as* harmful as crying it out, spanking, formula feeding, or generally neglecting a child.

Not everybody agrees about that, but it's important to realize that some parents do feel that strongly about television viewing, and data does exist to back them up.

As for the OP's question about why people tend to qualify their TV viewing statements - the same reason people qualify statements about supplementing with formula, or give the background of why their son was circ'ed and the fact that their future children won't be, or ask for no flames when they mention vaxxing. They understand that some parents disagree with their decision and they realize that sometimes people get flamed for their parenting choices when they're looking for support. They're trying to avoid getting flamed.

I don't really see a point to assuming that people feel guilty for their choices. It's possible to feel shame or think that other people expect you to feel shame even if you do think you made the right choice. Guilt and shame aren't the same thing.

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#23 of 112 Old 09-06-2007, 06:03 PM
 
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i watch tv sometimes. i don't feel bad about it anymore than i feel bad about eating some cookies...my son doesn't watch it now, cause hes only 8 months old, and we usually have time to watch during the day anyway, but i am sure he will watch tv when he is older. i don't think tv=bad.
check out "the goddess vs. the alphabet" or maybe it's "the alphabet vs. the goddess" one or the other...great book. discusses the importance of image and icon in terms of having a balanced left and right brain relationship. interesting theory with lots of great supporting evidence. made me stop feeling guilty about the tv i watch.
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#24 of 112 Old 09-06-2007, 06:23 PM
 
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I do a lot of things I always thought I would never do.

--Disposable diapers (just too disgusting to cd without running water! for me, anyway! and there's no diaper service in town, and i don't have a washer or dryer)

--TV

I just stopped feeling guilty over the tv bit. I need a lot of time to myself to recharge when I am feeling po'd/tired/overworked, and if it buys me that time, well, so be it. it's not like I let him watch Yu-Gi-Oh or other violent cartoons, just run-of-the-mill pbs shows.

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#25 of 112 Old 09-06-2007, 07:13 PM
 
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They feel guilty and judged by people who think TV is bad or wrong or unhealthy. That's my guess anyway.

We watch TV with no guilt and no excuses.

"The true measure of a man is how he treats a man who can do him absolutely no good."
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#26 of 112 Old 09-06-2007, 07:18 PM
 
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I think people justify because it's pretty well known that tv is not beneficial and that our kids could be doing much more productive things with their time.

That said, mine watches tv and I don't justify it or feel guilty about it. Sometimes we even play xbox 360 together.

I ususally avoid tv thread all together .. I don't have much to add .. I agree no tv is best, but we are not a tv free family and it's also something I choose not to feel guilty about.

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#27 of 112 Old 09-06-2007, 07:45 PM
 
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I ususally avoid tv thread all together .. I don't have much to add ..
I enjoy the TV threads quite a bit actually. I think it's because I feel like being a bit of the voice of support for those who love TV. "See, we can watch a lot of TV and still string sentences together!"

"The true measure of a man is how he treats a man who can do him absolutely no good."
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#28 of 112 Old 09-06-2007, 07:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by newmommy View Post
<donning the flaming suit>

See, I think it is about the type of person you are. It's also about cliques and jumping on the bandwagon for fear of not being "accepted" into an elite circle if you will...not going against the grain...

DS watches alot a TV. Alot. And I refuse to justify my decision and make no apologizes to anyone. Here or IRL.


You took the words right out of my mouth. That is one thing (and ppl who read my posts can tell you) I do not jump on any bandwagon about anything I beleive or do. I really do not try to fit into any group...especially an online message board where I will most likely not ever see/meet anyone. Life is too short to worry about saying things other ppl want to hear and not what you feel.

My kids watch tv.

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#29 of 112 Old 09-06-2007, 08:17 PM
 
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And we don't want to stop

Also I know so many awful kids who don't watch tv I'm not at all convinced it's better not to watch. :

Seriously I don't think the choice not to watch is necessarily better, just different.
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#30 of 112 Old 09-06-2007, 08:55 PM
 
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They offer up excuses because they anticipate being judged.

Probably rightfully so. Humans tend to be a judgmental lot.
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