TV Free but not annoying? - Mothering Forums
TV-Free > TV Free but not annoying?
ellemenope's Avatar ellemenope 05:08 PM 01-31-2010
Is it possible to be TV free and not come across as annoying to other people?

My SIL used to just drive me crazy. We were never allowed to watch TV at any family functions (no football on Thanksgiving!). She would make such a big deal. She would even shield her kids eyes if TV was on for a second. She would go on and on about no TV...

Of course, now (3 years later) I go over there and her oldest is always watching TV and is so addicted to these commercialized characters.

I have a very bright little 18 month old. So far in her little life we have really enjoyed the ocasional videos (signing and art/music) and you tube clips (elmo, big mistake). But, lately she has started to obsess, ie. constsantly point to the TV or the laptop, bring me the remote. If this one particular Tchiacovski (sp) song comes on the ipod. forget about it! It is the opening theme to one of her videos, and she goes crazy. So, I want to quit cold turkey. everything. even...elmo.

I just want to avoid the obsession. the addiction. the consumerism.

But, I dont want to be annoying about it. Is that possible? Is is possible to stay in the closet as being TV free?

lalemma's Avatar lalemma 05:45 PM 01-31-2010
Yes! I think you just have to not constantly leap into the fray with "We don't believe in TV". You know, have a TV or don't have a TV, but surely that's not the most interesting thing about your family.

I grew up without TV, and I really don't think I ever brought it up, and I'm pretty sure I never heard my parents brag about it. The only time I ever mention it even now is if someone specifically asks "Hey, do you remember that show..." - and even then I'm just mentioning it to explain why I don't know what 80s Show X is about, not to explain how I'm so much more awesome than everyone else.

For me, this is one of those things where if you're constantly talking about how your family doesn't have a TV, you're giving the TV almost as much power in your life as it would have if you DID have one.

Good luck!
zinemama's Avatar zinemama 06:22 PM 01-31-2010
No matter how under the radar you try to be, the truth will come out.

Once you let slip the fact that you don't have a TV - as long as that's all you say - I think that if other people consider you annoying, it's more about them than you.

Here's something I wrote about this. Caveat: The title was neither my choice nor the point of the essay.)

http://www.babble.com/TV-Free-Why-do...-so-unpopular/
MommaCrystal's Avatar MommaCrystal 09:07 PM 01-31-2010
So far we don't mention it really. My boys get a bit of TV at my mom's. I wish she wouldn't only because they are there to visit with her, not watch TV. But she doesn't know how to function without it so I let it go. Though we have come to an agreement on what is ok to watch and what isn't. They are only there maybe twice a month.

Same thing pretty much every where we go. Today we were at a restaurant with TV's. Snowboarding was on I think. My four year old checked it out. No biggie.

Sometimes we'll be at a friend's house and they'll have something on that is inappropriate. I do try to distract my kid's at those times. But usually friends flick it off a few moments later without a word from me.

Just relax. Go with the flow. Don't don't be ridiculous. All should be fine.
lach's Avatar lach 09:59 PM 01-31-2010
I think (hope) that I'm not annoying.

I do try to keep up with what the popular shows are, and I've even watched some without DD around. That way I don't have a deer in the headlights expression when the show comes up and I have a vague idea what's going on.

And while I don't think I've ever lied and said DD watches TV, I know that I have implied as much in many conversations. If a specific show comes up, I say "Hmm, we don't really watch that one." But otherwise I have no problem nodding in agreement while people are talking about TV and movies.

I don't know, I think it's hard to be TV free and not come off as sanctimonious. It's one of those things that every parent feels judged about, just because there's so much conflict presented, and it's hard to escape the competitive perfect parenting ideals that our culture really nurtures (primarily, incidentally, as a way to sell us more junk... but that's another story). But no one is perfect and even though my kids don't watch TV they do other stuff that other parents don't allow. I mean, letting my kids drink juice has to balance out the no TV thing, right?

But I just try to evade the issue and I think no one really thinks twice. I don't think it would even occur to most of the people I know that it's possible for a kid to not watch TV!
Deir's Avatar Deir 11:07 PM 01-31-2010
That's a funny question! I only bring it up when otherwise i'd be lying. Like if someone is going on about how obsessed their child is with some character and they ask me if mine is, I 'll say,"No we don't have a tv" It has actually opened up some good conversations. I'm sure someone thinks I am annoying!!
suziek's Avatar suziek 04:30 PM 02-01-2010
Such a funny post.

Being tv free is absolutely something to keep in the closet. You will be understood as a weird, judgmental control freak. People think it is a comment on them, and some tv-free-ers have done nothing to ease their minds.

That said, it does come out from time to time. Sometimes we no-tvers find each other, which can be great. Also, those teetering on the edge can be tipped if the timing of the revelation is right.

But mainly we don't talk about it, or make a big deal about it. (FWIW, I learned this the hard way. I fear I was much like ole SIL for the first year or two of parenting. Annoying, yes. Fatal, no....
lach's Avatar lach 05:07 PM 02-01-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by suziek View Post
Such a funny post.

Being tv free is absolutely something to keep in the closet. You will be understood as a weird, judgmental control freak. People think it is a comment on them, and some tv-free-ers have done nothing to ease their minds.
This is also so true. Also, people have different definitions of TV. I can't tell you how often I hear "We're TV-free too, my kids just watch a DVD every day" or even "We don't watch TV, just kids channels like Nickelodeon and Disney." And while my kids don't watch TV (as defined by: the large black thing that sits in our living room), I have been known to show my daughter an entertaining YouTube video when I come across one, and to sit her down in front of Felix the Cat on Hulu.com when I need to do something.
herenow2's Avatar herenow2 05:52 PM 02-01-2010
Ahh I know this fear. Of course it is about them, but it may be the most alienating decision around. I usually say "we don't watch tv too much" when it comes up and a reply is required. Granted "not too much" means occasionally my kids see it at a restaurant where we are eating or on the tvs at Costco, but they don't really need to know that.

And, in defense of some tv-watching mamas, I have a couple of friends who really respect our decision, don't do it themselves, but go out of their way to turn off the tv when we come over and are quite sweet about it. Okay, that is rare but there are some .
dogretro's Avatar dogretro 06:27 PM 02-01-2010
If we are talking about tv, I say that we are a tv-free family. Since we have not had a tv for, oh, about four years now, other people have just gotten over it. We don't feel the need to talk about it much & we are definitely not closeted. I am not ashamed to not have a tv, we like not having one, and I really don't care what other people think about it. If they feel judged, that is on them. I do not tell them that tv is awful and will ruin their lives. For one, that is just not true, & for two, again, I just don't care that much.

The other thing is, I almost never ask other people to shut the tv off. If we are in their home then we are gracious guests. I think it was highly inappropriate of your SIL to believe that she could dictate family functions that were not held at her house. It was also not right of the other guests and hosts to give into this tyrannical behaviour. If they were watching something pg-13 or R-rated, that I can understand.
zinemama's Avatar zinemama 08:19 PM 02-01-2010
Also, I never refer to us as "TV-free." I think that term does carry some snootyness. I simply say that we don't have a television.
ellemenope's Avatar ellemenope 12:32 PM 02-02-2010
RE: my SIL. She has that side of the family wrapped around her finger. She is something else. I love her death, though. But, anything she says is written down somewhere as law in that family.

And the thing is, she just blabbers so much about her parenting and why she does what she does. I, on the other hand, am very instinctive, and just do a lot of things without much thought, or explanation. So, I come off as just dumb and careless.

Her big thing with the TV is that she was following AAP guidlines and that she believed TV either causes Autism or ADD.

I really don't have a good explanation for not wanting DD to watch TV at this age. (Because there are better things to do?) And, it honestly seems easier to cut it out all together. for now, anyway. And, we'll see how it goes. I am not perfect, and I know I am a little lazy.

Something that is really annoying, that some of you touched on is the constant explanation of why her kids are watching TV now (3 years later, because she is now only trying to limit.) It seems whenever I call she informs me that the TV is on, (I wouldn't know) and proceeds to make these long excuses why. Always. DH and I just want to scream, WE DON'T CARE! We never thought you were awesome for not letting your kids watch TV before, and we certainley don't think you are any less a good mother for letting them watch TV now!
Elizabeth2008's Avatar Elizabeth2008 04:08 AM 02-03-2010
It IS possible!! It can be hard, though, i'll be honest. And it's not because you will actually be annoying, it's that people interpret your not watching TV as a statement, as a judgment of their way of life. It's SO WEIRD. The best thing is to just never bring it up. Where it gets tricky is when other people talk to you or your child as if of course you know who this and that character is, or they ask questions of your child like "what is your favorite cartoon character?" It's kind of hard at that point not to say something along the lines of "well, we don't really watch cartoons". Frankly, people who assume two year olds have favorite television shows are annoying to me! But, the TV-free folks still seem to come across as the annoying freaks, lol
Tizzy's Avatar Tizzy 11:12 PM 02-04-2010
We are not crazy TV-free people but it slips out now and then that we don't have a TV and it just shocks everyone. I try REALLY hard not to tell anyone because *they* make such a big deal out of it. And when our kids won't sit and veg in front of the TV or movie at someone else's house, it shows just how uninterested they are in it too. So once again, our lifestyle choice sticks out.

I've never seen Grey's anatomy, or desperate housewives or Lost or whatever so I am totally out of the loop. So I try to go along with it in group situations but it always comes out eventually.
KYCat's Avatar KYCat 01:45 PM 02-05-2010
Just a quick comment from a TV watching vegetarian.
It doesn't matter what you do that differs from the mainstream -- people assume that you think that they should be like you and that you are judging what they do. I wasn't a veg for a while because I didn't want people to say anything - I'm a real pleaser girl. Pot-lucks still stress me out because of the look on other people's faces.
I promise to stop going on about Lost if you will not look like a deer caught in the headlights when I tell you that actually no fish nor things cooked in chicken broth are vegetarian dishes.
evermore82's Avatar evermore82 04:22 PM 02-05-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by KYCat View Post
Just a quick comment from a TV watching vegetarian.
It doesn't matter what you do that differs from the mainstream -- people assume that you think that they should be like you and that you are judging what they do. I wasn't a veg for a while because I didn't want people to say anything - I'm a real pleaser girl. Pot-lucks still stress me out because of the look on other people's faces.
I promise to stop going on about Lost if you will not look like a deer caught in the headlights when I tell you that actually no fish nor things cooked in chicken broth are vegetarian dishes.


Well said KYCat!
Marlet's Avatar Marlet 04:38 PM 02-05-2010
*Saw this on new posts...my kids and DH are tv-free but I'm not..take it fwiw. *

I think it depends on your (and those around you) definition of tv. For instance we have an actual television set but I say we don't tv, meaning the service. Our tv is used as a large computer monitor and is treated as such. We are able to access Netflix Instant movies though for the random late night movie (which is why we set it up this way). My sil insists that means we watch tv since she refers to the actual unit. It's all vocabulary semantics.

I wouldn't worry about it honestly. My girls don't watch (though they are allowed to on occassion...I'm not wasting energy on banning it outside of the house) but I don't go out of the way to shield them from it. Our lack of tv service/useage has come (it's really just me who watches....I'm a sucker for stupid shows like The Golden Girls and an insomniac ) and our families have not made it an issue. The key is your delivery imo. Sound like a zealot and you'll be treated like one.
hopefulfaith's Avatar hopefulfaith 12:29 PM 02-06-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by zinemama View Post
Here's something I wrote about this. Caveat: The title was neither my choice nor the point of the essay.)

http://www.babble.com/TV-Free-Why-do...-so-unpopular/
Zinemama, this was a fantastic article. It's what I would have said when we were TV-free if I knew how to speak that so clearly and truly.
suziek's Avatar suziek 05:01 PM 02-06-2010
http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/2008...t-having-a-tv/

for your reading pleasure. Funny.
ell's Avatar ell 05:11 PM 02-06-2010
The annoying thing about your SIL doesn't sound like the TV-free ness. It sounds like it was the fact that she was a drama queen about it. If you go to someone else's house and the TV is on, big deal. Even if junior sees it for five minutes, it's not going to melt his brain. It's what you do in your own house with your family that matters, kwim?
blizzard_babe's Avatar blizzard_babe 06:42 PM 02-06-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deir View Post
That's a funny question! I only bring it up when otherwise i'd be lying. Like if someone is going on about how obsessed their child is with some character and they ask me if mine is, I 'll say,"No we don't have a tv" It has actually opened up some good conversations. I'm sure someone thinks I am annoying!!
This. We actually have a TV set (came with the apartment and we have a Wii Fit) and get Netflix DVDs that DH and I watch after DS goes to bed, so we're not completely TV-free, but an average day/evening in our house doesn't involve TV. It really only comes up when someone says, "Have you seen the commercial..." or "Do you watch...", in which case I just say "No, our TV isn't hooked up to anything other than the Wii." Actually, of the five parents who work in my office, three don't have TV hooked up (and there's only one broadcast PBS station here), so we're kind of the norm, at least at work.

But I HAVE known some holier-than-thou TV-Free types and (just like holier-than-though *insert any other choice here* types) it drives me a bit batty. I know that it's partially a sensitivity issue on the part of the TV-having-set (not wanting to feel that they're being criticized or looked down up on because they *gasp* allow their kids to watch TV), but, as in anything else, some people DO get a little... um... uppity about it.

My POV on the matter is that if, in the normal course of the conversation, it would be awkward to just blurt out "We watch TV!" , it's probably awkward to blurt out, "We don't watch TV!" If it's a natural part of the conversation, I certainly don't hide it, but it's not something that tends to come up all that often.

The fact that you're even concerned about being annoying probably means you won't be.
zinemama's Avatar zinemama 07:00 PM 02-06-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by hopefulfaith View Post
Zinemama, this was a fantastic article. It's what I would have said when we were TV-free if I knew how to speak that so clearly and truly.
Thank you, ma'am!
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