The TV Conversation

I was reading Blog Antagonist’s recent post about having more or less accidentally let her boys watch a new Cartoon Network Adult Swim show, Robot Chicken (ya gotta think, this is definitely a name meant to appeal to boys, LOL), which turned out to be … well, adult-ish. She did a smart mom thing – since they’d already started watching, and she was watching with them, they finished the show together. Was pretty hilarious, apparently, albeit also pretty raunchy. Also pretty much over the boys’ heads (whew! she thought 🙂 )

Reading this post made me think of the TV Conversation – do you know the one? where you and spouse have the big discussion about not watching so much TV? And not so much not-child-appropriate TV? when said child is in the room? The one that goes nowhere – at least, nowhere good (as in, he agrees with you and the TV is off more than it’s on)? In our house, the “rule” is, if DH is awake and home, the TV is on. OK, I’m exaggerating only slightly – he normally doesn’t turn it on anymore in the mornings except to maybe catch the weather. And last night’s game results if we went to bed to early to see the end. Wait, that’s “TV On. In the morning.” Right? And this is in spite of years of asking, arguing, begging… This is the “buck stops here” for him. No, he won’t give up TV. End of discussion.

One time, years ago, when DD was little and DS was a baby, I had a random conversation with a work acquaintance about how they’d turned off the TV in his house, and his two kids (about 10 and 12 at the time, I believe) almost immediately started evidencing the behaviors all the experts tell you will happen if there’s not so much TV in the house – they read more, they fought with each other less, they started playing games together and doing creative projects together – these kids could have been a case study in and of themselves. I came home and started relating the story as part of my day to DH (I swear! – I didn’t intend it as an object lesson. Really!) But when I finished, for a few seconds there was dead silence. Then: “We’re not getting rid of the TV.” Sigh.

There were so many times, when DD was little particularly, that I just wanted to cry, I wanted so much to get TV out of her life. She and DH used to actually fight about what channel they’d watch – imagine, an adult and a child! and he’d have a big argument with her about it. And he’d watch whatever he wanted, whether it was good for her or not.

And, after 9/11, when the media saturation and constant repetition of the towers coming down was so over the top, DS, then 7, finally asked his papa, with tears in his eyes, if we could please turn off the TV, he didn’t want to see any more. For once, DH listened.

So, my kids have been exposed to hours and hours of inappropriate television. Thank God for India! At least for 9 months out of the year, they didn’t have TV in their lives day and day out.

I was talking to a friend about the TV Conversation the other day. She has it with her DH too. Do you? It was nice, if frustrating, to know our family’s not alone in this struggle.


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