Never Say Never

The hubby e-mailed me this video clip . It’s about a 4-year-old little boy in a California Mayberry-esque town who supposedly flips off a crowd (he was just crowned Little Mr. Apricot…I think I’d be ticked off, too…I mean will he ever live it down when his high school buddies uncover that dark secret?) Finger flippage aside, I was disturbed at the end of the news clip because they show him playing a game on his Xbox in his bedroom on his own personal TV. Oy! What are his parents thinking?! But then we went to a July 4th shindig last night and our neighbor’s 5-year-old daughter has a TV in her bedroom so maybe I’m just an old finger waggin’ fogey.

I’ll admit I’ve done my share of finger wagging and tsk tsking other parents. The skinny young kid swigging a 16 ounce Mountain Dew outside the Circuit City. Do his parents know just how much caffeine and sugar he is consuming The tween girls at the mall dressed like they are 21 and headed out for a night clubbing. How can their mamas let them out of the house like that The little girl in Caitlin’s preschool class who still pops a paci in her mouth as soon as her mom picks her up. She’s ruining her teeth!! (OK, OK Caitlin had her pacifier until she was 2.)

But at the same time I have lot of empathy for parents now that I’m a mama. I want to hug the new mom in the daycare parking lot whose son cries at dropoff. I go out of my way to hold doors open for moms struggling with squirmy kids and shopping bags and strollers. I gaze sympathetically at the frazzled mom attempting to grocery shop while her kids are apparently auditioning for a new TV series called “My Kids Are Brattier Than Yours!” Ditto for the chicken finger slinging kids at restaurants whose shrieks are one decibel away from shattering glass. I have learned to never say never at things I would have scoffed at pre-kids. Poptarts for breakfast? An occasional one won’t hurt. Staying up until almost 10 to watch fireworks? Oh, it’s a national holiday, why not?

I had a TV in my bedroom when I was in junior high and high school. We didn’t have cable because we lived in the boonies so my TV viewing was limited…Knot’s Landing, Dallas, Fantasy Island and Friday Night Videos. But I was 14, not 4. OY!

So where do you stand on the TVs in kids’ bedrooms issue? We have generally frowned upon the idea of TVs in our kids’ rooms (and definitely no computer access.) Of course if a TV in her room would help Caitlin go to bed at a reasonable hour I might be up for buying her a swank flat panel TV. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

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I'm Jamie, a 40-something Nashville mom desperately seeking a few moments of Zen and zinfandel between soccer practice and supper. I love to travel, find great deals, and talk with my hands. My former beach bartender husband founded MouseCalls Computer Services. We have two daughters, three dogs, and too much laundry. Email me at blondemomblog @ gmail.com.

Comments

  1. Like you, I’ve changed my tune on a bunch of parenting issues, small and large. But I am very much opposed to TV in a kid’s room. We need more things that bring us together, not split us apart; and then there’s the whole issue of policing what they watch, sleep interference, obesity, school performance…bad, bad, bad.

  2. Not that this isn’t subject to change, but pre-kids I am opposed to tvs and computers with internet access, and phones, for that matter, in a kid’s room.

    My goddaughter has been brought up with the ‘I want you to have all the things I didn’t have’ mentality and has not just a television but a VCR in her room. She’s 7 and a half.

    Not only does she watch it ALL THE TIME, she’s to a point where she can barely separate real life from the fake ones on TV. It’s really quite disturbing. Every other sentence ends with “Yuh-huh. I saw it on TV”. Seriously.

    Oh, as for the going to bed issue, it hasn’t helped her. Her mom would let her go to sleep with the TV on, and she wouldn’t. Yep, still awake at 2 AM, watching Nickelodeon.

  3. Blonde Mom says:

    JAG, I haven’t even thought about the whole phone issue. Don’t get me started on kids with cell phones!

    I agree with you all…I just don’t think it’s a good idea to encourage kids to stay in their rooms and to give them 24/7 access to TV or the Internet. I swear Caitlin goes into a TV trance if Dora is on too long. It’s like their brain just shuts down! I’m even leary of having the nightly news on in front of our kids. Typically we limit the channels to Nick Jr., Disney and PBS.

  4. kara in kansas says:

    Oh, NO ‘puter in thier rooms EVER, tv might be ok when we get to tween or teen age.

    I’m all for cell phones if the kids are old enough to be out w/out us (leaving for college, maybe?).

  5. I’m pretty strongly against television in anyone’s bedroom. Perhaps Pea will be less likely to want one if her parents don’t have one, but who knows.

  6. I didn’t have a tv in my bedroom until I was, oh, twenty-eight years old and it didn’t even last long in there, we eventually moved it somewhere else. So I’m going to use that as pretty good arguement leverage when my kids start asking for one. No. They will not have tv’s in their rooms until they can afford to move out of MY house and pay for one themselves! The computer will stay in the family room, easily viewed and accessible by all. Phones…I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, at this point I honestly have no idea where I stand on that.

  7. Blonde Mom says:

    Shauna:

    My 73-year-old dad has a witticism:

    “NEVER put a TV in your bedroom; it will be the end of your marriage.” ;)

    I can actually see the purpose in a cell phone once your child is driving…but overuse of cell phones is on my list of pet peeves.

  8. We kicked the TV out of our bedroom years ago and it was amazing the difference it made.

    I’m of the mind that there shouldn’t be TV or computers in kids’ rooms. Just seems like a bad idea and some studies have shown that the younger a child is with a TV in their room, the more academic problems they tend to have later. Not saying I believe all studies, but when they jive with my own perceptions, it’s easy to pull ‘em out!

  9. Blonde Mom says:

    p.s. I feel compelled to say that I hope everyone realizes I AM JOKING about buying a flat panel TV for Caitlin’s room. I hope so any way. :)

  10. Ok, apparently I am in the minority. My daughter has had once since she was 3 I think. It was part of how we got her to sleep in her own bed. Bedtime ritual was to watch a veggie tale, read a story, and go night-night. Of course this didn’t always work. She got older and wanted to watch another and another, so I caved (bad mom!) and let her stay up late to watch, since she knew how to work the vcr anyway. Overall, it hasn’t been overly bad, she still prefers to stay with us as a family in the living room. She is now 8 and doesn’t seem any worse for wear.

  11. Hehe…this incident happened not to far from my home…So proud. It reminds me of the time I saw a pre-schooler at a drive-thru ATM give the double-bird to the car that honked at his parents. He gave soccer hooligans a run for their money, and I was so shocked as I sat in line behind 3 other cars, I picked up the phone and called my husband.

    But then…I do agree that when you have no children, or even one child, it’s very easy to say you’ll never do something. I want to know how many parents actually follow the American Academy of Pediatricians’ “No TV before 2” guidelines?

    We don’t have a TV in the kids’ rooms. Or ours.

    I honestly don’t envision ever letting them have one, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be able to get more TV than they should. Especially when I need to “get stuff done”. I really like the idea of a kids’ bedroom for quiet play (like Legos), reading, or sleeping. But that’s just me. It’s not a huge issue for us and I don’t feel all philosophical about it; it’s just what we are comfortable with…

  12. I don’t have any children yet, but my hubby and I are both firm on no tv in the bedroom, ever. My brothers and I grew up that way, and even had the living room tv channels blocked so we only had access to certain channels and shows. My pet peeve is like you mentioned, the cell phones. A few of our family friends let their kids have cell phones to be able to reach them for emergencies only. They have some sort of phone/plan that you have only certain phone numbers put in that they are able to call. Nice.

  13. I didn’t have a television in my room until I was much, much older (like, teens) and I was fine. My kids will be too. I don’t think a kid’s bedroom is the place for a television. And I know Julia would never sleep if she could watch television in bed.

  14. I don’t envision letting the kids have TV in their rooms, but they’re still 4 and 1 1/2, so I suppose I could change my mind. I feel the same way about the computer, too. I guess my feeling is mostly that we should spend as much family time together as possible, and that I’d like to be able to monitor what they have access too in terms of media.

    No clue what to do about the cell phones, but I like Hipster’s idea of preprogrammed numbers in the phones, if we ever go that route.

  15. I’ve also pretty much opposed to the idea of putting TVs in the girls’ rooms. I think the phrase “over my dead body” would apply.

  16. I didn’t have a TV in my room until I was a teen – bought that TV with some hard-earned babysitting money, and didn’t have cable – that TV lasted in our bedroom until just recently. We have a TV in our room – we also have an elliptical machine, and our computer (my office) in there – our bedroom is jam-packed.

    My husband suggested getting a TV in Jack’s room just last night, as we’re trying to get him back to sleeping in his room (I got him to sleep in there tonight, reading 20 books did the trick). He thinks the background noise would help Jack sleep. I countered that, if we want background noise, we can put a radio in his room and let NPR’s late night classical selection be his background noise. I’d really rather he not have a TV in there. And there WILL NOT EVER be a computer in there. With all the crazies out there, I plan to keep the computer in our bedroom. If he needs/wants to use it, he can use it in plain sight of his Mommy.

  17. no tv and absolutely no computer in their. bedrooms are for sleeping and playing…not zoning out. plus, this way we can monitor what they are watching while it becomes a little more social outside of their rooms.

  18. I once proposed haveing my own TV as a pre-teen and Mamma Phillips replied, “I’d rather leave a rattlesnake in your room.” That answered that, didn’t it?

  19. BOTH MY KIDS HAVE THEIR OWN TELEVISION’S IN THEIR ROOMS. THEY ARE AGES 2 AND 6. MY OLDEST ACTUALLY LEARNED ALL OF HER ALPHABET, NUMBERS, COLORS, AND SHAPES THROUGH THE EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS BEFORE SHE EVEN STARTED ANY KIND OF SCHOOL. MY SON (2) CAN ALREADY COUNT TO 11. NEITHER ONE ARE OVERWEIGHT, AND THEY STILL LOVE TO PLAY OUTSIDE. PLUS IT LEAVES MY TELEVISION OPEN FOR MORE GROWN UP ENTERTAINMENT (DR. PHIL ANYONE?). SOMEONE TELL ME THE CONS AGAIN PLEASE CAUSE I HAVEN’T FOUND ANY YET. ALSO, NEITHER CHILD GOES TO SLEEP WITH THE TELEVISION ON. IT IS JUST ENFORCING RULES AND KEEPING WITH THEM.

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