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Breeding the Monster

June 14, 2010

As a mom of two children, I will admit that I sometimes (okay, frequently) allow TV to keep my kids company while I get chores done or god forbid, do some writing.

I know. Kill me now.

But hey, I was raised in a home where we watched a lot of TV and I turned out just fine, excluding the fact that I talk to myself more than once a day.

I can tell you the plot of every “Brady Bunch” episode (there was a plot?); I have seen most every episode of the original “Star Trek” series (where William Shatner spoke—-like—-this); and I probably saw every “Little House on the Prairie” show at least twice (I desperately wanted to be called half-pint but it just never took).

Call me crazy, but I happen to think that TV is not so bad. Well, let me qualify that statement since a lot of TV that is on now I wouldn’t let my puppy watch, blindfolded.

So, yea, it’s a lot different than when we grew up. Though, with some careful monitoring by myself and my husband (and by that I mean we chose three or four shows they can watch over and over and over again–which is what kids tend to do anyway), our kids can watch a few shows we approve of.

Like what? Well, though I can’t stand it myself, Spongebob is on the allowed list. He’s actually a sweet little guy who has good morals, as much as I hate to admit it. He loves his friends and works hard for his boss, the creepy crab guy who practically orgasms over money. The Spongey dude is also eager to please — okay so over-the-top eager that they’d have no show otherwise — but is that so bad? Wait. Don’t answer that.

Now, if I could just do something about that annoying voice.

Also, we let them watch iCarly. Though my mother was horrified by the show (which just gave it even more cache for my daughter), we think it’s a pretty cool little show. Having no parents around gives it the neat, fantasy factor. Chic clothes give it the hip, ‘girls want to be her’ factor. Yea, the female Sam character is pretty much a juvenile delinquent, but it’s done with so much humor and outlandishness, there’s really no way that kids can’t understand that in real life her behavior would be unacceptable.

In other words, it’s entertainment. (Maybe not for grandmas, but hey.)

I totally respect parents who limit their kid’s TV viewing to an hour or two per week. I limit it, but I’m a bit more generous. Listen, I grew up watching a lot, but I also grew up reading a ton. I figure I turned out okay. Wait…

Well, my kids don’t seem worse off (despite the end of the world as we know it studies) and most of all, I love using it as a tool in my arsenal to mess with them– I mean use as a disciplinary tactic. “If you don’t clean your room, no TV for a week!” Like that.

That same technique also works for getting homework and reading done, as well as chores.

I’ve bred the monster; now I simply withhold the food.

I can be cruel.

I love being a mother.

Follow me here or on Twitter @RachelintheOC. I can also be found watching the occasional “Phineas & Ferb” on the Disney Channel where I’m often wondering “Where’s Perry?”

  1. My husband and I have discussed this whole 'tv' issue a lot. He thinks tv is bad for kids… I think it's not. I mean, as long as it's quality shows, and it's not taking over their life, and they have a good balance of social, outdoor play, reading, etc.

    My daughter watches the Noggin channel and she's always learning!!

  2. I agree. Both kids starting speaking very early–18 mos–& I personally think that's due to Elmo, Noggin, etc. My 4yo luvs Playhouse Disney & a few Noggin shows (Toot & Puddle is darling)–plus the fact that my kids are just brilliant. 🙂

    I think it's funny how people become so against TV as they get older–as they have 1 hand on the remote…

    We are outside a lot–look where I live–so it's definitely a balance. I don't actually watch that much–mostly I'm writing or reading. If no one is home, the damn thing is OFF. I'd rather listen to music.

    Unless glee is on. Gotta have me some Mr. Schu. 🙂

  3. I think we might be twins separated at birth. My daughter had lice, “twice” with hair down to her butt crack, I love vodka and now you have given me permission to put iCarly on the approved list, which will make my daughter so happy. Thanks for the RT's today. Love your blog.

  4. My husband and I agree that if it is a quality show my daughter can watch it. I am not a fan of Spongebob but I watch it with a smile on my face. Phineas & Ferb…my daughter's favorite line is, “Whatcha doing.”
    Love your blog!

  5. First, i have to tell you i share your love of your subhead line from Steel Magnolias. One of my all-time faves.

    Re. TV and kids. I have no rugrats, but one of my best friends says she can't let her kids watch tv unsupervised because they might accidentally turn on Bill O'Reilly!

  6. I watched all those shows and look how great I turned out.. ok maybe I am a bad example but my 2 oldest watched a lot of TV, xena warrior princess, Hercules, the early Simpsons and look at them. One is a Psychology Major in College and the other is a test study.. So yeah maybe don't use my kids as an example either, but hey 2 out of 3 aint bad right?

  7. I too am a TV baby and couldn't be happier for it.

    I mean I had Captain Kangaroo and I didn't go around meeting weird guys in green overalls. #ohwait #maybeIdid

    Perhaps I am not the best example of how watching a ton of TV is a good idea 🙂

    Although remember that Stephen King used to rail against the 'idiot' box and now writes television reviews.


  8. HEY, I HAVE MET WILLIAM SHATNER! He put his hands on my shoulders and stood there talking for about 30 seconds! He is kind of a stuffed shirt (but perhaps that is because I am a complete NOBODY and he was forced to talk to me), but he is handsome and quite impressive. My daughter's boss is his talent agent, and so I got to spend an evening with him at a function. Oh, yes, your blog post…forgot all about it. molly

  9. Awesome…

    Captain Kangaroo, William Shatner, Elmo, someone from Fox News that I pretend doesn't exist, and even Stephen King–all of these made the biggest impression hmmmm.

    Wait, why are these all MEN?

    Is this going to turn into another MANCODE post?

    *starts typing furiously*

  10. Wait – what about the Bionic woman! That was a chick 😉

    Well our kids are… pending (some coming soon) but we appreciate the low down on all the great shows out there for kids.

    We loved the Electric Company and the Muppet Show too…

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