Saturday, May 29, 2010

VE HAF A SCHEDULE! - A Response to "TV Time"

Did y'all get to read Saf's post with the results of our TV Time poll? Here's the thing. My kid is a junkie. Some people have addictive personalities and some don't. Then there are also those of us that can go months blissfully without a glass of wine but won't sleep a wink knowing they're in a house that's void of caffeine. (I like to comfort myself with this. Maybe television is the only addiction our daughter will ever wrestle? Stupid fingers crossed.) TV changes my daughter the way booze can make your favourite person transform into a two-headed monster. Gradually her colour goes, her brow furrows, she barks for snacks like Cruella Deville and can no longer support her own body weight - even when she's trying with all four limbs. It seemed cruel not to give her a TV schedule. We figured with firmly established parameters, TV time wouldn't have quite the same charge and would keep us out of that place of constant negotiation. How about TV every other day? Sounded like a reasonable plan at first, but it turned out each day became defined by whether or not she'd be plugged in. On her non-TV days it was like she was living for the next day knowing she'd finally get her fix. The obsession factor was going nowhere. Thankfully, she was young enough at the time that we got away with revamping the system without her realizing she was being duped. We decided to do something that may seem a little radical to some - TV only on the weekends. You may argue that rationing television exposure is only going to make kids want it more. And you may be right. For Saf and I, our childhood television was carefully rationed. We even had periods of not owning one. How did this affect us? Well... both Saf and I are completely, ridiculously, rattled by watching onscreen violence. And when I say violence, I mean yer basic fist fight. We've got it so bad that unless we're willing to risk a lame-ass sleep of nightmares, us Henderson sisters are almost completely limited to Jennifer Aniston and Will Ferrell movies. My theory is Saf and I weren't appropriately desensitized. We're still working on the cultural catch up. (Next we'll have to post about how being raised in a tee-pee has affected our table manners...) When I was finally free to make my own decisions about TV, I was terrified that I'd have no self control. I was certain I'd give myself over to any talk show/game show/soap opera out there, never leave the couch and inevitably lose grip on life altogether. I begged room-mates to keep our communal house TV free and then eventually losing that battle, rallied to at least pass on cable. Once faced with All Access Exposure, I actually kinda surprised myself with the ability to keep a grip. Does this mean I'm someone who chooses to watch only quality television? Are you kidding?? I couldn't stand to hear about Bret Michaels' Celebrity Apprentice Win second hand! So yes, Ve Haf A Schedule. But don't get me wrong. Rules are meant to be broken, after all. These days it's not uncommon for us to have a hockey game going during the week or to watch the occasional nature program over dinner. The beautiful thing is that our little junkie's so freakin' hungry for the boob-tube that she's just as mesmerized by the lost puck and flying squirrels as we are!

4 comments:

  1. when I had total tv freedom I didn't own one for 6 years...then a boyfriend who couldn't fall asleep without the tv on convinced me to buy one. After that point I started leaving the tv on so I could have important journalistic events like OJ's trial keep me company in my little cave. Wonder what the children of today will do when they have the freedom?

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  2. We hadn't had cable for quite some time, until we moved into the current house we're in, when it was included in the rent. *Gasp!* There were about three weeks of coming home, turning on the tv, and just getting sucked into the vortex of watching "reality" shows and very important, can't miss it, next episodes. Having some internet problems led to the cable getting cut off (apparently you aren't allowed to include it in the rental suite? Whatever.) and we are finally cable free again. Hallelujah! Back to reality!

    Ch (the 8 year old gremlin in the house) is not so much a tv junkie, but an x-box junkie - constantly has that flicker in his eye thinking we may just let him play. At times, he's told us that he DREAMS about x-box, and that it's his favorite thing, runner up being his cat. Ok, time to limit the playing a bit more. He now needs to ask, or wait for us to allow him to play, which recently has come to be about once a week - maybe for an hour or two....then we have to remind him to blink, so his eyes don't burst into flames from lack of moisture. If there's some trouble happening at school or whatnot, then there's no x-box that week, and if he gets up the gumption to ask anyways, it's gone for the next week too.

    All in all, I think there is so much electronic stimulus for kids these days, that having a massive limit on this stuff is okay. They are getting it elsewhere too, friends houses, school, car rides etc. Let's teach them the important things, like what berries you can eat, how to make a fire, where to find fresh water. That's the stuff they remember! :)

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  3. Amen! Ship 'em to Saltspring!
    I think all this electronicness is going to be here to stay and having good skills will be important for our kids, but God forbid the satellites all fall out of orbit and we really DO need to forge for ourselves. How would we cook without the food channel? How would we meet each other at the mall? How would we know Bret Michaels won?

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  4. My house rule is, no TV during the week. Unless I'm not paying attention, I'm outside, I'm looking the other way, I'm in the bathroom (which by the way, I like to hang out in...as it's the only place I get some peace...)etc. On Saturday morning, he can watch TV until noon. Considering he gets up at about 10:30-ish,...it's not bad!
    that's it. 2-3 hours a week. Oh, we do watch a movie on Saturday or Sunday...does that count?

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