Thursday, April 1, 2010

Hard post to write... but one that must be read...

Just last night, Beth (Social Climbers) and I were competing with each other on Facebook to see who was the "worst" mom with the "worst" vignettes from our children.  It was getting rather late in the evening and I was laughing so hard at the things that came out of both of our sets of boys' mouths. They were pretty hysterical - even if they were bad.  But then I thought again about one I wrote.

Before you read, I am asking that you not judge me or my children for what I am about to write.  My boys are my life.  They make me laugh.  They give the dearest hugs.  They are polite and respectful;  good sports and compassionate towards others.

And my youngest (a second grader) also shared something with my mother this past weekend that is haunting to me... 

After the boys came home from a weekend visit with my parents, my mother called me this past Sunday to tell me what my 8-year-old had told her:  he has a girlfriend and he thinks she wants to "make out" with him.  He told her this with all seriousness.  My wise mother did not get visibly upset, but asked him why he would say this and what "make out" means.  He told her that "making out" is what boyfriends and girlfriends do.  It's what you do if you like someone. And "making out" is kissing.  (Thank goodness!)

Oh the sleepless night I had... How on Earth does he know what "making out" is?  My sweet boy whom you have seen pictures of and whom I have written precious blog posts about.

I know how.  And you should know too.

You see, I have heard things from the TV as I have passed through the living room while Sumter and Jackson were watching I-Carly or Suite Life on Deck or Hannah Montana.  The one time I heard the "make out" term on I-Carly, I turned the television off and suggested the boys go play outside.  No big production.  But how many other times had those shows made suggestive comments when I wasn't around the TV?  How much have they heard?  And how much have they unknowingly absorbed?

I have always hated Disney and Nick for the shows they produce for OUR ELEMENTARY AGE CHILDREN.  I have felt the tween characters were always disrespectful to adults and parental figures.  They are rude and belittling to each other, and always have some smart-a$$ comment to say for a laugh.  But I have not been vigilant enough... I have let it slide a bit and let Sumter and Jackson watch.

BUT NOW, my eyes are even more open:  these companies are sexualizing my (AND YOUR) children.  Think back to the sitcoms geared towards children/tweens when we were young:  The Cosby Show, Growing Pains, Facts of Life.  Now compare them to the shows that are geared towards our children.  Look at the clothing the girls are wearing.  Listen to the "innocent-enough" suggestive comments and see the  looks the boys are giving.  Frightening isn't it?

In response to this realization and sick feeling we have about it, Mike and I have made a decision that is not very popular in our boys' eyes:  We have blocked Disney and Nick.  It's not there - not even on the Guide.  I am not having it seduce my boys.  As young males in our society, they have enough going against them already.

I am not telling you what to do... only what we have decided.  (And please do not think that we are naive enough to think that our children will not pick this stuff up in school - no matter private or public.)  What I hope I have left you with is an understanding of what really is going on out there - in our own living rooms and on our own television sets.  It is my plea that you protect your children... in whatever way you see fit.


  1. Oh you said it!! We need to start a letter writing campaign! Just this week I have banned all Disney and Nick shows at my house, specifically Hannah Montana and icarly because they are extremely disrespectful to parents and others! The language is horrible and worse yet it teaches our children that actions and language like this is ok. it is NOT ok... my daughter is 5 and gave me a "whatever!" -- so I'm saying no more shows unless mama approves! I am with you!

  2. Bravo! While my kids are a little younger than yours, I have seen what Disney and Nick have to offer and I've been none too happy! And, there have been times I've let it slide, like in the craziness of getting home from work & school, and trying to get dinner ready. What harm is a little TV going to do? Well, it's amazing what kids pick up on. So, cheers to yoru decision. You are doing the right thing and have inspired me to be much more vigilant on the TV-watching front.

  3. Its disturbing whats on these channels! I used to think it was safe until one night my son yelled to me "mom, something is wrong with Nickelodeon"! It was "Nick at Night" which means adult topics on an otherwise kids channel. The devil lurks around every corner! You definatley did the right thing!!!

  4. Thank you for this post....having an almost 13 year old who does like I-Carly and Wizards of Waverly Place.....even Kate has caught a little of both of thoes shows---I needed to read this. I think we might be following suit. Is there anything that IS appropriate for them to watch after homework is done to chill for a little while? Mine already spend so much time reading and outside. Sometimes, they like to vegge out while I cook dinner.

  5. You are absolutely correct. My girls watch and love these shows but I, too, am shocked at some of the behavior. I'll admit that it's a battle I'm choosing not to fight at this time, but I feel like I'm constantly saying, "That's not appropriate, IS IT?" and "Oh my, I know that YOU would never do something like that." I use my BEST teacher voice, too. For now, they listen and believe me. It makes me sad when students are disrespectful because it seems like it is becoming the norm. Great post. xoxo

  6. I couldn't agree with you more. We do not allow Disney or Nick after 3pm. I do like Noggin for preschoolers & I think it now has a different name. Unfortunately, I think we have to stick to recorded shows or movies or no tv b/c it is so true... they want to sexualize and demoralize our children. Our trips are about to turn 9,a nd they don't listen to music or have i pods for this same reason. Lyrics are just as scary.

  7. This is a great post, Bevy! Although I don't have minnies of my own yet, I spend a lot of time with my going-on-eight year old niece, and her mother feels the same as you do. I've seen some of the bratty behavior and am appalled that Disney/Nick would allow those shows to be aired. I am glad you are putting your foot down and blocking those channels!! Stay strong!! :) XOX

  8. Interesting post. Write to the sponsors of the problem shows as well.

  9. Do you ever feel like it's you against the world when it comes to parenting? I certainly do ~ there are times I begin to wonder if my expectations are too high and then I realize it's not just me; we have become a society that is more concerned about being our children's friends rather than being parents.


  10. While I do not love the shows on the above-mentioned channels, they are not meant to be watched by the younger set. What Mama Henley does is wise, just let them watch until the 3:00 hour.

    Rebecca has heard and talked about this too, a couple of years ago -- not so much these days. I can assure you that the garbage she was discussing had nothing to do with the television shows but came from students and friends that had older siblings. Truthfully, I think that is where the problem lies. The children that have siblings a good bit older are so eager to grow up and emulate these brothers and sisters that they copy their behavior and words.

    I cannot shelter my children. I do not want to as I do not think it is realistic. They will get the information they want to from their friends. I want the information to come from me. So we talk and we talk about everything.

    So I wonder, does this girl who wants to "make out" have an older sibling, perhaps?

  11. I applaud you for your post and your parenting decision!

  12. Wow, I'm without children of my own, but I spent a lot of time with my 2 nephews. The oldest (5) BEGS to watch iCarly every afternoon. It amazes me how much they absorb in such a short period of time. Good luck staying strong - it must be a constant battle. But you're such a great parent, inspiring in the event it ever happens over here! XOXO

  13. This is a timely post for me, Beverly. Wow. Our family doesn't have cable television and PBS doesn't come in anymore with the new digital boxes. So, my children don't watch any television. But, my husband and I were just talking this week about getting cable for the first time in ten years. The boys watch these programs at relatives' homes though and I know exactly what you are talking about. Hmm...I've got to think long and hard about this issue.

  14. YAY for you! What a wonderful mother you are (but I already knew that). This is a tough stance, but one that I am already prepared to make. You know my children are younger than your precious boys, but I already see what is being offered. We have always REALLY limited the amount of television my children watch and I already feel that I am in the minority. your boys will thank you.

    Oh how I miss those fun shows that we used to watch!

    Did you discuss the making out thing or did you not let him know you knew? :)


  15. My first visit to your blog! So disappointing to hear that children cannot watch the Disney channel. My children are much older and I don't have this worry for now. But grands will come and I'll be just like you. I always wanted mine to stay innocent as long as they could. Didn't have as much to deal with when mine were young. I bet Walt Disney is turning over in his grave! I have often thought as I've watched TV "What in the world is apropos for children!?! I guess Sesame reruns i.e. Mr. Rogers and Big Bird. You are doing the right thing I think. xoxo

  16. You are a wonderful mother!

  17. LOVE your blog. So glad you found me over at Kitchen Belleicious! You are so adorable! Hope to keep in touch. Check back with my Monday because i am doing a great giveaway from the Preppy Mafia girls!

  18. Thank you so much for posting this. We have an 8 month old and often after she's gone to bed (around 7ish) my husband I sit up talking about the shows on tv and how almost none of them are appropriate for children even during the early evening hours on the stations targeted to a young audience. I couldn't agree more with your post...I will have to be so diligent, watching what GG sees. I'm sure you are a terrific mother. And look at the bright side, you caught a potentially bad situation and remedied it. Good for you!And on another note, just found your blog and can't wait to read more. Happy Easter!

  19. Good for you Bevy, I couldn't agree more on the shows 'provided' for our children by the Disney Channel and Nick! While we can't shelter our children from a lot of what goes on outside of our house, maybe if more parents took a stand on this garbage shown to our children, things will change. I am not unrealistic, this will not happen overnight and probably wouldn't come to fruition for our children but maybe our grandkids, if we cared enough to make a difference.
    As to learning 'things' from school or friends, this is nothing knew. Was that way for us as children and will always be but I have to say, that if we weren't providing such vivid details as to what occurs in adult life, maybe these friends and school mates wouldn't have all that much to say.
    Hope you had a happy Easter!
    (And I think, let me correct myself, I KNOW you are a wonderful mother!!)

  20. I completely agree with you. Our family room is attached to our kitchen and I hear it all. When it gets to "making out" I definitely have them turn it off. I am extra grateful for our recent nice weather because there is no time for tv. We tend to watch shows like Survivor and the Amazing Race together as a family and enjoy that more than the shows you mentioned.

    I'm sure this isn't the last of it but I don't think there is any hurry for them to grow up!

  21. Thank you for taking a stand. I am the unpopular mommy, even now, when mine is a TODDLER, for daring to limit how much & what is on MY television in MY HOUSE. I have every right to deem a show inappropriate, & I will continue to do it until she's off paying her own rent someplace!

    I became pretty opposed to those channels myself when my husband's eight-year-old cousin spent weekends at our house, & I really got a feel for what she & her THIRD-GRADER peers were watching. It is FRIGHTENING...& then people feign shock when they see news reports that show how sexualized pre-teens are! Yikes!

    Anyway, kudos! Really, for your post & your stance.


Thanks for your sweet comments... They make my day just that more Golden!