The New Year with New Televisions in the Home
This past holiday season, plasma flat screen televisions and tablet devices were two big sellers. Manufacturers, and in turn retailers, were offering great deals on both of these items, along with other popular electronics like sound systems and computer systems. And, consumers took advantage of the great deals. As a result, many homes have new televisions, sound systems, computers and tablet devices in place for the new year.
Is your family one of those experiencing an influx in home entertainment devices? If so, how do you manage viewing time and play time when it comes to your children? Many teens and preteens may now have their own television on their rooms, or a set that is meant for their exclusive use in the family room or playroom. Do you allow your children free reign over what they watch, and when they watch it? For most families, the sensible answer to this question is no.
Most teens and preteens simply don’t have self discipline and judgement to choose carefully when it comes to viewing matter and the time spent in front of a television or gaming systems. Even if you believe your child is mature, dedicated to their studies, and well disciplined in general, it makes good parenting sense to have a family agreement in place. Approaching this with the children as active participants in the decisions being made is a great way to let them feel they have a voice in family decisions and that you trust them to make good choices. Have a family meeting and discuss your concerns as well as expectations. Let them voice their desires as well, and listen to what they have to say.
You may find that a show you feel is completely ridiculous may be entertaining or even important to them for reasons you simply don’t understand, but before passing judgement on any and all frivolous choices, hear them out, and perhaps give the show a watch together so you can see for yourself. Of course, you will find that some shows or video games are not in synch with the morals and lessons you have worked hard to impart to your children. It’s OK to veto these, and to discuss with your children your reasons for the veto. There may be others though, that are silly or obnoxious to you, but really not harmful per se. Try for a little leniency with some of these, allow your children to make some choices for themselves. Forbidding all the foolishness out there can have the effect of making them all the more alluring, and chances are, your children will reach the very same conclusion as you about many of these “popular” games or shows.
Taking the step of allowing your children to have their own televisions and control their own viewing is a big one, and it is important that you set expectations and rules from the beginning. Done within the context of a loving and strong family though, it can be just another chance to help your children grow and mature into smart, thoughtful young adults.