Tuesday, October 28, 2014

On Screens and Parenting

As a parent, I have had a tense and contradictory relationship with television, and with "screens" more generally.  As a kid, I got to watch as much TV as I wanted (though as the youngest, I didn't always get to watch what I wanted).  As a parent, I/we have tried to keep our kids' screen viewing to an appropriate level...very little during the week, with a bit more leeway on weekends.  But it's hard to feel like or know if we are doing the "right thing."  Are we getting our message across that it's better to read a book than veg out in front of a screen?  That using a tech tool to create something is better than just passively watching something?  

A week or so ago, we got a small sign that we must be doing something right in this regard.  To explain: we usually all watch "Dr. Who" together on Sunday nights.  One Sunday, we had guests over for dinner who stayed through our usual Whovian viewing time. Howard and I told the kids they could just watch it on their own...but neither of them wanted to. They were quite clear in their desire to wait until we could watch it as a family.

Is it strange that this made me feel at least a little better about how we deal with screens?  I mean, at least they want the family experience, not just the screen time, in this case...

That's parenting, I suppose.  Never knowing if you're "doing it right," and latching onto any hope you can find!


  1. It sounds like you've got a good balance...done a good job. We managed to avoid our daughter Hannah having a television in her bedroom as a child so that tv viewing was done together. She has a voracious reading habit (and two english literature degrees) is balanced communicative and well rounded. She wants to 'do' as much as watch others do...If you get my drift.
    happy days.

    1. Oh, thanks Debby! Your daughter sounds so engaged! You must be so proud of her. I know I am amazed by how my kids are handling big decisions of growing up even at 9 and 13. I can only imagine how it will feel when they are older.

      My daughter is an avid reader too...my son only when a particular book or series captures him (but he gets caught up in math stuff on a regular basis, taking after his programmer dad). My kids don't have TV in their rooms, either--or, at least at this point, computers.