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Crap TV is a bonding opportunity

April 11, 2012

Growing up we seemed to be the last family to get colour and were only reluctantly ever allowed to watch the commercial channel. Like mother like daughter, our children were not allowed to watch the TV (apart from rugby with Dad!) until I bought an NSPCC video with lots of 5 or 10 minute stories on it. The older one was probably 3 at the time and we always watched the NSPCC video together. As they grew up of course they started watching TV – I think it was Sunday mornings – Power Rangers, Thunderbirds. But it was never used as a childminder until we hired the Kiwi nanny who turned out to be doped off her face. I came in from work to find all three plugged in and her reading a magazine. Compeletely unfazed she asked how my day had been. And this despite my specifically saying I didn’t want them watching telly, I wanted her to play with them and take them out. She lasted a few days. I was in denial at first. As she was a Kiwi I had stereotypically assumed she had get up and go and was self starting. Her drug dealing boyfriend wasnt pleased when we sacked her.  But I digress.

I couldn’t bear them watching Keenan and Kell and other American shite as it appeared to glorify stupidity and laziness despite them assuring me it was just funny. I was wary of the Simpsons, but loved it when I actually bothered to watch it. Teaching sex ed to 10 year olds made me realise the power of the soaps. These kids were watching them without any parental input so could see the 13 year old have the baby and evertything be ok, watch the rape scene and not understand that was not ok……….

But the strength of TV with the teens was finding a neutral territory we could talk about that didn’t mean every conversation was a negative one about tidying their room, washing up, not going out or dressing appropriately. We could watch some pap together and I could try to wind my neck in and hear why they liked it/didn’t like that girl/ thought that was stupid etc, whilst also having a view. ANTM was a good one for the girls. Jackass a fantastic introduction from our son.  Like football is for most boys and men, there is X factor and BGT that we can access and discuss on a level playing field.

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