• Tue, Sep 18 2012

My 8-Year-Old Daughter Is Getting A Plasma Screen TV In Her Bedroom

I also think the earlier (not at four or five) but at eight or nine, is a good time to get a television in a child’s room. My parents never let me eat McDonalds when I was a child. So, as soon as I moved out, I was eating McDonalds at least three times a week. To actually give my daughter a television in her room BEFORE she starts begging for one, or feels like she’s missing out on something, means that it will just become a normal thing, something she isn’t craving or begging for.

This does work on my daughter.

I always had candies and chocolates out since she was little. Because of that, she doesn’t think chocolate is a big deal, so don’t even try and bribe her with that because she doesn’t give a damn about chocolate. I never used candy as a bribe, just like I won’t use television as a bribe. (Aside from getting her INTO bed.)

Of course, I will have to see how this plays out. Who knows? Maybe she will sneak and turn on the television late at night. But I know my daughter and I just don’t think that’s going to happen. While she’s excited about having a television in her room, she isn’t THAT excited. She doesn’t really talk about it at all.

My daughter, too, is the type of person who needs some down time alone. She doesn’t need to be around me all the time. So if she chooses to go to her room to watch a little television after a long day of school and then dance lessons, so be it. I didn’t make the whole “You’re-getting-a-television-in-your-bedroom” a big deal. I just did it, without any conversation with her about it before it happened. She just came home from school and it was there.

There have been no discussions about “If you don’t keep up with your school work then the television is gone!” I think she’s smart enough to know this without me having to say so.

I hope she enjoys having a television in her room. I know I will if I never have to hear the theme song to A.N.T. Farm again. It’s a win-win situation if you ask me.

(photo: Cheryl Casey/ Shutterstock)

You can reach this post's author, Rebecca Eckler, on twitter.
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  • Julie

    I’m not a hardass when it comes to TV either. But I find it highly amusing how you had to mention it was a plasma TV and the PVR box. Typical. I hope you have good parental controls on your TV because I too have super duper cable and PVR boxes etc and there is a pile of completely inappropriate content on cable. I personally wouldn’t want my 9 year old waking in the middle of the night and not being able to sleep and turning on the TV and seeing the stuff that’s on TV.

    I also find it amusing how little TV you say your kid watches and then in the next breath go on about how there is only so many times a grown up can watch… blah blah blah. Amusing and a bit contradictory.

    Anyhooo, thanks again for the Tuesday ridiculousness. Your blogs amuse me.

  • Guest

    I am not terribly strict when it comes to TV either. Both my kids actually have TVs in their rooms. I do however find it amusing how you had to mention that it was a huge plasma TV and the PVR box. Typical. I also hope you have strong parental controls on your daughter’s TV. There is all sorts of garbage on cable (I know this because I too have fancy cable and PVR boxes so you’re not special in that regard). I wouldn’t want my nine year old accidentally renting an adult movie or waking up and not being able to go back to sleep and turning on the TV and catching some of the stuff that is on cable in the middle of the night. I also find it highly amusing how you go on about how little TV your kid watches and then in the next sentence you’re talking about how a parent can only handle watching such and such so many times… Amusing and quite contradictory. Again, quite typical. Thank you for the Tuesday ridiculousness though. Your blogs amuse me in an eye rolly kinda way.

  • Lawcat

    Plasma? So 2006.

  • kathleen

    Oh, fine. I’ll bite:

    ‘She is the type that if I say, “This show is annoying,” and then I just
    turn it off, she’s like, “Ok, I’m going to go write in my journal then.”
    I would say that she watches a total of one hour of television a day.’
    How splendid, and I’d bet that most parents would be thrilled if their children reacted in the same way that your daughter does. I would ALSO be willing to bet that they wouldn’t then hand over the parenting controls to their children, assuming that those children can exercise a strict degree of self-control. I would say that your estimation of one hour of television per day depends upon your shutting the television off because you find it annoying. She clearly doesn’t, so check back in after a couple of weeks and let us know how many hours per day she’s up to. Not that I expect you to check in on her or police her, since you seem to think that she can basically parent herself at this point. So cute.

    ‘I am sure there are experts out there who say watching television before bed is not a good idea. In fact, I know there are’
    Yes, there are. Many, in fact, and they should concern you. Here are some links, should you care to read them:

    That watching television before bed contributes to sleep problems (British):
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/5483296/TV-before-bed-causes-chronic-health-problems-study-claims.html

    That watching television before bed contributes to sleep problems (American):
    http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/sleep/articles/2011/03/07/using-electronics-before-bed-may-hamper-sleep

    That having a television in a child’s room contributes to obesity, leads to a decrease in the time spent reading, and affects a child’s schoolwork:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/04/health/04well.html
    (Of course, you’ve already declared that you are willing to do her homework for her, so perhaps that last issue won’t be troubling to you).

    Knowing that adding ‘a plasma television with a PVR box, featuring more than 300 channels’ to your child’s room can affect her health and mental abilities should concern you. That it doesn’t concerns me on her behalf. That you don’t care is right in line with your avowed parenting policies.

    Good luck — I hope your daughter is FAR more mature than you are, because that’s really the only way I see this turning out well.

    • raeronola

      Dude this comment deserves the slowest of all slow claps.

    • maureen

      Ever heard of the expression “correlation doesn’t mean causation”? Yes of course obese kids watch more TV. But a child who is physically active and eats healthy will not magically become inactive and eat garbage because the TV has been moved from one room to the next. Most American households have at least 1 TV so most kids have regular access to one, even if it’s not in their bedroom. It really comes down to parenting – the parent’s job is to put limits on the TV and ensure that homework is done, regardless of which room the TV is in. Password-protected parental controls can be used to block inappropriate channels.

    • kathleen

      Indeed I have heard that phrase. But a child who is no longer supervised while watching television is inclined to watch more and, consequently, be less active in his or her physical activities and in his or her mental activities. A brain watching television has very little activity going on. And most parents would agree that the best way to control the amount of television your children watch is to keep it under supervision so that they can call a halt to it. And so that they can make sure that one of the 300 channels on offer isn’t providing the child with material beyond her understanding or mental/emotional development.

      This article is just another brick in the giant Rebecca-Eckler-as-passive-parent wall that she builds. Perhaps you are unaware of that — in any case, I am worried by a parent who shoves a giant tv in her daughter’s room — despite the acknowledged problems it might cause — just so she doesn’t have take the time and make the effort to shut off programs that she finds distasteful.

    • maureen

      My kid’s bedroom door is always open and I pop in constantly – if my daughter had a TV, I would know what she’s watching, same as if she was watching downstairs. I assume Rebecca checks in on her kid regularly, as opposed to ignoring her for hours! What parent wouldn’t notice if their child suddenly started watching TV 6 hours a day and skipped assignments?

    • kathleen

      Look — no one is attacking you personally, or the Average Parent Who Lets Her Child Have a TV in Her Room. Eckler say she knows there are studies that say that doing what she plans to do with her 8-year-old daughter is a bad idea and then says she doesn’t care. If you’ll notice, my original comment was specifically engaging with Eckler’s own words. She knows that her daughter should be supervised, but the entire message she is sending is that it isn’t that important to her — she just doesn’t want to be bothered. You really need to go back and read Eckler’s history in her articles — she reveals herself to be a flippant parent, one who would rather take the easy route than to do the hard, gritty work of parenting. She likes the fun stuff, and the other requirements are shuffled off on someone else.

      Don’t make assumptions about Eckler’s parenting style — read it for yourself. You might not defend her quite so vigorously afterwards.

    • http://www.facebook.com/helen.donovan.31 Helen Donovan

      When did doing homework at the kitchen table become doing it for the child?

  • Not That Rebecca

    She’s not even trying anymore, is she?

  • none

    Yup, some took the bait.

  • Katia

    Great. But is this an article or a diary entry ? because its all over the place. You should get a highschool student to proofread your shiet. This might make the bragging more palatable

    • MommyK

      The spelling/grammar policewoman in me cringes at a lot of articles on here. I wish they could hire me freelance to edit these before they are posted.

  • L

    this is more of a “here’s a point of view from a 20 something who watched a lot of tv and turned out fine” and less of the author of this blog is obvi a fake but whatever… so yeah, i grew up in a house where my parents had a tv in their room and i had a tv in my room, and everyone was happy (there was no tv in the living room). it gave us all time, space, and quiet away from each other and let us watch what we wanted to watch. however, i wasnt as young as 8. but i also didnt move to the US until i was 9, so before then the entertainment was playing outside.

  • Dibba

    So, she only watches an hour of television a day, but you’re sick of Suite Life, Hannah Montana, etc, etc. Doesn’t really add up.
    If you want buy her a TV, buy her one, just don’t write a crap ‘article’ to justify your choice.

    • Lawcat

      To be honest, 5 minutes of either of those shows makes me want to disconnect the TV and go off the grid.

  • Kel

    Guess what! I bought my 10-year-old an iPad!

    Now give me my freakin’ column. I have navel-grazing to do and I like an audience.

  • Guest

    Aren’t you the mother of a daughter who’s academic performance is mediocre? I remember you once wrote an article about “Tiger Moms” and how they and their high-achieving children were making your child feel bad.

    I’m sorry the world is not as mediocre as your daughter and that she must contend with the reality of her shortcomings. Of course, it appears that you are setting up an environment that is not going to help with that. But yeah–you’re right in the end–every parent gets to choose what privileges and activities their kid can enjoy based on who their kid is. And it’s great that your child is so disciplined about her TV-schedule.

    So yeah, so long as dear daughter has an A+ in TV Watching, you’re good to keep nurturing “Miss 7/15 Math Test.”

    (Don’t ever write something like this after penning a vaguely racist article condemning other parents for pushing their kids and how offended you are that those kids’ hard-won accomplishments are somehow “ruining” your daughter, k?)

    • maureen

      Admittedly I haven’t read the article you’re referring to, but picking on a child you don’t even know and calling her mediocre is plain mean. I suppose one bad grade means the girl may as well turn in her school books and become a stripper, right? ;)

    • meteor_echo

      Agreed.
      Not everyone is good at math. Or at physics. Or at biology. So 7/15 on a test for a subject that a kid isn’t good at is actually a fairly normal result.

    • LinZoo

      Wouldn’t 7/15 be less than 50% on a test, which is an F?

    • Kel

      Most children excel in some areas and have trouble in others, but I think we’re in a bad state in American education when we decide that 7/15 is “normal,” good or not good at the given subject.

    • Ipsedixit

      Calling a child average is “mean” now? By virtue of its meaning, don’t most people fall into that category?

    • Guest

      Yeah yeah yeah–Won’t someone PLEASE think of the CHILDREN?!

      Go ahead and reference the article first (you can look up the author and “Tiger Mom”) so you can see what I’m referring to. It’s one of the most offensive and bigoted I’ve read in a long time. Please–”it’s everyone else’s fault that my child isn’t a superstar!”
      followed by “Hey, don’t judge me for putting a TV in my kid’s room
      because she’s mature enough to handle it!” Does this woman have the
      capability to grow any self awareness?

      And for the record, I’m not condemning the child so much as calling out her dingbat mother on her self-indulgent crap parenting. I only have Eckler’s writing to go on and in Eckler’s case, it’s really hard to read her writing, which has the insight of a pinwheel, the depth of a puddle, and is so blithely condescending, and take her at her word when she says her daughter is sweet or genuine or kind or really, anything good. Generally, idiotic people raise mediocre kids (there, I said it!), and insecure parents have a way of overlooking the mediocrity. Somewhat humorously in Eckler’s case–one of the hallmarks of such parents’ idiocy is that they can’t acknowledge the failings of their own offspring and give way too much credit where it’s undue. Case in point: Eckler’s kid isn’t exactly exceptional academically, but she sure does moderate the TV watching! Who needs math when you’ve got the chops to turn off “Hannah Montana” and dither around in a journal? Why bother to restrict TV at all if you can just hand it over to the kid to self-regulate? Man, parenting is HARD! Good thing I’ve got such a SPECIAL child!!

      Now, I understand that people don’t like such criticism levied on children and logically-speaking, little Eckler is probably like any normal kid who
      likes Disneyland and pizza parties. Nevertheless–if we’re going to talk about parenting, then we should acknowledge that decisions parents make affect their kids and by her own admission of a specific parenting style, Eckler hasn’t convinced me her kid is anything special other than as a desperate extension of her insecure self.

  • Rachael

    Er, good for you? I think this article would have been much more interesting if you had framed it in a sort of “Should kids have TVs in their rooms” point of view, instead of just rambling about how many channels the television has and how super disciplined your daughter is. It really reads as way too defensive.

  • mm

    I’ve seen comments on other blogs by Rebecca saying that the readers knew who wrote it by the headline, and now I’m starting to as well. It’s so obviously trying to be provocative, and it’s pretty obnoxious. “My 8-Year-Old Daughter Is Getting A Plasma Screen TV In Her Bedroom”….why the mention of her age? Who cares about plasma screens, I’m pretty sure those are the ones that go to sh*t after a couple of years, right? It’s just braggy and baiting from the very beginning. You know what, I come from a really wealthy background. People I grew up with hold fundraisers for Obama, in their houses, at $35,000 a plate. Flaunting your “money” in every post is tacky and classless. Even tackier is the fact that you brag about not caring that there are plenty of studies showing how TV negatively impacts a child’s development, etc. I love Mommyish, but these posts really take away from the overall mission of the site, in my opinion. I might only be 21 years old, with no parenting experience whatsoever (whatever, I like the site it’s interesting) but even I can see that you’re not a very conscientious parent.

  • TT

    I’ve had a TV in my bedroom ever since I can remember. I’m an adult now, but like you, my parents didn’t want to watch cartoons as often as I did. Moreover sometimes they watched adult shows and movies that they didn’t want to encourage me seeing. I don’t know what the big deal is.

  • frenchfries

    Oh, for pete’s sake.

  • Emily H.

    KILL IT WITH FIRE

  • ItsGoodtoBeSociallyAwareMom

    I think the only worthwhile question is to ask why we haven’t stopped reading her articles and stopped commenting. Eckler needs to go away. She can walk away in her Nike shoes to her Lexus car and go home to her re-snipped fiancee in her 2008 brick house (I’m just trying to make sure I get enough labels to suit the subject – can you tell?).

  • me

    So, how many knew who the author was instantly, skipped the article and went straight to the comments? ;)

  • Hannah b

    What else do we expect from this unenlightened, materialistic, mediocre writer. All those in favor of Mommyish finding a new person to write something a little controversial but not idiotic – say “I”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/helen.donovan.31 Helen Donovan

    Your kid sounds great and you know her better than anyone here. I am too old for a TV in my room to have been a real issue (maybe a kid or 2 hand them but it was very unusual), but looking back I think it was good FOR ME, because I was not the most social kid anyway and between books and TVs I’m not sure I would have come out of my room. :) My parents did have the luxury of one TV in the living room and the “kids” TV in the family room at the other end of the house. Since all kids and families are different I think your ‘we’ll see how it works plan’ is the best idea for a lot of things where there are these unwritten rules.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mary.renee.reuter Mary Renee Reuter

    What is the point of this “article”? I hope Mommyish doesn’t compensate for this garbage. Who cares? It’s like you’re arguing the case for mind-numbing materialism – this is America, you’re definitely not in the minority with that kind of philosophy. I just hope you’re aware that 15 of those 300 channels are probably soft-core porn. Suddenly those sleepovers just got WAY too educational!