I don’t care about other mothers

Ripped.

Ripkcs1607

Fixed.

Pickingupskcs1607

Re-knitting.

Reknittingkcs1607

That’s all I have time for today, since I lost huge amounts of my morning to the drama involved in being somewhat embroiled in The TV Fight for the 48679th time in my life and I still have to do today’s writing work. (I say somewhat, because I find vague detachment from teenaged ire helpful.) Under my tyrannical rule (unlike, it would appear, the rules of every other mother in the world who are all nicer than and saner than me) it has always been that there is no TV in the summer until after 4 in the afternoon. This is because I think 8 hours of TV is unhealthy, and because I work from home and find the TV distracting and loud. For these reasons, and some others, involving physical fitness and stuff like that, I still think this is an excellent rule and there absolutely zero chance that I am changing it. (This would be the rub of the drama.) I have said this every single day of every summer since the kids began school… and they are apparently the worlds most tenacious kids. Therefore, we have The TV Fight.

There is no school. The sun is shining. If they have a day off work they can go outside. Read a book. Ride their bikes. Go to the park or the pool. Paint. Put away their laundry. Knit. Use their YMCA memberships. They can lie on the floor prostrate with grief and fury or lie on their beds writing emotional dark poetry about how much they hate me… and I can’t believe that out of all of those choices they want to have The TV Fight with me. I have never lost The TV Fight, and I am not starting today.

I admit, when they told me that all the other mothers and teenagers think I am crazy and mean as a result of my insane TV rules, I was swayed for a second. I also felt a little bit bad about being “the only mother in the world” with rules about TV watching, and I do feel just sick about demanding a well-rounded lifestyle while everybody else’s mother “cares about their kid” and isn’t blatantly “trying to ruin their summer”. Although I feel a burning heartache over “obviously not caring” if they are unhappy and “being a hippy freak mother”…

I can live with it.

609 thoughts on “I don’t care about other mothers

  1. Nope not a freaky mother. As my grandmother said “Go outside! Get the stink blown off you. You’re making me hot just looking at you cooped up in here.”
    BTW I’m first yay!

  2. The hilarious part is one day they will probably have ‘The TV Fight’ with their kids. That’s how it works.
    BTW, I think it is a great rule!

  3. Stand firm on the TV fight! I, too, am tired of saying “find something to DO” to my six year old. There’s a world of things to do and she wants to turn on the idiot box (her words, by this time, yet still she asks for it!)

  4. Yay for hippy freak mothers.
    I’m so glad I didn’t “get” to watch tv, either!

  5. Hoo boy. I understand. Mine isn’t a teen yet but she just told me she desperately wants a tv in her room. She’s 10. I’ve always said no and I will continue to say no. Particularly as she hits the teen years. I don’t want her isolating herself! And I love her company! From one hippy mother to another…hang tough!

  6. Oh the horror! No TV, oh no! They will make it just fine, no matter what they think now! Way to go, mom!

  7. When my mom felt we had enough TV for the day she would just turn it off. And that was it, no argument. My summers had lots of TV rules, i didn’t always like it, but my mom was a hippy freak too and now I appreciate it, so give ’em about 15 years. All of a sudden you will be so super smart.

  8. I get the World’s Meanest Mom award for making my kids read for every minute of video game playing time. They use timers as they read, to keep track. Don’t they know we lay in bed at night thinking up ways to make their lives miserable? Just like our moms did for us.
    Thanks, Mom.
    ~ Dar

  9. Hardly freaky. When I was wee, I had a sitter who installed a drinking fountain outside, so us kids didn’t even have to come in for water on bright summer days. We thought her melodramatically cruel and unfeeling, but I’ve since changed my tune. If I could have just a couple of those days back now…
    Oooo, I can already tell my someday-children are going to hate me. I can’t wait.

  10. Of all your posts, the ones involving never-ending struggles with persistent teen daughters amuse me the most.

  11. Your children must be mistaken.. I was told I was the worst mother in the world for making my teenagers get up before 10:00 during summer vacation. Maybe I’ll suggest the no tv rule as an alternative! heehee

  12. When I was a kid, we lived in a bad neighborhood and our TVs kept getting stolen, so eventually my Dad stopped replacing them. Those TV-free years were some of the best and most vibrant of my childhood: I built things, read books, listened to records, played with friends, went swimming in the local pool.
    After the trauma of the first week or so, you really don’t miss TV.
    Statistics say that the average person in North America watches 20-30 hours of TV a week! It boggles my mind.
    So you go, hippy-freak mama!

  13. I think your TV Rule is great. There is always something else to do that is far more entertaining. TV was never a big part of my life, until I met my husband. The amount of TV that he watched actually frustrated me so much that I simply cancelled the cable – it’s amazing how much stuff we do together now. The really amazing part is that from time to time he thanks me for shutting it off, there was never any argument. He’s much healthier, has way more friends and even a couple new hobbies now.

  14. You could always change the rule to as much C-Span (or whatever the Canadian equivalent is) as they want to watch. They might decide that no TV at all before 4 is better.
    But no, hang tough. My brother and I lived through the PBS-only years (that was our mother’s rule for a long time), and we turned out warped in only good ways, if I do say so myself.

  15. Here was the Conversation yesterday:
    “Time to turn off the computer.”
    “Oh Man! Then I will play a video game.”
    “No.”
    “Then I will turn on the Television.”
    “No. I want you to use your brain and play.”
    “MOM! I don’t want to! MOM! Do I have to?!?”
    Stand tall – we’ve got your back!

  16. And I thought I was the world’s meanest mom! I used to take the TV up to the attic every Monday morning and it re-appeared every Friday afternoon. They may have hated it, but the fighting sure slowed down during the week!

  17. My mother had a technique for responding to being told how she was different from other mothers. She would stare you in the eye and say “thank you”. Sometimes she smiled also.

  18. I’m having the tv fight REGULARLY with my little boy, who turned 6 last week. My rule is no tv on week nights, and only about 2 hours (or one movie — no cable in our house) on the weekends. He cries as if I have broken his little heart.
    I am considering getting rid of our tv altogether: is this drastic, do you guys think? (I totally trust the judgement of other hippy freak knitting moms.)
    This mothering gig is harder than it looks, sometimes.

  19. ROFL!
    I remember these fights.
    Good thing you’re the parent and you pay for the roof they live under. haha. It sucks being the kid sometimes. I remember it like it was yesterday.

  20. During school breaks (summer, winter, spring, even one day holidays when she had to work), my mother would question us each evening at supper with this series:
    Have you done something today for your mind?
    Have you done something today for your body?
    Have you done something today for the house? (cleaning, gardening, baking for the family, etc.)
    Have you done something today for someone else?
    You’d better believe tv watching fit none of the categories (not even PBS for the mind!). She didn’t have the 4 p.m. rule. Rather, we were allowed 6 hours per week total year-round (not 6 hours chosen by each child, and no carry-over from previous weeks if watching time wasn’t used up).
    I still don’t watch much tv – for me, it tends to be something to knit to, rather than the reason to sit down.

  21. Isn’t it amazing how many of us are “the only” mother in the world who can be so cruel and unreasonable with our requirements.
    It also amazes me how it is “too hot” to go outside and do something when I suggest it, but the exact same weather conditions are perfect when it’s their idea.

  22. I used to have the TV fight. Then I got rid of the TV. I had six blissful television-free months, but my son was pining away for Homer Simpson (d’oh!). So I acquired a TV with video-playing capacity — Luddite to the max, I KNOW, but it was free. My son plants himself in front of the TV at a certain angle, so as not to disrupt the reception, and watches “The Simpsons” for half an hour. To get any other channel, he must perform such calisthenics with the antenna that he loses interest and goes outside to skateboard. No more TV fight.

  23. If you wish to stop the insane tv argument you could pull out the meanest thing of all and say for everytime they pull that argument you pull the tv for 24 hours straight…..worked for me….just thought us mean moms need to stick together!

  24. Gee, and I thought ALL these years of raising 4 girls that I was “the meanest mother”….so you maybe wrong, I thought it was me….we have TV rules here too. I rarely even turn it on even at night in summer, unless we are watching a Redsox game. There’s usually nothing on, I listen to the Ipod and sew or knit. The girls go on line some. I am big for “entertaining yourself” having grown up an only child. It’s good for growing up when you have to be able to “play by yourself”….. Wendy

  25. If it makes you feel any better, I have rules too.
    And a belated consolation on the ripping. I had been working on a crocheted cotton rug for my kitchen for about 2 years. It was bulky yarn, and it meaures about 2 feet by about 4 feet. And yes, it took me 2 years. I was working on other things too. But, 2 of my boys helped me with the fringe (I hate fringe, but the rug looked naked), then after 1 day in the kitchen, someone spilled something on it, and since I was doing a cold water wash anyway, I thought that would be a good time to go ahead and wash it. Did I mention it was Friday the 13th? My washing machine ate the fringe, but not evenly. The ends somehow were magically lengthened from 3 inches to at least 5, and the middle part is now about 1/2 inch long. Or rather, 1/2 inch short.
    I cried. Then I cleaned all the fuzzy bits out of the washer. I hate fringe.

  26. OMG! I thought I might be the first to respond to your post. I send in my reply… and there are TONS of responses. I look at the time on all of them.
    HOLY STITCHES PEOPLE!
    Next time… watch out. ;o)

  27. Well, since I am the Only Mother in the World Who Makes Her Children Wear Bicycle Helmets, I understand what you are going through. I am also the mother who is so mean that she won’t pay for cable TV. Yes, at our house, if there’s nothing on TVO or CBC, you have to read a book. Dickensian.

  28. Your kids are getting off light, my mom used to make us, as a family, give up TV for Lent (Roman Catholic) we also had to have something else we abstained from personally, such as dessert. In North-Eastern Montana where I grew up Lent is essentially still in the winter (complete with 40 below temps) no way we could spend all our sudden free time running around outside. I still remember all the great card/board games I played with my brothers and sisters, not to mention all of the great books I could plow through. I fully intend to have a no-tv time of year when I have kids, I think the summer would be the kindest time to take away that mindless form of entertainment.

  29. Oh, heavens, you cruel and terrible mother. You make them have a life outside of the television and consistently enforce a rule. That’s it, your mothers’ license is hereby revoked.
    Oy.
    My favorite summer phrases this year have been, “If you don’t go play, I’m going to put you to work.” and, “You are an intelligent and imaginative young lady, surely you can amuse yourself in some manner.”

  30. I am another mother that has your back. Everyday it is either about the TV or video games. When I was a kid I was lucky to see a half hour in the morning and then my mom would kick me out the back door. I was allowed to come inside only to use the bathroom, get a drink,lunch or first aid (I was a tom boy growing up). My mom thinks it is funny that now I am having the same fights that she had with me.

  31. This post and these comments are so heartening. I’m four months pregnant with my first child, and I haven’t had a television in my house for over six years. And though everyone keeps saying, “I guess you’ll be getting a TV now,” I don’t plan on acquiring one just because I’m having a baby! I guess I’ll get the World’s Meanest Mother Award for not allowing TV at all, but at least I won’t have to hear The TV Fight! Go hippy mamas!

  32. If it were up to me, I’d get rid of the TV altogether… well I’d secretly have one to watch the Red Sox games.

  33. Haha! As someone whose mother and father banned television from the house full stop (for the same reasons you keep it to after 4pm), I can’t even imagine the luxuries of being able to watch TV after 4pm – what a treat πŸ™‚

  34. I love that rule! Can I use that on my husband??? We did establish when we got married that we wouldn’t have a TV in the bedroom. And 19 years later we still don’t. Just one in the living room, we have to share.
    I know people who have a TV in every room, and they are constantly on. Sometimes they watch THE SAME SHOW in different rooms. How SAD is that?

  35. Gee, word around our local middle school is that I’m the meanest mom in the world. Go figure! Great TV rule by the way. Luckily my 13 yr-old daughter is not big on TV, but she compensates by being obsessed with the computer, which is why I keep it password protected. Now she has to do chores to earn “anytime” minutes and amazingly we have fewer battles! Never thought I’d hear the phrase “Mom can I pleeeaase clean the bathroom again?!”

  36. As children, the only time we were allowed to watch TV during day light hours during the summer was if we were sick. You are lenient compared to many mothers. Good for you!

  37. You are most certainly not the only mother in the world with rules about TV watching. I am! πŸ™‚ We should start a support group. Really.

  38. No, you are not evil, nor are you the only mother out there who had such rules
    My mother didn’t have those rules, though I think she might have liked to, I think my father would have freaked, ’cause he was addicted to the TV.
    Stay strong.

  39. Well, you just tell them that I am a much meaner mother than you and they are VERY, VERY lucky to live in your home, not mine.
    My children watch two hours of TV a WEEK. Yup, that’s right, only two hours each week. And, it has to be educational- like National Geographic videos on glaciers. I don’t feel bad about it…I’m mean…oh, and did I mention we don’t have cable?? {evil laugh…}
    Don’t they know it takes a lot of energy to sit up nights thinking of ways to ruin their summer?! πŸ˜‰
    YOU GO GIRL!!!
    A- who is sitting here listening to my children play the violin…not the TV.

  40. My parents didn’t let me watch 8 hours of tv a day either…and I’ve never quite forgiven them! But I do think I’m a better person because of it…

  41. when I have kids, they probably won’t have a television to fight about. We don’t have one now, why get one then? We can watch DVDs on our media computer. No need for more.
    Keep the rule

  42. My first comment!!! I’m not yet a parent but hope to be soon. These are just the type of rules my husband and I discuss all the time. We disagree a bit about the computer, but he’s a computer dude so that’s to be expected πŸ™‚

  43. You’re so right, and this is coming from the other side of 2 fences: 1. I’m the daughter and, 2. I had zero tv rules. They’ll thank you when they’re in university and everybody’s trying to under-tv the next dude (Including the gorgeous, outdoorsy, fleece-wearing mountain guys).
    Meanwhile, I have all these lame Thundercats references pinging through my brain…

  44. I grew up without a tv and it it turned me into a voracious reader. Also, when they tell you how horrible you are, tell them you prefer the phrase “Nasty, rotten, mean, and despicable”

  45. Wow. I am going to have my boys read your blog. My rule is that if the kids want to watch TV, they have to do it on “their” TV in the basement. Mind you, the basement is finished, furnished, lighted and full of toys and with a very nice TV. Still they fight with me. Me? I don’t fight back. I repeat the rule and then ignore their pleas. They find my further silence on the issue boring when they no longer can fight with me because I am not discussing the issue. They usually go play with friends, because being in the basement, even a nice basement, not how they wish to spend a summer day.

  46. Our house had a no TV during the day during the summer rule as well. But since my sister and I were home alone while our parents worked, it was ignored. But after enough days of court shows, stupid re-runs and long-dragged-out soaps, we tired of it on our own.

  47. Go, you. It’s an eminently sensible rule. When I was young, my mom used to answer my cries of “I’m bored,” with one of two responses:
    a. “Bored people are boring people. If you want to be boring, that’s your business, but don’t bore me.”
    b. “Boredom is a choice: if prisoners of war could keep themselves from going crazy in a tiny cell all by themselves, you can figure out how to amuse yourself with one of the many options you have at your disposal, or you can be bored. However, it’s not my responsibility which choice you make.”
    Oddly enough, I ceased complaining of boredom after a couple of rounds of this.

  48. NOT the only mother. I’m sure you’ll be showing your lovely and smart daughters all these comments.
    P.S. Girls: spend your pity on my six year-old son. We have just given up tv altogether (although we can still play DVDs on the laptop).

  49. Tell them they’re lucky. When our TV died years ago, we refused to replace it. The number of books the kids read soared, so what was the incentive for us to go back to having one?

  50. Hey, at least you’re (most likely) not as bad as I am. We don’t even have cable or an antenna. We are lucky to get 2 channels. Therefore, I don’t even have to have the TV fight. No one wants to watch it anyhow! Hang in there. It’s a good fight!

  51. We didn’t even have a television when my daughter was growing up. We didn’t get one until she was in her teens. She got to watch it at grandma’s, of course, but never really watched more than 1/2 an hour at a time.
    My boys, on the other hand, would watch tv until their eyes fell out. Therefore we don’t have cable, they get the 2 over the airways channels that we get, and they can watch 1 hour a day (and 1 hour on the computer per day). If they watch 1/2 an hour while having breakfast in the morning and another 1/2 an hour with lunch, they’re out of time.
    We make exceptions for rainy days, and in the evenings when the entire family may watch a movie… but not often…
    Instead we play board games, we read, we talk, we play D&D, we go to Karate practice, swimming, biking, we play outside, we do crafts, (we fight)…
    How do we have time to do all of that? We don’t watch TV.

  52. Send them to me! We live in a area where most of our friends don’t even have a TV! In spite of this hardship the children grow up to be interesting decent people. Who knew? My favorite quote from a 10 year old when I asked him if he had seen a particular movie: “Not yet, my folks won’t let me see the movie until I have read the book”. Bunch of radical hippies!

  53. It’s a wonderful rule! Tell your kids (it won’t help) it could be worse. They could be living at my house where there is no tv hooked up to a signal of any kind.
    We have a DVD player and a VCR hooked up to an ancient tv, and we have a movie night with popcorn regularly.
    Why? Because I no time to vet all the programming drek out there, and even less time to vet the commercials (which are often worse).
    And yeah, “the sun is shining, go out and play” is heard a lot around here.
    So, when you get to about 200 comments from parents saying “me too” will you show them to the kids? Will it make any difference?
    And you can tell them too…no one in their right mind would mistake me for a hippy!
    Cheers, and thanks for the chuckle!

  54. Steph…I don’t allow my kids to watch more than about an hour a week. You are definitely not a freaky mom. I expect to be having that battle myself as they grow up. Right now they’re 6 and 3 and think that half an hour of Curious George is the bomb…a full-length movie gets me cheers. Television is mostly brain rot, especially in kids. Limiting it shows your undying love in the face of adversity.
    :)k

  55. My absolute favorite ,now that I’m a parent, response to the “there’s nothing to do!” whine was my absolute UNfavorite when I was a kid.
    Nothing to do? I’ll find something for you to do… heh. Funny, we always found something to do after that!

  56. You are not alone or insane, just a mom. In our house we have The X-Box War. I. Hate. X-box. But just recently my sons subscription to X-Box Live was cancelled[by his dad, my X and the first good thing that man has done since the procreation of his sons]and I seemed to have misplaced the directions to Target so he can buy a new subscription card. I am still looking for them has I write this and feel sure I will find them by the time the school bus arrives for the start of fall term.
    d

  57. Speaking as one of the former children of parents who also worked from home and extensively monitored TV usage, we were allowed 1 hour of TV total, regardless of time of year. We did not have cable and had the choice of 5 channels. My mother also declared certain weeks during the summer in which there was absolutely no TV allowed. Comparatively, you are a benevolent, TV loving mother.

  58. What a brilliant house rule – fight the Good Fight! TV isn’t too wonderfully good for the mind no matter what. The thought of TV during the day always gives me the willies – something for people stuck in hospital or a nursing home or somehow with no choices. There is just too much to do in real life. My mother held quite firm on the TV, one would have thought with five children she would rather they be ‘plugged-in’, but she was a teacher and I think she knew the mind needed open space to grow, learn, get bored, learn about choices, etc., TV doesn’t leave open space, programming (advert and programs) are purposefully (billion dollar budgets) addictive; TV wants more TV. Bravo Mom!! Fight the good fight.

  59. I believe my mother used to say go outside until it’s dark. I was prepared with five million activities when my stepson came along–and boy did we have the TV fight too (of course he had it with his mom too). I wonder who those other mothers are? I don’t really know anyone that lets there kids sit in front of the “boob tube” all day? I guess I’m just hanging in the right crowd;)

  60. Yep – I’m in on the “no tv – this is summer, you twits” rule. Of course, I always emotionally blackmail them with the “Remember when you used to go out and feed the animals and it was 35 degrees below zero? Remember that feeling. Remember what it feels like to drop a pail of water down your pants when you are going up to the barn in the snow and how THAT feels. It’s a LOT nicer now. Enjoy it while you can” (cue maniacal laughter…).

  61. My mother, who incidentally found hippies terrifying, had severe television rules also, but even in rare instances when they were relaxed, if she caught us sitting in front of the TV for too long (more than one hour, or at any time when she felt disinclined to hear the TV as the soundtrack to her day) we were likely to be posed this dreaded, and entirely rhetorical, question: “Don’t you have anything better to do?”
    Rhetorical, I say, because it didn’t matter if we thought we did; she would immediately reply to our unspoken answer, “Well, I can think of some things for you to do,” and then unpleasantry like garage cleaning or closet reorganizing would ensue.
    Now that was mean. πŸ˜‰

  62. Like watching squirrels try to get at a bird feeder, isn’t it? And they leap! and they leap! and they LEAP!!!
    Still, pretty big talk from someone who likes “Survivor”…

  63. We’re trying to institute a “no movie until you read one book” policy for our 5 year old who’s learning to read… she crys and wails like we are beating her senseless when she asks for a movie and we tell her to go get her book.
    It takes her longer to quit crying and get started reading than it does to read the whole book.
    Yay for hippy mothers everywhere!!

  64. Not crazy – my three nieces (in their 30s), bless there hearts, don’t let their kids watch ANY TV except for 1)30 minutes of cartoons on Saturday and 2)if there is an educational special related to a school project. Oh yeah, they are also so mean that they make their kids do homework during the summer break!

  65. I love seeing all the responses to this! We’re way meaner than you! No computer OR TV in the summer until after 7pm. They have to ask us to log on for them and they only get 1 hour of computer a day.
    They do complain of boredom also. I tell them I’m not cruise director on the Lido deck and that I’m not bored. If they want, I’ve got lots of chores they are welcome to take away from me! That always makes them search out other things to do!
    Rock on!

  66. Ha. This brings back memories, except we didn’t even have a tv. I grew up without one, never knew I missed something. My daughter grew up without one…now she has two bachelor of art degrees and a jd (law) degree. Books, sports, family time playing board games and time together consisted of her teen years (in fact her whole life). However, she also went through her stage of drama over not being connected like ALL other teenagers. Your children should be thanking you for having a tv. Let them come live with me πŸ™‚

  67. Stand firm! I have held to the same rules for the 12 years I’ve had children. And I’m even meaner! No TV before 5 pm, year-round. And no more than one hour of computer time a day. Oooh, I’m the meanest! Good for you!

  68. I can tell you that it works. My teenaged daughters who lived w/ TV rules grew up to be 30-somethings who are very successful young women and they don’t give a flip about watching television. I’m just thrilled about that. One of my girls had a baby who’s 8 months old and not once had that child been propped in front of the tv (in loco parentis). I see 3 year olds playing computer games and 1 year olds watching tv, slack-jawed and and sorta out of it. That makes me think of Fahrenheit 451. Creepy. TV rules are good — very, very good. My girls read. A lot. They have interests outside their homes and jobs. And my beautiful granddaughter is read to by her parents a lot, too. Stand firm. It comes out well in the grown up years!!

  69. Tell them to SAVE their DRAMA for SOMEBODY ELSE’S MAMA!
    My kids and I have discussions about TV, and I limit theirs for the same reasons you limit in in your house. You are not alone.

  70. We are having the same daily fight at my house this summer. too bad they want to waste so much of the beautiful weather arguing. good for you sticking to your guns and though you are a bad mom now they will love you for it in the future! Awesome sweater by the way!!!

  71. You go girl. My rule is a bit more relaxed in the Summer. My son, because of his ADHD tendencies (not diagnosed, just mom-sensed) is that there is no TV during the school year, so he’s trying his best to suck it up all summer long. We have a one hour in the morning rule, which allows Mom time to get on the treadmill. Then, as long as I take him outside or out of the house period, he’s fine! He does get to watch movies in the evenings, after bathtime, and he just loves it.
    You gotta have rules!

  72. When I was growing up (years and years ago…) our then ancient television mysteriously became very ill and had to go to the repair shop about April or May. My parents of course couldn’t afford to get it fixed til about October. This was a yearly occurence, yet we didn’t clue in as to the pattern until much much later…
    I don’t have cable (for which I am an evil mom, too) so we don’t often have the tv fight in our house, but the computer/game boy fight is constant. And right now, madly trying to finish a Quidditch sweater for the release party of HP7 on Friday night, I am letting him play on the computer to gain peaceful knitting time. (Very, Very Bad Mothering – but I plead extenuating circumstances.) Next week we will be back on track and the fight might even be heard out in T.O.
    The kauni looks great!

  73. Nope, I was the meanest Mom and now Grandmother. Limited TV and, here’s the kicker, no battery operated toys. Now I live in the country and the Grankids love to come here anyway. They have freedom they don’t have in the ‘burbs. And they use the heck out of their…imaginations.

  74. We don’t have television reception, but do have a DVD player. The year-round rule around our house is movies only on the weekends. The summer rule is movies when it’s raining, you are sick, or on the weekends. No computer or video games at all. We have a “bored list” of things to do. If they say they are bored, I hand them stationery, the address book, and make them write a letter.

  75. As “the world’s meanest mother” let me just say that now that my kids are in college, they mock me when I watch TV – so I guess my 1.5 hour of TV/computer (unless for school) per day rule worked. HOLD FIRM.

  76. How come moms never have to have “book fights”?
    Oh, yeah, my mom did….she used to beg me to stop reading and go outside. I’d just take my book outside. I’m not sure that’s what she meant.

  77. I love that rule. I’m totally going to implement it when the munchkin is older!
    I remember my mom trying to enforce a 1/2 hour per day per child rule that had to be booked in advance. And then she served dinner during my half hour. Every time. THAT was unreasonable. No other mother in the world would do something like that. But what you’re doing is totally fine πŸ˜‰

  78. A friend’s parents solved this problem easily, starting when the kids were small. The TV “broke” (read: Dad removed some critical component) and somehow they just never got around to “fixing” it.
    There were a couple of occasions before a critical TV event (moon landing was one) when a friend would come over and get the TV to work for a couple of hours, but then it would be on the fritz again. Go figure.

  79. EXellent rule! I have often wished I could get back those summer days my brother and I spent in front of the TV for hours at a time. Granted, there were far fewer days like that for us than for most of our friends, but still. Too many.

  80. My grown children (24 & 27) had to grow up without cable — having Luddite parents was a burden especially since the computer time was limited and we didn’t have Nintendo. It was a bleak and dreary childhood for them but somehow they turned out to be fine adults with good priorities.

  81. Let me see if I’ve got this straight…..These kids live in one of the coolest cities on Earth with tons of neat stuff that I whine anytime I go more than about 10 months w/o a trip to & they are griping about TV time?
    Damn, teenage monsters really are the same all over.
    I think your rule is a good one. Tell them they could go over to the R.O.M & write a report on what the coolest (their pick) item in the museum is. I’m actually curious what they would think the coolest item is.
    Ah well, stick to your guns, it will get better. My son is 22 & off in the Air Force (because I was such an unreasonable hippy mom that this was how he rebelled)& I’ve just started getting “Mom you were right, how do I…(fill in the blank)” calls.

  82. Wow, I’m so glad to hear so many people say they have no tv or cancelled their cable! Network tv is so awful – what could they possibly be wanting to watch?? My BF cancelled his cable over a year ago and we don’t miss it at all. We hardly have time to watch tv and when we do, we watch documentaries or british tv shows on the computer. I’m much happier now that I don’t ever see advertisements for bad reality tv shows and annoying game shows.

  83. My daughter once called me the “meanest Mommy ever” and threatened that she wanted a “new Mommy.” Just say no to the TV! Join me in the Meanest Mommy category.

  84. Damn straight.
    Had an email from a friend in the States who doesn’t even HAVE a television. Hasn’t had one for years. You might point THAT out to the teens.

  85. M mean
    O old
    M mom
    This is what I told my children Mom stands for.
    They are 18 and 21 and they tell all their friends
    what a hoot I was. They eventually get the rules.

  86. When I began reading your post it had 83 comments on it, of which, without having read a single one, I’ll bet you a skein of hand-dyed yarn at least 60 say “Oh, no, you are NOT the only mother in the world.”
    Make that 61.

  87. Don’t back down. Point out that it could be worse. Some kids (mine) live in a TV free home.
    And I know you’ve heard this before, but that tenacity will serve them well later in life.

  88. Good for you for standing by your rules. We don’t have cable, so only have movies and documentaries on DVD or video, but we do have time restrictions on computer and playstation, and if they can’t budget their time and use it all up in the first three days of the week, that’s too bad!
    BORED is a four letter word around our house and I offer to give them work to do if they use it! That usually fixes it.

  89. There is nothing to watch before 4pm anyway. While I was unemployed I ventured to try to watch TV during the day thinking it would be this wonderful luxury.
    I quickly realized it is “loser TV” programming. All the commercials are for attorneys, lawsuit settlements, pawn shops, check cashing, and career choices that sound more profitable than they are. When I realized who was watching TV with me during the day, it scared me back into graduate school!
    My Mom tried to ruin my life too by not letting me wear makeup before I was 16 and I wasn’t even allowed to wear black before I got into high school because it was “too adult.” I survived and when I look at the little hoochie mamas today, I’m SOOOO glad she cared enough to not just set boundaries, but explain to me what they were and why they were important.

  90. We had that rule, it was unspoken, but it was there. I never fought it (but I did sneak around it a few times).

  91. And here I thought I was the “Meanest Mom on the Face of the Planet.” I choose to consider it a badge of honor. Mean moms of the world, rock on! Julie

  92. I grew up as an only child entirely sans tv ’till the age of 9. Friends and family told my mother she was cruel. I didn’t particularly care(I began to read around age 4, and by read, I mean books with paper pages), even after we moved out from urban to rural when I was all of three, and I was the only child for a good, solid mile or three in any direction. I was routinely exiled to “stay outside for x number of hours and not get into the neighbors paddocks again, that bull is mean.”
    At the age of 9, we got a tv. Grandma bullied it on us. No cable. Rural area. Four channels, one of which came in from Canada, and was partially in French. (This did not stop me from watching what appeared to be a wierd hybrid of CNN and PBS in a language I spoke none of from time to time whenever I was ill and thus had to stay indoors and quiet on doctors orders.)
    My parents plan seemed to be working. Mostly. I had little interest in TV, did not whine that I wanted it, but if it was on, I got entirely absorbed as I had built up no defense to the mind-numbingness.
    Midway through high school, we moved across the state, and got cable. I immediately became addicted to History Channel, Cartoon Network, Daria, and Discovery. Years later, I’m still addicted to History Channel and Discovery. I “listen” to a lot ot TV while knitting, drawing, surfing the web(AIM is cheaper than phone bills). It is background noise the majority of the time, usually tuned into something informational that I seem to be absorbing through osmosis. I do not like to sit and stare at it and do nothing.
    I say you keep up the rule, and when they complain, hand them a book and point at the door.

  93. I don’t know how attached you and Joe are to your TV, but you can always threaten that the next time they ask, you’ll cut the power cord… It’s fixable if you do it (especially for Joe the Electronics Dude) and very very dramatic to those whose lives rest upon knowing who’s getting the Ultimate Sweet Sixteen party next…

  94. I grew up with no tv rules but didn’t like watching tv much. I preferred to draw or write stories or play, outside even! Kids at school would always be shocked that I didn’t know this or that show or celebrity and think I was crazy (and now say I had no childhood) and turn around in the next breath and be like, “how come you can draw so well?” Well, dude…

  95. HAHAHAHAHAAA!!
    My kids, who are little, have to EARN their tv time. heh heh heh.
    They’d be thrilled if they just got to turn it on at 4!

  96. GREAT rule!! I liked it so much when I read about it last year, we have instituted it in our house as well! the only exception being in the morning. #1 knows it is time for the day camp bus when Curious George is over-so they are permitted to watch George. If he is ready in time (HA HA HA) he can watch Bob the Builder, which is on before George.. we are still working on that clock thing….

  97. I’m the same way. I’d rather be the mom the kid is afraid of if his friends want him to shoplift. Nothing will make me prouder than to find out he’s uttered, “NO WAY DUDE! MY MOM WILL KILL ME!” Has a nice ring to it… keeps him out of jail.

  98. Oh. My. God. You really are pure evil. We all think you’re just the greatest, but then we don’t have to live with you, do we? I’m surprised the kids haven’t curled up and died yet. Such neglect for their well-being, their happiness, their very survival!! You must be ashamed of yourself.
    *snort*
    (I love the “but all the other mothers” argument. When will kids realize that “Make sure I’m always popular” falls on the Mother’s Priority List somewhere between “have twice-weekly colon cleansing sessions” and “bake three varieties of fresh muffins daily”?)

  99. Frankly, I think this is a superb rule, and I am totally looking forward to making my children hate me for good reasons like this… when I eventually have some. πŸ™‚

  100. If they tell you they are bored, then say to them what the gifted ed. teacher in our school district used to say to her students:
    “Bored? You’re not old enough to be bored.”
    (I always liked that one.)

  101. I was told go outside and do something.. then if I couldn’t “find” something to do.. she offered to supply something for me to do.
    I read all the books in the public library, (small town)
    Reread all the book in the public library,
    went to summer school to read the books there… took a math course to improve my speed, and oh yeah.. took a speed reading course. I did this from 7th grade till 10th grade.. then we moved.
    My reading was & still is awesome.. my daughter is the same way.. she reads to her kids too.. lol she was required to read the book prior to any “approved” movie she wanted to see.
    She loves reading, and I think it was due to my Mother pushing me to read instead of watching soap operas w/ my Mother.. (she had arthritis early age, and was hard for her to do things)
    But, Mother sewed, and taught me to use my mind and my body, while I was able to.
    Now, tv is there.. but it isn’t necessarily turned on..

  102. As a mother who has been there done that about 15 to 20 years ago, you are meerly carring on a great tradition. My 30 something asked me one time how I did that, kept her from watching tv. I just looked at her. She then agree, that was the rule. And you followed the ruled! Ok, she got it!!
    someday, your’s will to.

  103. The logic teacher in me sighs and points out that this is (on their part) a tu quoque fallacy (that is, they argue that because someone ELSE can do it, they should be able to do so, too). Bad logic. So bad (and so common) that logicians even have a Latin name for it.
    We knew better than to even engage in the TV Fight growing up. We quickly learned, too, that if we complained that we were bored, my mom would calmly say, “You can always clean your room.” (Once or twice, we actually took her up on it. She was remarkably un-surprised the day we decided to wash all the windows.)
    You could always tell them you’ll be willing to consider their points of view when they bring you legitimate documentation that watching daytime TV is good for the health (mental and physical) of teenagers.

  104. I work from home, too, and COMPLETELY agree about the tv thing. I have to get my hubby to turn it off so that I am not tempted to watch Oprah or Dr Phil (as much as I despise them). I must sit in my office and WORK and drink COFFEE and only OCCASIONALLY knit.
    πŸ˜‰
    K

  105. We had no TV for 5 years. I should qualify that. We could watch videos or play games, but even that was restricted. But we had no ability to connect to channels/stations and it was wonderful. And my three children were young, so it was normal for them.
    So there are meaner mothers out there.

  106. You’ll be happy to know that you were cut from the same cloth as my mom (who also worked from home). We had a few rules that we had to follow when we were teens and she was at home:
    1. No TV, no video games, no loud music. And NO FIGHTING (that was the fastest way to mom’s wrath)
    2. Make your own lunch. Bring mom a sandwich and a soda if you know what’s good for you.
    3. NEVER tell mom that you are bored. You’ll be cleaning something before you know it.
    4. ONLY bother mom in her office if you are bleeding out of your eyeballs. Or someone is dead in the street. Preferably both.
    I think that was it. And we turned out to be pretty good people. It’s funny, to this day I can’t stand the sound of the tv on in the house during the day. (the boyfriend is the opposite. sigh)
    And hopefully in 5-10 years, when your girls are in their 20’s they’ll realize that they have a great mom, even if she still won’t let them watch tv in the afternoon when they come over…

  107. No TV here, either. A couple of summers ago my husband pulled the cable out of the television to hook it into a cable modem for the computer – and then never told us he’d put in some sort of splitter later. We never noticed. Kids are 12, 10 and 7 now and don’t miss it a bit. Really. (Of course, if we pulled the internet … that’s what gets rationed around here.)

  108. Well, I was an only child so grew up with as much tv as I wanted. I don’t think I turned out that bad. The thing is, when you can watch as much as you want – all you want to do is swim and play outside. At least that’s the way it was for me.
    Hubby had no tv growing up and when they actually got a tv they only got an hour or so each night. With 4 kids in his family they fought all the time. He’s now 30 and I still hear about those fights.
    Our son is just a year old and we only watch tv with him in the mornings. With his attention span that’s about 15 minutes all together πŸ™‚
    Good luck.

  109. From a daughter of a ‘TV Freak’ Mom, I still turn off the TV at 11am on Saturdays. That was the rule growing up, the TV went off for the weekend and chores were done and then we could play. To this day, I have very productive weekends because I turn off the TV, ban electronics (computer, playstation, gameboys, etc) and the kids do their chores and we all find something to do. Plus, if the kids really want to watch cartoons, they can get up early to catch their shows. Way to go!! :)K

  110. We didn’t have TV fights with Mom/Grandma. We didn’t fight with them period (well…not until we were allowed to curse/swear in their hearing distance, i.e. by the age of 21) we like being alive LOL. We were afraid of those two. All we did was read and play all summer. Boring kids we were back then. If we wanted to watch TV, depending on their mood at the time, we would elect someone to do the asking or write the sweetest letter and place it where they could find it (Mom saved those letters in a scrapbook she made).

  111. I must be one of the few Mums who doesn’t have TV rules. I used to, until I realized that my son ( now 15) was not spending any time at home because he could just go and watch TV at his friends houses. (I am one of the few parents who works at home in my neighbourhood, and none of the other kids had anyone telling them when to turn it off.) I didn’t like the fact that I no longer knew his friends so now they hang out here.
    He actually spends more time doing other things now, skateboarding, golf, volleyball and cycling because he’s at home more and it’s easier to get him to do chores too! Fortunately he has always loved reading, the only problem now is getting him to turn out the light before 1am! πŸ™‚

  112. I did not really have a TV when I was growing up. It lived in the hall closet and only came out on Sundays for an hour or two. I don’t think I missed anything. I definitely had more fun in my closet (ok it was a walk in and I made it my little craft room.) than sitting and watching. I was never bored. I always looked at my friends like they had grown a third head when they said they were bored.
    Even now we have a TV but it is normally off. The cable and satellite guys think we are easy targets when they see our antenna on the roof, but normally I don’t think they can offer me a better deal than free. Most of the time we watch movies from Netflix. You can’t watch too much when there is only one DVD in the house at a time and I refuse to got to the video store. Why pay for a video when you all ready do?

  113. Hey, I grew up with that rule and if we had children, they’d have to live with it too. I must say cats are easier. No less argumentative, but easier.

  114. Last Thursday night my husband and I pulled the plug on the cable and the internet connection. I think my boys have forgotten what it’s like to go out of the house. Of course, we are the worse parents on earth. How can they get on Lego.com and play the new Bionicle video without the internet? After three days both boys spent their time outside playing and reading and making things. And not surprisingly, they are a joy to be around because they’re not “wigged” out from the t.v./computer. Sometimes pushing the reset button is needed to get the system back up and running smoothly again, even if it means being the worse parent ever.

  115. You go, Steph! I am a mom and I have rules about TV. It’s our job to make sure our kids don’t end up overweight drooling consumers of pop culture. Yes, I do let my kids watch some tv, but on my terms. I don’t see that changing as they get older. It’s not like you’ve banned it completely. And it’s obvious that you do care. I’ll stand with you, along with all of the rest of us here.

  116. Teacher speaking: Limiting TV will raise your child’s academic performance, guaranteed! Thirty years in the classroom taught me that families who had no TV or limited TV viewing had children with better learning skills. aka The Best Wicked Witch of the West (as my students called me)

  117. I’m not a mom. Just a “sort of” only child who doesn’t like the out doors. Looking back now, I wish my parents had that rule too. Who knows what it could’ve lead to. Keep it up.

  118. We don’t even own a TV. Not at all. My husband used to have one in college, which i made him throw out as a condition of our initial moving in together (lo those many years ago). We have never gotten a new one. So next time your girls start “the TV fight,” tell them things could be worse. They could be our kids. πŸ™‚

  119. I don’t think it’s a bad idea at all… Most kids wind up spending their summers in front of the TV nowadays, and it’s a BAD habit to get into.
    When I was a kid, I was only allowed to watch PBS (I don’t know how canadian TV works, but PBS is our “educational only” channel), and that was it. Other kids thought I was a freak, because I didn’t get to watch all the “cool” shows as soon as they came out. I was *ONLY* allowed to watch the “cool” shows with parental permission. Suffice it to say, I didn’t get to watch much other than the muppet show. πŸ™‚
    Thing is, too many kids spend too much time in front of the boob tube nowadays. It’d be one thing if they were doing something else *WHILE* watching TV (like my habit of doing most of my cleaning or knitting or sewing in front of a TV, because I need something to tacitly keep the mind occupied while the hands are going or I get bored), but it’s another one entirely to do nothing but vege out. Most kids sit down and get absorbed into the screen.
    I learned to read books at an early age. If I got bored, I grabbed a book and read it. TV was not a necessary thing, especially with the way it got enforced in my house. I can’t say it was a bad thing, because I think I read and write better than most people in my area of expertise (engineering and computer programming) because my mother made me shut off the TV and pick up a book.
    Keep fighting the good fight!

  120. Good for you–they will be better people for “the rule”. My mom was much stricter than you (TV was young then) and only allowed 1 hour a day and of course, after 4. To this day, for me, watching TV during the day is just a step ahead of a completely slovenly existence–dereliction, etc etc.

  121. Don’t you dare budge. The one time you cave in, they will run for miles!!! And the other moms are NOT saying you are mean. They are wishing they had balls enough to enforce the same rule!

  122. I’m still just barely a teenager, and I would be very, very sad if my TV was taken away from me. However, the reason would be because once I realised public education was failing me completely, I turned to educational channels, almost exclusively.
    My outlook on life has gone from ‘eeeh! why do I need to KNOW any of this?!’ to ‘ooh, do I watch the show about the Ottoman Empire, or Moon Mysteries…’ (while knitting of course).
    I imagine most teenagers, given the option of going outside, or watching History Channel, would choose the former. And if they choose the latter, at least they’re learning something!

  123. Thank you Stephanie!! Although my children were firmly entrenched in their belief that I was THE Worst Mother In The World, this post has dropped me to 2nd place in their estimation. (Proof that sometimes 2nd place isn’t so bad after all)
    I have to admit that I am quite lenient on the volume of TV that I allow, Amanda would actually rather be outside playing with her little friends; the TV Fights in our house are because I don’t allow them to watch endless gratuitous violence, language & stupidity. I have the final “power of veto” and, like you, am never swayed.

  124. We don’t have a no tv rule, but we only have rabbit ears on top of the TV (not even an aerial on the house), so our reception is not great. I don’t have to have a tv rule for my three.

  125. Ha! Threaten to send them to BC, where this mother says NO TV during the summer. Jobs are good, books are good, whining about TV would make internet iffy… You are Glenda to my Wicked Witch of the West.
    But then you knew you weren’t the only mom who cared about such things, right?

  126. I think it is a reasonable rule not to allow one’s self to be glued to the TV screen all day. Goodness knows I have a hard enough time getting work done while sitting in front of the computer screen!
    And really? There’s nothing on during the day anyhow. πŸ˜‰

  127. nope…not a bad rule in any way, shape or form. Good on ya! I can think of way more unfair things to throw at them if they push it! πŸ™‚

  128. Sometimes I’m simply amazed at how many brilliant people history has produced–some achieving great things at a very tender age that baffles our modern minds. I’ve found that there are generally two common denominators in their stories. 1) Necessity is the mother of invention and 2) they dawned on their great discoveries as a result of being *alone with their thoughts.* How often does a kid get to be alone with their thoughts these days?? I shudder to think how the course of history might have been altered if they’d had to contend with the television age.

  129. Last night I realized I had to rip back ten rows of splitty bamboo yarn, including a whole section of 41 bound-off stitches, and I swear the only thing that kept me from losing it was thinking about you and your sleeve. Congrats on fixing it; I’ve still got four rows to go.
    (Also, I used to rot my brain every summer in high school with soap operas, and sometimes I wish I could have all those hours back.)

  130. There is this WONDERFUL thing called “TV Free America.” I’m the local coordinator for a nearby urban school district (where I work). You try you hardest not to turn on the TV for one whole week, usually around the Spring Break time here. We turned off the TV for ONE week back when my girls were in 2nd grade. And didn’t turn it on again for three years (my mom came to live with us and insisted on paying for the cable for her “entertainment” – don’t get me started on that) One twin had decided not to read as that was something the other twin “did.” She went up four – yes four! grade levels in reading that year – NEVER underestimate the power of boredom.
    Oh and the fight we had with the fourth grade teacher that insisted that we had to let the girl’s watch “educational TV” for homework was priceless. Mister Whimp – also known as the principal – finally slammed his pencil down on his desk and said “Ms. R., there is NO rule in the US that says children HAVE to be able to watch TV. Waive the homework assignment and find something else that will fullfill the requirement.” And this was said the state teacher of the year.

  131. I can’t add anything really new. But girls, GET A LIFE!! TV isn’t life. You’re too smart to spend it in front of the “boob” tube. And I’d think you’re too smart to continue arguing about it with your mother.

  132. LOL – my parents had more of the problem Cindy’s mom up there did – pulling me away from books was nearly impossible. Although they encouraged reading like mad, I kinda think they felt it’d backfired a bit when I whined about being dragged away from a book to do *anything* else! (To this day I can still cook a full meal mostly with a book in one hand – and it ain’t a cookbook.)
    As for TV… We didn’t even have one until I was in 2nd grade or so. (Early 60’s. The Dark Ages. 5 whole channels, including PBS. Oh, the horror.) And the rule was no TV until homework was done during the school year; only 2 hours a night any time of the year; and unless Dad wanted to watch something, even that 2 hours usually didn’t get used up, because he was the arbiter of what we all got to watch. Believe me, when you’re a kid and some of your parents’ favorite shows are Lawrence Welk, Jackie Gleason, and Sing Along With Mitch – well, it ain’t too interesting!
    Of course, we still had the arguments. But it was the, “Stop reading in bed, turn the light off and go to sleep NOW!” argument. πŸ˜‰

  133. You are LAX, sister! No TV in our house until the news at 5:30. Also, no TV at ALL Monday thru Thursday during the school year. All things in moderation, including TV!

  134. Since I cancelled the cable and our broadcast signal sucks nobody watches any TV around here. Works for me.

  135. Add me to the “mean” mom list ;). My kids do get morning TV but no more until after dinner, unless the weather is bad and I don’t have the car (mine are still a little too young to go alone anywhere).
    I like the no TV until 4 rule, I think we’ll do that when school starts back up (we homeschool).

  136. Oh, and my mom had to take away my books, too. Books were far more fascinating than TV, so when I got grounded, I’d just go read a book.
    I’m one of the few people I know whose mother took away her books as a punishment.

  137. You can tell them that when i my kids were small we got rid of the tv altogether. The only place they watched it was at the grandparent’s or if we rented a movie. We did have nintendo but no one spent hours on that either.
    So officially i’m the worst mom i guess. And my kids grew up to be normal adults who also don’t let their kids watch tv lol. ( so in the girl’s eyes maybe they aren’t so normal )
    Btw i emailed the LYS about the horridness of what they said about EZ and i got a nice apology back. Musta been a rogue staff member πŸ™‚

  138. We watch movies.
    We don’t have cable.
    Currently, we don’t have internet access in the house (we will have internet again in August because of school needs).
    The librarians at our local library know all of us by name.
    We did, in anticipation of the release of the latest Harry Potter, watch the previous four movies, in order, last Sunday through Wednesday. In anticipation of the last book in the series, the kids are re-reading all of the books.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Nevertheless, on a regular basis, we hear that we are the meanest parents in the whole world. We don’t have cable or air conditioning. The kids do not have tvs in their rooms. The middle one not only is the only “going into 9th grader” that will be wearing glasses as opposed to contacts AND now she has braces (and by the way, braces are magnetic . . . which might also explain why we think she is not mature enough for contacts).
    We make up games. We do “POWER SCRABBLE.” We sit on the back porch in the evening and fly airplanes off of it. We have a pool AND know how to use it. We are so mean.

  139. We didn’t worry about TV in the summer. My parents were both teachers so they had the summers off. They threw me in the back seat of the car with my younger brother, hooked a 13′ camper on the back end and dragged me all over the country for 6 weeks at a time. I hated them for ruining my social life. Now, with my brother and father deceased, I know they were the best days of my growing up. I treasure each and every memory. Someday your girls will remember their growing up as engulfed in the love you show them everyday.

  140. Oh, I am SO with you on this one! When the moppet was about 11 or so, the TV thing was getting really bad and he was seriously acting out. Restrictions caused huge blowups (OK, he had some chemical imbalance issues) and physical confrontations.
    My solution (single mom, y’know – no backup available) was to cut the power cord to the TV, then buy a set of plugs, one male and one female, and attach them to the cord so the female end was on the wire connected to the set and take the section with the two male plugs away and hide it. This meant there was no getting power to the set unless the short little double-male cord was found.
    Foiled him for sure – he spent a lot more time reading, practicing on his drum set (OK, maybe not the most peaceful of amusements, but it did give him a way to deal with the agression), and skateboarding with his friends.
    Radical hippie moms from the 60s did it too – you are part of a time-honored tradition, my friend!

  141. Since there is nothing on TV worth watching during the day anyway (or during the summer for the most part), it is obvious they just like to fight with you. I think teenage girls feel like they are letting their peers down if they don’t have at least one major spat with Mom each week.

  142. As a mom who had roughly the same rule for her now grown kids I applaud your perseverence regarding the proscription of daytime TV in the summer. It also helped that we didn’t have cable either. Hang in there!

  143. My mom’s TV rule was even more strict than that: two hours per day. Period. No exceptions. We could watch whatever programs we wanted, but only two hours a day (and no saving up either). This did two things that are still with us to the present day (and we are in our thirties): 1) we read A LOT in my family and 2) we got very picky about what kinds of TV programs we watch– hence, big mean mom did not have to do any quality control with us– we were self-policing. πŸ™‚
    Stick to your guns!

  144. My husband and I are far more evil than you are. We refuse to own a television. And, because work out of the home and don’t see the kids during the day, we don’t allow movie viewing on the computer on weeknights at all. Evil, evil, evil.
    Hippie freak mothers (and stepmothers!)unite.

  145. I’ve also been told that I’m the only mother who says ” I don’t care if you are 18 years old, there is nothing out there for you but trouble at 2:00 AM”

  146. You could be really mean and only let them watch PBS all day! Maw waaaa!
    good for you. they need to get outside or expand their minds!

  147. My kids would love your TV rule! Clearly *I* am the meanest mom ever.
    My kids can only watch 1 hour per day and have just one hour of video game time. Then, they must read 20-30 minutes, practice typing for 20 minutes, and then do something educational for 20 minutes (work on spelling or math or something).
    If I hear “I’m bored,” there’s always cleaning to do.
    Yep, they’ll be glad when school starts . . . .

  148. I restrict TV, too. Library. Pool. Readreadread. Magazines. Legos. Whatever!
    And they earn their Playstation time…if the chore list gets done and minimal fighting through the week, they get 2 hours on Sat and 2 hours on Sun. That’s it.
    We should start the mean moms club.

  149. My mother in law used to look at her kids, tell them they weren’t dirty enough, and then sent them back outside.

  150. I believe that the other mothers don’t give a rats @$$ that you are not allowing your child to watch TV. (My guess is that they are debating their kids on some other insipid equally important subject.)
    I just got back from 2 weeks cooped up in a cottage on the lake with 4 teenagers (some who weren’t mine) where we didn’t have a TV, the weather was chilly and it rained a lot. They still found plenty to do – though one of them did involve a neighbor rescuing their rowboat as the coastal winds were pulling them way out into one of the Great Lakes… We had stupid arguments over what and how much food they were eating, and yes, they did need a life jacket… no, you can’t start a fire on the beach in gale winds… stop playing with the BBQ coals…
    Sorry – I have had enough family closeness, enough teenagers. Send them outside and lock the doors!
    My next vacation I am leaving the teenagers with grammy.

  151. When I was little the parental units made these “TV coupons” that were good for half an hour of TV. We got a certain amount every week and then could earn more by doing chores and such things.
    Seems reasonable to me now. Of course at the time I’m sure we thought they were horrible mean people.

  152. what I always felt with my girls (I have three also and a son, who was emotionally much easier to raise) was that no matter where I put the barrier they were going to rail against it, so I might as well put it where it suited me (altho’ I think I allowed them more autonomy than their friends’ parents on many issues). Adolescent girls can be purely toxic to their mothers and there’s a significant element of that which is absolutely not personal at all — we’re just an icon of something they have to try their best to destroy — aarrghh! But I can tell that you also have a stellar relationship with your girls — mine are now 25 to 31 and we get along so well — the honesty that often fuelled their teenage fights with me has translated into a meaningfulness in our adult relationship that I wish I could have had with my mom

  153. I (now 25), sent this post to my Mom, and she reminded me that I argued “You’re censoring me!” during one of *our* TV fights.

  154. Oh, and speaking of reading – when I was small the punishment for misbehaving was to go to my room for a time-out to “think about what you did.”
    I had a double bed with a bookcase headboard that had a children’s encyclopedia housed there. By the time I was 10 or so, I had read through every volume of that encyclopedia. Not saying I can now recall it all, but that may go a long way to explaining why I can still do crossword puzzles in ink in my 60s…
    Reading has been my solace, my entertainment, my travel companion – you name it. Never go further than the grocery store without a book, and reading has been a huge part of my knitting education, since I just took it up a few years ago. I would still be knitting garter stitch scarves, not attempting to cobble together my own patterns, had I not had access to a veritible font of knowledge through the printed word.

  155. You are a stronger woman than I. Apparently, my spine is missing. Although my no-TV-or-video-game intentions were well intended at the end of the school year, I caved and lost the fight. Their arguments were just too good because, like me, they cannot stand the desert heat and can only make their beds, read, assemble jigsaw puzzles, and empty the dishwasher so many times a day. I am a bad mom, a spineless wimp, and, as usual, awed by you.

  156. Dear Yarn Harlot Daughters,
    First, your mother is not the “only mother in the world” who will not let her children watch tv. I can attest to this because I am also a mother who does not allow her children to watch tv — in fact, we don’t even have one. (Yes, I am showing my children your mother’s post to prove to them that I am not the “only mother in the world” either)
    We are parents who want their chidren to be in control of how they are entertained and how they entertain themselves. Have you ever looked at the faces of children watching tv? The open mouthed, blank eyed stare? We are trying to save you from the stupid expression, and the stupid mind that goes along with it.
    We learn to be social by the society we are in. If yours is “tv land,” then you’ll be zombie killers who feel the need to peak before each commercial break, hungry for foods you don’t even like and sold on items that you currently don’t need — Quick! If you lost your teeth and had new dentures, what product would you use to clean them? If you know, thank tv for selling you something you don’t even need yet.
    Take care,and know we love you,
    The second hippy freak mother

  157. To be a Mom (or any other *good* teacher), you must be at least a little bit of a sadist.
    YES, you are deliberately making them MISERABLE by demanding that you have some peace to work in. Awful, ain’t it? Of course, they COULD clean something….
    YES, you are deliberately making them live a totally bored and deprived life by forbidding TV during YOUR time.
    And YES, you have EVERY RIGHT to simply unplug the TV when the TV Fight begins and let them know that they just lost the privilege for the entire day.
    Oh, and don’t forget to let them know that if you discover that they are simply going elsewhere to watch, they are GROUNDED. With superglue, a book and no options!
    Remind them too that they COULD be restricted to the same three channels we had as kids..with lousy reception and if the president/minister is on? Forget it!
    Heck with it, this is getting toooo long.
    Hand em a book, pull the plug, and tell them the fight is over til tomorrow.

  158. Sounds like completely reasonable teen-agers! We have rules about TV and just about every other thing you can think of – love to hear that others do too!

  159. You are NOT the only mother in the world with TV rules! πŸ™‚ At age 3 I had to set TV rules for our son. 1 hour on weekenights and up to 3 hours per day on Saturday, Sunday and holidays. Now, let your daughter make note that you have now been bumped off the “meanest mom in the world” wagon! πŸ™‚

  160. Yep! Hooray for you Bad Momma! I am beyond-description-bad myself. Now sit down for this… I live in an area where we can only get tv with a large antenna or cable and I have neither!!! And my kids have lived (albeit grudgingly) this way for 5 years. And parental controls on the computer too which limit time on it. I got tired of the TV fight so without the technology, we don’t have to go through that ordeal. But alas, we do go through the “change my parental control time limit” weekly.
    Stand proud!! They will survive and still have plenty of other things that you’ve done with which they can regale their therapists about in the future.
    Tammy

  161. I spent most of my time in the summer either at the pool or my grandparent’s houses. I learned to knit, cook and play well with others. Thanks Mom!!

  162. While I was growing up, my mother didn’t let me watch TV much at all — a few hours a week, and then only when there was an adult to supervise what I was watching. The rest of the time, it was locked up in her bedroom. No cable ever and not even a color TV until somewhere in the mid-80s.
    I remember being jealous as hell of neighbors with cable and color.
    Amusingly, I also vividly remember being in a freshman college political science class that somehow got around to talking about the impact of MTV on something or other. I admitted I’d never seen it, and was summarily banished from the classroom by the professor “until you watch at least an hour!” I don’t think I watched more than a few minutes, but I did spend several years trying to catch up on a lot of pop culture references.
    It all worked out ok in the end, and I guess it prepared me for having no idea what coworkers are talking about when they start discussing the latest reality TV show. I own a TV, but mostly it’s set to a digital music channel or a late-night Egyptology show.

  163. I was allowed to watch VERY little tv as a child, and normally I only got to watch whatever my dad wanted to watch.
    This really never bothered me too much, but now that I am an adult I am especially grateful. While everyone else is on the couch glued to their televisions, I am happily reading or knitting, or, um….playing on the internet (whatever! it’s not tv). I do watch SOME tv, of course, but not the way many people I know do.
    My mother WAS right, and I am a much better person for it. πŸ™‚

  164. I hate to tell you, but I hold the title of “Meanest Mom in the WHOLE World.” I only wish I’d made the no TV a rule, instead of a daily ritual, “Turn it off now and go do something else.” TV watching does change the synapses.
    On the upside, they have told me (youngest is 21) that they now think I did a great job.
    Like KT said, we’ve got your back.
    Janet

  165. I read your post and remembered my favorite line from a friend with four kids. One day while I was visiting – she had the nerve to tell one of her kids to clean up the mess she had created. Well – all hell broke loose – and it ended with my friend’s daughter stomping up the stairs saying “I hate you” – my friend replied – “well, then my work here is done.” πŸ™‚
    I don’t have cable, so there really isn’t anything on during the day – so daytime tv is not an option (unless you want to watch soap operas or Jerry Springer ::shudder::)

  166. I’m jealous of everyone who’s cancelled their cable. My apartment complex recently made a deal with the local cable company so that everyone in the complex HAS to buy a specific cable package as part of their lease. Grr. I don’t even watch it except for The Daily Show, and I could easily live without that to save myself the $45 a month…
    However, I’m an Internet addict. It’s probably just as well I don’t have kids: I would be setting a bad example with the hours I spend surfing the Web.

  167. You go girl! If you need some more ammo for your next TV Fight, just tell your kids to be glad they’re with you and 4pm and not this clearly insane American. In our house, it’s off by 8:30 am and not again until 6pm in the summer. A side benefit of this is that my two boys (6 & 8) can now tell time down to the second.

  168. “Hippy freak mother” ??
    Ouch!
    Yesterday our four year old was so angry with us as parents, he couldn’t think of anything better then to point at us and shout, accusingly, “STINKY!!!”
    Good to know that as they age, their vocabulary will improve and develop into better insults. sigh.

  169. Damn! I can’t believe that there is so much competition for the title of “Meanest Mom in the World.” According to my 3, I’d claimed that crown hands-down. They’ll be crushed to learn that they’re no longer children of a celebrity πŸ™‚
    Hold firm, oh harlot. As you can see from all these messages, you’re in very good company.

  170. Hooray for Steph… My response to my son’s accusation that I was the meanest mom was to smile sweetly and reply “Of course, it’s the job description!” And no TV during the day was only one of the ways I ticked him off.
    This was the kid who upon hitting twelve announced that it was his Sole Responsibility in life to drive Mom Mad. I just told him two can play at _that_ game.
    He does watch TV as an adult, but at least he learned he doesn’t _need_ TV to live a healthy life.
    Hang in there! As long as they know they’re loved, it’ll work out OK.

  171. The t.v. fight is one worth having and now that I am a parent I’m grateful my hippy freak parents laid down the law. Often during my childhood we didn’t even have at T.V. Let your girls ponder that NO T.V. Also when I was a elementary aged kid my father used to tell that television would rot my brains and make my teeth fall out. I would protest and he would ask “Are your teeth falling out?” and I had no comeback! How’s that for evil?

  172. I am behind you on this, too. The only time our TV is on before 7pm (unless it is a sick day, when movies are required therapy) is sometimes during my shower if it is just the two of us at home. A little movie action then ensures that I will not exit the shower to find a four year old bleeding or on fire.
    That’s it: tell your teens that *I* am the world’s meanest mommy because I don’t let the power go on until seven in the evening – then they will stop fighting the TV battle with you, you benevolent 4 o’clocker!

  173. My parents used to tell me the TV didn’t work if it was over 70 degrees outside. When I grew out of believing that (at an embarrassingly ripe age in my teen years) they fought the TV fight with me too. I’m really really glad they did. πŸ˜‰

  174. We got rid of cable to stop having the TV fight. It’s worth the peace (and you’ll have more money (and time) for knitting πŸ˜‰

  175. Who was it who said that a TV ought to be replaced with a bookcase full of lovely books? (Dahl, possibly). Imagine how much better that would look, apart from anything else.
    Anyway, I “dine out” now on tales of how my mum used to restrict our TV viewing. We were the last people in the world to get a colour TV, and certain channels were banned (for no apparent reason)! These rules were mildly perplexing at the time, but great to laugh about now! (And then I realise that I am EXACTLY the same with my children)

  176. It’s not a hippy thing – my father was a US Army officer and my mother a reference librarian and they had even stricter TV limits and my sibling is just as much death on teevee with her kids; now, me, not so much, but then again, my kids have 4 feet and they only watch the Weather Channel . My terrier loves the Weather Channel and if it keeps him from barking his yap off while I’m at work . . .

  177. Oh ya hippie freak. I teach Grade 7 and I have 3 rules (only) They are 1) Get all your work done that is assigned 2)Ask all the questions you need of me to get that work done. and 3)Don’t annoy. Me or anyone else. The no TV rule would fit in there somewhere with my own kid (who follows along with my class rules)

  178. I think this is a fantastic rule! When I was a child, my parents had several rules quite similar. During the school year, there was no tv until all homework was done (unless it was a weekend). And throughout the year, there was no tv at all until at least mid-afternoon (evening if my mother put her foot down). The only things watched prior to this were shows that, according to my mother, were educational ones that exposed us to great works of literature and/or cool science factoids, or were the occaisional movie that we had started on Friday night and had not gotten a chance to finish.
    And you know, I bet when your daughters grow up and have children of their own, they’ll have a similar rule regarding the tube πŸ™‚

  179. Yeah for no TV! We have the same rule, except worse: no TV at all during the summer. Send your kids here if they want to see a mother who really
    “doesn’t care” about her child :).
    My rule is: if it’s still daylight, then go outside, if it’s dark, come inside and get ready for bed. Or read. Or play with one of your ten thousand toys, each of which you said you couldn’t live without.

  180. More power to you, Stephanie! I had the great good fortune to grow up with parents even meaner than you, who refused to have a TV in the house at all. Instead we inherited literally thousands of books (as well as ancient grimy jars of spices) from dead relatives and so I grew up reading and reading and reading and climbing trees and digging holes to China and knitting and crocheting and sewing and whining and being sullen (didn’t even need a TV to train me how to do that). To this day I have never learned how to sit in front of a TV unless I have someone there to help engage me. I have often thanked my mean, insane, terrible parents for the great gift they gave me of creating a vacuum in my life that I could fill with far better things. So Stephanie, don’t listen to your kids. Remember that everything an annoyed teenager says to a parent undergoes translation first: magnify 1,000 times to the negative nth degree, add the most miserable possible look you can muster, and pretend to be tottering on the edge of suicide. And the kid who looks so mad and miserable, once they get on the other side of their closed door and on the phone to a friend, are as happy and bouncy as can be. The rule of teenagerhood is to display sullen misery and anger to parents/adults/the ruling class, while having a fantastic time on the side. How do I know all this? I was an expert teenager, miserable and sullen and bitter, who had a fantastic time with my friends when my parents couldn’t see me happy. Having no TV did not save me, or my parents, from me turning into a teenage monster. So – Stephanie – keep up the good work, and enjoy your monsters who as we all know from reading your blog, are often absolutely 100% lovable. It is not easy, not at all, being a good mean parent, and it seems that you are doing a fine job of it.

  181. If your kids title you “the meanest mom in the world”, you’re doing your job right! I held that title for many years, and by my daughter’s friends too! Now, she sends me thank-you cards for my birthday telling me how wonderful her growing up years were and that I’m a great mom.
    And, you can bet their friends’ moms are either just as “mean” as you are, or wish they had the courage to stand up to their kids!
    You’re doing a great job.

  182. You are most emphatically not the only mom with nasty rules about TV usage.
    When the kids were smaller, the rules here were “you need one hour of time outdoors before you can spend one and only one hour looking at a screen”.
    And it turns out that doing stuff outside is sufficiently interesting to preclude any TV watching. So after two years without the blasted thing ever being turned on, we freecylced it.

  183. Welcome to the “Mean Hippy Mom” club. There is not a lot of good stuff on TV and I am with you about not wasting a beautiful summer day. Winters are too long and terrible when you HAVE to be stuck inside. Keep up the good work!

  184. Bless you–all other mothers have now been relieved of the curse of being the worst mother in the world. We can now tell our children and grandchildren that your children say you are the worst. Keep up the good work!

  185. I’m so sorry… I was one of the kids that got to watch whatever I wanted whenever I wanted and friends made an example of me whenever arguing with their parents about television rights.
    “But mooooom! Ann gets to watch tv wheneverrrrrr!”
    I now see the error of my mom’s ways in allowing the idiot box into our home. My brother and I were vegetables all summer long. I try to keep myself away from it as much as possible because the more new stuff they put out there, the dumber I’m starting to feel.
    Most tv’s have a lock feature these days if you want to invest in something similar. They can flip through the channels and absolutely nothing will come on. Devious!

  186. Ha! Funny. I have an almost 18 year old and a 15 year old (boys). I put a lock on the TV. It won’t work unless I unlock the darn thing. I thought I was the meanest mother in the world. Now that I know I have competition, I’ll have to think of something really heinous. They’re already vegetarian and I won’t let them eat junk food. Oh, and they can’t wear pants that show their boxers. And I talk about their underwear on the internet. I can’t think of anything else right now. I’ll have to get creative.

  187. I grew up in a house where you only watched tv during the day, if you were sick. I still can’t watch it! I’ve relented a little with my kids, since DH isn’t as militant as I am, but still…there is so much to do why waste time in front of the tv. Said while I’m on the computer…

  188. Yeah! I was a nanny to 2 wee ones a couple summers back, and their parents were astonished when I got fed up and just unplugged all the TVs in the house and had “No TV” days. Not supportive enough for me to do that all summer…though I wish I could have! With all the TV and video games, children and teens’ brains are literally being formed and wired differently. The kids I watched were some of the most intelligent I’ve ever met, but didn’t even have the attention span to read a book. Keep it up! I’ll do the same one day.

  189. Dude. Tell your kids they’re lucky to HAVE a TV. If you were truly a hippy freak mother, there wouldn’t be a set in the house.
    I was living in a TV-less house until 6th grade, and after that each kid got one hour a week to watch TV, bringing our TV watching up to three hours total per week (since we could each watch each other’s shows.)
    Just tell them it could always be worse. πŸ™‚

  190. I understand and believe me, you’re nicer about the TV than I am.
    In my house there is a one hour time limit on TV watching for my little one, or one and a half if it’s an approved kid’s movie. I plan to keep it that way, too.

  191. You can tell them that my son isn’t allowed to watch television at all. Ever. He’s only 19 months old, of course, but you don’t have to tell them that.

  192. Unless Canada is vastly different from the U.S. there is no good t.v. before 4; perhaps that could be a part of your argument in the next battle.

  193. Sheesh…they should thank their lucky stars they’re not living over here, where the kids aren’t allowed to watch TV at all unless they’re sick (it’s the only way to get my daughter to be still and allow her body to spend its energy getting better).
    (I anticipate HUGE TV fights in my future.)

  194. Excellent–keep up the good work. What could there possibly be on TV worth watching at that time of the day anyway (other than Sesame Street, which I think your kids are a little old for).

  195. WOW- I love that there are soooo many mean moms out there! No TV during the day here, and by the time she can watch she has forgotten all about it- the other day she was reading- YES- reading unprompted and chose to continue- my heart be still πŸ™‚

  196. Your TV rule is fab. I’m totally stealing it (with credit). When my daughter is old enough to have a TV fight with me, I’ll simply say “I’m not the only mother, see the yarn harlot’s kids turned out alright. You’ll be fine as long as you mind my decisions.”

  197. Stick to your guns! TV is addicting and mind-shrinking. You are doing your kids a big favor, and someday (in 20 years maybe) they will appreciate it.

  198. Excellent rule. Stick by it!
    My father had my sister and I reading instead of watching TV. We could only watch it when he said so and only programmes which he thought were approriate. As a result of that my sister and I are avid readers and have many hobbies.

  199. We have had no TV our whole married lives. My 8 year old is starting to realize what that means, but not ask for one.
    Hurray!
    My girlfriend whose kids complained about whatever food she fixed for them, gave them only oatmeal for a couple days till they stopped complaining. Give ’em oatmeal!!

  200. So we’re standing in Trader Joe’s and the clerk is asking my 7 year old if Scooby Doo is still shown on TV, and she’s just staring at him blankly. Then the clerks start singing the theme songs to various cartoons, and saying, “isn’t it crazy that grownups know all of these songs?” and my daughter continues to stare at them blankly. And finally the clerk asks if we don’t get Cartoon Network, ’cause maybe that’s why we’re so clueless; my daughter continues the blank look and I reply, “Ummm, I think we do get it, but we never watch it.”
    He totally didn’t understand what we do with our time rather than watch TV. It was odd.
    I would say more, but I promised a trip to the library, followed by a trip to the swimming pool, and we have to get home in time for dance lessons. Who has time for TV?

  201. My in-laws had the best response to this dilemna when our kids came to visit (of course, they were younger than yours.) The grandparents calmly explained that the television at their house didn’t work until the sun went down. I think they had unplugged it that morning, before the kids got up. The kids accepted it and went on with their days. That policy really helped me get the tv under control in my own home, too.
    I know it’s a little late to help you now, but someday your grandchildren can come to your daughters and report that, most curiously, the television doesn’t work at Grandma’s during daylight!

  202. Brava! Keep at it – from one who has stuck to the APA’s recommendation of no television ’til 2 and feels like the only one in the world!
    Your intelligent, engaged, engaging, talented, interesting, fit daughters will thank you for this later.

  203. I have to say your TV rule sounds utterly reasonable to me. My mom used to chase us outside telling us to go “blow the stink off”. To this day, I wish I had watched even less MTV as a 13 year old than I did. When I was a teenager, my dad tried to punish me a couple of times by taking away TV watching for a week. The only reason I cared was because I couldn’t hang out in the living room with my family in the evenings–I had to stay in my room, bead necklaces and read books.
    Now, I have a 3.5 year old and a 20 month old. The 20 month old has never watched TV and my 3.5 year old gets *at most* one hour a day, and often less. Oddly enough, the last few days I was begining to worry that I was socially crippling him in some way and that he wouldn’t be able to connect with his peers. Or that, perhaps, I was sheltering him too much from our culture and the joys of Dora the Explorer. But now you and all of your commenters have made me feel better. I don’t regret sheltering him from the wickedness brought on by commercials.

  204. I had one of those *other* mothers who, herself, watched TV during the day. Mostly Cubs games. 9 guys (or is it 10) standing around waiting for something to happen. And, because my mother was a practicing (she didn’t really need to practice, she was so good at it) alcoholic, I was required to be in the same room with her and watch them standing around. We also watched old movies. It was during these times that I learned to embroider, crochet, and knit. (BTW, I didn’t learn knitting from her, just the other two.) Anyway, now, when I’m at home, I need the noise. Sad, really.

  205. I’m lucky that we didn’t actually have a TV until I was 7 and for many years, there was no actual programming on the one channel available in Denmark until about 6:30pm – then a 30min children’s program and nothing until the news at 7:30. Wonderful.
    I had a friend in highschool whose mother told her the TV didn’t work until 6pm (even though at the time of said statement, there was programming in the later afternoon). Try that. Although your girls might be too clever to fall for that one…

  206. Hurray for you and all the other mean moms out there! I’ve been feeling soooo alone in my TV rules! My two boys (17 and 13) ENDLESSLY try to renegotiate TV and computer gaming time. This is why women with families have shorter life spans than those without- Stress! Fight the good fight and let them find other things to do!

  207. I used to have the same rule and it’s a good one. There was one summer when my DD was 15 and had nothing to do. Yeah right. I told her to go out and ride her bike. That kinda backfired on me because she broke her neck after hitting a rock. Not on purpose of course but I still feel guilty. She’s fine and in her 30’s now but I’m still reminded of that but she has a smile on her face when she reminds me. She still loves me πŸ™‚

  208. Tell them they can go to the library and check out the same kind of trash in book form that they want to watch on TV. Unless it’s Star magazine, which I pray is not in the library, they’ll have to imagine the grisly visuals. But really, most authors are quite descriptive. It might not be as much work as it seems.
    And take it from someone who has recently tried to find something to watch during the evening knitting hours – TV sucks ass right now. Do they really want to watch unending episodes of House Hunters and animal documentaries?

  209. As a teenager I didn’t particularly care about watching TV during the day–I spent my time READING…anything at all, as long as it was reading. It drove my mother insane to see me sitting inside reading when it was beautiful outside and we had a pool in the backyard. She would chase me outside, only to discover that I was sitting around outside reading. It finally broke her spirit when she made me get in the pool, and then found me floating on a raft…reading.

  210. Steph–
    I am printing this out to hand to my own children, who are currently outside picking green beans, they being the Only Children On Earth With Chores Every Single Day, so that they will know they are not alone. In addition to being the boss of the TV and all assorted electronics, I’m also the only mother in the United States who won’t buy a cell phone (or allow his grandma to buy him one–she actually tried! that would be my mum-in-law in a nutshell) for her twelve-year-old son. Everyone Else has a cell phone.
    Kim

  211. Other mothers also let their kids eat too much sugar, watch violent films/ TV without getting into a discussion about the subject matter and are not as engaged in the parenting of their children as you are.
    Blow ’em a big raspberry and stand your ground. You are right.

  212. During “Turn Of the TV Week” my kids used to ask, “Can we have ‘Turn ON the TV Week’ instead?” They are now in college and my oldest (20) daughter is sure her kids will hate her whenever she has them. “No TV during the week, no Game Boys until they are at least in sixth grade, no computers until they are in school, no more than two hours of combined computer/tv time on weekends per kid, only one tv in the house, they have to read at least ten minutes per grade up to half an hour a day through Jr. High, no Play Station, Cube, or whatever it is by then until they can buy it themselves, and then limited hours, no computers in bedrooms, and …”
    “Gee, those sound like the rules you grew up with, did you hate me when you were little?”
    “No, I didn’t, but just think of all how many more electronics there will be for kids by the time I have them. Oh, and by the way, I need another bookcase, I have outgrown the three I have in my room. But on the positive side, my shoes still fit!”
    My “other mom” always paid for extra chores around the house unless the words, “I’m board” were involved. She had my son washing the truck’s windshield once on a camping trip because he forgot and used the wrong words around Grandma Jo.

  213. O.k., well, your girls have it good. Mine can’t watch tv or use the computer until after 5 during the summer!
    I just want them to use their imaginations. It doesn’t work that well, though. We have been going to the library alot…at least 2 of them have been, the other one? She’s in summer school!

  214. Most excellent. I can’t wait until mine are teenagers and I can really EMBARRASS them. Just a few more years… When I was small, my brother and I were only allowed PBS in very small doses. As a teenager, we didn’t own a tv at all. The only problem with that was teachers would give extra credit to students who watched certain programs and wrote a report on them. Some teachers wouldn’t believe we didn’t own a tv. We own a tv now, but my kids aren’t allowed to watch anything other than a movie or nature program once every week or two (yes, that’s WEEK). Funny thing, my oldest was reading at an abnormally young age and my little one is following suit. And I may be the meanest mom around, but not about tv, they’re used to not having it and don’t miss it. You could tell them the alternative is that you’d give the tv away altogether. THEN you’d be the meanest mom. πŸ™‚

  215. That’s my rule too. Stand firm, you are blazing the path for the rest of us hippie freak, granola eating, uncaring mothers.

  216. I’m joining the Mean Mom train (though I’ve never been accused of being a hippy freak mom…). When my boys were younger and I worked during the day, Wednesdays were “no TV” days (I’m sure they cheated on the Wednesdays I was working) and Tuesday & Thursday they had a list of housework chores to finish before I got home, because after all, they had more free time than I did! They’re not quite old enough (18 & 21) to let me know how that worked out…we’ll see, when they have their own kids!

  217. I have NEVER been accused of being a being a hippy freak, but I think you are right on, too. You are the Mom! (and please point out to your offspring that MOM is WOW upside down).
    Also note that “Worst Mom in the World”s produce very good adults.
    At our house, the word ‘bored’ is outlawed. If I hear it, I get to choose what they do. And there are always some grungy chores that need attention. Now they say “the B word”.

  218. Hello, my name is Adrienne and I am a television addict.
    As the daughter of a “freaky, hippy mom,” we did not have cable, although growing up in the city we got decent reception without it. I was allowed 2 hours per week, and had to write up my proposed viewing for the week ahead of time for approval! Once I got to highschool and went to bed later then my mom, the rules relaxed a bit because I could sneak tv. But she still kept a pretty tight thumb on tv watching. We were encouraged to read, play outside, use our imaginations – and we did with gusto.
    Her plan backfired. I am, along with my sister and brother, a SERIOUS tv addict. I love to watch it and I crave it when I’m not in front of it. She routinely yells at me, “where did I go wrong???” I also have let her down by becoming a banker (instead of saving the world), taking my husband’s last name and not reusing every single envelope that comes into my house four or five times. She loves me, though, despite my flaws.
    All that being said, I did manage to get a college degree and turn into a responsible, intelligent member of society. I am a voracious reader. I like to bike, hike, go on long walks, knit, spend time with others. The list goes on and on. I think I turned out okay despite my addiction.
    I will admit, however, that now that I have a child I make a point to not turn the tv on when we get home at the end of the day. We wait until he goes to bed and then limit ourselves to an hour or so, while I knit and my husband reads chat boards. It’s a struggle when all I want to do is veg for a while when I get home. But I’m doing it. And I plan to institute similar rules for Harry when he’s older. For the sake of my son I am turning into my mother.

  219. I just want to say two things:
    First, having never met you, I do get the impression that you are just the tinsiest bit crazy – in a good way!
    That said, I have been reading your blog for the best part of a year now, and it is my opinion that you are a wonderful mother to your girls. I myself am attempting to bring up a son (4 yrs old) and am expecting my second. I admire your steadfastness – too many parents these days are quick to give in. Your children will thank you someday. If not directly, by setting the same rules for their own kids when it’s their turn!!!

  220. Thanks for the great idea (the rule). I think I’ll implement it with my 3 year old. I apologize in advance for the rude email you will get from her a few years from now!

  221. Way to go winning the TV fight. Here, it’s the computer fight. All based around those pernicious Webkinz. Our rules are no computer until after dinner. Not without much whining, I managed to get them outside all at the same time so I could get the kitchen cleaned.
    I love that sweater! I’m off to download the pattern. πŸ™‚

  222. In about 15 years you will have vindication when you overhear one of them saying the exact same thing and the child saying something scathing in return. There is justice in this world…you just might have to wait for it.

  223. Nope, you’re not the only mother with TV rules. We also have computer rules and how-many-times-you’re-allowed-to-stand-in-front-of-the-fridge-looking-for-yet-more-food rules πŸ™‚

  224. AND live quite well! We lived without a TV for several years when my kids were younger teenagers, it didn’t bother them nearly as much as they thought it would. And yes, they would still stay at home most of the time (as opposed to hanging at a friend’s house in front of TV) they read a lot!

  225. I’ve been told that I’m seriously crazed because we have 1 TV! 1! And must discuss amongst ourselves what to watch! This from a visiting kidlet whose house has more TVs than it does people. Gosh! Apparently I also am vicious because I told her mother how to turn on parental controls on the PC and informed her that myspace has age requirements for a reason. “But my friends have pages” “Give me their names and I’ll have the pages pulled down for violating the policy….and call their parents to boot.” “How about instant messaging?” “No, I’m not turning on the IM” “Why not?” “Because there is no good reason for any kid your age to be IMing instead of…oh – TALKING!” “I’m bored.” “Good, go do your laundry.” “I don’t know how” “I’ll show you – and by the way, that hamper was a hint that the clothes go IN the hamper and not in the vague direction of the hamper.”
    For some reason I have this rep as a vicious auntie.

  226. I am a step-mom, not the kind that gets ’em every other weekend, the kind that has them EVERYDAY.
    All I can say is..
    You are the best Mom ever, thank you.
    Someday, they will say that, and it will mean sooo much more πŸ™‚ Atleast, that is what I keep telling myself. But, I’m not holding my breath or anything cause, blue is just not my color.
    πŸ˜€

  227. Stick to it, ya hippy freak momma. What on earth does a teenaged girl want with daytime TV anyway?
    I generally loathe the idiot box, and except for a brief few month when an exiting roommate left one, did not have one from age 18 to 32. At 32 I moved in with a domestic cohabitant who had one and resented me trying to throw it out, oh well. We still don’t have cable. We have one channel, 2 on a good day when all 3 cats are properly positioned, and it’s still too much crap.

  228. Well, hell’s bells woman! What’s wrong with sitting on the couch eating bon-bons and watching Oprah?
    If they get to watch t.v. all day, they just might wind up with a wonderful life like mine. I’m a great role model, all the girls at the salon think so.

  229. I will say I chuckled when I read your post, but it isn’t even remotely amusing when you’re stuck smack in the middle of the fight. Why can’t we have a little bit of their relentless energy?

  230. You go girl!I am a teacher and have observed that the students who read more and are more interested in learning and doing new things are the ones who have television time limited.

  231. Yay for no TV in the summertime. Jeeez!!! 95% of TV programming sucks. Then, there’s the godawful commercials. We hate it so much that we don’t own a tv. All we have is a DVD player with LCD projector and a huge film library. We’re thinking of using a laptop and having some sort of streaming iTunes/iPod thing, but until that time, we’re committed to watching quality shows when we want and how we want w/o idiotic advertising.

  232. It’s OK, last week my teen tried to tell me other mothers let their kids ride bikes without a helmet. It’s the best Mom’s who show they care with their stupid rules. Vive le well rounded lifestyle.

  233. Tell your girls this: our summertime rule was no TV between 10am and 6pm. Unless it rained, then they could turn it on. The whole rule thing covered video games, too. My boys, now 22 and 18, didn’t fight it as much as your girls, although there may have been times they cursed me when out of earshot.

  234. Right on, right on. Your rules are the rules I grew up by. And now, at age 59, I have found and “reconnected”with the girl who lived next door for 18 years. What do we talk about? You can bet it is NOT anything whatsoever to do with TV. It has to do with the summer we created our own “email”system by stringing a wire and pully between our second floor bedrooms…about our games of tag and spud and hide-n-seek…about the forts we built in Huml’s field…about chasing the milkman asking for a chunk of ice…about roller skating…about hula hooping…about collecting leaves and making books of our leaf rubbings…about reading on a blanket under a giant elm….about sitting on that same blanket and making doll clothes for our Barbies…about making a giant snow man, or snow angels, or a fort….I could go on and on and on. We got up, did our chores, and were sent out until lunchtime. Then we went out until dinner time. Then did the dishes as a family, then out until bathtime. The evening leg of the day included filling a mason jar with lightening bugs. Then the parents all sat on their porches while we played. Then bathtime,then bedtime. And this was everyone, no matter what their ethnicity or anything else. The rules were the rules! And we were oh so happy. Oh my. And this was in the late 1950’s and into the mid 1960’s. YOU ARE DOING THE RIGHT THING. YOUR CHILDREN WILL THANK YOU. HANG TOUGH. THAT DAY IS COMING.

  235. My mom lost the “No TV on weekdays” fight sometime back in eighth grade…but the lesson had been learned thoroughly enough that my brother and I stopped watching altogether sometime in high school.
    I wish I could send my charges outside – but they’d cook in this weather.

  236. Correction on those dates in the previous posting: I was born in 1948, so the routine I describe continued from about 1954 until I turned 13 years of age. Our parents were all pregnant after WWII and we were all born at about the same time, and grew up together. Once junior high school and high school sports took over, summer was then an entire day at the pool behind the high school. This went on until graduation. Still NO TV allowed during the day. And we would not have wanted it!!!

  237. To the chagrin of your daughters, you are not the only mother with TV rules. Ours circumvented the whole issue by tossing the TV for a year or so. Twice.
    You know what? I survived and now hate TV. Oddly enough, Mom can’t be removed from it.

  238. Sista!
    Isn’t it about time for us to REPRESENT MOTHERS? Couldn’t you just imagine, a call to all abused mothers, everywhere, to give a shout out about their own not-quite-grown children? Call it something like ” Are you the worst mother in the world?-along!” That’d show them! They’d have to admit that there are other mothers who have actual rules!
    Or, they’ll just say we are all yarn zombies or “hippie freak mothers” and couldn’t possibly be like “normal” mothers! (By the way, I haven’t met one of the “normal” mothers yet!)
    Of course, when it gets you down, you can always blast them with the “Mom Curse”. I hope that when you grow up, you have children that act JUST LIKE YOU!

  239. I don’t have children, but I think you’ve got the right of it anyway. If the television is on for longer than the length of about two movies (4-5 hours), I get headaches and nausea. And that is watching movies from a DVD or a VCR rather than some cruddy program that is mostly geared to selling whatever scary product is playing during the ads.
    TV = brain rot. I like your rule, but I might take it further than that when I have kids.

  240. As a kid who grew up watching TV ALL DAY during the summer, good for you! I wish my parents had the TV rule, then maybe I would have remembered my summer days instead of reruns of “Just the 10 of Us”

  241. I’m right there with you…mine have never been to the movies.
    A few years ago, I wouldn’t let my then-kindergartener go on a class field trip to a totally inappropriate movie. The reaction I got from other parents made me so mad that I wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Times…and they published it as a response to an article about the movie ratings system.

  242. I just finished having “The TV Fight” with my 3-yr-old. “I want it Thomas NOW!!!!!” (punctuated with a demented face and random slapping (him–not me) in order to coerce me into acquiescence.) Your post has left me with the most woeful sense of dread. I thought he would maybe outgrow this. We don’t watch any TV around here except for a “show” every day or two for the boys. We don’t have cable and our antenna isn’t hooked up. . . no TV channels. . . only videos every once in a great while. So I guess you could put it to your girls that there’s at least one mom MORE crazy about the TV thing than you. BTW: I get WAY more blogging and knitting done without the damn idiot box going all the time.

  243. I’m a hippy freak mother too!! No daytime TV, no computer games, just books, crafts, playing outside… what a miserable life. Oh, and let’s not forget standing in line for an hour to see the newest Harry Potter movie, and pre-paying for TWO copies of the next book to be sure they both can read at the same time. Yes, I am a hippy freak.

  244. The ultimate answer to the “other mothers” argument:
    “I feel so sorry for their daughters. Their mothers obviously don’t love them as much as I love you.”
    My daughter got so sick of hearing the response that she stopped using the argument.

  245. We have TV rules too. Different from yours, but still rules. So you are not the only one.

  246. My dad decided we kids watched too much TV. When our TV went out, he refused to replace it. There wasn’t another TV in our house until after he died many years later.
    Now, I have the TV fight with my kids. I also have the computer and videogames fight.
    You’re not the only mom out there with a TV rule. Don’t let ’em fool you!

  247. Well you can tell your dear daughters that they can come stay with me for the summer. We have no cable. Therefore the only TV we watch is any movies we get from Netflix, which are only watched in the evening after dinner. My child seems to be coming out just fine. She even loves to read. I will admit to being the most mean mother in the world because of this.
    The summer I stopped paying for the cable I had a long sit down with my 7 year old and said, “If you can come up with $50 a month, then we can keep the cable.” After a long, stunned silence I said, “OK great, where’s your library card.”

  248. pfft. You are NOT the only one. I refuse to allow copious amounts of television and we have fluctuating hours of T.V availability. Stand firm!

  249. My father limited the amount of television I watched during my childhood and I thought he was the meanest man ever! As an adult, I’m very grateful for his persistence. When I hear my coworkers relating to each other by discussing television shows, I feel doubly glad. I know that your children will appreciate your stubbornness on this someday, although it may not be for a couple of decades!

  250. You are not the only mother and you are not the meanest mother in the TV Fight. My aunt had a lock on her TV in order to win. There was nothing in the rules about fighting fair.

  251. you’re definitely not the only mom in the world with tv rules, although your kind may be a dying breed. i applaud you for sticking to your guns! kids do NOT need to sit in front of the tv 24/7 on their summer vacations.
    besides, all that’s on during the daytime is saved by the bell reruns and mind-numbing “OMG who’s my baby daddy??” talk shows . . .

  252. You are NOT the only one, that’s for sure! My way of circumventing the battle…we have a very small, like 21 inch, very old…about 12 years…TV. And we don’t have cable. The TV stays on a little cart which has to be wheeled into your room if you want to watch it. Unless they’re really bored, tired, or sick, my 18 and 16 year olds hardly even bother any more.

  253. As the mother of two teens, or just out of teen-age-hood, my personal experience is that the club of “the only mother in the world” is pretty big. πŸ™‚

  254. Good for you! We currently have no TV reception at our house and no cable TV. Tell hta to your daughters. They could be spending the summer with NO TV! Horrors. If that doesn’t stop the whining, threaten no TV all day long! My son has become quite the reader. Good luck with the teen battles. I’m supporting you all the way.

  255. I forgot to mention, one of the quickest ways to persuade my son to do what I ask of him (i.e. getting out of bed, taking out garbage, brushing teeth etc) is to threaten to take away “screen time”. This includes video games, movies and woudl include TV if we had it. Good luck with the girls!

  256. My 6yo and 3 yo think that I am the meanest mother in the world – partly because I turn off the TV at random times when I think they are watching too much, partly because I make them go to bed at a regular time.
    Don’t budge on the TV thing. If that’s your rule, that’s your rule. And you’re the mom, so you get to make the rules!
    My mother always told me that when I got to be a mother I could “torture” my children, but until that day came, it was her turn! πŸ™‚

  257. That was so nice to hear! I’m the only mom I know who limits the TV (mine is only 4!) and it’s nice to know there are others out there.

  258. There was one kid at our school who didn’t have a TV and everyone thought he was a remarkable weirdo. Of course, there were plenty of other weirdos who did have TVs. As a teen one does need to stay relevant.

  259. I gotta say I have no rules about TV use in summer, but my guys are very busy & seldom get near it, they all had the day off today & it hasn’t been on once, the stereos however are driving me bonkers.

  260. Hoorah!
    Now I can point out that your rules are there too!
    I don’t have a time at which the TV can go on, but I do have rules about how much TV can be watched in a day, and how many hours in a row can be spent in front of the box before going outside is required.
    My kids are 10 and 12. They still have to ask permission for specific shows on broadcast TV. We have dvds… we have vhs tapes. They do not get to watch TV w/ commercials very often. So far, only Animal Planet gets an automatic yes. Even Disney requires program specific approval.
    Of course, this TV restriction stuff also provides incentive. You’d be amazed how quickly certain chores get done if they know that they don’t get to watch the goddamnoisybox or play on the computer until its done!
    Stick to your guns!

  261. I am de-lurking just to let your daughters know that it could be much worse. We had no TV at all until last year; we did without for 10 years before that, and didn’t really miss it. My boys hardly ever get permission to watch any TV. And if they’re watching, say, a baseball game with their dad, we make them do calisthenics during the commercial breaks. We’re hippie TV fascists.

  262. You cannot be the only one in the world, because, apparently, I am. I just tell my kids that the other mothers love their children more.

  263. Y’know, I am way-ass meaner than you are! You just revel in your glorious cruelty and move on with it!!!

  264. I had a hippy freak mother, and we didn’t even have a TV until I was 12. It was insane. I actually read books! LOL
    I really like the suggestion that they lie on their beds writing emotional dark poetry about how much they hate you. You just crack me up.
    The teenage girls at my house would hardly notice if we removed the TV, but the computer is another issue. Kids these days are connected by their ISPs. It is interesting to see technology working in our young and how they communicate. Even with the cell phones, they hardly talk – they text! It’s nuts.
    The sweater STILL looks lovely. And I realized this morning after I completed the 4th repeat last night, that I need to frog back to the flipping ribbing. That’s what I get for pointing out your brilliant variant of the chart, I know…

  265. I had the TV fight with myself which ended with me, hiding a television in the basement where I will not sneak down to watch it. I think I won, but I’m still not sure.
    Henry heard a rumour that you’re coming to visit. He’s been working out in preparation for seeing the travelling sock. He’s actually weirder than I am.

  266. Dare I admit that we have never (N-E-V-E-R) owned a TV? Our poor, poor maladjusted, mistreated children! Yet they both learned to read (I taught ’em) before they went to school and are voracious readers to this day. In 34 years of marriage I confess there have been a few times when we would have liked a TV in the house, but only if it could stay temporarily for something special, then leave without a backward look. Whisk. Gone.
    Such satisfaction.

  267. Good for you!! And oh, don’t you love being the mother of teens? Makes me glad mine are grown.
    I had a ‘no whining about being bored’ rule as well, from the time they were about five or six. If you whined about being bored, you got to scrub the kitchen floor. You’d probably still be bored, but at least there would be a clean floor to the good.
    It’s wonderful to see the creative, exciting activities two small boys can come up with when they have to use their brains! I didn’t even need the ‘no boredom’ rule by the time they were teenagers; they know how to engage with an idea or activity.
    I say we should all be mean moms. The world needs us.

  268. I occasionally win the bad mom award. “Everyone else’s mom lets their children do (whatever you are not letting me do right now)!”
    We don’t have what most people know as a “tv”. Our computer has a video card and we pick up whatever tv channels we can on that. We occasionally scan the schedule and record something that grabs our interest.
    No we don’t think tv is “evil”. But with the internet age, and you tube, and entire tv shows being available on dvd (which we borrow for free from the library), we’ve kind of transcended the need for one.
    When we want to keep up to date with world events, we know which websites to browse , and if there’s something special and current on, we can switch to whatever “special report” presents itself.
    Since our computer gets used mostly as, well, a computer, our children find plenty to do, friends to socialize with, hobbies to pursue, and they seem to be just fine

  269. Aww! ((hugs))
    It sounds like a super rule to me:)
    I always wonder how DO these children happen to know all the rules of random mothers all over the world?;)

  270. somewhere along the cable on the outside of the house is a connector that unscrews with two pairs of pliers if you have cable and near the dish if you have satelite is something the same. unscrewing this gizmo and keeping it in your pocket until you deem it television time saves a great deal of trouble. They can turn it on as much as they want, they just can’t watch it ( static gets boring really fast.)
    We did not have television at all from the older kids age of six until older kids age seventeen.
    When I get fed up with too much telly happening I go out to the satelite dish and remove the connector. There are wails about the broken cable or satelite, but no arguments about turning the TV on. Stick by your guns and get a pair of ear plugs for the complaints.

  271. I honestly think it’s a good rule (and I’m 24!). What’s even on before 4pm on a weekday anyway? I’ll probably have a similar rule when I have kids.

  272. I totally agree with The TV Rule. As I have grown older and since I have moved out of my mother’s house and discovered knitting — I practically hate to watch TV. Don’t get me wrong there are shows that I watch on certain nights but that is about it. I watch a grand total of 4 hours of TV a week if that. If I had my way I wouldn’t have cable right now but the fiance needs something to watch when he is at my house. He watches more than I do. So continue to ruin your teenagers’ lives at least you are not allowing them to rot their brains by watching too much television.

  273. I have officially passed The Mean Mum title down to my daughter, and she’s doing a great job! She has three girls (9, 6, and 4)and they regularly tell her that she’s a “mean mum”.
    Cyndi in BC
    the mean gramma

  274. Hummm…this makes me feel so guilty…I watched (and still do watch) way too much TV! Basically, growing up, I’d go to school, come home, and watch tv until bedtime. Somewhere in there I’m sure I was forced to do homework. Amazingly, I am a pretty intelligent person. But my butt is way too big from sitting on it for so long!
    I aspire to be a hippy freak. Does that count?

  275. I get “you’re horrible, the most horrible person in the world.” So we had a little history lesson, where I told them about Hitler. No all the gory details but enough. Now they understand who was the most horrible person in the world.

  276. Congratulations on holding your ground. We didn’t even have a TV until I was in the Fifth grade. Summer was spent outside with the afternoon devoted to swimming. I saw a study one time that compared brain studies of people in hypnosis and TV watching and they are supposedly the same. I usually only listen to the TV while I am knitting, and something has to be well written to follow that way. By the way, the other sweater like yours is at Purlwise.com someday, I’ll move up to that level.

  277. We have tv rules here too. Only difference…he’s 3 and she’s 1! So, I’m sure that I too, will have my share of tv fights. I’ll bookmark this exact post so I can read it and give myself encouragement! Stand firm Mama!

  278. Hmmm…I’m jealous about the “hippy freak” comment. Around here I only get called “paranoid”, “trippy” and/or “retarded”. Must remind the kids to be more creative in their personality assessments.

  279. here in the summer, we have the no screen rule. you may have any screen, tv, computer until 9 a.m.,{this prevents sleeping all day} then no screens until after dinner. we eat at 7, bedtime is 9:30. i’m a little disappointed to discover that i’m not the meanest mom in the whole world. look at all of us!!

  280. One summer when I was about seven years old, I flopped into a chair and said to my mother, “I’m bored!” Without missing a beat, she said “whose fault is that?” and miracle of miracles, I actually listened to her and thought about it and got up and did something, and have never been bored since.

  281. Wow, it’s amazing to see how many of us, who are clearly plugged in, as we’re commenting on a blog, don’t “do” TV. We have a TV, hooked up to a DVD player and a VCR. But we haven’t had cable for 12 years and get absolutely NO reception of any kind in our current house. The kids did believe we were cruel, but they’ve (mostly) gotten over it. And, pertaining to some other’s comments about your kids growing up to thank you for it, my mother’s rules involved rationing TV, for much of my teenage life it was 2 hours/week. I thank her by imposing similar rules upon my children. With luck, they’ll thank me the same way.

  282. Bravo! I shall now copy your rule. I’ve always been one to limit the TV time, but this provides consistency and predictability that my current limitations lacked. And, it comes at just the perfect time fore me to need a bit of silence for preparing dinner. Yay. Thanks Harlot! And, now you can say that you’re not the only mom who is “crazy”. πŸ™‚

  283. We spent our summers at a bungalow in the Catskills and there wasn’t a single TV set on the property. Somehow, we survived.
    My son would happily watch hours of TV a day if I were to let him. However, the kids are limited to an hour a day. My daughter, on the other hand, couldn’t care less if we threw the set out. That said, getting her to put her book down is a major chore. Kind of reminds me of “just one more row!”

  284. When you’re feeling bad about “other mothers”, just contemplate the battles I’m heading for — it might not be too awful that we have no TV if the kids didn’t get to watch one at grandma’s or at their friends’ house. I’m already gearing up for the day they decide that I’m depriving them of their natural right to veg out…

  285. We haven’t had cable since she was six, on about the third occasion when we tried to talk to her while she was watching tv and she pretended not to hear us.
    She has well upwards of 100 books in her room and she watches classic hollywood movies on DVD. It’s amazing what you can do with five or six years’ worth of cable money.

  286. I have the TV fight every day of my parenting life!! My 6 y.o. thinks TV is the best thing in the world. Her 8 1/2 y.o. sis can take it for a while then goes and draws/reads/goes to the park or friends home!! I have 2 T.V’s, both in public spaces of our home. I don’t have a TV in my bedroom and do not wish to in the near future. I’d rather knit or read a book. So Steph…you are no freak and your kids will thank you sometime (around the time their kids can talk and ask!!LOL). It’s worth waiting for. It will be hard to resist “I told you so!”
    Beth

  287. OMG I LOVE THAT RULE!
    Our rule is that the Playstation 2 loses it’s cord on Memorial Day and it doesn’t come back until after Halloween. (Sometimes it finds its way back on a rainy day.)
    Go outside. Play. When you are an adult, you rarely get to do that.

  288. And here I thought that I was the meanest mother in the world. Apparently I’ve got Canadian competition!
    This is another thing that rainy days are useful for Steph! Go outside. Walk around. Get wet.
    Than point out the fact that you are, in fact, not melting after all. Nope. Not a bit. You are not, in fact, the wicked witch. No matter what the kids say!
    Kim

  289. Since everyone else’s mom isn’t “crazy”, why don’t they just go over to the nice moms’ houses and watch TV there? πŸ˜€
    Of course, this is the fight that all kids have with their parents…even if it’s not about TV, it’s about something. Makeup, dating, ear piercing, cars, or whatever. It all seems So Very Important when we are that age, and ridiculously inconsequential when we become our parents’ age, as the vast majority of us do. I know that I’m becoming my mom as I age, and it’s really up in the air as to whether that’s a good or a bad thing. Like most of life, it’s probably a little of both.

  290. On behalf of other mothers (including my own, who also had a rule about no watching TV between 930 (end of Sesame Street) and 4pm (Kids Incorporated on Disney)), I resent the “hippy freak” insinuation for you.
    Also, you could convince a friend (perhaps Ken) to babysit the TV for you for a week or so. Then tell the kids you threw it out because they were causing trouble (make sure you tell Joe first) – think how happy they will be when you bring the TV back from the dead. πŸ™‚

  291. Tell them it could be worse: my daughters are 23, 20 and 17 and my son is 15 and we still don’t have a TV.

  292. Whenever me or my sister used to start whining, “I’m bored!” my mom would assign us something to clean. I don’t think I’ve been bored since I was about seven years old.

  293. Dear dear “”hippy freak Mother””– Hang in there they will thank you when they get older. My two nieces came to me for a two WEEK vacation many years ago and the rules were writtin down in black and white BEFORE they came and given to the parents and the two girls. 1- No TV until after dinner in the evening. 2 No laying around inside the house when its nice out (we were very close to the lake then . 3–They must try at least ONE new food each week ((BOTH of them were picky picky eaters. 4 They must read a book of their choice at least one hour of each day. The parents could NOT believe they Still wanted to come to me but come they did AND stayed for the whole two MONTHS of summer break. Now they have grown up and all they remember is the wonderful holiday they had . The new foods they liked and all the crafts they learned and reading they did and they truly thank me for it. The one girl has three children and in the summer she has these rules for them . STRANGE EH ?

  294. My kids are sure I have the world’s cruelest Mom, since not only have I always limited their TV time, but, I hope you’re sitting down, We Don’t Do Cable. How’s that for child abuse? I’d get rid of the thing completely if it were just up to me…….

  295. I was recently voted ‘meanest mom in Burlington’ for much the same reason, but my kids have since stopped asking about the TV during the day, and are actually… amusing themselves!!! They were very interested to learn that when my brothers and I were home in the summer, my mom would ship us outside after breakfast, LOCK THE DOOR BEHIND US, and leave us to our own devices until we got hungry or hurt. I think perhaps this aided my argument…

  296. Ah, there were some advantages, then, to growing up in a country where there really wasn’t anything (except the extremely fascinating Open University) on TV during the day. At least it didn’t make you a freak when you had the kind of parents who wouldn’t have let you watch it all day anyway.
    Having said the only reason I’m getting to read and post here is that my four year old is watching TV now, but it’s after 4 pm…

  297. ours is not only a no tv rule, but a no electronic anything rule. they are allowed a couple hours of tv a week but other than that—they are usually climbing trees. i have my first teenager starting this summer, so far so good, that may change we’ll see! PS sweater looks great & hippies rule!

  298. My mother also has (had) TV rules. Well, not for me, because I never watched much, but definitely for my brother. For a while he was only allowed to watch on weekends. Tell that to your girls and they won’t think you’re the worst mother anymore…

  299. “No TV until after dinner. Ever.”
    -Quote from Mom circa 1984, after the Great Chore and Homework Shirking Day.
    We screwed up only that one time. I was in Kindergarten. The rule stood until I (the youngest) left for college, 1996. Stick to your guns. Someday they will fondly remember the TV Fights as ‘just a part of summer’.

  300. Maybe the TV Rule will die the day they pay their share of the mortgage, utilities and food expenses. My sympathies obviously do not lie with the young ones.

  301. Your rule isn’t so bad. My four year old is allowed just a few hours of screen time (this includes watching TV, movies, AND playing video games) on Saturdays and Sundays. I suspect his daddy plays the Nintendo Wii with him while I’m out at knit nite on Wednesdays, but that’s it.
    I don’t see my rule changing… ever!
    Mean Mothers of the World UNITE!!!

  302. The only reason other mothers don’t do that is because they don’t want to have the TV fight — you are a much better mom for sticking to your guns. We pull out the “no more TV” card occaisionally when we want the kids to get out more, read more, etc but generally if they’re home, and homework is done…TV is ok for “downtime”. One thing we do encourage is “pretend” time (my kids are younger than yours). They get out their props (toys, dolls, stuffed animals,…) and do “play-acting”, we encourage this because it allows them to use their imagination, plus it’s entertaining to us (they do performances). Our pediatrician supports this activity whole-heartedly and says that kids today aren’t using their imagination enough because of, you guessed it, too much TV.

  303. I’m a mean mommy, too. My kids only get about an hour of tv (possibly two, if it is raining or extremely hot) per day. I think it is really important for them to learn how to deal with being bored without having to rely on “entertainment” being spoon fed to them through the television. Read a book…. Do origami…. etc…. If they try, they can find more mentally active (and less depressing) modes of entertainment than television!

  304. “Mean Mothers” rock! Let’s unite and make a button too.
    I’m proud to be a mean mother at least he knows that I care about him in a good way of course.
    I hope you see the day when your daughters have a TV War with their own kids. It will make us dance with glee!

  305. Yes, keep strong and beautiful in the face of all that teen fury! After all, certainly they have friends with TV if they get really desperate. πŸ˜‰
    (Oddly enough, we never had TV rules when I was growing up, but didn’t watch a lot of it during the summer. I was much more interested in sitting outside with a book. Reverse psychology?)

  306. I know this may not be popular but I turned out ok (mentally and physically) without a TV rule. Just thought the girls should get at least one ally.

  307. I hate to tell you this, but you have years to go. My son is 27 years old, and he still periodically grumps about not having beeen allowed to watch television. (Besides having to wait until late afternoon, they didn’t watch broadcast TV, just videos). IT’s amazing how many of us “unique” mothers there are, don’t you think?

  308. Heh, you and me? Must’ve graduated together from that mothering school. Be it TV or something else, I am the ONLY mother that has taken my particular stance on EVERYTHING. That is when I tell them that I am trying to set a good example for not conforming to the crowd and standing up for my convictions. So there.

  309. Hang in there! At my house, the rule is 1 hour of TV per day in the summer. (It’s 1/2 hour per day during school).

  310. Tell them you are more generous than mine: we weren’t allowed television AT ALL Monday through Thursday and Sunday nights (being a school night) were only for watching a movie together as a family.

  311. When I was a kid, I wasn’t allowed to watch TV until 7 pm. I never saw any after school tv shows that all the other kids would talk about at school. I tell my husband and friends about not watching TV until 7 pm and they don’t beleive me. I’m a bit more lienant with my children but I do limit the time they watch TV. My Mom used to say “It’s a beautiful day, GO OUTSIDE!”

  312. Yes, hang in ‘hippie freak mom’.
    We used to fight with my Dad as we packed to go to a YMCA family camp (Geneva Park on Couchiching). He’d suggest putting in the TV (I think to watch baseball) and we’d always argue no, that we’d rather listen to stories on the CBC (radio!), talk to each other, play games, watch the sunset, go for walks, roast marshmallows, feed the chipmunks, paint paint-by-number pictures on rainy days and all those other treasured camp things.
    These are some of my (and my dad’s!) fondest memories.

  313. Sorry to burst their bubble but you aren’t the only mother. Growing up “our TV rule” was 1 hr per week on Friday evening AND all of us had to agree on the show. All 6 kids.
    In high school when I took conversation French and we discussed Tuesday night’s movie, the nuns were astounded that I was not allowed to watch TV, not even for an assignment. Even they didn’t try to get me to buck the rule.
    Same applied to my kids. I don’t remember getting too much grief but I was a lax mother…with only two they each got to choose one show each.
    Everyone in my family is a reader and so are my kids. So Steph, I’ll bet the TV rule will get passed on to yet another generation. Hold strong!

  314. There’s nothing on TV before 7pm other than talk shows, infomercials and … I can’t even think of a 3rd item. What could they be wanting to watch?
    I guess I’m 36 not 16, so that could be the reason for my not understanding.

  315. Yeah, we had restrictions on tv time when I was a kid, too – plus there was just less on.
    Hmm. Maybe you could allow them a few “free” hours of tv time during the week… but the catch is that they must be KNITTING! while they watch! *evil grin*

  316. I killed cable in 1995. My older kids (18 and 14) were watching Jerry Springer and the 5 yr old was asking what they were talking about. I didn’t think anything about the show was fit for a 5yr old. Told the older kids to shut it off. They thought I was being mean. Turned it back on when I left the room. That ended cable. Called the company and had it shut off permanently. Today my oldest two have long been independent adults and they still don’t have cable. Guess they didn’t mind not having the low quality crap in their lives.

  317. We have TV rules here too! First off we don’t get any TV channels, so the only options are dvds or videos, but those are only allowed with my approval (and have just been recently given back after a month of being taken away). We are not advocates of lots of screen time for our children. Way to go!

  318. I have a similar rule, only my kid’s with her father during much of the summer and they don’t even have a TV, so…during the school year there’s no TV until after homework is done and supper is done, and usually that’s time for reading and getting ready for bed. Sometimes on weekend nights, TV is allowed. Sometimes.
    Suck it up and deal, girls. TV kills brain cells. And daytime TV will make you think you need big hair, a plastic surgeon, and a murderous boyfriend with a yacht and six ex-wives. The combination? Not good. I mean, dudes, seriously. Has Paris Hilton taught you nothing?

  319. Stay Strong! That’s an awesome rule, so important… and I was a child reared on the ‘electronic babysitter’… i do wish i had spent more time elsewheres…
    As a Mom, you rock!

  320. I’m 22 and I must say one of the things I remember is that my mom never let us watch tv in the summer until the late afternoon. We played, ran, got scraped up, went to the library, rode bikes, etc. I have a greater appreciation for books & the outdoors. And punching boys in the face for grabbing my hair.

  321. I grew up with rules like this and tried to fight (which didn’t change anything). Now I am a mother and think this is an excellent rule and I will definitely have something like this in my house. (For the moment, the kids are to small.) In a couple of years your daughters will be proud of you not giving in.

  322. Our TV broke the summer I turned 13, and didn’t get fixed for four years. At least, that’s my parents’ story, and they’re sticking to it. I am periodically tempted to have the TV ‘break’ as well.

  323. You tell ’em! Mother really does know best. The other mothers are mostly fiction anyway. Obviously, you have stuck to this rule, because they have *no* idea how bad daytime TV is. I found out while recupping from surgery. Bleh.

  324. P.S. Go borrow The Wretched Stone by Chris Van Allsburg from the library. Let the girls figure it out… πŸ™‚

  325. Not only do I restrict television time, but computer times are closely monitored and video game systems are not allowed in my house. You’re nice in comparison to this grouchy mom!

  326. Wow… I would love to institute that TV Rule. Unfortunately, that’s hard to do while I’m at work… I think they just mute the sound when I call them. πŸ˜›
    I make them not watch it at night… I’m a mean mom too.

  327. This subject seems to be one everyone has an opnion on. I am a “hippy freak” that has NO T.V.! None! Nothing to argue about. hmmmmm. Beautiful sweater. I am sitting in about 90 degree farinheit weather and looking at that sweater causes me to sweat! I will enjoy seeing the post of the finished sweater, though!

  328. Tell them they are very, lucky girls. My children are limited to a total of 2 hours television (including videos and DVDs) a day. I also limit their computer and video game time. I am a horrible, mean mother. And my mother was more strict than me.

  329. Steph, the next time they start the TV Fight, say they are welcome to come live with me… no TV in the house and controlled usage on computers, nintendos and phones. However, reading material is always provided. And yes, I have kids. BTW, my way to end all arguments is to say “That’s it and if you continue to bug me about it, we will just not (insert whatever u are arguing about) at all the rest of the week (or summer or…)” Since my kids know I’m serious, it pretty much ends it right there.
    Proud member of the Mean Mom club

  330. Excellent policy! I’m off on three weeks vacation myself and have imposed upon myself a policy of no TV until 7pm. I don’t want to waste my days in front of it.

  331. I like your rule. Stay firm.
    There was no daytime TV when I was a kid and I remember summers mostly spent outdoors and reading a lot. I admit that as a teenager and young adult I did spend too much time watching TV but I now wish I wouldn’t have. However, I was knitting a lot already, mostly while watching TV, and made a lot of sweaters.
    Now we don’t have a TV set up in our house (we have one very old, tiny one put away in the closet, coming out maybe once a year – if at all). We do watch DVDs on the computer occasionally but mostly in winter. Since there is no TV the kids (ages 9,6 and 2) cannot ask for it and they don’t seem to miss it. I certainly don’t miss it at all.
    They are not teenagers yet though and so we will see what will happen then.

  332. Oh the poor dears. *rolls eyes* What is on during the day anyway other than soaps and other trash tv. The nice thing is that we do have satelite and I can find educational tv pretty much any time of the day for my son. He loves the nature programs and as long as he isn’t sitting stairing at the tv then I am fine with it. He mostly listens and plays with all his toys. If he is up and the tv is on then it is on something that will teach him. We have a DVR so I can always watch my programs after he has gone to bed. I am sure that I will have the tv fight too when he gets older.

  333. I just read your entry to my husband and we both howled! We don’t have tv reception, just a tv to watch movies, etc, on, and our boys are limited to 1/2 hour of screen time PER DAY. . . hence, they are good readers and we are mean parents. I’m an English teacher and I say I wish more of my kids had mean parents like us both!

  334. When I was a child, the rule was no tv during daylight hours and a limit of two hours per week (with certain exceptions; anything on PBS, for instance, was free game). We bitched, we moaned, but it was a solid rule.
    Even if we were home sick from school, no tv as long as it was daylight. Read a book or sleep.

  335. Well if you’re a hippy freak mother, who knows what I am. I don’t allow commercial TV of ANY sort, EVER. I’m not too crazy about ads targeted to kids which I think is an evil practice. You are a VERY GOOD mother, in my most humble opinion. You are saving your kids from wasting hours & hours that they will never, ever get back.
    The only thing we watch (and not too much of that) is Turner Classic Movies – which has no ads. I don’t know if you get that in Toronto but I *know* you used to have Elwy Yost on TV Ontario – TCM is the same thing, except 24 hours a day. I loved Elwy when I lived in Ontario.

  336. Banning something undesireable (TV, computer, video games, etc) after 10AM to convince your teens to get up earlier? Thanks ladies- that is the best idea i had never thought of!! I don’t have kids that age yet, but I’m definitely filing that tip away for later.

  337. Ahh, yes. In our house it is called “screen time” – play on the computer or watch TV. And perhaps your children will be comforted in the knowledge that my children get a meer 1 hour a day. For which I am frequently reminded that I am the meanest mother in the land. So be it. I don’t care about other mothers either! I hate the fights. I hate the fights so much that I will take away screen time if a fight begins to annoy me too much. Hang tough,Stephanie! All us mean mothers have to stick together!

  338. When my daughter told me that I was the meanest mother in the word, I stopped for a second. Then I asked where my award was. I then took the spoon and said that I accepted my award on behalf of all the mean mother’s out there that I beat out. That I was sure that they were just as deserving as I was. But I was the meanest. She stomped off and that was the end of that.
    I hate how they “double team” you too.

  339. My mom was much meaner than you are – we had to be up by 9 am, do our chores, and spend the day out of the house or in our rooms (no TV or video games). We could come back in for meals or if it was raining, but we were likely to be assigned chores if we did, so we didn’t come in too often.
    My daughter got to pick a day a week to sleep in, but she still had a curfew every night, had to tell me where she planned to be, call me if her plans changed – oh, and no TV, video games, or compter time until after supper and only if her chores were done. Responsible, respectable behaviour choices earned her craft materials, books, and when she was older, car use time.
    I, too, work from home and find TV and video game noise too distracting. TVs don’t belong in children’s bedrooms, either.
    She’s grown up now and moved away, but she doesn’t turn the TV on except for the weather forecast in the mornings before work. She finds her hubby languishes in front of it if its on, but gets the farm chores done before work if its off. Funny how that works, isn’t it? πŸ™‚

  340. When my kids complained about my decisions my response was, “Parenting is not a popularity contest.” It’s not original, alas, I don’t know where I heard it, but it is downright delightful when I hear my grown children say it to their young ones.

  341. I know no one will read this far, but I have to respond to the one way up at the beginning who asked about getting rid of the TV all together. For a few years in a row, we gave up TV for Lent. We decided (well, the hub and I did, the kid protested profusely which only helped our argument) that we had to give up something that would actually BE a scarifice. The box was off, period. People said, “Oh, but you have to watch the news!” and we said Nope, we can listen to the radio (NPR of course) and read the newspaper, etc. Those were a nice fourty days. We talked, played games, listened to old radio shows at night (our public radio station does that) and the best thing was – how wierd it was to turn the TV back on again! It was so STUPID. We couldn’t believe we used to laugh at that stuff. It really taught us all a lesson about the garbage on there, and that we really could find a million other much more worthwhile things to do with our time. I personally would love to toss the thing, but not everyone here agrees (my hub, like the one way back at the beginning, would find it hard to live without)but we don’t get cable tho – decided that if there isn’t anything to watch out of 14 channels, then we should just turn the stupid thing off. Anyway – after a long and exhaustive post – Steph, you stand strong! You are doing the right thing! Go Mom!

  342. I watch TV (usually movies, actually) about once a month. When my friends tell me I’m hopelessly out of touch I tell them that someday when I’m lying on my deathbed I suspect that my thoughts will NOT be, Gosh, I wish I’d watched more TV.

  343. Thanks for being willing to parent and not play nice or something (although we do pay a price in the short term).
    We say, taking turns: “Yup, that’s my job, to be a tyrant. Maybe sometimes to be an idiot tyrant parent. Too bad, no TV.”

  344. And here’s to all the hippy freak mothers of the world: You make the world a better place – keep it up!
    As for the knitting… I simply love it!

  345. You are not alone so don’t back down. The “other mothers” only wish they had your courage. My husband and I are moving soon, and we’ve decided to get rid of the old T.V. since we won’t have room in our temporary apartment. NPR, and news on the internet will be just fine (plus some magazines). Our son was never hurt by the “ask to turn the TV on” rule. He was never in the habit of just sitting there and now that he’s in college and in his own apartment, if he wants to “watch tv” he uses the computer.
    Besides, one can get so much more knitting done!

  346. For what it’s worth… we were not allowed to watch TV before 5 p.m. on any day. I still feel guilty when I turn on the TV during the day – even when I’m home sick and even on the weekend. Such is the power of Mothers and their rules.

  347. I think you’ll find that *I* am the meanest mum in the world- my grumpy teenager is only allowed to watch television WHILE HE DOES THE IRONING!!!!
    Mwahahaha!

  348. My 14-yr. old daughter would probably say that I get the “Meanest Mom In The World” award as we don’t even have TV. So our TV fight is a bit different but the policy is a lot easier to stick to. Someday I imagine we will end up on a a list somewhere as “un-american” because we don’t have TV. I have to say, I don’t even know when I’d have time to watch, since I’m on the stoopid intarwebs so much. *sigh*

  349. Hmmm…I don’t know even one mother who permits her children to watch tv whenever they are so moved. Not one. As far as I know, every mother in North America has The TV Fight regularly. Fight the good fight!

  350. I think your rule is awesome. I don’t have children, but some day I will, and when I do I promise to limit their television viewing. We cancelled our cable 10 months ago to save money and I rather enjoy being less plugged in. It is hard to imagine how I used to spend hours sitting in front of it zoned out. Bleh!

  351. You’re a very liberal, generous-with-TV mom compared to some. ;o) We had No TV DAYS growing up–Sunday through Thursday, with limited watching on Friday and Saturday.
    And in my house? No TV. We just plain got rid of it. Not worth the fight. Totally counter-culture, but that’s us. Between alternative homeschooling and no TV, we’re reeeeealllllly weird. ;o) Your girls should count their lucky stars.
    I can’t wait to see what the Kuni cardigan looks like finished. I’ve really enjoyed puzzling over the color gradations and seeing it develop!

  352. You hippy you … oh no what’s a teenager to do?
    Well I spent this Saturday with 2 teenage girls being punished with NO cell phone or computer for ONE whole DAY. They didn’t know what to do with themselves … so I said, “Let’s pull weeds in your Mother’s garden for 30 minutes then go for a walk.” They did it!
    p.s. Then spent an hour after dinner whining about it. But not at Grandma. Go figure.

  353. Yay hippie women everywhere! My (hippie) parents had no TV and at 31, I still have never owned one. I went through some intense TV-watching in college but after that I just never felt like getting one and now, I’m glad.

  354. First time I have ever commented… been reading your blog for about 4 months. Love it!
    My rule (school year and summer) is no tv or video games until 6 PM. Absolutely no TV before school or in the morning!
    I only was kind when all the kids had the chicken pox when we lived in Hawaii – I rented Star Wars (all the old ones) and we had Chicken Pox Star Wars week!
    On the cardi – it is beautiful and you really didn’t want leg-o-mutton sleeves. It is not that long to re-knit and you love knitting anyway!

  355. Great TV rule – I like it. When our kids were younger, we also made them earn time on the Nintendo by reading. If they read for an hour, they could have an hour on the Nintendo. (However, after reading for an hour, they found that they were into the book and kept going, and they never did end up spending all of their earned time on Nintendo that summer. Good plan, eh?)

  356. I wasn’t even allowed in the house on sunny summer days – as a result, I’ve been a little more lenient with my kids (17, 15 & 6) and am now regretting it. I guess my mom was right about one thing! You chose the right battle….don’t cave in!

  357. My father went so far one summer as to cut the electrical plug off the power cord. He then bought one that you could clip on and off the wire (this was before grounded plugs). He’d actually put it in his pocket and take it to work with him. Now as a single person I only have the DVD player feeding into my set. I get out on my bike, meet with friends to knit… Dad would be proud.
    Stand tough Stephanie, they’ll be better women in the future thanks to you.

  358. Yeah. When I was a kid (and I’m only 28 now, so it wasn’t that long ago) I wasn’t allowed to watch TV in the summer if the sun was out. So, only after dark (which was usually after my bedtime) or on rainy days.
    But even then I was also only allowed to watch the VHS my mom picked out, which were not so popular with me back then. I read a LOT of library books… and I still have my imagination fully intact.
    And I have the TV Fight with my kids daily.
    (Stand strong!)

  359. My 3yo would rather watch CNN than no tv at all. Sad. She doesn’t even watch TV when it’s on, as she is too busy drawing / foraging in the fridge / changing her clothes for the twentieth time in a day.

  360. You’re not the only mean mom in the world who enforces “TV rules”. My children are not allowed to turn the TV on before 6:00 PM during the summer and 4:00PM during the school year (provided all of their homework commitments are complete). That being said, we have the TV fight every stinking day too! And I don’t give in either (even when it’s raining out…..that’s what books are for).

  361. As a still-unemployed recent graduate I have to say: I’m going to have to steal The TV Rule and implement it. On myself. Even if urban New Jersey is hot and sticky and smelly in the summer — it’s probably the last summer I’ll ever have to myself!
    I applaud your determination on the cardigan sleeve! It looks like the gorgeous finished product will be totally worth it.

  362. For smaller children, I generally don’t allow television on school nights at all, and only for a couple of hours on weekend mornings. Since your girls are teenagers, I think 4pm might even be too early, since prime-time programming doesn’t start until 6pm and there’s nothing else they should need to watch before then.
    It’s all moot in my house, though, since we don’t have television reception at ALL, and so the only way we see any TV is when we’re visiting elsewhere (when TV is usually not appropriate) or when we have shows on DVD.
    I applaud your resolve as a mother, and you’re far less crunchy/hippy than some other mothers out there.

  363. You are SO not alone on the TV debacle. My husband’s mother did not allow TV until after DINNER every day. Feed that one to your kids and see what they say! AND, they all had to decide what to watch together since there were six of them in the house and one television set. And by the way, my husband turned out above average as a result.

  364. What a wonderful TV rule.
    If we had television, I’d use it myself. We’re movies only, and our rule is one movie a day.

  365. We didn’t have cable tv in my house til my senior year. We also only had one tv, which was propped up on a log (so that you could see the screen without pressing your face into the floor) and was oh-so-safely plugged in without the use of a plug, just two bare wires.
    Even now, I can’t stand to just randomly have the TV on. Not even for background noise. There must BE something I wish to watch before I turn the thing on – I even check listings first.

  366. Do NOT beleive for ONE MINUTE, that crap about being the “only mom that…”! Not only can you be validated from the comments above, many of the moms (and dads) in your own neighborhood are more likely on the same page as you as not. As creative as teens can be, they never seem to get past this ridiculous line of reasoning.

  367. Stick with your plan. I did this with my boys, both grown now and I am happy to say that my 24 year old doesn’t even own a TV and my 28 year old owns one with only rabbit ears to get stations.
    My favorite bumper sticker of all time is “TV is a drug”.
    So true…

  368. Add me to the list of “the only mother in the whole world who doesn’t allow their children to watch TV all day”. We have the same fight (well in 2 and 4 year old language) everyday at least 5 times!

  369. funny how other mother’s always give out money as random acts of kindness to their kids, while I make them do something for it. LOL!

  370. uh….
    “”…every other mother in the world who are all nicer than and saner than me…”””
    sorry Stephanie…. she MAY have a point on the ‘sanity’ part…
    …Becky and I love you anyway….

  371. I have a relative who said that when he was young the television always broke in the summertime. He said it took he and his siblings several years before they figured this one out.

  372. Hey, tell them they’re lucky they don’t have a freak like me for a mom! I don’t even have a tv! I don’t want one and you can’t make me get one, no way, no how. Though I have been watching Pinky and the Brain dvds from Netflix in the evenings while I knit. Sweet.

  373. I have that EXACT SAME TV RULE (no TV until after 4pm) which, in fact, applies to “screens” in general and is also in effect year-round (since we un/homeschool). Who’s the mean mommy now? Hope you’re having a great summer anyway! πŸ™‚

  374. Don’t worry … someday they will have brains and they will thank you for it when they (even later still) realize they have brains because of you …

  375. HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAHAHAH!
    That is just too funny for words.
    If you want to kill them of their TV fascination, tell them to get internships in a TV newsroom. After listening to lots of TV’s and scanner radios and walkie talkies and cell phones and editing machines and other communication gadgets blaring nonstop — SIMULTANEOUSLY — for eight hours a day, 5 days a week, they’ll GLADLY keep the TV off at home.
    It worked on me.

  376. Good for you for sticking to your guns. I don’t remember what the rules were, but it seems to me that we weren’t allowed to watch tv during the day too much either during the summer (except Saturday morning cartoons). And because of that rule, I have a hard time turning on the tv during the day now, which is a good thing. Daytime tv is crap anyway. Glad you were able to fix the Kauni, but I had little doubt….

  377. my mom has had a no tv until 5:30 rule for most of my life (sinse i was eight, i’m now 16). this summer it was pushed back to 6 for my younger siblings because they go to bed later. I honestly think that if she had not had that rule, i would have not been as interested in crafts, like embordiery and knitting and jewerly making, etc, and not have been as focused on school work. so tell them less TV = better focus and more productivity!
    and you’re not the only mother that has that rule.

  378. I know you know this, but you are not alone! (As if the 408 comments before mine didn’t convince you of this.) We moved our TV (there’s only one in the house — I don’t know how we live) into the room that we spend the least amount of time in, and then we just “forget” to ever turn it on. I don’t think the girls watch more than maybe two hours a week (family movie and pizza night). Given that the average American kid is watching 8 hours a day (I think this is what I read recently) I wonder who’s watching their extra hours? I also wonder when they’re going to figure out that they’re being TV deprived, and we’ll have to have the TV Talk (akin, I assume, to the Fruit For Dessert talk which occurs several times a week, as in “yes, we’re having dessert tonight; yes, fruit is dessert”). Go, hippie moms!

  379. You are not alone!!! It’s a great rule and I do the same. The problem is apparently the result of a short term memory malfunction in the brains of children. I still have to tell mine to turn it off every morning too. Ugh!

  380. At our house children must EARN their “screen time” by first reading for 45 minutes (and whatever else I dream up to torture them.) Screen time includes PBS, the computer or his new video game. My lovely little guy bought into the concept without complaint and sets his own timer to keep track. Oh yeah, the other rule I decreed is that I refuse to argue with anyone who is younger than I am–works great to eliminate arguments. Mean Mamas have GREAT kids!

  381. When I was a kid I was allowed to watch as much television as I wanted. This did not lead to me becoming a brain dead idiot. I still remember some of the science I learned from Mr. Wizard.
    This isn’t to say I think All Children Should Be Raised As I Was, or that I Will Do The Same With My Children. I only object to the comments that imply that watching TV (irregardless of anything else going on in a kids life) leads to stupid children. This isn’t true.
    And despite my unfettered access to the television, I still had some fantastic fights with my parents.
    Ultimately I think: Your House, Your Rules.
    And there will always be arguments about the rules.

  382. We don’t have a TV. Our issue lately is YouTube, but since DD is taking an accelerated Japanese course this summer, she justifies her YouTube addiction by watching only shows in Japanese. And, frankly, she wouldn’t have passed the entrance exam for the course if she hadn’t been saturating her gray matter with Japanese anime during her free time this last year.
    Lately, DH has instituted zero bandwidth spans in lieu of TV rationing. We do novel things like read books, draw, TALK to each other, and go on walks. Nice.

  383. My Emily is 14. Until very recently she had me convinced that I was the world’s meanest mother, that nobody else’s mother was as bad as me, and that I was merely here to make her existence as painful as possible. (Our fights are more about the computer than the TV, but same basis). It’s only in the past few months that I’ve discovered that it’s not just me.
    The relief is palpable. But not for Em, who thought she had me almost won over πŸ˜‰

  384. Some days I get the meanest mother award for just breathing wrong. I think it might have something to do with the fact that I am going through menopause at the same time my son is going through puberty.

  385. We went 7 years with no tv in the house and my 2 teenage daughters are just fine. Now that we have one little tv their favorite thing to watch is the food network. While they were not watching tv, they both learned to cook. We have strict rules about tv watching. It’s all good…. really!!

  386. I support your position AND mandate the same in our house and my boys aren’t teens.
    I am the “meanest mommy evah (Boston accent)” and I am “wicked” okay with that πŸ™‚

  387. There were only 3 ways I watched TV “legally” as a child:
    1. By being violently ill-pneumonia, flu, or anything which tended to make you rather be unconscious. The first couple days after a major surgery also fell into this category.
    2. The Winter Olympics. Since we were living in the States, the possibility of seeing Canadian atheletes was slim. To compensate, we left the TV on constantly so that anyone walking by could shout “Kurt Browning!” at the appropriate time and bring the house running.
    3. Saturday nights, from 9pm-midnight. The family would gather and watch COPS, America’s Most Wanted, and The Red Green Show. Any attempts to watch Red Dwarf right after this resulted in death.
    When we moved into our “new” house, we disconnected the cable. Since this house was less than 15 years old, it had only ever had cable access, and there was no antenna on the roof. This meant we could get one channel decently (PBS), two channels passably (CBS and ABC), and a fourth channel (FOX?) if the youngest child stood on the arm of the couch holding the rabbit ears. This greatly reduced the appeal of the television.
    Then, of course, I discovered the internet…

  388. Go, Harlot, GO!! My parents imposed a similar TV rule while my brother and I were growing up. We have both thanked them for it over the years.

  389. You could always take away the tv in the summer. I didn’t have any reception (cable, bunny-ears or anything) for quite a few years. I did have a tv for movies but that was it. And it’s amazing how much you don’t miss it.

  390. If you want, and if you think it might be persuasive, you can tell your daughters this cautionary tale about the dangers that hide in pestering their mom into the TV Fight over and over.
    My Mom was willing to have The TV Fight day in- day out too. But, even the most dastardly moms eventually get fed up with The TV Fight.
    In our case, my Mom blew her detached cool in one fell swoop and unplugged the beloved TV, hefted it on her hip and dumped it unceremoniously outside on the curb.
    Supposedly she was doing it to make a point, to show us just how deadly serious she was about the TV rules in our house and how she had never lost this battle and never, ever would.
    While we were all rushing back inside to moan and wail our miserable fates and gnash our teeth in frustration and horror at such a wretched mother, some lucky fellow came by, saw a perfectly good TV on the curb and made off with it.
    So, when my Mom relented and said that the TV could come back inside and we vowed quite seriously to not argue the TV Rules ever again….. the damned box was gone.
    Mom was laughing so hard she cried. And, we didn’t get a new one either.
    So, tell those daughters to watch out for over-doing the insistence on having The TV Fight day in-day out…. the TV might up and walk away.

  391. Hooray for hippy freak mothers!
    I eliminated the tube when my daughter was in high school – there were a few battles at first (brutal things teenaged daughters!).
    Now at 22 she’s more of a hippy freak than I’ve ever been. She seldom watches the TV in her apartment. She does, however, go to college, work two jobs, go to many live folk and bluegrass music events around the middle US and home, rock climb, hike, camp, make her own jewelry, have her own art studio….
    The way I see it – if she watched TV she’d be watching other people pretend to do these things.
    Carry on Hippy Freak Mother – may your daughters someday become Hippy Freak Women in their own right!

  392. Have your girls ever heard the saying –
    “If you don’t listen – you are going to have to feel!”
    Not that I mean beat them to death – but maybe do the take away thing or assign a duty.

  393. I find it amusing that I used to have the same argument but based on reading. I was/am a total bookworm and my mother really pushed physical activity. I’d sigh, groan and plot ways to be able to read after lights out (I developed a fear of the dark when I figured out that I could read by the crack of light coming through my bedroom door from the hall light).
    I now know she was right. I also know that I’ll be having exactly the same fights about sedentary occupations during school holidays with my daughter in the years to come. I think I’ll just throw out the TV now…

  394. YOU GO STEPH!!! I have a husband who feels the same way as your kids: that I am totally mean, selfish, abnormal, intollerant and “out of it” because I can’t stand having the TV on every waking hour of our home life. We don’t have children yet (hoping to fix that starting this summer! homebirth hopeful!), but I know this whole TV issue is going to be a sticking spot. You’ve inspired me that I am, in fact, not alone (and more impoortantly) NOT CRAZY :-> Knitters for peace and quiet unite!!!

  395. Yay you!!!! Stick to your guns – today in Tasmania it rains and blows – and we my have the TV on when daughter returns from school – but only because it is wet – sunny days, my rule is tthe same as yours – and I am also the most awful and only mother in the world……..

  396. Great rule! Not that you were going to change it anyway, but I totally support it. In addition to TV, my mom had to force me to put down my books and go outside to play, just like Kate. As an adult, I cut myself off from cable about 10 years ago because I would watch useless crap just because it was on. My friends think I’m weird.

  397. Oh no. You, my dear, are sweet and kind. My children are still doing schoolwork each morning (I homeschool.. year round..). Daddy goes to work? So do children (thankfully, school work is only about 2 hours for the oldest!). We don’t watch T.V. We have a small assortment of educational videos. It’s the one video game that is begged of, and it only gets played after a full day of other enjoyments.
    Can’t wait till the girls get big enough to give me lip on this, too.

  398. I’m right there with you. My five-year-old has limited “screen time” (computer, Wii, and television all count). Tonight he lost all screen privileges, as he was mouthy to his daycare provider. He was told if he spent the evening being such a noodge he would lose all screen time tomorrow too.
    I’m such a big meanie.

  399. The rules are even worse at my house- no TV until 7pm in the summer. Unless it’s raining and yuckt and then we might allow a video. I HATE seeing them inside on the couch on a precious summer day.Have been known to send them out to pull weeds, poor dears.

  400. Hrmph. Tell the ladies they should be glad they don’t live here. The only TV is Netflixed in, and there’s a daily limit of around 1/2 hour, give or take. When the kids get lucky we watch a movie all the way through in one sitting.
    No TV until after 4 p.m.? Oh, the horror. πŸ˜‰
    You think your children would have figured out by now where they got the stubborn gene. Well, maybe not. Mine haven’t, yet.

  401. My daughter is 2 and she’s allowed a whopping 30 minutes of tv a day. That’s usually when I make lunch or dinner. On the weekends we’ll lay on the floor in the evenings and watch a Disney movie, but that’s about once a week.
    Yes, there are far better things to do with our time than watch tv. Stand firm, momma!

  402. We have a similar one (tv only after homework and only an hour at most). We also have fights about:
    Every other kid on the planet has a tv in their room.
    All the other parents let their kids have gameboys/nintendos/playstations/xboxes.
    Noone takes a car/train/plane trip without a cd player/ipod.
    But I really really really like (fill in name of sugar and/or caffeine filled drink here).
    At least you’re not the only insane and tyrannical mother out there.

  403. Tell them that you have found a mom meaner than you. I have banned the tv for the entire summer. It is actually working out well. The speech regarding how crazy and mean I am is getting more interesting. He’s becoming more creative. The no tv thing is benefitting him already.

  404. My parents and brother used to write up contracts all the time to resolve The TV Fight. TV rules are everywhere.

  405. TV fight……LOL….I don’t mean to laugh at the “fight”. Several years ago our oldest son refused to obey the no tv rule. He was addicted to the “box”. So on a cold January day my husband decided to have the cable disconnected to teach him to find constructive things to do with his time. The husband quickly realized that he had the tv disconnected exactly 6 days prior to the Super Bowl Football Game. Given he is an avid football fan it was then necessary for him to find a place that did not restrict television access. His mother obliged.
    This was the year of the Blizzard…. all winter! With snow measured in feet living in a rural area, the kids were off school more than they were in.
    The kids learned to read more, play games (without fighting), knit and weave. We baked quite a few loaves of bread and cookies and they all learned they could live without tv.
    Now if only the football fan husband had learned the same lesson.

  406. You know what the cure all for TV fights is, right? Lose the TV. I’ve been TV-free for a few years as an adult and I never had it as a kid and I think I get so much more done this way. AND, I can talk about things other than American Idol. πŸ™‚

  407. They should be glad they don’t have *my* hippie freak parents, who got rid of the TV altogether until after I went to college! (I didn’t even have siblings to fight with!)

  408. Stand your ground!! I have 3 boys, previously teens, and when the “but all the other mothers [fill in the blank]” was spoken, my response has always been: “I guess they don’t love their kids as much as I love you”. That usually shut them up….

  409. My mother was the furthest thing from hippy freak you can imagine (and still is.)
    We were allowed to watch 1/2 hour TV program per day.
    Those would be the summers I spent reading and walking the dog. When was the last time I could read until I was sodden with words? Uh-huh.
    Stand firm.
    And we all just think your kids are hilarious. Not that they would find this persuasive, but if they throw the other moms thing at you, you can always tell them you had 500 posts telling you not to let them watch TV.

  410. We had similar rule when I was growing up, except that the TV didn’t go on until after dinner.
    I’ve more than made up for lost TV hours since becoming an adult. It’s often on if I’m home in the daytime…. not that there’s much of anything to watch!

  411. I don’t have kids yet but i plan to instigate the rule for them from day 1. I don’t watch TV during the day so why should they?

  412. Yeah. My mother had a rule. You couldn’t leave your room to do anything on Saturday until you cleaned your room spotless. It didn’t matter if the party of the universe was happening. Then it was outside all day. Then we could watch TV in the evenings.

  413. if it makes you feel any better, every time you mention one of your “tyrannical” mothering rules, i consider writing them down for when i have children. you’re wonderful!

  414. Bless you…even though I am one of those horrible “other mothers” I still like to hold you up as a roll model for when I get my s— together and become a better person. (Besides–I still turn the tv off sometimes and shoo them all outside….)

  415. When I was 9 years old, my parents got rid of the TV, and I put up quite a fight about it. But now I realize that removing the accursed thing from our home was one of the best things my parents ever did for me. I have even thanked them!

  416. Tenacious, I am familiar with it. My 3 year old could take down the most hardened criminals with her non-stop tv demands.

  417. Clever!
    Over 400 comments affirming that your kids are lucky to have a hippy freak mother who cares about her kids, sets rules, and expects them to not waste their lives.

  418. I love the rule- I can report being added to that list of Horrible mom’s who are not letting kids watch tv all day! Woo Hooo!
    I am encouraging mine to knit or even spin – but I do believe they are choosing the “lie on the floor prostrate with grief and fury” activity for next several weeks of summer vacation.

  419. Excellent rule! TV is a total brain suck. Show your kids all the replies you’re received about this and THEN let them argue with you.
    I covet your sweater with a most intense and powerful yearning.

  420. The worst part of my TV Fight: I have to fight the rule with my partner. Although he has filled in her schedule with soccer games and coaching and whatever else – when i tried to apply that rule to dinner time, he called me a control freak !!!

  421. the rule Rules. I have 4 kids…aged 14 to 5 we have no television.

  422. I have not read the previous 400-plus comments. I do however completely agree with your rule and have a similar one in my home in which I am not even the mother of the two teenagers that hang out there on a regular basis. No TV before 5 pm, summer or winter, period. It’s barbaric. Of course, they get around me by watching movies on their computers, but at least I don’t have to see or hear them. Hey, we live in a loft – what one person watches. we all watch, like it or not. You hang tough, hippie mom!

  423. I’m missing something here. Why is that forced reading (one person mentions a child weeping over her book) followed by television is supposed to lead to a love of reading? I was allowed unlimited television, so it was no big deal — I frequently read and watched television at the same time. “The Mother’s Almanac” answered “How can I make my child love reading” with “Give them flashlights and forbid them to read in bed.”
    Steph’s rule seems dandy, as does getting rid of the box. Forced reading with the box as reward…dubious psychology. (Cowards post after the 400 level.)

  424. Stay strong. I hold fast to the belief that if your teenagers scream- I HATE YOU!! It means you are doing it right. Slamming their bedroom doors also is a good sign. It means, I know you are right but I will eat poop before I admit it. Teenagers are sent to punish us for the things we did to our mothers. This too shall pass- a mantra a neighbor repeatedly told me. She was right. It passed and now they are 3 wonderful adults. I will sit back and laugh the first time one of their children says,”I hate you”. Then I will tell them they are doing it right.
    Now repeat to yourself,”This too shall pass”. Repeat as needed.

  425. Oh no, the tv rule is a good one, and fair! It’s not like they can’t watch it at all, they just aren’t allowed to zone out in front of it all day. And neither was I when I was younger. I cleaned the house, worked, read, drew, (and sometimes wrote horrible poetry about MY mother lol) but it was good for me. They will understand eventually.

  426. I totally agree! In our house my kids are limited to TV while I exercise and shower (about an hour) in the morning. Then the TV goes off for the rest of the day. There are so many other things they can do to entertain themselves that there is no need for them to sit in front of the TV all day “rotting their brains” (that is what we call too much TV at our house).

  427. You go, girl. I have the last two of 8 kids home full time(and a part timer…college girl). The younger ones are allowed 15 minutes a day on the ‘puter, and one hour of N64 or GameCube. They aren’t much for tv(though every few months they put out a desperate search for Redwall). The college girl is at rehearsal for Twelfth Night, the 11yo is writing her first novel, and the 8 yo ran in circles in the yard creating a story and acting it out till it was too dark to see. My oldest kids were not allowed lots of tv either, though they do think I am harsh with my “no tv week”…the first week of the month. My kids are voracious readers, all. Lack of tv never hurt any of us(I came up in the ’60s, where you spent all summer outdoors). We do like our Netflix, and during the school year(we homeschool) there are Math dvd’s the girls can watch during the day to cement a lesson. Mean Mothers Unite!!!

  428. you go “hippy freak”! and hang strong!!! although i try and try again to live by your very same summertime TV rule in my home, i am not always successful. but just knowing i am not alone in the fight makes me stronger! just tell your girls i know of a family who only allows TV on weekends AND they stick to that rule! EEK!

  429. What a great rule! I’ll have to stockpile this in in the “How-The-World-Will-Turn-Around-My-Master-Plan” list of items I plan to instate when I become a parent. Currently, we refuse to pay for cable tv and since we live in a rural area don’t get many channels, so tv watching isn’t a big part of our lives. Taking that into consideration, the Hubby states an excellent argument for you to share with your kids, “There’s nothing good on before 4 anyway.”

  430. Being closer to the teenager side than the mother’s, I’d have to say that I would have really, really hated a TV rule like that. I might’ve just slept all the time as a comeback.
    I watched tons of TV and I like to think that I turned out okay.

  431. Tell your daughters that there are seven children in a home in California that- gasp- don’t even have a television. And they’re alive. And thriving πŸ˜€

  432. Actually, I have it on very good authority that I hold the Meanest Mom Title. Sorry…

  433. Don’t give in!
    I am the offspring of a mean mother. Although we didn’t have a tv (so it was other issues she was mean about), I am still grateful to this day that I learned how to amuse myself and have never been bored.
    And I naturally was a mean mother to my children. We lived for many years in an area where there was no tv reception and we never had cable tv once it became available. We just never watched much tv. The only time my kids saw popular tv programs was when they were at their friends’ house. Of course they complained occasionally. And said they would never be so mean to their children.
    And now I have grandchildren. My daughter put their tv away when they had a child. Their daughter has never watched tv or gone to the movies. And she’s a delightful child. She loves to play outside and to read books.
    My son’s daughters, on the other hand, have grown up on videos and tv. They don’t know how to play. They don’t read as much as they ought to. They are constantly bored and whining.
    No tv is a gift to your children.

  434. As I use to tell my children:
    When I was a child my parents got to make all the rules. They were the adults and I was the child. That’s the way the world works.
    Now that I’m the adult, I get to make all the rules. All of them are mine to decide. I waited many many years to be able to make the rules and now that it’s my turn I plan to make as many or as few as I please.
    I know you are not happy with this whole rule situation. Following other people’s rules doesn’t always fit in with our own wants and needs. But take heart children. One day when you are older and wiser you may have children of your own. And when you do then you’ll get your chance to make the rules. And the cycle of life and all it’s rule making will continue.

  435. OK, I’m about the bizillionth comment, but here goes. I’m the sixth of eight kids and we didn’t have tv, that I can remember, until I was about 5 or so. I can recall being excited seeing it get set up. I believe back then we had 3 or 4 stations and what we watched was chosen by our parents–meaning whatever they wanted to watch. I missed all of Laugh-In, and you never saw so many kids head for the door at the same time as when Lawrence Welk came on!! Wild Kingdom and The Wonderful World of Disney would find most of us sitting and watching together. But playing outside was stlll far superior to being kept in. Library books were another good pastime.
    There’s so much drivel on tv now that I can’t stand watching regular network programming, and the commercials make me want to throw things at them. So if there’s nothing on Animal Planet, Discovery, or PBS I want to watch, I’ll check out what’s on Showtime. I’m usually not impressed, and off goes the tv; I check emails, read a knitting blog I’ve become fond of πŸ˜€ , then off goes the computer and music goes on to knit to. (This is late for me, but I said there were a bizillion comments!) I was recently diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, and during a flare that had me home from work and unable to knit (TORTURE, sheer TORTURE!) I tried to sit and watch tv during the day. I swear my brain started to ooze out my ears! I did read a certain knitting journey book cover to cover. Much better.
    Tell those children of “the meanest mom in the world” that they can watch what you choose and guaranteed they’ll be out faster than we were when the Eddie Arnold records were played!!! “Cattle Call” could clear a room faster than ol’ Mr Welk!!!

  436. You can tell your kids, not that they’ll care one bit, that there are 3 kids in California whose mother got rid of their TV. And to add insult to injury, said mother is a school librarian with year round access to thousands of books which she wants them to read during the summer. These deprived kids are allowed 1/2 hour a day of Nintendo time. Otherwise, they must use their imagination and brains to create their own fun.

  437. You know what? Definitely not the meanest mother.
    My mother didn’t allow TV during the summer. At all. We unplugged it.

  438. Now I’m a seasoned, experienced, Wild-Eyed Crazy Freaky Hippie GRANDMA, and I’m here to tell you, (ALL of you, in fact) that you’re right. I think TV can have many advantages; there are good programs. But do be selective. I feel confident in saying that no kid EVER actually died from NOT watching television (mine are still alive). I created a wild panic at my son’s home by announcing (when I arrived to babysit) “Grandma doesn’t do TV” and turned it off. My grandsons (ages 3 and 5) gave me a Greek Tragedy performance unequalled since 11 A.D. Then we played tric-trac, read books and colored until they fell asleep. And they didn’t die either. I’m going again next week and I already have the pile of games and books to take.
    Stephanie, you Hippie Freaky Mother you….ROCK ON. (Those girls WILL thank you one day – I promise you.)

  439. This cracked me up. It’s amazing that anyone would choose to have the TV fight every.single.day. when they COULD be doing something productive like putting away their laundry!

  440. 4:00 o’clock – Man you are NICE!!!!
    We still have 4 – 5 more hours of daylight!!!! Seriously, you could pull out the MATH books and games that will send them running outside!

  441. Also, I’m a little disappointed that they didn’t think of anything more creative than the old “you’re mean” and “everyone else’s mom…” How about these?
    -I’m very concerned about harmful UV rays outside.
    -This is really hindering my future career as a media critic.
    -Recent studies suggest that regular viewing of episodic television can provide significant emotional benefits (OK, not as good as friendship, but better than nothing… πŸ™‚
    -But Mom, all the good educational programs on basal gangliomas in the African killer bee are on between 11 and 1!

  442. Death to all TVs. Someday they’ll be the world’s champions, loudly fighting against televisions. [the other five of us need some backup, so I hope I’m right.] Besides, everyone knows that early bedtimes and curfews are what make a truly insane and cruel mother. Also, the one where they don’t let you pierce your ears, wear makeup or shave your legs until an absolutely enfeebled age like 13.
    When did “hippy” and “strict” become synonymous, by the way?

  443. You rock! Of course now my kids will hate you because I’m ready to have some new TV rules of my own! By the way…does “TV” include video games? I think it should.
    Be strong.
    r

  444. here, it’s not the tv fight, it’s the playstation 2 fight. that’s the difference between teenage boys and teenage girls, lol. who gets to play. who gets to choose the game. who has been grounded from it. (i use it as a consequence, particularly for the 13 year old) the big fight is “don’t take my game time, i’ll behave, honest!” it’s a rare day that i don’t take game time (we’re a month out from school going back, and i’m sure they’re both desperately bored).
    tv isn’t so much of an issue. they’d rather play, lol.
    (august 22, i keep praying for it)
    and no, you’re not the worst mother in the world. i am!

  445. ROTFLMAO! Well, as the evil stepmonster I thought I had a lock on the “meanest” anything. We had tv rules with the kids too, no tv before homework was done and checked by the adult at home, and most often we had baseball or soccer practice, dance or art class or something else going on. They’ll be ok without it.
    Growing up as a military brat, no tv… hmmm, somehow I’ve survived and have been much more adaptable by having to go out and meet people, actually hold conversations with them…. you go girl!

  446. Little chance anyone will get down this far, but I wish I had your intestinal fortitude! I missed the chance to start this when my kids were smaller (that kid who showed my oldest the Power Rangers all those years ago – it was the beginning of the end) and now I don’t have the energy or time (working nights and all that). They do all read voraciously and watch some PBS, but they sneak in enough drek in between. Maybe some day they will win a trivia contest or something.
    And of course, there is a song for the occasion: Bill Harley’s “Dad Threw the TV Out the Window” – says it all. Maybe that’s what I should do….

  447. I’m another awful mom. There are a lot of us. I can still remember one of my kids at age 8 wanting to run away to his friends house where he was sure they had no chores.
    The worst thing about tv is the blank expression on everyone’s face when they watch. Scientists have found your brain is equally blank, almost nothing is going on. While you read your brain is active all over as well as while doing almost every other activity, even sleeping.
    They will thank you one day.

  448. I think it’s awesome! I’m a 30-something person who grew up without a TV. OK wait, we DID have a TV but we watched the same three movies over and over. And occassionally we would get together with friends and rent movies. But we were poor and this was minimal.
    What I’m trying to say here is there was very little TV watching when I was a kid. And I don’t regret it at all! We read. A LOT. We had this cool thing called The Bookmobile that came out to our rural area once a month (what library?) and everyone in the community was allowed to pick out ten or 15 books each. We took a box with us and filled it up. And yes, we read every book. Even the ones Mom picked out!
    In the end, it impacted us greatly. So, go read a book I say! Or play outside! (I could keep going on and on and on….)

  449. πŸ™‚ – there’s an English actor – I think it is Victoria Roberts – who remembered that the family TV was made to wear a raincoat for the summer months. Therefore it could not be switched on at all. She says that she was quite old when she eventually realised that not everyone’s television set had to wear a raincoat – but by then she was used to it!

  450. Your kids will be fine! I grew up in a no TV house. We had no TV (unless required for class) from 8 years old till we left for college. Yeah, so I don’t know that episode of Gilligan’s Island. I think I will live.

  451. I’m with you, I don’t get it either, you would think that by now they would know how this fight will end and yet they persist. Honestly, there isn’t anything on television before 6:00 worth watching anyway, I don’t know what they think they are missing out on. Soldier on Steph, fight the good fight, and know you’re not the only one fighting the battle of summer TV.

  452. I knew a girl growing up whose parents didn’t let her or her siblings watch any TV AT ALL. Never. They had a TV but only turned it on during emergencies (like earthquakes, riots, floods…) or the occasional royal wedding, shuttle launch or otherwise history-making event.
    Of course I thought they were all wierd but now I totally get it. None of them had a weight problem, they all played instruments, talked at dinner and all of them (kids too) are still married. I can’t say that about anyone in in my family.

  453. wow, did everyone here grow up without a tv or at least with severely restricted access to it??
    i’m going to go ahead and be brave: i LOVE tv!! my parents never restricted my tv viewing- they only told me to shut it off if i was watching it hour after hour. i definitely watched my fair share of it, and i still do!
    makes me feel like an anomaly though, considering i’ve always loved to read, did great in school, had (and still have) an active imagination, and rarely complained of boredom during those long summers as a kid.
    i can definitely understand wanting to make sure one’s kids don’t spend their entire childhood in front of the tv, especially in the summer when there’s so much else to do, but let’s also remember that tv is not the devil πŸ™‚

  454. Ah, I think you’re slacking in the “hippy freak mother” department. In order to compete with my mother, you’d solve the TV fight by moving so far out in the sticks that there is no reception or cable. Of course, that cuts down on the YMCA, library, park, etc that can be done by the pre-driving set. SO my mother and I had the “Phone Fight.”
    And yes, she always won. And is still winning, judging by the slightly gloating tone she takes when I vent about my children’s stubborn streak to her.

  455. I will say that the only time I watched a lot of TV, I also got a huge amount of knitting done. Otherwise, it makes me insane (I accidentally typoed “inane” and that too…) to have the constant chatter of a television on. I’d love to impose that rule on my own daughter now – except she’s 26 with kids of her own, so it’s too late.

  456. Tell your children that because you set the rule, it shows that you do give a crap about what they do. When I was younger, I had the TV to watch whenever and however long I like. It was fine. But looking back now, the reason why I got to watch as much TV as I’d like was because my parents were never home to care. The extent of our relationship was them driving as I slept in the car or the massive yelling/screaming/crying/hitting fights that we’d have. But it doesn’t stop me from resenting them now when they try to show they care by limiting my movements. We have a different situation than you and your daughters do. XD
    I say let them watch, but they have to do something else while doing it. You get the compromise of letting them watch but you also make them do something else. But if you give in to the compromise, you do end up losing respect and they’re going to battle you for everything else in hope that you’ll cave.

  457. If you want to know evil, mean, and truely nasty just listen to some of the things I have done to unsuspecting children that have been entrusted to my babysitting care:
    First off, while they aren’t looking move the clocks ahead. Time flies when you are having fun watching T.V. Conversly, if they are doing chores, move the clock back.
    Next trick I use on the boyfriend (an old child in adult clothes!) This one took him 2 weeks to figure out – alter the remote. You can take out the batteries, put in a dead set or just replace it with an imposter from another device.
    Lastly, just unplugging the TV from the wall but rigging the cord so that it looks plugged in is also a good one for the T.V. Addict. It is too much to actually get up and investigate the malfunction.
    I have also partially removed the antenna to prevent good reception.
    Now, when the world comes to an end due to no TV just tell the little darlings that they are welcome to purchase one with their own hard earned money.
    If all else fails let them “build” a TV out of a cardboard box and make a scroll story on a roll of paper to entertain the family on a special night. This should scare them outdoors for a couple of hours.
    Evil, Mean & Crazy Hippy

  458. No way can you be the meanest mom because my son is 20 so that means I’ve been the meanest mom longer! When I was a kid my mom would kick us out of the house after chores in the morning and we couldn’t come back until lunch unless you needed the bathroom, your bathing suit, if you were deathly ill, bleeding profusely or something similar that required emergency maternal medical care. Then you had a good excuse LOL! After lunch there was a repeat until dinner, and after dinner you went back out until it was dark. There were swarms of kids in our neighborhood and everyone else’s parent was obeyed like they were your parent. It was very safe and we had a great time. So you just continue in your quest of smart well rounded kids. We’re behind you 100%. It looks like all you readers are mean mommies too. Following in my mother’s footsteps, I know I am LOL!

  459. Stick to your principles! Along with what I’ll bet is every other responder, I, too, was a mean mother. Now I have grown-up children who are thoughtful about what they watch and have other ways to spend their time. my daughter knits and sews, like me, too. They all READ. If they ever have kids, they will inherit the battle. Only they will have to limit game-playing and computer time, too. I don’t envy them for a moment.

  460. YOU are NOT the meanest mom, according to my daughter that title goes to ME. While I flinch sometimes on the inside, I still win the TV fight. Mine don’t get to watch TV at all, we have not had one for years. And in the summer I make them do something useful each day, they get to choose it, but it must be useful for someone other than themselves. THAT is TORTURE and TOTALLY unfair.

  461. You are not alone! I can top you for world’s worst mother. We don’t have cable, which means we don’t get a single channel of television. Our TV exists only for the DVD player and the Playstation, and neither of those can be used after dinner.

  462. I’m 20. Which is worse – having that fight with your kids or someone your own age?

  463. Hey, I have the same TV rules…welcome to the club! πŸ™‚ I’m glad I’m not the only one! πŸ™‚ Hang in there! Hippy Freak Moms RULE!!!! πŸ™‚

  464. We limit computer use to 45 minutes a day during the school year and 2 45 minutes sessions in the summer (and they have to write a few sentences in a blog during that time). Apparently I’m such a horrendous mother that my children have given up the fight to watch tv because they rarely ask anymore. I’m sure they get a lot of sympathy mileage from their friends. My strategy when I see them idle this summer is to remind them that the county fair is coming up and they could have more things to enter.

  465. As seen by the comments you are not at all the only one in the world, you are not crazy and the rules are not insane… on the contrary you are doing your teenagers a big favour.

  466. One too many TV fights and we gave away the TV. Didn’t replace it for at least 2 years. The involved kid is now living without a TV by her choice and has for most of her adult life. Our current TV usually on has dust on it, sometimes a DVD and a few times a year a TV show – most often the news.

  467. No way are you the worst mother in the world. Just think, if every mother pulled the 4 o’clock rule, how much less obesity in children there would be; and how much more their ability to read, knit (of course) and entertain themselves would be. (“Muumm, I’m bored” – my response? “Only boring people get bored!” Me? I’m never bored – there’s my knitting, approx 5 projects at any given time, and my spinning, also approx 5 projects! Not to mention reading.)
    Stand strong – us meanest mums need to stick together!

  468. Apparently, there’s been some revisionist history of the sixties and seventies going on amongst the younger generation. As I recall, the deal with hippies and parenthood was about permissiveness, not restriction. I’d be willing to bet that the main reason their kids didn’t watch TV was because they had no electricty in their converted VW (or school) bus as opposed to a philosophical desire to control their every move. And in general, they weren’t particularly impressed with improving the mind through classical means, i.e., actually using it, rather than just chemically altering it. (I have teenagers too, and I just can’t resist correcting their poorly informed misconceptions about “other mothers” and life in general. Sorry if this comes off a little stuffy. It just bugs me when my kids use inaccurate insults to try to manipulate me into caving in on whatever the conflict of the moment might be. Also, it drives them crazy when I change the subject from what I’m not allowing them to do, to a lesson on semantics, history, or whatever. The best part of being a mom: driving your teenagers crazy with your own idiosyncratic behavior.)

  469. Good!!! They need to go outside and play… my generation missed that bit and now I’m regretting it and love spending a lot of time outside! Make them go outside and play games… tv is boring πŸ™‚

  470. When my oldest daughter was a teenager, I was the meanest mother on the planet, including those that eat their young. At one point she said something like, you just want to make my life miserable. So I agreed, told her that that was my whole purpose in life and I was trying really hard to do a good job of it. She told me I was doing a wonderful job! ;-))) This to will pass. I got really smart when she got married and had kids!!!

  471. If only TV was the only issue….unfortunately, kids are too “wired”…computer, video games, ipod, TV. If you shut off one thing, they go to the next. They don’t even know what it’s like to be without it anymore, they would have to be trained to do without.
    My parents played cardgames and boardgames with us, we went hiking on the weekends, the TV was black and white and there was no programming on (supposedly!) before 4 pm. Other than that, we simply went outside to play and hang out with all the neighborhood kids!
    My kids now too love playing games and being otherwise creative…well, one of them at least. My teenage son does like his video games and yes I do yell at him about it quite a bit.
    The only time I worry about being strict with my kids like that is that they will find a way. Like when they go to someone’s house, and the TV is on there, all the time…
    Anyway, I am 100% behind you.

  472. stand firm! Your TV Rule makes perfect sense to this mother who also has a similar rule.
    They will appreciate it later (even if they never tell you).

  473. Every time I get access to cable I find myself sitting in front of the TV for at least 4 hours. I felt gross, fat, boring, and dumb. I’ll be getting a TV again soon, and that thing will spend most of its time unplugged (or with the power strip turned off).

  474. I have one tv, no cable and no reception. I also have no children, but I am taking notes so I can go for the “World’s Worst Mom Championship Cup”.
    Be strong!

  475. We don’t watch any TV at all, school or no. There are too many other great things to do than sit and rot in front of junk.
    You’re far more lenient about TV usage than I am!

  476. What?
    My only rule for the school holidays: I will not serve lunch to anyone still in their pyjamas.
    My three can watch tv when they want to, and it turns out that there’s not much they want to watch. They’re much more discerning in their tv choices than I ever was.
    But we do make them go to bed earlier than ANYONE ELSE DOES.
    All kids need rules, and the fact that there are rules matters way more than what the rules actually are.

  477. no TV is fine. the other thing to remember is that they may SAY that you’re the meanest mom in the world, and that other moms think you’re crazy, but I bet if you talked to those moms, they would think you were pretty darn normal. i don’t have teens, but i work with them, and they tend to “hear” (mis-hear?) some pretty interesting things.

  478. I don’t suppose your daughters would like to hear that you’re quite lenient compared to me! I’ve always been strict about how much my, now 17 year old, son could watch. He seldom watches TV even now when he is older. On September 1st Finland TV will be going digital which means buying digital equipment. When I suggested that we give up TV instead of buying it, he wanted to know how I would survive! (Now if only he didn’t sit so much in front of the computer.)

  479. Did this post strike a cord? Hmmm. My computer wouldn’t let me comment yesterday when there were only 60 or so other comments (I think it felt threatened). Today there’s a great Diane Flacks no-tv column in the Globe and Mail…more humour on the topic.

  480. That sounds vaguely like the discussion I had with teenage boys last night about my tyrannical rule. That when I’m doing all the laundry, shopping, cooking, etc., it’s not “slave labor” to expect them to clean the bathroom once a week. And I don’t have “unreasonable expectations of perfection” when it looks like 247 people have used said room. And my personal favorite…I “harass them about it” because I “enjoy it”.

  481. Hee! Great post! When I was a teenager, my school assigned 6-8 books we had to read over the summer then be tested on our first day of class. That ate up some of that tv watching time!
    Back to an earlier post of yours regarding losing all of the data on your computer. I heard this ad on the radio and thought you would have a pretty decent shot at winning the grand prize. Go to http://www.carbonite.com/sirius and tell them your story – you could win 5 years of free offsite back up plus a laptop. (I have no affiliation with this company…I seriously just heard the ad this morning and thought of you.)
    Happy summer!

  482. My poor children had not only a hippy mom but an even hippier dad. He despises the television and thinks of it as some conspiracy by the government to control the masses.
    When they were younger, they were only allowed to watch educational TV in limited quantities. As Teens, they just didn’t seem so interested in it. Of course there wasn’t a gazillion channels back then.
    Now as adults, neither one of them is very interested in television. My son doesn’t own one. He watches DVDs on his laptop. My daughter has netflix so she can watch any of the television series she likes. They both are very social and have many other interests.
    While growing up, I heard the “Joey’s mom lets him do …” I would answer with, I’m not Joey’s mom. And if I were, I wouldn’t let him do … either.
    My children really appreciate that I was firm. I think it is one of the things lacking in parenting today. It’s easier to plop your kid in front of the “glass teat” as my husband would call it.

  483. When reasonable discussions failed, I reminded my kids that I was competing in the Meanest Mother in the World Contest. (They usually gave me good odds on winning.)

  484. I wanted to assure you that you are not the only “bad” mommy. I see now that we are many. My boys (10 & 14) are going to hate this. I have read all of the other comments and gotten lots of new ideas of ways to “ruin” my boys summer. I especially liked the reading time = video game time. All kidding aside, it is lovely to see how many of us are willing to fight to make our kids better people.

  485. Hmm. If you were the only mother with a tyrannical abusive anti-TV rule, then surely they’d be able to find a sympathetic neighbour friend whose TV they could watch? I’m just sayin’.

  486. I have a rule like this and I have little kids. They get to watch a little in the morning while I get them something to eat and change little peoples britches. They it goes off and they have to go play. They can watch a little in the afternoon when it is too hot to play or the bugs are eating them alive and they have to come in, but about 2 hours a day is what they get. You aren’t the only mom in the world, I wasn’t allowed to watch tv during the day in summer. πŸ˜‰

  487. Aww your the worlds coolest mom! Don’t let them tell you otherwise. I think it’s a good rule and this is coming from someone who is probably pretty close in age to your oldest. Just remind them there is nothing worth watching during the day anyway (of course that often holds true at night too)

  488. I say carry on. A few years ago my son’s friends voted me both “toughest mom” and “coolest mom”. I took both as a huge compliment, especially the combination of the two.

  489. I just have to add my comments to this mountain of support for your efforts/battles. I was, with out a doubt, the meanest mom in the world for curtailing TV watching, making my boys explain what they had just watched and describe the impact on others who may be watching it (heaven forbid you should actually have to “talk” to your parents). And then, to make their little lives even worse, I didn’t let them get a drivers license until they got good grades and didn’t *give* them a car just like every other parent did. I was so mean I drove them to school and activities and picked them up (a 25 mile trip one way) and I would call their friends parents to introduce myself. The tragedy of it all!
    Two years after graduating my oldest wrote me a letter thanking me for all I did and for not bending to his whinning. Hang in there…it’s all so very worth it.

  490. My mom’s rule was worse:
    I ONLY CAN SEE 1 TV PROGRAM A DAY!
    I may choose which one I really need to see.
    You can say it to your children.
    πŸ™‚

  491. You really hit a nerve! I just scanned through over 500 comments. Impressive support system, this blogging. TV arguments are into their third generation now (luckily we had none when I was a child, and had none for our children, but I see problems coming up for my grandson whose dad will never get rid of his tv). My daughter will be happy to see your post and all the super comments!
    p.s. What I’d like to know is, what the HECK is wrong with being a hippie freak mom?!

  492. Keep the TV off, I think it’s a great rule. When I tell my daughter no TV she then asks to play a video game, when I say no to that she asks to play a computer game and on and on it goes. Now the rule is nothing that has batteries or needs to be plugged (with some exceptions like the lite-bright) until after a certain hour. And, if she continually pesters me about it, the hour moves and gets later and later. It doesn’t always avoid the TV fight but it does often nip it in the bud when I remind her what the constant questioning will get (or not get) her.
    Besides, summer here (Vermont), like summer there is about 5 minutes long and then winter comes back. Let’s enjoy it while we can!

  493. Adding my two cents here–you should have millions of dollars worth of 2 cent comments by now! We just took an across country road trip with our kids and we didn’t bring, nor do we even own, a partable DVD player. I just decided that if they were going to watch movies the whole way instead of seeing the country, we might as well not go. To my kids’ credit, they never even asked about it.
    That’s not to say that we don’t have that exact same fight about television. Every. Single. Day.
    Every. Single. Day.
    Sigh,
    Barb

  494. Yes I am such a mean mom, my son keeps saying he is going to get another one(He is five). If we are driving at the time I pull over and ask if he wants to get out so he can start looking. (That usually gets him to think a bit and decide he can live with me).
    Also my most common response to his complaints is that when he grows up and is a Dad, he can make up all the rules, until then I’M THE BOSS!! End of story.

  495. This is great!!! LOL.
    I find you post so refreshing I am a mother of a 14 year old step daughter.
    I see your tiffs are cleary no diff than mine. Except I get compared to (disney Bio) mom. And you have just given me the strength to say.
    I can live with it. TOO.
    I also have 2 boys of my own so the rules apply to everyone. Except she sulks more.

  496. i’ve been tv-free most of my life. we only had the cbc growing up and since I moved away 10 years ago, i’ve only ever had a computer for watching movies.
    Three years ago, I was at work and a colleague asked me if I had seen “such-and-such-a-show” last night. I said, “nope, we don’t have a tv”. she didn’t say anything.
    about 10 minutes later, we were talking about some crafting that I had done, a sweater I had finished, some curtains I had made and some baking I had done, and she exclaimed: “how on earth do you have time to do all these things, plus go to school, plus work?” and I said “I don’t have a tv”.
    she just looked at me astonished. “I mean, really? like you don’t have a tv at all? what do you DO?”
    I replied: “knit sweaters, make curtains, cook, do all these things, plus go to school, plus work!”
    People with television don’t realize how much time gets sucked into it. Even at an hour a day, that’s seven hours a week, 28 hours a month- a whole day a month watching television! gack!
    Your children will thank you. TRUST ME!

  497. Growing up, if it rained, and we whined about nothing to do, my mother set us to doing things like stringing buttons into sets with crochet cotton. When she passed away, my brother called to ask if I wanted her tea pots. I said I thought he wanted the tea pots . . . I wanted her buttons. His response, “You can have those d— buttons!” We always had art supplies and books, and I was lucky enough to sew and crochet at those times. Poor me . . . didn’t learn to knit till high school.
    I finally got over the shock of hearing my mother’s words come out of my mouth as my sons grew. Now, I’m stunned when I hear myself say things my dad said about the government! Life repeats itself in many ways every generation.

  498. You. Must. Not. Give. In. Resist.
    Being prescient, we stopped this fight before their birth by getting rid of the TV and not allowing another one in the house, not even computer DVD’s. We do allow books on CD. We allow farm work and bike riding and raiding the garden and building forts and all the other things 6 year olds should do with their time. TV messes with my mental health.

  499. well, i have just finished reading your whole blog. i read casts off and knitting rules first. i laughed out loud more than once and scared the muggles i live with. if you ever get to arizona again, i am so there.
    it took me over a year to get over my Second Sock Syndrome and i have now completed 3 pair and am almost through the 4th. love it. wish i did not have to work so i could just knit all day.
    you rock.
    juliet

  500. Ha! I love it. (Not that you are loving it right now.) Your rule seems smart to me – and being able to go paint or run around or read or just take a summer afternoon nap seems like bliss right now – and was when I was younger, too.
    As others have said – one day they’ll be passing it on to their kids. “No, you cannot use the Remote Virtual Reality Helmet all day today! Go experience the sunlight!”

  501. Oh dear. What could they possibly find worth watching before 4pm in the summer? Maybe it’s different in Canada, but pretty much all I can think of is The Price is Right, and you’re lucky if you come across a rerun of CHiPS.

  502. So do they test the 4pm rule, and hover around the remote starting at 3:56pm? Or do they usually find something else to do that lasts until after 4pm?

  503. Almost forgot . . . one of my friends said she was so proud of the rest of us, she could bust. We were all at our annual trip to the American Quilt Society Show in Paducah, Kentucky, and were having a “show and tell” with another group of gals. One of them was anxious to report that another was the aunt of a girl on a “reality” show. We all just sat and looked at her, because we didn’t know who this poor girl was. There isn’t anything “real” in reality TV!

  504. Bravo to you for putting limitaions on the TV! My parents did too & I barley watch it at all now that I’m an adult. My life is full & wonderful without it. Although I suppose if I watched more tv I’d have more time to knit. πŸ˜‰

  505. Hooray for you winning the war once again! I just dropped my girls off at sleepaway camp yesterday and laughed heartily while they complained about all of the shows they’d miss while they are away. I also refused all pleas to record this or that. Somehow, I think they’ll get over missing their shows.

  506. dudes, occupy ur time until 4, that’s not a really long time especially since it’s summer time and u don’t have to get up at 7am
    geez, I could do my shower, hair, clothing, and make up until 4-I don’t but I could–maybe that’s not a good thing to admit

  507. I was also a “mean mother” but my kids (now 23 and 20) thank me for “making them _____” (fill in the blank. You hang on to your TV rules. So, how many more days until school starts? πŸ™‚

  508. Well, I’m a mother and we don’t even HAVE a TV set in our house! I admit my kids are still little, but I’m firmly set to persist in this no TV thing, as I really don’t want my kids to waist their lives in front of the thing AND I think they might one day thank me for that πŸ™‚ Keep it up!

  509. I’ll be amazed if you manage to wade through this sea of response, but it certainly underscores that you are not alone in thinking there are other things to do with your brain than…well, nothing. (Your girls will NOT be pleased, I am sure!)
    We didn’t have a TV for most of our growing up years, and I remember our peers regularly reacting to that news with shock and disbelief, sure THEY would not survive such deprived conditions. We were always a bit puzzled by this reaction since we were so busy doing other stuff that we really would not have had time to spend hours in front of the tube…
    …and like some of your other readers, my mother had a sure-fire motivator for self-directed planning–if we EVER said we were bored (particularly if it was accompanied by whining), she would hand out housework–that didn’t have to happen more than maybe once per summer for us to take positive charge of our own time management!! =)
    Take heart: the older we got, the more sense we could see in the policy, and I think we both appreciate now how much richer our lives are because we learned how to amuse ourselves! People would often comment to my parents on how creative and “smart” we were as kids, but when my parents would mention no TV in the home, people would blanche at this unthinkable reality.
    If all else fails, suggest they learn to crochet? Then they will know you are serious! πŸ˜‰

  510. It isn’t so bad. They could always have my daughter’s problem; we have no tv at all (by my choice).

  511. I think that’s an awesome tv rule, and you’re totally not the only mom out there with one. πŸ™‚

  512. Uh oh…as I am sitting here reading this, my girls are watching Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
    Doesn’t that count as educational?
    (Seriously. We banned TV for years, and it was the best decision ever. We’re on slow re-entry now, but they’re about to get up off the couch and put their laundry away and have some actual live time. They don’t know it yet, but it’s coming. Three…two…one…)

  513. Oh, tell your girls that there are crazier mums in the U.S.
    My 2 TV rules:
    (1)No TV watching while the sun is up.
    (2)No TV watching an hour before bed.
    Bedtime rule:
    (1)Bedtime routine can start as early as you want, as long as you are in bed with the lights out by 8 pm.
    Because of the “rule overlap” there is practically no TV watching the entire summer.
    It has led to my kids praying for rain. My 6 yr old can get a DVD in the player before the second rain drop hits the ground….

  514. I just had a thought:
    Print out these comments.
    Next time they take on the TV rule, sit them each down and give them each about 200 comments to read.
    This might just be the homeschool mom in me, but you could even make it educational and have them recite back to you their favorite and least favorite comments. For reading comprehension.
    Maybe that’s going overboard.

  515. I have a friend who was raised in Montreal with a bunch of brothers and who knows a freakish amount about the natural world. I asked him why this was, and he said in his house, Canadian TV trumped American TV shows, and PBS trumped all. So whenever he tried to watch “Batman,” his older brother would come in and insist on watching hockey. In return, my friend would turn the TV to PBS and they would both watch nature shows and seethe, neither willing to leave the room and cede control to the other.

  516. And I forgot to add in my earlier post:
    Being called a “hippie chick” mother is a HUGE COMPLIMENT! Someone who loves the earth, its fibers, its colors…and who is able to take those things and create items of usefulness and beauty for herself and her family….someone who loves her children enough to do what is right and stick by it with consistency….you are awesome. Think back to our early colonial mothers, who used tiny scraps to make beautiful quilts of warmth and beauty for her family…it makes me warm and cozy just to think of it…you are not just knitting, you are weaving the fibres of your children’s characters and souls…your purpose and value is far beyond describing…. hang tough….and smile…your children WILL tell you you were right someday. I promise.

  517. Good for you, Steph!!! I am not a tv watcher myself with the exception of a show or two here and there at night or during football season … Patriots’ fan … but I digress. My own children were not allowed to watch tv as children (nor as teenagers) during the day. We were always busy when they were little and as teens they had jobs after school and in the summer and just stuff to do. I found they actually got used to no tv until evening. As adults in their 30s they still don’t watch much … they go hiking, they travel, they play golf, they read … can’t do all that sitting in front of the tv.
    Stick to your guns, Mumma!

  518. For me summer is about ice cream for dinner, getting tipsy mid-week, and letting the laundry pile even more than usual; indulgences I rarely justify come September. TV is mindless and foolish, and watching it can always be replaced by doing something *better* but I admit I’d let my children opt for a little of that if that was their whim. Not most of the time, not all day, and balanced by lots of other good stuff, whatever that is.
    I admire your convictions, and despite what I’ve written, I think your girls will benefit immensely from your choice.

  519. I don’t have kids, so I haven’t been on the mother’s side of this argument. But I was a kid once, and back in the dark ages of the 1960s when I was one my mother had the same basic no-TV rule. I have to say that not only did I live through growing up with a no-TV rule, but I was healthier than the kids that didn’t have that rule, because I was outside riding my bike, climbing trees, and otherwise being active, or reading books, or painting, or…. Hold firm, Stephanie. Your kids will love you for the no-TV rule. Some day. πŸ˜€

  520. You can tell them that a still CRAZIER and more tyranical mother in Switzerland has chosen to live WITHOUT TV.
    Of course we have computer and dvds…
    But their access is very limited too.
    (don’t tell them that my kids are still very young. even if they can be very stubborn and strongheaded, I suppose that they are not as trained as your daughters in the tv-fight game…)
    πŸ™‚
    I do approve your hippy freak mothering choice…
    (and love when you share your fights with the teenagers!) (My parents where more strict than you, and I totally approve their choice. I watched TV at my grand-parents though. during vacancies or week-ends.)

  521. I had to chuckle when I read this post. My kids are 23 and 21 now and I still remember those days when the tv was required to be off here. One day I had had enough of the “nothing to do” cry and said I could list easily list 50 things to do that did not involved tv. Of course, the bet was on. I made then stand by my side and I annoyingly hummed while I numbered the paper and wrote, not stopping to have to think of things. We posted the list on the refrigerator where is stayed for years and was a source of fun activities. Stick with your rule!!! My two are healthy, active, outdoors-oriented, creative people now and there are still days that we never turn the tv on at all.

  522. I was raised with 1 hour in the morning of “appropriate TV”. I was also provided a list of household contributions. As an adult now, I am thankful. TV sucks your brain out through your eyeballs. Read a book or four.
    I have friend who have decided not to have network or cable TV at all. They have DVDs and watch their shows/movies online or purchase from iTunes. The “I wants”, “I need”, and “I must haves” are significantly fewer.
    Don’t bend, don’t stray or recant. Your job is to set the boundaries and theirs is to try and flex them. If your flex, they will press more.
    If your girls were REALLY crafty and devious, they would get you some really nice, tempting yarn from LK–Meghan must know what your been visiting at the store. A GC might work, but they’re much easier to decline.
    Know that you are not alone. Tell them that the blog says so. We will be unhappy should you cave. πŸ™‚

  523. DO NOT BACK DOWN!
    Hippy freak mothers of the world, unite!
    Yours in freakiness,
    Karen

  524. AMEN on the TV thing. I’m with you 100%. Our minds grow from what we feed it and I’m certainly NOT going to feed my kids 8 hours of dreadful, meaningless, drama-laden TV a day either!!!

  525. Growing up far north with not much sunny weather, my mother’s voice still echoes in my head “What!!! Are you inside in this weather! Get out!” (only in Norwegian, and in a tone that could shatter glass). This phrase caused a lot of dilemma for me when I had to study for exams when the sun was shining. It will haunt me forever, but now I’m glad taught me to appreciate the precious sunny days we have up here. Don’t give up on the TV fight, they’ll thank you in twenty years!

  526. You are easier than I am…
    1 hour of t.v. a night. Want to watch a movie? That’s 2 hours, so be prepared to do without t.v. for a night. There is *one* t.v. in the house and I rule it with an iron fist.
    Problems? Go outside and play. Have fun!

  527. Obviously you are not the meanest mother in the world. I recently cut back our cable TV in an effort to move the 12 year-old out of the living room. Cutting the cable bill = more money for yarn!!! And when I was a kid, if we were in the house, we were doing chores! Needless to say, my brothers and I were outside as much as possible.

  528. We don’t HAVE a TV. Not one in the whole house. Tell your daughters THAT. Would they consider it cruel & unusual punishment?

  529. I clearly remember you addressed this issue last year. I pulled it up on the internet while in the hospital on call and the vascular surgeon I worked for loved it. You specifically said you lived close enough to the library that someone there could throw a book and hit your children on the front porch. Something to that effect. I admire your consistancy on this issue. GO STEPHANIE! You rule! Who cares what the other Mothers do, you’re not their Mother! NO TV UNTIL AFTER 4PM. We all know that!

  530. i see they did not mention fathers who disallow TV.
    my dad did not allow us to watch TV EVER unless A) it was a national geographic special or B) the olympics (?? i’ll never figure that olympics out; he wasn’t at all into sports).
    there was no TV fight about it. the answer was no.
    good thing he liked knitting, eh?

  531. You are WAY too lenient. It had to be DARK for us to watch TV.
    When I was growing up, the standard “mom rule” was clean your room, do your chores, go play outside, come in when you’re called for lunch, go out to play again, and come back in when the streetlights come on. All summer. Under no circumstances was the TV turned on before parents watched the evening news, unless you were sick or it was a day-long rain. Saturday morning cartoons were allowed, but you had play outside after lunch. No TV on Sunday mornings, period.
    I spent a lot of playtime knitting in the treehouse!

  532. I am with you knit sister… My kids like to try to pout when I tell them that they can’t watch TV all day. Then they go outside or play inside(as here in St Louis it has been hot) together and have a blast doing it! Keep at it.

  533. I too am a mother from hell on this issue (apparently). I’m having this fight daily with my eight year old and – hurrah – my eighteen month old has also started throwing wobblies when I refuse to turn on TV and play his Wiggles DVD.
    I was kinda hoping this got better.
    I might possibly throw the TV out so that my eight WEEK old doesn’t know any better… Except then I’d have my 36 year old throwing a tantrum too. Heaven forbid if he missed his football.
    KEEP ON KEEPING ON!

  534. Wow I admire you still fighting (and winning!) the TV fight after all these years. I’m already battling with my 18mo old over the odd 15 minutes of TV and am considering banning it for life…so I don’t think you are tyrannical or odd in the least.
    I’m also praying that she never grows up to be a teenager…but I don’t have much hope for that one.

  535. Wow. 576 responses at this time. Must have struck a chord. I didn’t have the spine to limit TV watching, but the children’s dad must have been eligible for “worst in the world” when he put. the. TV. in. the. closet. PERMANENTLY. (We got it out after the Challenger disaster (he was a geek/nerd in love with rocketry and science).) But my kids DO know how to entertain themselves!!
    Carpe hobby! or Carpe Book.

  536. Hah I am another one of these evil mothers, my son is allowed two hours of ‘screen time’ (tv or computer) a day. This is completely unreasonable, as is my refusal to buy him a playstation or let him have a tv in his bedroom. He can earn extra screen time by working on some maths work books – by a complete co-incidence his school report says he has made ‘outstanding progress’ in maths this year.

  537. GOOD!
    Your rule is only to their benefit – whether they realize it or not.
    I work with children and let me tell you, you know within minutes who has unrestricted access to the television – and no, it is not because they are deliriously happy that they have such nice Moms who don’t try to ruin their summer/lives that these kids stand out.
    You are doing the Right Thing – and like all Right Things Moms (and Dads) do: It’s thankless. For now anyways!

  538. Harlot,
    I wasn’t allowed to watch TV on weekdays, period.
    I like to think I’m better for it?

  539. Heh. Every mother in the world is the worst mother in the world, didn’t you know that?
    Tell your daughters that it could be worse. My son has our collection of movies (also restricted, since some of them are not good for kids) to choose from and that’s IT. Cable and satellite television being expensive, we don’t have either. We sacrified tv viewing for internet access! And since we live in a small town, there are only two local stations, neither of which we watch since my husband and I both have strong opinions about the quality of network programming.
    You can only watch Cars and Godzilla so often.

  540. When they tell you how unlike other mothers you are, here’s a lil story.
    We have a similar rule. Kids in the house are 13, 10, and 9. The oldest has not had this rule before this year, and he follows the nine year old around because he has no idea how to occupy hours without a TV. This is a sad site. A 9 year old kid leading around a (semi) normal 13 year old by the nose because his Mother (my new DH’s ex) has never cared enough to limit electronics time. They are not allowed TV between the hours of noon and 8 pm. I love a quiet house with no TV. They have also been offered a penny a page for the books they read this summer (as long as they are age appropriate and they give a oral synopsis at the end of the book). Of course they are boycotting books in protest, which is hilarious because it gives me more yarn money.
    I figure I’m not doing my job if they don’t hate me sometimes. They are also not allowed to complain about boredom. One comment of “I’m Bored” or anything I (as the supreme ruler of the house when my hub is out) deem as the equivalent gives up your evening TV time for the day, to comments gives up two days and these days WILL be carried into the school year.
    I am evil, and yet, I believe I’m doing the right thing. It’s a conundrum. BWAHAHAHAHAHA

  541. OMG…..teenagers…I have FOUR of them.
    That’s why I sit in the corner, knit, and recite my ABC’s.

  542. Ah, a mother after my own heart! It reminds me of when my now all grown kids were sure that they grew up in the only home in the universe without a video game system. And, horror of all horrors, when it came time for “National No TV-Week,” their rotten, uncaring parents decided it should be a “Richardson No TV-MONTH.” Those were the days . . . .

  543. Hold strong–I lived most of my childhood without TVs, and I’m just fine. And I never accused my Mom of abuse for denying me TV either, or had tantrums about it. Sheesh.

  544. I have three children, the oldest just coming up to her 12th birthday. I’m already using my favourite line from the movie “The Big Chill”: ‘Well, when you become a mother then you can be mean too.’ Stick to your guns – it’s a great rule!

  545. You go, girl.
    I still haven’t received my wool for the MS3. And I swear I’m not nervous. I swear. (Ooh, but I already have the beads!)

  546. Have you heard of the book “Parenting Beyond Belief” or its associated blog: parentingbeyondbelief.com/blog ? A lot of interesting food for thought, and the blog author is an excellent writer!

  547. My mother had a limited TV policy. I challenged it – the once. My mother doesn’t fight. She is a peaceful, sweet soul. Peacefully and sweetly she cut the plug off the TV. End of argument. I also had to put up with my father’s dark looks as he attended to a little DIY television repair the next weekend. Trust me girls, there are harder mothering-nuts to crack!

  548. You can tell them there’s another mother who has, in the 19 years of parenting she’s experience, never once allowed television into the home. We do have a screen with a DVD player, and some nights we watch a movie together. So please let them know that they’re lucky they’re getting any TV at all.
    Really, sometimes I think it would be better for all of us to get rid of all the screens entirely. Make some noises along those lines, and I guarantee the fight will end. Good luck and hold your ground!

  549. I didn’t have the TV Fight with my kids because we didn’t own a TV. Yes. 20th century and we chose not to own one until they were into their mid-teens, and then we only had one set and we all watched. See… I’m a librarian. I felt they should be reading. πŸ™‚
    HOWEVER our fight was the computer. My son could never finish his computer games in a reasonable time.
    My solution? I unplugged it.
    Hang in there, Mom. There’s a reason why we’re the adults and they are the kids.

  550. After reading parts of Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman, Silicon Snake Oil by Clifford Stoll, and all of Fahrenheit 451, I have finally seen the brainwashing dangers of TV and have severely limited myself to less than three hours a day. (Unlimited radio and music time, though. And my yammering.) Now I can’t stand to hear the TVs my parents blare all night. I just crank up the Beethoven and read.
    I watched loads of TV as a kid and teenager (could have done without the Rescue 911 and Unsolved Mysteries which scared me) yet I still read and imagined. My parents and I would go camping in summer and my father would sometimes bring along a cheap black and white TV for news watching. I say, read the paper if you want news! That’s not what summer (and all year) should be about! It’s only been 55 or so years since the TV came around…Which medium has seniority? Books. Read them. Or, better yet, enjoy the silence of your mind.

  551. Oh no, I was told I was the WORST mom ever because not only wouldn’t I let them watch much tv, I made them do household chores. But the good news, they’re young adults now (19&22) and I was recently told that I was BRILLIANT for making them do chores and not exposing them to bunches of tv PLUS they intend to raise their kids the same way!

  552. My cousin Melanie’s two kids and all their friends thought that Melanie was the meanest mom ever. She had grown up without a TV because her dad hated them and wouldn’t allow one in the house. (BTW, whenever they visited our family when we were kids, Melanie and her siblings were really boring guests because all they wanted to do was watch TV. I bet she doesn’t remember that part now.)
    Anyway, when her kids were in school, Melanie would not allow them to watch any TV or play any kind of video or computer game on a school night. If they had to use the computer for school work on a school night, she would let them, but she allowed no computer games before or after the homework.
    My friend Erin’s summer policy is that her kids can buy only outside toys during the summer; they can’t buy any videos or computer games.
    And my 13-year-old son thinks I’m really mean when I make him read.
    I don’t get it. I’d be delighted if someone ordered me to sit down and read.
    Mean mothers of the world, unite.

  553. As the daughter of a relatively “hippy freak mother” I can most certainly say that you are not the only one. I too know you’re daughters’ plight. Unfortunately my mother reads this blog rather faithfully and started thinking that the “no t.v. until four in the afternoon” is sounding pretty swell. I think commenced doing many chores and making her tea. I think it was part of her master plan.

  554. When my kids complained I was the meanest Mom for restricting TV time and other mothers didn’t, I said you better write down their names so I can be sure you don’t go there to visit when you aren’t allowed to watch TV here. Gee, they never mentioned other mothers again!

  555. I’m a mean mommy too. I switched to your rule with an addition. Every time WeeDutchie whines, complains, argues or asks to watch TV, he loses 5 minutes.
    I just wonder how this is gonna play out when TallDutchie takes his holiday next month. He loves his TV too. This should be interesting.

  556. We never used to watch tv, mostly because the daytime stuff was boring… never mind how many years ago that was… I had a friend who learned never to say “I’m bored” in front of her parents because they would assign her chores if she felt she had nothing to do!

  557. I think the children of the world out there would be sad to find out that there are other “horrible” mothers out there that limit the TV time of their children. My kids get a max of 1 hour “electronics” time (tv or computer) in the morning and an hour in the evening. That’s it. If there’s a movie they are really Jones-ing to see, we can negotiate. Fortunately, my two sons have taken up crocheting with the ban on TV. My stepdaughter, however, prefers sulking and whining. Ahhh, what’s a hippy mother to do?

  558. As a charter member of the Mean Mothers Club, I managed to raise 4 kids without having a TV in their bedrooms. I guess as a working mom I wanted to see my kids in the family room and not hiding out in their bedrooms. You have to love them enough to let them hate you has always been my motto.
    Hang tough—it is worth it in the long run!

  559. I had an only child friend years ago who told the following story: When he was 6 years old or so, he told his mother there was nothing to do one to many times. She asked “are you sure you don’t have anything to do?” “No” he answered, “nothing!”.
    She took his shoebox full of broken crayons, stood in his bedroom door, and hurled the contents around the room. “Now you have something to do – pick up all the crayons.”
    He told the story when he was about 20 years old, and said he never complained to his mother there was nothing to do again. A couple times he started to, but thought the better of it. I never heard him say it, either.
    BTW: I was the “Mean Mother of Sudbury (Massachusetts)” in the late 1990’s. Kids I didn’t even know would point me out and whisper that ID when I went into the high school.

  560. I’ve been watching the comment count keep rising, and I can’t help chiming in. Thank goodness for other hippy-mom turn-off-the-tv hardheads! My kids are 8, 7 and 5 and till this summer I’d held the line at practically no TV. Suddenly the dam burst and I’ve been trying to figure out how to contend with such insanities as all 3 kids getting up at 6 a.m. to watch cartoons while we sleep, or begging to watch “just one” sports event (do you have any idea how many sports events one could watch if one just wanted to watch TV all the time? . . of course you do!) Anyway, thanks for giving me some strength.

  561. I actually think you’re being kind to let them watch after 4:00! I have a diabolical friend who “broke” the tv for awhile and then magically repaired it when she and her husband wanted to watch something specific. Mind you these were non-tv addict parents.

  562. My husband and I don’t have kids, but we realized we were “dumbing ourselves down” by watching four hours of TV a night. We cancelled our cable, turned off the TV, and rediscovered books, crossword puzzles, music, and crafts. (Of course, my knitting never suffered throughout this.) We now have an occasional movie night and sometimes watch the evening news, dire though it may be. Somehow life is much nicer without the Idiot Box. Kudos to you for setting TV rules for your children. Perhaps when they’re adults they will realize that mom was really smart after all!

  563. Hug!! Have them come visit me…………….we don’t even have a tv and the computer is NOT an alternative either. FWIW my kidlets complain that I “never” let them play on the computer when EVERYONE elses mother does. Tough nuggies!! Keep up the fight!

  564. Now I think that’s an excellent rule, as probably many of your other readers had said already (no time to read all the comments). When I was little, I watched WAY too much TV, resulting my near-sided eyes and if I can do it all over again, I won’t even go near it until my fav. show comes on, instead of turning it on all day. And when I become a mother, I will definitely have a rule about TV!

  565. Tell them about the man who linked a bicycle to a generator to run the TV. His kids can watch as much as they like … they just have to power the TV! (and they can trade off time – I’ll do your second 1/2 hour today if you’ll do one for me tomorrow).
    Since I grew up with only one channel, it wasn’t much of an issue for us. but I feel sorry for my neices for all the fun we had that they miss out on.

  566. My mother was not a hippy freak mother at all..she would not let us watch TV during the daytime in any week…not in the summer, not in the winter. When we complained she told us in no uncertain terms that she could and would remove the TV from the house permanently if we persisted. We persisted and she walked over and unplugged the set. She did not have to do more than that..we swore not to have the TV fight ever again if she would just leave our TV this time. It worked. But then we were not enslaved by electronics as the youth of today is…offer them the choice of TV after 4 or no TV at all. See what happens. They seem, from your writings to be intelligent and you certainly seem like you keep your word, so….

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