Friday, October 3, 2014

I Created a Monster

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Well, I'm here to tell you that when you reach the end of that road, you'll find a drive-in movie theater playing Netflix-only kids' crap on an endless loop. I had good intentions. I intended my Alaskan kids to eschew glowing screens in favor of exploring the wild places and stunning vistas in their own backyard. And although they do just that (when forced) nothing triggers their dopamine response quite like TV. 

We "technically" let our kids watch TV only on weekends. Therefore, the first four words out of their mouths each morning are: "Is it a weekend?" To be fair, though, nothing triggers my dopamine response quite like parking my kids in front of cartoons from 6:00-9:00 on a Saturday morning while I shove earplugs into my ears deep enough to touch my brain and immediately return to bed. 

But as with everything, there's a price. And here, that price is a form of parental neglect with its own name: "Big Sister Day Care." This is the descriptor Paige coined for the aforementioned weekend hours. During this time, she and her brother starve while she subjects him to various programs of her choosing: "Everafter High" (Disney princesses in high school); "Bratz Babies" (sexualized toddler girls who love shopping at the mall); and "Barbie's Dreamhouse" (self-explanatory). 

Sadly, the impulse to shield my children from the inappropriate messages these programs send is easily--EASILY--trumped by the impulse to bury my head in the pillow for three more merciful hours of sleep. I pretend it's because I'm opposed to censorship. Honestly though, I'm just opposed to being awake. What long-term impacts this practice will have on my children remains to be seen, but I'm taking my chances.

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