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But Daddy Said...

?? The Lost Art of Downtime |


| Morning Time ??

April 20, 2006

But Daddy Said...

Toddi Gutner

I was struck by the thread my fellow bloggers, James, Amy, Lauren and Cathy had on T.V. watching and I had to weigh in. But then it made me think about a larger issue: parenting differences.

My husband, Neil, and I have a terrific partnership when it comes to parenting our two boys. In fact, I can rarely participate in conversations with other women who complain that their husbands don?? do enough for the kids and with the kids.

But interestingly enough, I occasionally do complain about HOW he parents. Let?? use T.V. as an example.

I hate T.V. My husband, on the other hand, loves T.V. He argues, that he is well below the national average of television watchers, but for a T.V.-hater like myself, any amount of time in front of that screen is too much. Therein lies the problem in one of our parenting differences.

Luckily, Neil lets me take the lead in setting limits and we made a rule that there is no T.V. until mommy and daddy come home at 6:30. The boys also have a one-hour limit per day??nd I try to have that include all screens (gameboy, computer, tv). Of course, it takes a lot more work to encourage the kids to do something else??ead, do an activity book, write a story, start an art project or a science project??ut for the most part, I?? successful (the cost: a VERY messy house!).

During the week, this limit works pretty well. But when my husband is on duty, usually on the weekends, it seems the T.V. is always on. Science and art projects just aren?? his thing. Sure, I get frustrated at times because it?? ??gainst the rules?that we’ve set. But then I realize, nothing can be 100% the way I like things to be all the time. While I think there can be no downside to limiting T.V., I have to believe there is nothing detrimental about letting our different parenting styles show and allowing for some flexibility. Team members don’t always agree, and the life lesson is how they work out their differences.

How do you and your partner work out your parenting differences?

03:21 PM


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Your comment about TV watching reminds me of a conversation I had with a former neighbor a few years ago. She had slightly older children and I asked her how she dealt with the whole TV thing. She said she had no limits and just let her kids watch as much as they wanted. She claimed that they eventually would get bored and move on to something else. At the time, I thought that sounded pretty easy so I tried it. Well, I learned that just didn't work for my kids at all. My girls can just zone for hours in front of the tube before coming up for air.

I don't have a specified time limit or schedule for TV watching but stress the importance of priorities: homework, commitments like instruments, helping mom and dad, etc. To me, TV is a treat that happens after all other responsibilities are done. As for other diversions, my girls just never took to their "gameboys" and we just ignore their resquests for X boxes, etc. My husband Kenny, like Neil, doesn't really nurture his inner scientist ( or fashion designer - I have girls).

However, we are both on the same page when it comes to TV. We've learned that a big priority is presenting a united front.


Kathy from Chappaqua

Posted by: Kathy B at May 8, 2006 10:45 PM

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