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My kids like to watch TV. They get that from their dad and me. We have our Tivo set up to religiously catch our favorite shows like My Name is Earl and Battlestar Galactica, Lost and the Closer. We like TV. We know we watch too much of it. We know there are better, more productive ways to use our time, but we enjoy it and it’s cheap and it’s in our house and that’s all I have to say about that.

Peter and I know that our chances of being stranded on a mythical island are slim to none, but, if we were, we probably would not be toting pistols and trotting through the forest bravely….we’d still be blubbering in the wreckage, hoarding our Tic Tacs. We understand that karma is good, crazy hair extensions and too much spandex is bad. We are able to differentiate between what is appropriate and what is not.

You can stop laughing now….it’s ok, I’ll wait for you to finish.

My kids, however, are another story. I have words for shows like Drake and Josh, iCarly and The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. I have words that involve QUIT and BEING and DOUCHEBAGS!

If my kids talked to each other the way these characters talk to their siblings, the punishment would be severe . If they dared speak to their father and me in those tones of insolence and you’re-too-incompetent-to-be-the-boss-of-me (which we may be, but that’s not the point!), heads would ROLL! If they got into the trouble these kids do for lack of common sense and basic courtesy I think that military school would play heavily in their future. I can only imagine my reaction if they brought home such impudent friends and overly hormonal dates (dates that Peter swears they won’t actually have until their 30’s), but I’m sure it would resemble something in the realm of a volcanic explosion.

Yet, the portrayed “adults” are complete boobs! The parents just smile and shrug when spoken to like the hired help, parents are bypassed all together for older siblings who are the mental equivalents of Rain Man, teachers are tyrannical and outright cruel. THIS is not helping either.

Turn it off, you might say. And I probably should. But, I use them as examples of what NOT to do. It’s not often you get perfect examples of the behavior that makes your parental skin crawl. My kids are so tired of hearing me say, “…and if you EVER…!” They even come to me and talk about what the characters did that was so wrong. We discuss if we’d like for people to treat US that way. For all that these shows are funny, I get the opportunity to show my kids what not to do, with walking, talking examples of what’s going to get them in the most trouble.

I can’t buffer my kids from all the outside influences that are going to try to sway them to the dark side. As much as I would love to stick them in the bubble and keep their childhood sweetness and innocence forever, I know that’s not going to happen. The best I can do is try to fill their little heads with the knowledge that will help them make the right decisions when faced with the quandaries of life.

While my first request would be that the producers of these shows stop to consider the generation of complete derfwads they’re helping to groom, I also accept that my role as the parent is to take what they see and hear (because trust me, they’re getting just as much of it from their classmates and friends) and teach them how to use it to their advantage.

And should that fail to work, I will allow Peter’s idea of all ESPN. All. The. Time.

Oh, I hope this works!

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