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Disturbia: A Mom's Take on Kids' Shows

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I'm a writer. This week I nursed a kid back to health and watched way too much children's television.

mom and kid watching tv

Michelle Kemper Brownlow: I was completely disturbed.

So, as I sat wishing I was watching "Ellen," I contemplated life through the eyes of a child. It's a warped place.

This kid, Caillou, is a whiny, annoying 4-year-old. To my dismay, I actually saw my son making mental notes. "Whine, pout, run to room. Mom brings cookies. Talk about whining and pouting. Cookies!" Can there be an episode where the mom freaks out and throws a tantrum when Caillou fills the toilet with scrambled eggs? Can she please run out of cookies and milk? Can she have the Mother Hubbard snack options I have? Here, honey, let's talk over a sliced onion and cinnamon?

And where is his hair? He's FOUR!

Then we watched "Max & Ruby." Why has children's services not been called? They are preschoolers and their parents are never home. They roam the streets, play in the tub, and feed themselves. I had to take my anxiety meds before it was over.

I don't know about you, but "Dora the Explorer" is just a little bit too chipper for me. And, Good Lord, get the girl a notepad ... she repeats everything 40,000 times throughout the show. I got up to vacuum to drown out her "purple mountain, bridge, Grandma's house" repetitive Hell.

Then ... came the show that broke this camel's back. As an artist, I love the bright colors and bold imagery of "Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Kids," but spiders? As friends? Really? If my son brings me one more REAL spider thinking she is his "friend," I am canceling my cable!

Whining street children who repeat every direction they are given and play with spiders. This is our future? Help!




next: Salahis: 'We Were Invited, Not Crashers'
12 comments so far | Post a comment now
Wendi December 1, 2009, 6:21 AM

I have just had to do the same with my son and I watched all his shows, but I have always liked to see what he is watching. I think you are way off track here with the shows. Dora repeats things so that a child can learn how to memorize, this is a good thing. My son watches Mickey ALL the time and you know what, he has learned so much from it. Maybe you should take another look at the shows with your child and instead of being so negative, you should watch how your child reacts and interacts with each one. I have really thought about this and compared to the shows we all grew up with, these shows are so much better. The shows we grew up with didn’t teach us anything but to hit and talk back. I do not even let my toddler watch the cartoons that we grew up with.

Kristen December 1, 2009, 8:17 AM

Oh good grief kids don’t need television to be happy. We are a happy tv free family for 4 years now. I agree with the author that these shows are crap.

Jessica December 1, 2009, 8:28 AM

I had to cut my daughter off from Max and Ruby. Ruby is so bossy which taught my oldest daughter that it was ok to boss her younger sister. And then Max and his one word demands like “Hungry!” and “Truck!”, taught my 4 year old that it was ok to use one word to demand what she wanted of me. [Um, yeah I think not!] So yeah, that show is no longer allowed in this house.

She has never seen Caillou. [I remember that show and how annoying that little bastard is from when my little sister was a baby!]

And I agree about Mrs. Spider’s Sunnypatch whatever-the-rest-of-the-name-is. Spiders? Really?

What is really going on with children’s television? Do these people not have kids?

tennmom December 1, 2009, 10:22 AM

Last month my 11 year old daughter was home sick one day, my 9 year old daughter another day. We had a hoot laughing while watching Sesame Street. It’s been so long since we’ve watched it together.
I do not at all miss Barney or Teletubbies, though :)

True Mom December 1, 2009, 12:49 PM

i used to love it when my friends were appalled that I wouldn’t “Allow” my daughters to watch Sesame Street. They would tell me “But it teaches your kids to read” My only response was “Ummmm so can I”

Mic December 1, 2009, 1:44 PM

I hate Cailou!! When my kid used to watch it, I would seriously talk back in my head like the parent is going to tell him to STFU, or just lose it on him, but never happened.

m December 1, 2009, 6:33 PM

thank god for yo gabba gabba

Sara December 1, 2009, 7:27 PM

Totally agree about Cailou! Why on earth is that kid ALWAYS whinning and his parents are ALWAYS rewarding it??? The show makes me crazy!

I’ve often thought the same about Max and Ruby. Why on earth are they always alone and why is Max so poorly behaved??? Can’t they show us a kid who is well behaved??? Dora repeats things a heck of a lot but at least she’s showing good behavior and it’s a bit educational. You must have missed Yo-gabba-gabba while you were home… that show will stick in your head for days, mainly because they repeat the same stupid song over and over and over!

Anonymous December 1, 2009, 10:07 PM

Get over it, it’s just TV!

Lisa December 2, 2009, 5:12 AM

Next time turn off the TV and pick up some kids’ books.

K December 2, 2009, 12:29 PM

Most cartoons are now education. I have Retro Cartoon channel and let my daughter watch Fragle Rock which I watched as a kid and I heard from the living room I’ll Kill Him, cartoons now a days are Better!

amy January 4, 2010, 12:20 AM

If you don’t want your kids watching these show don’t demand better shows.
There is a simple solution to this.
TURN OFF THE TV, and play with your kids, teach them abstract imaginative thinking, broaden their cognitive skills, enhance their learning, and they will get exercise.

P.S. These shows seem so repetitive to you because they are meant for KIDS NOT for adults! Shows that you engage in, such as ‘Ellen’ are just as brain numbing - full of advertisements to get you to consume products in order to be “happy” by poking at your insecurities.


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