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My 7-Year-Old Has A Television In His Bedroom & I Really Don’t Care

Kids watching TV

Would you let your kid have their own television in their bedroom? When I found out that my ex bought a television for my just-turned-7-year-old for his birthday, specifically for our son’s bedroom at his house, I thought, “Are you kidding me? This is the worst parenting decision ever! You really should have discussed this with me!”

Actually, I’m kidding.

When I learned about this, I think I should have probably been more shocked, or appalled, than I was. But, truthfully, I truly didn’t give AF. The crazy thing is, it wasn’t our son who even asked for a television. It was his father who decided that would be his birthday gift.

Why? My ex is trying to get our 7-year-old to not only stay in his bedroom but sleep in his bedroom. And I know that by buying him a television, he thinks our son will stay put after goodnight kisses.

Sure, my ex gets frustrated that our son doesn’t like to sleep in his own room. But, honestly, I think the decision for getting my son his own television for his bedroom, was not entirely to encourage him to stay put in his own room after bedtime, but more so my ex can now entertain guests and poker buddies, after he puts our son in his bedroom at night, hoping the television will keep him in bed. (But I digress, because I’m not overly concerned, or really care at all, about what my ex does, when it’s Daddy Days.)

Mostly, I just thought it was an overly generous present but not exactly a necessary present since my son has an iPad that he uses to watch Youtube videos, play games, and even watch shows on Netflix in bed. Do I agree with my 7-year-old having a television in his bedroom? I want to say no but that would make me a total hypocrite because when I have my son on my days, before we pass out, we usually watch television together in my bed.

Unlike my ex, I love sleeping with my son, which is one of our on-going parental battles. My ex wants our son to sleep on his own, in his own bedrooms, at both of our houses. But I so, so don’t care that my 7-year-old sleeps with me, at Mommy’s house. So we’re on a stand-still on that issue.

But it’s actually healthier for me to sleep with my son because it forces me to go to bed earlier, and there’s nothing that makes my heart sing more than spooning my son as we sleep. And, if we’re not watching a show together, when mommy says she wants to watch one of “mommy’s shows,” my son will lie beside me in my bed, watching or playing games on his iPad, with headphones on. At mommy’s house, my son has slept in his bed, I think, zero times after my ex moved out.

I know. I know. I SUCK as a parent because I’ve never been overly concerned about screen time. But my kids are not stuck to their screens. And, let’s be honest parents. In many circumstances, an iPad or television can be the best baby sitter you need.

This could have turned into another battle over our differing parenting styles, like many divorced people I know who share custody. At daddy’s house, my son has a television in his bedroom. At mommy’s, my son does not have a television in his bedroom, but, yes, he sleeps with me. Ah, shared custody! Two houses! Two sets of rules!

When I was a child, my parents would never have allowed me to have a television in my own room. But today, you can’t parent like our parent’s generation, because that generation and that type of parenting no longer exists.

I was curious to know if having a television in my child’s bedroom could affect my son. According to this article, preschoolers who watch TV sleep significantly less than those who don’t. In one of the studies mentioned, they say, “On average, young children without TVs in their bedrooms slept 30 minutes more at night than those with a TV in their bedroom.” Ok, but, truthfully, that’s not enough, and it’s not exactly significantly less, in my opinion, to convince me that having a TV in his bedroom will affect him all that much.

In another article, Douglas Gentile, a professor of psychology at Iowa State University and lead author of the study in Developmental Psychology, says “When most children turn on the TV alone in their bedroom, they’re probably not watching educational shows or playing educational games.” To which I say, did we really need a study for this? Of course most kids with a television in their room aren’t watching educational games. Seriously! Do parents really need a study to figure that one out?

The article also mentions that “Children now spend as much as 60 hours a week in front of some kind of screen and more than 40 percent of children ages 4-6 have a TV in their bedroom.” WHAT? Sixty hours a week? How is that even possible? My son probably spends more like 9 hours a week in front of whatever type of screen.

In this article, for people who can’t decide if it’s a good or bad idea, they suggest putting a computer or TV in your child’s room to see how they respond. “If they become more isolative, irritable, or even depressed, you can always take the screen away. Tell your child you will let them have a TV or computer in their room on a trial basis, but they have to agree to keep their grades up, try new activities that don’t involve screens, and maintain a positive attitude.” It’s not the worst advice.

So while I don’t give AF that my 7-year-old has a television in his room at daddy’s house, I sort of give AF what he watches, but I’m not really doing anything about that either. My 7-year-old son’s favourite show is…Family Guy. I should probably give more of AF about the content he’s watching – Family Guy is totally inappropriate for children – but honestly, it’s also my 15-year-old daughter’s favourite show, so they watch it together, with me shouting out, “That’s SO inappropriate,” and then shouting out, “Can you pause it so that so I can watch with you in five minutes please?”

So while I obviously don’t care about screen time, I probably shouldn’t have just admitted that my 7-year-old son’s favourite show is Family Guy, and that I also don’t really give AF about that either. I probably should. But I don’t. Because my kids are alright!

Parents? Should we worry more about screen time or content? And to those who share custody, does one house have a television in the children’s bedroom, and not the other?

 

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