Miracle on Barista Street

kids playing frisbee.jpgSomething horrid, repugnant, inexcusable happened in the weeks leading up to summer break. And I had to take drastic and immediate action.

My 3rd grader exhibited a consistently bad attitude, my 1st grader simply refused to abide by the rules of the house and the two of them together bickered relentlessly.

I couldn’t take it anymore, and I sought to impose the strictest penalty allowable by law in the state of NJ for grade school kids. The two were forbidden to watch TV for a whole week.

It was a punishment I was not sure they would survive. I’m fairly certain my daughter has a severe television addiction. I’m not sure she’s gone more than six hours without a hit of the Disney Channel, the most vile and corrosive substance known to the prepubescent body. This cold-turkey maneuver would either kill her or break her. I didn’t know which, but we had arrived at a point where we were out of options.

With this draconian measure I was also trying to save my son from a similar fate. I didn’t have the same fears about him. His interest in T.V. was minimal, most likely due to enduring endless hours of programming catered to an older female audience. Still, I worried about the week. Would they argue even more? Would thier rage turn violent? How would I fare with 24 hours a day to fill and no T.V. back up?

On the morning of the first day they headed into the basement, which contains roughly the equivalent stock of a small to mid-size toy store. Then, as if by divine intervention, they learned how to play. They found all sorts of long forgotten games and goodies in the back of the closet and on the bottom of the toy box. They found Puppies in their Pockets; they got into Trouble; they Connected Four; they had tons of Elefun.

For an entire week they played together, and I never heard a peep out of them.

(Photo: Flickr: Carissa)

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  1. Good on ya. I hope the rest of the week goes as well.
    To share something that has worked for us (and my apologies to those who have heard me get on this soapbox before): the TwinHouse has been TV-free for 12 years. We download and watch what we want via computer (Hulu, iTunes, DVDs), thus saving us (and, more importantly, the kids) from ads and the temptation of having The Box front and center constantly.
    Do I miss it? Sure, sometimes. Am I happy we don’t have it? You betcha. Do I ever feel like watching TV would be a better alternative to all the other great things we get to do in this world? Never.
    Not trying to be preachy here. Just sharing our experience.

  2. I hear ya. My husband would never let me go TV free. He loves his TV too much. But when our TV broke for a few days my kids couldn’t watch it, and I was soooo happy. I always pray for our cable to go out.
    Let me just say I didn’t mind TV when the kids were really little b/c everything my daughter learned she learned from PBS Kids. I really shouldn’t have paid for preschool. But as my kids got older the TV shows for them swiftly dropped from great to abominable.
    And, I for one could not live without Stephen Colbert. Or Brittany getting Married. I almost cried last night. Just wait until the wedding!

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