Unfortunately, most people wake up and start taking action only when it is a bit late. I guess it is the part of being human. We ignore the signs until we are hit really hard. The problem is that change is a lot more difficult then.
Yesterday, one of my clients talked about a breakdown in his marriage. His wife has been telling him for a long time something was wrong in their relationship, but he just thought she had “another bad day” until she kicked him out of the house.
What I said to him was very similar to what I have written about TV. Many things in life like our struggle with weight. When things go wrong, we eat a lot and neglect to notice the extra weight. When we look in the mirror, we feel uncomfortable, but we say “It’s just a bad day” and we eat more to find comfort, only to look in the morning 5kg later and feel bad about ourselves that we are in a never-ending cycle of struggle.
When something goes wrong with our relationship, we slowly drift apart and one day wake up and it is too hard to mend.
When we lose control over our kids’ education, health and wellbeing, we stop being able to help them develop the skills, habits, thoughts and beliefs that will make them happy and we wake up when they leave school, join a gang or worse, fall sick.
One day, we wake up sick and tired from feeling unhappy and say, “How did we get to this point?”
Very bad question. A much better question is “What can we do to make things better right now?”
Still, my answer is always, “We got the extra 25kg one kilo at a time. That’s how”.
A TV diet is no different from any other diet. It is supposed to bring some order and control over your life and in this case, over your family life.
My biggest recommendation for every change is to “grow antennas” and be sensitive to when things start to go wrong with your kids’ TV habits. It is much easier to get rid of 1 extra kilo than it is to get rid of 25.
Preventive parenting is always better than reactive parenting, because as a reactive parent you are too busy putting out fires and there is neither time nor energy left to focus on building a healthy, happy family lifestyle.
Earlier is better
It is ALWAYS better to start a positive change right now than to start it later
– Ronit Baras
As I said at the beginning, TV is neither good nor bad, but the way we use it can be good or bad. Make sure your meaning of healthy TV and unhealthy TV is fully defined and clearly communicated to your kids as early as possible. Even a 4-year-old can understand when Mom or Dad says, “This show is not suitable for 4-year-olds, because it’s too violent and I want you to watch good shows that are suitable for your age”. Young kids have less life experience and are highly influenced by their parents, while older kids are subject to many more influences. Start early!
Try to avoid asking yourself “How did you get to this point?” when thinking of things you are not happy about, as that will drag you into a critical state, full of self blame and regrets. It is much harder to get action out of that state. Instead, focus on
“What do I want and how can I start getting there right now?”
It is the difference between a past-oriented question and a future-oriented question that gives many parents who attend my parenting workshops the strength and determination to make a change. When you ask what you can do right now to create a better or desired situation, you look for solutions, rather than someone or something to blame.
If you are looking for the answer to this question, you will find lots of tips, ideas and techniques in every post of the TV diet series that will help you overcome TV binging and behavior kids’ problems due to watching too much TV.
For many parents, using only one or two tips from what I have covered in the past 18 weeks has made a huge difference in their family life and the effort of fighting kids’ watching habits has become a faded memory to them.
If you want the constant fights about TV to be a faded memory for you too, start now!
This post is part of the series TV Diet:
- TV Diet (1): Too Much TV?
- TV Diet (2): Health Concerns
- TV Diet (3): Kids Behaving Badly
- TV Diet (4): Kids’ Outlook on Life
- TV Diet (5): Parent-Child Relationships
- TV Diet (6): Disposable relationships
- TV Diet (7): Learning and Education
- TV Diet (8): How Much TV is Too Much?
- TV Diet (9): Kids’ Personalities
- TV Diet (10): Parents’ Influence
- TV Diet (11): The Right TV diet
- TV Diet (12): Junk TV
- TV Diet (13): Raising Aware Kids
- TV Diet (14): Cutting Junk TV
- TV Diet (15): Routine
- TV Diet (16): Healthy Alternatives
- TV Diet (17): More Healthy Alternatives
- TV Diet (18): Conclusion