A home without TV

By: Cris Evert Lato-Ruffolo March 24,2017 - 09:53 PM


We don’t have a TV at home.

The idiot box failed to enter Casa Ruffolo Uno because Jeff was a staunch bouncer at the door, preventing mindless programming impact this family of five.

A no-television home used to be part of our parenting experiment which has now made it to the Hall of Fame of “Things We Do Need In This Home Because They Bring About Tantrums and Entitlement.”

Let me explain why and how we reached this point.

The twins — Nicholas and Antoinette — used to enjoy a home with three flat-screen television sets at the Garden Hotel Apartments in Guangzhou, China. I was a stay-at-home mother working on a graduate degree, and when they became uncontrollable or I had papers to write for school, I turned to television as my ally. I had them sit in front of the TV and watch National Geographic and Animal Planet shows.

There was very little exposure to cartoons because I was thinking they will be intelligent if they watch this kind of shows.

They did in a way, but the attitude cultivated within them because of TV was not worth the “intelligence.”

Every time the twins saw a remote control, they would immediately rush in front of the TV and turn it on. Tantrums erupted when Daddy Jeff told them “no TV” during meal times, and our home turned into a mad house with screams and cries from two toddlers.

This episode happened repeatedly, and we realized we were losing control over our children. It was not anymore a case of them crying because they needed something (e.g., change of diapers or a fresh bottle of milk). There was power struggle at home. The mutants asserted their demands, and we seemed to be at the mercy of their high-pitched voices and red, furious faces.

Something was wrong with the scenario, so a serious meeting between this Nanay and the Daddy followed.

The decision that afternoon: no more television.

Moving in different addresses in the past four years, we’ve been welcomed in homes with television sets. Our small crib in Montana had a flat-screen television, and we used that as a big screen for any animated cartoon movies that we played in the children’s laptop.

I blatantly ignored the no-television covenant and rationalized my action as “they’re not viewing movies from TV programming, these are shows I watched in advance and they’re harmless.”

Right? WRONG!

Because the issue has veered away from the medium, it has now progressed into the amount and duration of exposure to cartoons and other shows.

When I was exhausted from managing the twins and the newborn, I let them watch Pooh and friends for eight hours. It was so convenient!
The outcome?

Worse than the China episode as the twins were “older” with more developed ability to communicate. The screams were louder, their faces a darker shade of red and the entitlement more pronounced. My eardrum begged me to do something.

Moving back to the Philippines to our new home in Cebu, Jeff and I decided never to buy any TV set. We’ve realized that it’s best to prevent tantrums from happening than scampering for responses when tantrums happen because of television.

Screen times are now limited to two — sometimes three — hours on Friday afternoons to Saturday night until 8:00 p.m. because we need to wake up early for church on Sundays.

Our home is still not scream and tantrums free because of the no-television decree. No home is quiet with three toddlers constantly in the lookout for ways to destroy the parenting fortress.

But a no-television home taught us that there are other ways for our children to learn. Books and educational toys in our learning corner and time spent outside where they can run and fall are some of the ways we can impart to them the true essence of growing up as children.

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TAGS: home, intelligent, national, papers, planet, point, Tantrums, without

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