I have made no secret of my deep dislike of Doc McStuffins (or Pet + Cat). I have made extra effort to avoid having those shows appear on our TV. Superman has been quietly supportive of my TV policing, until the other day. While cuddling with Princess Pea and channel surfing, she saw that Doc McStuffins was on. She said in her sweetest little voice “watch McStuffins”. I quickly shifted to a different show and told her “we don’t watch Doc McStuffins in this house.” My words haunted me for the rest of the day (and longer). Something about how not in this house, it made it sound like “we don’t watch it at home, but feel free at Grandma and Grandpa’s or whoever’s house”. It was a little stupid of me.
Later that day, I talked to Superman about what had happened. He laughed and said “I don’t think that Pea is going to become a feminist or a communist by watching either of those shows. It’s silly that you’ve banned them.” This made me think about it even more.
I remember as a kid, many of my peers at church were banned from watching the Simpsons. We never were, mostly because my dad watched it. My parents also knew that banning it from their TV only ensured that we would go to a friend’s house and watch it there. My parents didn’t ban many shows without a strict reason. We weren’t allowed to watch R rated movies, but that was more obvious. We weren’t allowed to watch Ren and Stimpy because it was gross. Bevis and Butthead were banned because of content. Most shows banned in my childhood were to teach me to make good choices in programming as an adult.
The point is that there are good reasons to ban certain entertainment items and silly reasons. If we watch closely enough we can find fault with any and all shows. Super Why takes classic well known stories and changes them to be something completely different, My Little Pony focuses too much on prettiness, Team Umizoomy is super annoying, I could go on all day.
The truth is Doc McStuffins teaches good lessons about being a friend and helping others. Peg + Cat teaches how to love math. How could I hate shows that promote such good messages? Back in my childhood socialization class at CSU, we talked about young children and TV. After a long discussion about which shows were good and bad, the understanding became how important it is to watch with your child and talk about what they are watching.
The best way to teach our children to make good entertainment decisions is to show them how, to tell them what is good and bad about a show, and to have open conversations about what they see. Creating that trust at a young age only builds a relationship with the potential to protect our children from dangers of pornography and other bad images. Banning things without having an open conversation about it will only make them sneak around and do it anyway.
I guess apologies are in order for you Doc. I’m sorry I banned you out of silliness. You are welcome in our home (as long as I’m watching and correcting what you say). I’m sorry Peg and Cat. You can resume teaching my princess math.
I will no longer positive children’s programing. Except for Calliou. If that little punk shows up, he’ll regret it!
What kids shows do you have issues with?