Tween TV Anyone?

Should an 11 year old be watching Pretty Little Liars?  I don’t think so. I find there is a huge gap in television shows for children between the ages of 5-11.  When our daughter was a tiny tot, she of course used to love to watch Sesame Street, Blue’s Clues, and Dora the Explorer, as all toddlers do. But how do you go from Barney to Hannah Montana?  By the age of 5 she liked watching Hannah Montana and the Suite Life of Zach & Cody. However, I didn’t feel comfortable with my 5 year old watching some of the things the kids on these “Disney Channel” shows were talking about, and much less, the way they spoke to their parents.  I found myself constantly telling her that these kids only spoke to their parents this way because it’s a TV show, and that no one does that in real life (sure). My husband would repeatedly tell me that these shows were really inappropriate for such a little girl to watch, but it was a very difficult choice to make.   Anytime we went to Target, Toys R Us or even Macys, there were tons of toys, clothing and DVDs of these programs that she had become familiar with, and that as usual, most of the kids in her school were also watching.  And honestly, she had outgrown Blue’s Clues, and there were no other shows for her to watch.

When I was growing up, I used to watch The Brady Bunch, The Flying Nun, I Love Lucy and The Partridge Family.  These were all very innocent shows, where children acted like children and were not so incredibly disrespectful.  I realize that in today’s world these programs might appear “corny” and very old-fashioned, but at least they were wholesome, and my mother didn’t have to worry about any inappropriate topics coming up.  That’s when I realized that my daughter and her generation were growing up too quickly.  By the time she was nine, she was watching iCarly and The Wizards of Waverly Place.  These were OK; however, Alex Russo is no Jan Brady.

By the age of 11, she started telling me that her classmates were watching Pretty Little Liars, The Secret Life of an American Teenager and Switched at Birth.  These shows all have ratings of TV-14, clearly not appropriate for 11 and 12 year olds.  And don’t even get me started on Gossip Girl!  Once again, I was facing the issue of, “Everyone else’s parents are allowing them to watch”.  Of course I used the old line, “I don’t care what anyone else is doing, only what you’re doing”, and I forbid her to watch these shows.  Luckily, she was content with still watching the Disney channel and its new programs, such as Good Luck Charlie (which is my favorite of all these Disney shows), Shake it Up, and Jessie.  She also loves watching Full House (which she has the entire DVD collection) and old episodes of Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Boy Meets World.

Jump 2 years ahead and now at the age of 13, she’s really into Dance Academy and House of Anubis on Teen Nick.  I’ve recently allowed her to watch The Fosters on ABC Family, but because it’s rated TV-14, I watch it with her (against hubby’s better judgement).  I’m not thrilled about some of the topics on this show, but at least now I believe she is old enough to understand that life is not perfect, and that these are some real topics that others kids her age face. By watching it with her, she can also ask me questions on topics that may sometimes still be over her head.  I know some of the parents reading this will disagree about The Fosters, and that’s OK.  Only you know what your child can handle, and only you should be making those decisions.

I am not trying to raise my child in a plastic bubble (although I have been accused of that in the past), but I’m also not interested in rushing her childhood.  There is a place and time for everything, and she will soon find this out on her own.  I wish I could tell some of these parents to allow their kids to be kids.  Everyone seems in such a rush these days for their children to grow up.  Maybe it’s different for me, as I only have one, but it puts a smile on my face whenever I catch my daughter truly acting her age.

Now, if we could only bring back shoes like 7th Heaven and The Facts of Life!


Photo Courtesy of ABC Family



Peacocks Everywhere

While thinking of a topic for my first blog post, I came across some unexpected visitors, and then the idea came to me…

Imagine driving up to your house and finding four peacocks hanging out on your driveway? Well, these types of things happen, when living in Miami. On my drive every morning to my daughter’s school, we encounter plenty of peacocks, they just love hanging around in the neighborhood of Coconut Grove.  My daughter also sees them on her school campus at times. Every day we secretly wish that they would stroll down to our block, they are such beautiful birds!

During a mating session…

Having said this, when I mentioned our latest visitors to my neighbor across the street, she didn’t exactly share my opinion. She mentioned that peacocks can get very loud during the evenings, making ear-piercing sounds and keeping you from a good night’s sleep (this would definitely be a problem for me). I have actually been a witness to these sounds as I regularly take morning walks through Coconut Grove, and have been quite startled at times! They can also be very “messy”. As a matter of fact, there have been many complaints about these gorgeous birds from Coconut Grove residents. Some residents love having them around, as they are a living embodiment of Coconut Grove’s identity as a bohemian neighborhood. It’s completely natural to be driving down one of the neighborhood streets and find them smack in the middle of the road, with no intentions of moving. In my opinion, this actually helps slow down traffic, and I think it’s a benefit to the safety of pedestrians and kids, in a city that already has too many drivers speeding. However, many other residents complain that aside from the noise, they peck their cars, and poop all over their pools, driveways and porches.

On a nearby neighbor’s roof…

Well, as with all debates, some residents love them and some want them gone. My daughter and I love them, and we are so glad that our wish was finally granted and that we can expect to see them from time to time…of course, no poop in our pool please…

Do you like peacocks, would you like seeing them around your neighborhood?