The other day, NHL confided something to me. He said that some kids were making fun of him because he was watching “baby shows” and not shows that those kids liked. I asked him what made those other kids’ shows non-baby shows. He said that their programs were violent and since he didn’t watch violent shows, he watched baby shows. I calmly told him that the kids that told him this were wrong on many levels.
First of all, I let him know that he *does* watch some shows that are young for his age. Notably, Oomi Zoomi, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and other Nick Jr and Disney Junior programs. When programs are trying to teach simple patterns, colors, letters and numbers, it isn’t age-appropriate for an 8-year-old. However, there’s a catch. I reminded NHL that he has a younger brother. He can’t just watch 8-year-old appropriate shows all the time. Sometimes, he’ll need to watch 4-year-old appropriate shows. This means that sometimes he’ll need to watch shows that are too young for him and sometimes it will mean that his brother will watch shows that are too old for him.
Next, I told NHL that he does actually watch shows with violence. He’s a fan of Avengers, Batman: The Animated Series and has recently discovered Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. These shows aren’t exactly violence-free. In fact, in many ways, they are more violent than the benchmark show his school friends watch (Power Rangers).
Still, even considering these, I told NHL that he shouldn’t equate violence with age appropriateness. He likes science shows like Mythbusters (which, though containing some violence in the form of explosions, also has a lot of science), The Looney Tunes Show (which resembles a sitcom with Bugs and company) and Family Game Night (a game show).
In addition, I pointed out to NHL that he isn’t defined by TV. He has other interests. He likes video games, music (including some very grown-up selections like Train, Lady Gaga, and Black Eyed Peas), reading, and playing on the computer.
In the end, I let NHL know that he couldn’t let his classmates define whether or not he was “acting like a baby” by a few of his actions. If they were going to be so narrow minded as to not want to be his friend because he doesn’t like the exact same TV shows that they do, then it is their loss. However, you can’t let yourself be defined what someone says is a negative aspect of your interests.