How to approach my dad: concerned for him

I love my dad dearly. He’s a good man, provider, and role model. However, he’s gotten into something I really think isn’t good for him. He’s semi-unemployed (works part time at a liquor store and also does contract work for a chemical company), and he watches a show called TMZ, about celebrity gossip. I think it’s stupid, sophomoric, and not good for his mind. He does get out of the house and walk dogs at a local animal shelter, but watching such an idiotic show really concerns me. My mom and brother agree with me. How can I tell him that I don’t like it? When my mom would approach him about it, he would just get mad.

Oh my goodness. Cut him some slack. Just as you aren’t always studying theology you blow off daily steam in other ways. Let him have his TMZ.

Sounds like he’s going through a rough period. The show is probably just a total escape for him… something utterly disconnected from whatever circumstances have him feeling blue.

I say lay off of him. You’re right that it’s stupid, but it’s also fairly innocuous. Some people play video games, some people build model ships, some people watch TMZ.


I don’t really have an opinion on TMZ. I don’t get to watch a lot of TMZ.

I watch UFC and bull riding… :stuck_out_tongue:

My almost mid-80’s mother watches that show, too, Jack, the whole time compaining about how stupid it is. :rotfl: Go figure. (I always agree with her, in hopes she’ll stop the practice, but I never criticize her about it, bec. she’s of age, after all.)

I think Adeodatus might be on to something with his reply: when my father’s 3rd wife left him (he left the other 2), this man who had always rightly belittled TV as the “boob tube” or “idiot tube,” all of a sudden was watching it all the time after work in the evening and on weekends. I was stunned, bec. I had always respected his sensible attitude (even when I was still enchanted with the poison box myself, in early highschool).

Personally, I don’t think it would be appropriate to criticize your father about it, but you could possibly sometime (not during the program) simply ask him in a real casual way (i.e. not with a reproachful or snide tone of voice or facial expression) what it is that he finds so irresistible about the program. Maybe that will trigger a fruitful (revelatory?) conversation, or at least get him to think more about what he’s doing. There’s also prayer, which I’m sure you already thought of yourself.

TMZ is a show concerned with spreading “scandalous” news about celebrities. You hear a lot about Lindsey Lohan’s drug problems. A celebrity does drugs, gets divorced is involved in a sex scandal, TMZ reports it all. It’s about the fall of people. They also like to show at least on the website women stars in bikinis. They also take polls by comparing pictures of two women stars and asking who would you rather sleep with.

The original poster has good reason to be concerned about his Father. TMZ is all about the stuff Satan enjoys. It’s about the fall of people, people who are influenced by Satan. The images and stories can have an influence on someone.

If one goes to confession and then receives Jesus in communion then later that evening catches the latest episode of TMZ does that really make sense?


 We always to go God about man, before going to man about God. Pray for your dad first.  Offer prayer, penance, mortification, fasting, etc., for a while.  THEN, go and talk to him.  Humbly and peacefully.  Offer your thoughts up in such a manner as if he can take them or leave them (make the choice up to him).

 He may be watching stuff like that as an escape from the fact that he's underemployed.  A psychological ploy, so to speak.

I once knew a professor who was, in every sense of the word, a genius —*a simply brilliant man. He was the kind of guy who no longer read literature. He read literary criticism. Yet one of his favorite shows on TV was of all things “The Dukes of Hazard.” As he would say: “sometimes one just needs bubblegum for the brain.” Your dad probably worries about much considering his job situation, etc. Let him him have his 30-60 minutes of escape.

Amen! If watching TMZ is the worst thing your father does, then you’re extremely lucky. It’s a vice, if you can even call it that, which is incredibly mild, inexpensive and with few lasting effects compared to most.

Bear in mind this is a mildly gossipy show about the things celebrities make sure we know they’re getting up to, because their careers depend on publicity - and these days any kind of publicity will do. Note how 99.9% of the time the celebs play up to the cameras and engage in plenty of schmoozing with the TMZ camera guys and girls?

And yes, a person of my acquaintance who is incredibly smart, good and sensible watches it, as do I. ‘Bubblegum for the brain’ is a very apt description - not nutritious but not particularly a bad thing either.

Truly trashy shows that showcase and promote such awful behavior should be avoided, but it’s not putting his soul in immediate danger. I understand your concern but it would probably just annoy him if you start trying to influence what he does and doesn’t watch on TV, just as you would be annoyed if the roles were reversed. Though it sounds like the rest of your family agree with you and your mom has already tried. I agree with the poster who says you can casually bring up the topic and ask why he likes it. If you really want to talk to him about it you should do it in a non-confrontational manner.

If TMZ is celebrity gossip, it is sinful to watch it. We as Catholics are not allowed to partake in gossip, by telling it, or listening to it.

I don’t know if its really your place to approach your dad on his tv viewing habits. That’s something a spouse should do, and you said your mom already has done so and didn’t get the results you wanted. When he watches it and you’re in the house, just get up and leave, that should be enough to show him your distaste for the show. But he’s an adult and has a right to watch what he wants on his tv.

I guess I’d say, “Dad, I know it is the perogative of really smart people to watch really stupid TV once in awhile, but do you mind changing over to something less gossipy? I feel like we’re rubber-necking at a car wreck, or laughing at somebody caught with his zipper down. It’s fifth-grade cruel.”

Have you asked him why he watches this show? Before you tell him he shouldn’t watch it, I’d ask him why he does. You might be surprised at his answer.

This is good advice, much better than mine!

It is always better to avoid making the person you’re talking to defensive about behavior that concerns you, but a respectful, tactful manner that includes a clear willingness to learn yourself is much more likely to be successful.

My “train wreck” comment would be better considered only after the OP has heard the dad’s take on the show. Having listened, the OP would have a better idea of what tack to take, whether the dad might be receptive to his take on it, and better able to choose to talk so that his dad would not be so likely to feel his own son is lecturing him on morality.

I think you are very wise to be concerned. The part of us that others see is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. What part of your Dad connects with this program? Maybe he needs more positive people around him-like you! :thumbsup:

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