When is "enough enough"?


#1

I was wondering what credentials you use to determine if you kid is spending too much energy on a certain thing. The assumption is that the “thing” in question is not immoral in and of itself, but isn’t necessarily beneficial to them like exercise, reading, spiritual exercises. The obsession that brought this to mind for me was a TV show, but it could be a toy, a movie, a book, a video game, a regular game, a joke that’s no loner funny, or whatever. So when do you put the kibosh on it?

When it’s becoming annoying/obnoxious to be around?
When it’s cutting into time and energy better spent elsewhere?
When the kid is becoming combative or even tantrum-y when it’s time to put it down?
When they insist on having it, or try to sneak it at inappropriate times?
Or do you just let kids be kids and have their thing they love, as long as it isn’t disrupting Mass or school?

When it’s time to intervene, do you cut cold turkey (We really don’t need this in our life), try to limit the time to a certain time of day, or do a week or month long break? What do you find most effective? Is it moral for a parent to say, “OK, it’s not that there’s anything wrong with X, but if I have to listen to it/hear about it/watch it/or clean it up one more time, Mother’s going to descend into a fit of violent rage!”


#2

I was trying to keep the subject matter vague for the point of discussion, but in case you are interested, the obsession of the moment is the TV show, Pinkalicious, which ironically is about a girl obnoxiously obsessed with the color pink.
The original book it is based on seemed to contain the moral that obsession over a color is foolish. In the story, the girl eats pink cupcakes until she literally turns pink and has to learn to eat green things in order to recover. The moral being that being open to different colors that aren’t your favorite is the healthy way to go, both physically and figuratively. Unfortunately, the TV show doesn’t capture that moral well and what is emphasized is that pink is the most wonderful color in the world and Pinkalicious’ parents and pediatrician are fussy old fuddy-duddies since they don’t realize that literally turning pink is only the singularly best thing that could ever happen to a person.

That’s the first episode. Many of the subsequent episodes continue the pink obsession with songs about pink, turning things pink, pink being the color of “joy and love”, going on a mission to find pink shoes (because blue shoes are insufficient no matter how comfortable and appropriate they are.) etc.

There ARE legitimately positive aspects to the show. It’s one of the few kids’ shows with appropriate vocal models from child actors. I get sick of listening to the digitally altered adult voices in Daniel Tiger and others. There is a demonstrably good relationship between the main character and her younger brother. There is an emphasis on problem solving and STEM, which is good.

Unfortunately, what my daughter has picked up on is being obsessed with pink. She now goes around screaming every time she sees something pink. It’s extremely irritating. She also insists on a “pink one” whenever she is being given something and whines if a pink one isn’t available. She is already on notice that the only acceptable response to being given something is “thank you” and if she complains about something not being pink again, Pinkalicious will be on permanent hiatus in our household. She’s needed a few reminders, but she’s upheld her end of the deal so far. We had to make a similar threat regarding Peanuts after she called her daddy a “blockhead”.

I tried discretely making sure the TV wasn’t on during the show, just for my sanity, but she knows it comes on a little while after her brother starts his nap and starts begging for it. We haven’t officially banned it yet, but I’m getting close. Ironically, not a week before this show came out, she informed me that pink wasn’t even a “real color” because it wasn’t represented in the spectrum of light.


#3

Sounds good to me.
I might add, in addition to Mass and school, a reasonable amount of family time where the kid is participating in something like dinner or an outing with the family. Notice I said “reasonable amount”, like one evening out a week, one day out a week, and/or dinner every night. A kid shouldn’t have to spend all or even most of his free time every day on family stuff.

Obsessions are part of childhood, and a fun part, something often shared with other kids and not with parents or teachers. They fade away and become a nice memory. Occasionally they inspire a kid to some later good life choice or career choice. These benefits may not be visible to the parent who thinks they know best and that the kid should be spending more time playing outdoors, reading library books, praying, etc.


#4

I go by their behavior. If they are acting up because of something, we take a break. Example - the current obsession in our house is Minecraft. If fighting breaks out over what to do or how to do it, the game goes off for an hour or two. It negatively effects behavior when they aren’t playing? We take at least a few days off.

Fortunately, minor breaks have helped immensely each time and we haven’t had to go for an outright ban. Perhaps you could plan for a Pinkalicious vacation of sorts? 1 day or week or whatever where Pinkalicious needs a some time away from it all.


#5

I’d only worry if this goes on for an extended period of time. These obsessions tend to burn extremely hot for a few weeks, then they fade abruptly. Id be surprised if she didn’t completely forget about this show before long.


#6

I’m with Tis_bearself. I’m pretty sure your little one will outgrow pinkalicious, like kids outgrew Telletubbies (sp), though I can’t promise that it will come before you feel you will lose your mind :wink:

We had to have a discussion after a Disney Movie, when dd called her dad an Idiot…Cruella de Ville calls her henchmen idiots several times in the movie.

These become learning moments throughout our children’s lives. I do sympathize with how obnoxious these things can be. Distraction comes in handy.


#7

I’d be more worried that she can’t take “no” for an answer than the show itself and her obsession with it. There were times when my parents would just tell me they can’t afford one or another stuff I really wanted and already had many of and eventually just threw them all away. I don’t think that they couldn’t afford it many times they just saw I was stuck in some obsession.
I think the perfect word is “stuck”. Now that I look back at my childhood I do regret every moment I was stuck because of some obsession I had.
Most of the kids products are built to create dependence. Grownup products also but we have more discernment. I don’t have kids but my work colleagues do and they said the counselors insist on teaching kids to accept refusal sooner than later. In the beginning I thought this was mean and ruining the kids childhood but when I got to think about it made sense. This will protect them from a lot of disappointment later in life on more serious issues.


#8

First comes pink. Next phase, purple. :grin:


#9

This one.

If they’re having withdrawal symptoms, that’s no good.


#10

Sounds reasonable. We’re literally taking a vacation ourselves in a couple weeks, so that will help. Unfortunately, the show is broadcast right at the time my younger guy goes down for a nap and traditionally this is “quiet time” which is when she’s allowed to watch TV. Maybe I should encourage some videos instead. I’d even be willing to go out and buy Peppa Pig episodes on DVD to get her off this “pink stuff”. We went to Bounce U this morning and she was bouncing around, arms out-stretched, belting out an operetta she composed about pink. One saw one of the other parents roller her eyes and mutter, “I hate that &#^@&!( show.” I guess I’m not the only one. It’s not the show in and of itself. I don’t really mind watching it. But somehow it has the power to turn normal kids into color-obsessed brats!


#11

We’ve been pretty fortunate in this department. In the past, she’s always been pretty accepting of “no” or “not now” when she asked for things. She’s going on five and she only just recently asked me “why” about something she wanted and I had to explain that the thing she wanted was too expensive. She was actually very curious about the concept of a finite amount of money to spend on things. She’s brought up money, banks, and finance several times since then, trying to understand how money works and why some families have money and others don’t.

One thing I’m grateful for is that Pinkalicious doesn’t seen to have much merchandising behind it. (Yet.) So far, we’ve been able to put off character merchandise obsessions for the most part. My BIL brought over some of my niece’s used clothes and the sneaky creep stuck a whole bag of Peppa Pig figurines in there! My kids were like, “There are Peppa Pig TOYS!?!? What else have you been holding out on us!?!?”


#12

Is that season two or something?


#13

Here’s an example in case anyone wants to see what I’m dealing with. This is the episode where Pinkalicious finds out that just because you think glitter is the most pinkatastic thing since the invention of pink (aka the color of joy and love) other people may not appreciate it as much as you do and may react poorly when you dump it all over their stuff. Very important life lesson.


#14

My colleagues’s kid sings and love Michael Jackson. He is 7. My colleague is more into dark goth metal if you know what I mean. He is happy the kid dances and sings. When the boy was obsessed with LEGO games he started to worry because those aren’t cheap and once built a new one had to come in. The “too expensive” was replied with “comon, I know you have money.” That was heavy but my friend is also…dark and unflinching because the kid has grandparents to spoil him so there is no need to worry the boy suffers there lol.
Your girl sounds very cute and healthily annoying. May God bless her and your family. I don’t remember my obsession at 5… I think it was Disney’s Snow White. I had a curtain with her and the dwarfs and the bath hangers had tiny dwarfs and I loved them all. I still live that movie and bought Kinder eggs with Disney princesses hoping to find Snow White. And I did! So maybe one day she will still be prissy about Pinkalicious…


#15

Did you know that there is a Lego set rental program? It’s like Netflix for Legos. You tell them the sets you want to build, they send them to you, when you’re done you send them back and they send you a new one! Pass it on to your colleague!


#16

The kid is like the master chef of legos within his friends group. Kids come to play at his house with the things. He has to own them for sure lol.


#17

The rental company even has those really complex super-sets for graduate students. If you love the set, you can buy it from the company. I think they’re cheaper that way than buying them new.


#18

Thank you for the LEGO tip! Definitely looking into that. Do you know if they rent to teachers for classroom use or is it for home use only?


#19

No, I mean in real life. First girls like pink, and then when they get older, it’s purple. :slightly_smiling_face: After that, they decide on their real favorite color of all.


#20

I can’t think of any reason why they wouldn’t rent to a school, but I didn’t ask.


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