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Should Kids Be Allowed to Watch TV Wrestling?

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: I have a son, aged four, and a daughter, aged nine, who both love to watch wrestling on TV. I know that it is fake and all that good stuff. Don't misunderstand me--the wrestlers are good athletes and actors, but my wife feels that our kids should not be allowed to watch it and that the little guy shouldn't even have the action figures to play with. Will watching or playing with the toys have any bad effects?

A: There is NO redeeming value to the wrestling found on TV these days. I would strongly recommend that you not allow your kids to watch wrestling, either alone or with adults. Staged or not, your nine-year-old and especially your four-year-old still do not distinguish fantasy from reality on a consistent basis. What are they learning from watching these sexist, racist, violent shows? Wrestling's ongoing, soap opera-like "story lines" are laced with simulated drug-taking and sex, profane language and gestures, bloodletting violence...need I go on?

I would also recommend that you not provide either child with wrestling action figures or any other paraphernalia linked to wrestling. They will use the action figures to imitate what they see on TV. That's not imaginative, creative play--it's just repeating the senseless violence and shameful behavior they witness on TV wrestling.

When kids grow up watching endless hours of gratuitous violence, they do become desensitized to violent behavior, both as a perpetrator of violence and as an observer of violent acts. It's up to you to remove the addicting substance--in this case, take away this unhealthy programming from your children.

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Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


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