General Etiquette > Family and Children

Changing the Channel?

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Hi, this is my first post here so please bear with me if I haven't got it quite right.

I recently completed university, and returned to my parents' home until I can find a job and get the money together for a place of my own. My parents and I have agreed that once I have a job, I will pay them rent (but less than I would pay in a place of my own) and also pull my weight around the house.

My parents and I eat dinner together most nights, and often eat in the living room with the TV on. That's where the problem lies. My parents watch a soap opera that is completely and utterly steeped in misery. I used to watch it with them years ago, but as it became more and more grim, I became put off. When we eat in the living room, my parents almost always put on their soap opera, and it often makes me uncomfortable while I eat. Also, the show is on at least 4 times a week, often more, so there's almost always an episode recorded. My parents know I dislike the show, as it's come up in conversation in the past, and if they put it on while I'm in the room when we're not eating dinner, I will go and do something else.

I fully acknowledge that it's my parents' house and my parents' TV, but is there any way I could politely request that we watch something else?


I think there's no harm in saying "Hey, mom/dad.  Is there any chance we could watch something else while we're eating?"

You can, by all means, ask if you could put something different on TV while dining with them.  However, you should be prepared that they will say no to your request.  Since this seems to have become a tradition/pattern they may not want to change.

As long as you don't become demanding or petulant you can always ask.

I would ask for a change, but be prepared for it to be turned down.  My dad does this with the news at dinner sometimes and when I'm not in the mood, the easiest way to deal with it is to start a conversation.  Pretty soon they either turn the tv off because they can't hear the conversation enough to respond or I get distracted enough not to care that death and gloom is pouring off the screen.

I would talk to them at a non-meal-time and say something like "Hey Mom and Dad, Morose Soap Opera is really not my favorite. Can we pick a different show to watch together a couple nights a week?" Try to find a show that everyone will enjoy. Don't ask them to stop watching Morose Soap Opera every night, but see if they'll compromise on one or two nights.

Good luck!


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