Author Topic: Changing the Channel?  (Read 4363 times)

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Cherry91

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Changing the Channel?
« on: June 14, 2013, 10:20:34 AM »
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?

MrTango

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Re: Changing the Channel?
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2013, 10:34:01 AM »
Welcome!

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

BeagleMommy

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Re: Changing the Channel?
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2013, 10:38:06 AM »
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.

NyaChan

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Re: Changing the Channel?
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2013, 12:20:36 PM »
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.

CakeBeret

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Re: Changing the Channel?
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2013, 12:26:20 PM »
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!
"From a procrastination standpoint, today has been wildly successful."

Roodabega

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Re: Changing the Channel?
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2013, 12:36:31 PM »
If you ask and they answer "no", would it be possible to respond in a cheery voice: "OK then, I'll just take my dinner to my room and watch tv/do something on my computer"?  As long as you are polite about it, I can't see that it would be a problem.  Possibly it would get them to change the program.  Either way, you get out of watching a program that you don't like.

cb140

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Re: Changing the Channel?
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2013, 12:48:17 PM »
I think I'm with most of the previous posters in saying that there's no harm in asking nicely, but you have to be prepared to accept a No, even though in my personal opinion that would be a bit churlish of your parents - surely there must be something that you all enjoy equally? My son isn't quite as old as you (he is 17) but what we do is say that if its something *only* he likes, he must watch it when we are busy doing other things, but if we are having dinner together in the living room, we will find something we all want to watch.

Interestingly, I wonder what people's views would be if the OP *was* paying her parents rent? Would that give her increased rights over the tv?

jmarvellous

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Re: Changing the Channel?
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2013, 01:20:43 PM »
I think I'm with most of the previous posters in saying that there's no harm in asking nicely, but you have to be prepared to accept a No, even though in my personal opinion that would be a bit churlish of your parents - surely there must be something that you all enjoy equally? My son isn't quite as old as you (he is 17) but what we do is say that if its something *only* he likes, he must watch it when we are busy doing other things, but if we are having dinner together in the living room, we will find something we all want to watch.

Interestingly, I wonder what people's views would be if the OP *was* paying her parents rent? Would that give her increased rights over the tv?

Unfortunately for the OP, not really.  I think she gets 1/3 say, so she can make her opinion known (and should), but rent or no rent, she wouldn't be able to unilaterally overrule the other two adults in the home.

If I were in this situation (the closest I've come is my mom and two younger siblings when home from college for the summer), I compromised by staying as long as it took me to eat, then getting up whether the show I didn't like was over or not.

bopper

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Re: Changing the Channel?
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2013, 02:07:28 PM »
You could tell them that the show really bothers you to watch while eating, but you understand that this is their house and this is what they like to do.
Perhaps you could say that you will eat with them 2 days  a week without the show, and the other days they can watch the show and you will eat elsewhere.
Or you could take a course or get a part time job that is during the dinner hours so you cant eat with tham.

AvidReader

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Re: Changing the Channel?
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2013, 04:02:57 PM »
OP, could you opt out and dine elsewhere, like in the kitchen or dining room and use the opportunity to catch up with the newspaper, a magazine, or a book while your parents are enjoying their show? 

TootsNYC

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Re: Changing the Channel?
« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2013, 04:18:04 PM »
There are 2 of them to one of you--are you proposing that they miss it entirely?

If so, don't even bring it up.

If you can TIVO it to read later, then I would say, "Mom and Dad, I find it upsetting to watch that show while I'm eating, and it interferes with family conversation. Can I fix it so that the show is recorded, and you can watch it after dinner?"

Otherwise, I would suggest you take your food elsewhere, from the very beginning. That's the price THEY pay--they don't get to eat with you if you need to avoid that sort of negativity.

And you have my strong, strong sympathies.

whatsanenigma

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Re: Changing the Channel?
« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2013, 04:34:22 PM »
Whatever you do, I would advise going around it from another angle, with less focus on "let's not watch this show" and more focus on "let's watch this specific, other show".

Maybe you could suggest watching movies together, for example.  Your meal probably doesn't last the length of time of a full movie, so you could watch it in segments.  Something to look forward to every night (the continuing movie) and something specific to talk about at the table and after.

Or maybe there is another show that you like and want to share, and you could suggest that you watch that show instead.

It's even possible, depending on your family dynamics, that you could say that dinner is the only time you really get to sit with them and you would like to talk and have more elaborate conversations than watching tv at the same time allows for.  Tell them you want to get to know them better and them to know you better.   Basically, no tv at all during the meal.

Good luck on this one, I hope it all goes well.

TootsNYC

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Re: Changing the Channel?
« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2013, 04:45:27 PM »

It's even possible, depending on your family dynamics, that you could say that dinner is the only time you really get to sit with them and you would like to talk and have more elaborate conversations than watching tv at the same time allows for.  Tell them you want to get to know them better and them to know you better.   Basically, no tv at all during the meal.


This would be my own preference!

sweetonsno

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Re: Changing the Channel?
« Reply #13 on: June 14, 2013, 04:56:05 PM »
I don't think you can try to demand that your parents not watch their favorite show because you dislike it, especially if they would otherwise miss it. I think your best bet is a two-pronged approach: first, say that you really would like to have dinner be a time when you can all come together and talk about your day; then, offer to Tivo the show so they can watch it after.

If that really wouldn't work with your family dynamic, you can certainly ask if they'd be willing to watch another show during dinner (again, offer to Tivo the soap if necessary). As with all of the other posters thus far, I agree that you have to be willing to accept a "no." (Unless TV-watching is considered family bonding time, you can probably get away with just excusing yourself to another room during dinner and/or leaving as soon as you have finished your meal.)

TootsNYC

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Re: Changing the Channel?
« Reply #14 on: June 14, 2013, 05:03:31 PM »
Since part of your agreement is to carry your own weight in terms of household matters, what if you became the person in charge of cooking dinner?

And you can cook while the show is on (wear headphones to block it out, and to help you concentrate), and eat after!!