Watching your Teens favorite TV shows is important

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[This is a repost of an article I wrote last year, in the very early days of my blog. I think it is important enough to post again since most of you probably missed it. The point is that to connect with your teens over TV, they aren’t going to necessarily join you on your favorite show, you need to develop tastes in theirs.]

Being a pop-culture addict, I’m usually pretty good at knowing what TV shows I’ll like and which ones are just not for me. So, when my sons’ tried to talk me into watching some of their favorites, I initially said no, they aren’t for me, I’m sure I won’t like them. They are three very different types of shows but something about each one turned me off. However, because I wanted the bonding experience with my teens, I eventually gave each one a chance and fell in love with all three.

The Office

I had initially watched an episode in the first season and thought Michael Scott (Steve Carell) was too over the top and the comedy too broad. On my behalf, season one is considered the weakest season. When I finally started watching again in season two, I fell in love with the show. Once you get to know all the characters you laugh just from looking at their expressions. And when you add in the Jim and Pam love story the show has everything.

Battlestar Galactica

I was positive I wouldn’t like this one. I was never a big science fiction fan and had slight memories of the original show by this name which was never something I would have watched. My son kept telling me how I would love it since I love Lost and this is even more intellectual and political. He owned the DVDs so I decided to give it a try and he was right. It is an amazing show. It is probably the most intelligent show on television.

I told you I was dealing with 3 very different types of shows. My reasoning for not wanting to watch this show was, as much as I do watch my share of soapy shows, i.e. Desperate Housewives; I thought that this would be too young for me. My sons talked me into watching by stressing the roles of Peter Gallagher (Sandy Cohen) and Tate Donovan (Jimmy Cooper). They knew how to get to me because I started watching (they had the DVDs of the first two seasons for me to catch up). It really was a much better show than I ever would have thought, especially season one. The only bad part was by the time I caught up it was time for season three, which if you were a fan of the show you will know was the worst season.
Three great things came out of my listening to my kid’s advice. I found some great new television shows to watch. I made my kids feel good for taking their advice. But the best part was the bonding that resulted when we now watch these shows together.
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  1. This certainly is a great article to repost. I’ve been doing this with my girls… following their interests in TV, movies and online. Not only did I find myself liking, or at least appreciating why they like, the things they like they also end up liking some of the things I like. We just had a 80’s movie weekend marathon last weekend and had a great time together.

    We don’t have as much time to spend as families as it is. It’s sad when you see families in different rooms watching their own shows and not interacting.

    Oh, an added plus to taking an interest in your kid’s shows and music… it adds to your ‘coolness’ factor when it turns out you like the same things they do 🙂

  2. Aren’t you so glad that you DID get turned on to BSG? I can’t believe it’s almost over, but it’s blowing my mind. I agree that it’s one of the most intelligent shows on television these days.

  3. Thanks for reposting this! I agree, it is VERY important – it’s definitely a “jumping off” point for conversation. Great post!

  4. Good stuff. The Office provides my much needed weekly dose of sarcasm and humor. Glad you gave it a second chance! As for Battlestar and OC, I would’ve had to secretly play w/ my iphone during those!

  5. I couldn’t agree more. I’m not a television watcher by nature, but my daughter gets very caught up in serial television shows (Lost, Heroes, Veronica Mars) and watching them with her not only provides room for some subtle teaching moments but opens the door for all kinds of inside jokes and humorous references and such. She especially likes the shows that keep you guessing, and that’s great, because it creates a recurring topic of conversation.

  6. Ahhh sweet. It’s wonderful when you can make a connection with your teens who can otherwise be hard to connect with (I only know this as of now on the basis of having been a teen). I think this is great advice. Find common ground. Mine aren’t teens yet, but I know that those days are coming.

  7. Actually, out of all the shows you list, my kids only watch The Office. I don’t think my kids have even heard of the other 2. My son is a fan of Big Bang Theory and unfortunately it’s on the same time as The Secret Life of An American Teenager are on at the same time. To solve the problem, we trade-off each week. Every week there is grumbling from the person whose turn it’s not, but both still put up with the other’s shows and I actually like both and use both to talk about various issues.

  8. Lola,
    Battlestar Galactica is on the SciFi channel so not as well known. The O.C. was on from 2003-2007 so your kids might have been a little young for it when it was on, but it was very big, especially in its first 2 years.

  9. Although I don’t have a teenager, I taught art to high school students before I had a baby last year, and I can say that it does help to take an interest in what they like. It helped me relate more to my students and they also had more respect for me.

    Hopefully I’ll be a cool mom like you when my son grows up!

  10. Great post!!! While I still have little ones, I think we can all take this great advice and adapt to work with kids of all ages. Have a wonderful day!!

  11. I guess I have a nerdy son, he has always watched the Discovery and History channels, with a little Law & Order, Cold Case and Big bang Theory thrown in. I have always tried to show an interest in his TV and movie choices. Which has opened up a lot of conversations throughout the years. This is great advice. I have also discovered thru the years that our best conversations are when it’s just the two of us are in the car. I have learned more about my son while behind the wheel than anywhere else (just thought I’d pass it on).

  12. This is a great reminder of how important it is to connect with your kids by showing them you value their opinions. TV can be a great way to open up lines of communication – it’s an easy way to share an experience, and you might just like the show besides! (I’ll have to check out Battlestar Galactica.) My kids are very young, but I hope to keep your advice in mind!

  13. A great post! I especially love it when I can interject little tidbits and actually INFORM my teen about the show or the stars – i.e. watching “Wizards of Waverly Place” and being able to say, “You know Selena Gomez and Nick Jonas broke up?!” She thinks I’m the coolest and now comes to me for anything she needs to verify that she heard in the girls’ room or the halls at school, so she can go in the next day and go, “Duh, how would you even know that? They haven’t even started filming the new Twilight movie yet…” 😉

  14. this is a great post and i love wtaching with my kids

  15. LilyBiscuit :

    My teen daughter and I watch The Office together. It’s very funny! My almost teen son and I watch the History Channel and Discovery too! You are right….it’s good to connect with them. Thanks Mom Logic for recommending yet another great blog!

  16. At first I complained about watching shows like The Office and The OC, but they really do allow for great talking points and yes, even quality time. Great post! –Michelle

  17. DebbieinMemphis :

    Hi! That’s a great article and so true for what I’ve found with my own children. One of the things I miss most is watching movies and adult shows with my left-the-nest children. My younger children and I watch tv together, but they are still too young for most network shows.

  18. DebbieinMemphis :

    Hi! That’s a great article and so true for what I’ve found with my own children. One of the things I miss most is watching movies and adult shows with my left-the-nest children. My younger children and I watch tv together, but they are still too young for most network shows.

  19. Great post and couldn’t agree with you more. I don’t have teenage kids, but do have 2 teenage neices. I’ve wathced all 3 High School musicals (I’m in love with Zac Effron) and sometimes watch the Disney channel by myself. I have a myspace account so I can communicate with them and have read all the Twilight series (I’m also in love with Edward Cullen). I can’t wait until my 4 year old daughter becomes a teenager.

  20. followed you from momlogic… thanks for posting! I think that the more time parents spend with their kids the better. Especially if it’s sharing something as human as slaptick comedy or heartbreak… thanks!

  21. Great post! I love watching TV with my 2 yr old!

  22. hi all! I believe the best way to connect with your kiddos is talking and playing games and of course, praying for and with them! It makes all the difference in the world!! Playing games with my 5 year old girl is a lot of fun and we can talk while we play! My 6 month old girl will watch us and act like she wants in on the action! Too cute! Hope this helps and thanks for the post!!!! 🙂 Julie Spearing

  23. My husband, children and I have seen several musicals and plays together, which always gives us shared memories and laughs.

    Also I find when I listen to my now grown kids’ music with an open mind, and find something that appeals to me, they are more likely to share their music with me, which makes for comfortable car drives together.

  24. Great post.I know what you mean by watching what they watch. I am now watching reruns because I could never watch them before and now I can.
    Thanks for reminding me that when you have kids the remote doesn’t exist.

  25. I agree that it’s a great way to connect with your kids and to know what they find interesting.

  26. My kids are 5 & 7 they are in bed before those shows air not to mention they are way over their head. We do however watch a lot of iCarly along with Drake & Josh. My husband and I sit and laugh along with the kids its a great way to bond!

  27. Well I have a 6 yr. old so you can guess the kinds of shows I watch so he thinks I’m cool. 🙂 I think he is going to have the same tastes as his father and myself – which are 24, Lost and BSG (which I’ve been too busy to watch lately and have them DVR’d) to name a few. And congrats on being chosen as a featured blogger at MomLogic!

  28. Games for kids :

    I monitor everything that my kids watch. some of the ideas that are in tv are not appropriate for kids at all. Sadly I see less good kids shows and games and more tv shows that relate to kids like mini adults instead of just children.

  29. There are several shows that both my almost-14-year-old daughter and I watch together. We both love Ugly Betty and CSI, among other shows. Just the time that we spend sitting together during these shows is sometimes the only time we get in the same space during the day. Gives us things to chat about and a way to find common ground.

  30. I’ve heard such good things about the Office but never had a chance to watch it. I’m going to have to dig out the remote and set the dvr!

    Thanks for an interesting post. My daughter is only three, so I have awhile to go before she’s a teen – who knows what will be on then – or what the tv’s will be like! But I completely agree, we need to watch what they watch – at any age!

    mayacarpenter at verizon dot net

  31. My wife and I try to watch the Simpsons and 2 1/2 men if nothing more than to say BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH when the subject matter gets too risque. Unfortunately we need to sensor out half the commercials as well.

  32. Online Dating Tips :

    Yep.. I agree, watching together with teens can really increase our closeness with them. Therefore, it’s recommended for parents to spend their time watching quality movies together

  33. Grow taller naturally :

    I agree too, watching together with our kids their favorite movies can greatly increase our bond. This is especially true for busy parents that don’t have much time playing with their kids. They can have this activity each weekend

  34. It’s a great way to bond with your teen, you are not bonding with the tv show – so what does it matter? Spend time with your teen!

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