Monday, May 9, 2016

The Big Lie that TV is Telling our Children

Watching TV tonight, I noticed a recurring theme; something I have never really paid attention to before, though it should have been obvious.

This recurring theme is alcohol. When anyone had a bad day on this show, they would go have a drink. When they had a good day, they go have a drink.

This programming is sending signals to our children, and not good ones. Our kids begin to think that drinking is the proper and “grown up” way to deal with their problems, as well as the best way to celebrate.

When I have a bad day, I go to bed early, cry myself to sleep, or binge watch my favorite TV show. Sometimes I curl up with a great book and lose myself in the pages for awhile. I am experienced enough to know that alcohol will not solve my problems. In the morning, I get up, go to work—and meet the problem head on.

We need to be teaching our children to face their problems. They need to learn to lean on a friend, get counseling if needed, work harder, try again, take out frustrations through exercise or journaling, or building and destroying Lego sculptures.

Instead, we let the sitcoms teach them that alcohol is the answer.

When someone on TV is battling alcoholism, the TV lies. This person is still their normal, beautiful self, but with an alcohol problem. Long-term alcohol abuse changes the body; sunken eyes, sallow skin, red face, dull hair.

Ever notice how “easy” it is to “recover” from alcohol abuse on these shows? In just a few episodes, they have moved past the alcoholism and can enjoy a social drink with their buddies again.

This isn’t how alcoholism works people! You don’t just get over it and go back to social drinking. You might pull it off for awhile, but eventually a trigger will cause the alcoholism to begin spiraling out of control again.

Chronic alcohol abuse ravages the body and mind. I’ve seen men in their 40s, living in Nursing homes with alcohol-induced dementia, who have lost control of their bowel and bladder functions. Men who could no longer feed themselves or wipe their own butt.

Alcoholism tears families apart. People say things when they are drinking that they would never dream of saying sober. They drive away their friends and family and go deeper in the bottle because everyone has “abandoned them.”

And yet, we glorify alcohol on TV. We let our teenagers, and even younger kids watch these lies, and we don’t bother to tell them the truth. We assume they already know it because we know it.

Oh yeah? How did you learn? Experience? Watching it tear someone’s life apart? Spoon feeding applesauce to a 40 year old man because he let alcohol ruin his life and he can no longer feed himself?

And now? Will you teach them? Or let them learn the hard way?

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