Many parents who welcome the idea of turning off TV and spending more time with the family are still worded that without TV they would constantly be on call as entertainers for their children. They remember thinking up all sorts of things to do when they were kids. But their own kids seem different,less resourceful, somewhat. When there's nothing to do,these parents observe regretfully, their kids seem unable to come up with anything to do besides turning on TV.
One father, for example, says,"When I was a kid, we were always thinking up things to do. We certainly never complain in an annoying way to our parents: 'have nothing to do! ' "He compares this with his own children today:"They're simply lazy. If someone doesn't entertain them, they' II happily sit there watching TV all day."
There is one word for this father's disappointment: unfair. He deplores his children' s lack of inventiveness, as if the ability to play were something innate that his children are missing. In fact, while the tendency to play is built into the human species.
Such disappointment, however, is not only unjust, it is also destructive. Sensing their parents' disappointment, children come to believe that they are, indeed, lacking something, and that this makes them less worthy of admiration and respect. Giving children the opportunity to develop new re-sources, to enlarge their horizons and discover the pleasures of doing things on their own is, on the other hand, a way to help children develop a confident feeling about themselves as capable and interesting people.