Wrestling on TV

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Jan 1999

Did everyone know that wrestling (the fake kind) is incredibly popular right now especially with young men? I think it's gross and brain-dead. My 16-y-o son thinks it's great entertainment. The other family members don't watch it but they consider it harmless fun. So: assuming that there is only one TV, and it isn't on all that often, and everyone gets a turn watching the TV show of their choice, is it fair for Mom to say It's disgusting and I hate it and you aren't watching it in this house even if all your homework is done and it's your turn to have the TV because I don't want to catch a glimpse of it when I walk through the living room. Is that fair? Ginger

Oops, sorry Ginger, but no, that's not fair. A 16-year-old boy needs all the safe outlets he can get for testosterone-endorphin loading. I mean, ask me again in 12 years, but I think you should just live with it. I'll bet you've watched a few TV shows he couldn't bear.

At 16, he is almost an adult and he should be able to choose what he watches. Let him know you don't approve but you should just stay out of the living room when he's watching. he'll grow out of it.

This is not a new craze. 25 years ago, my then-15-year-old brother watched it EVERY Saturday. I hated it then, too. It is totally disgusting. However, I think if you're talking about someone that old choosing what they want to watch on their own limited TV time, I'm afraid I have to vote for unfair on the insistance he turn it off. I think this is one of those instances where you want to keep communications open, rather than closed. Let him watch what he wants, but be sure to have the occassional conversation about it. What is it he likes about it? My brother used to say it was funny. I never did get the attraction. But my brother grew into a warm, sensitive, caring man, an artist and devoted father of two, whose favorite shows now are

if you really just don't want to have to see it yourself--how about a rule that he has to move the tv into his bedroom (and then back into the living room afterwards). Or that he can only watch it when you're not home. But I sense that you object to him watching it, and I think all you can hope for is a good discussion about why you find it objectionable (and why he likes it?). If he gets that and still wants to watch then I think you should let him. 16 seems old enough... I have a friend who required her daughters to tell her 3 things that they thought the mother would not have liked about every show they watched. She felt this rule gave them the freedom to watch what they wanted and her the knowledge that they were keeping her values in mind! they complained that this rule ruined all the shows for them, but that's not so bad!

--- Hi Ginger: There are many ways to approach the wrestling on TV question. One is to say that its your house and your TV, and you don't have to be fair. I read something somewhere recently about how much more violent/racist/hateful wrestling has become since its inception, which makes it even more questionable. On the other hand, all the boys are watching it (even my son's 9-11 year old crowd is in to it) and even though I don't allow it at my house, my son sees it when he visits his best friend next door. And, since your son is 16 and well on his way to adulthood, he can obviously go over to someone else's house to watch. Is it a battle worth fighting? I use my 6 year old daughter as an excuse not to allow it, as she will watch ANYTHING that is on, and even my son agrees its not appropriate for her (but feels it is OK for him).

Completely fair! As a parent you have every right to monitor what your child watches on television. As a kid my parents strictly outlawed Lost in Space and The Three Stooges because they objected to the sheer stupidity and random violence in these shows. At the time I thought their objections were silly, since they allowed me to watch other shows which had far more violence in them. But I did respect the fact that they showed some interest in and opinions on what I watched.

It may or may not be fair to ban wrestling from your TV, but I can't see how a 16-year old is going to look at that ban as anything but an example of how uptight & out of touch mom is. Try thinking of it as self-esteem therapy--odds are your kid watches it precisely because it is so dumb and it allows him to feel fantastically superior.

I don't know if it's fair, but it sounds pretty reasonable. to me. I've never had a 16-y-o, but my instinct says go ahead, pollute your brain with whatever, but not in my house with my TV when I'm at home.

Well, it is gross and brain dead, but probably harmless, and I don't think it contributes to real violence, since it is SO cartoonish - sort of like the violence in Road Runner cartoons or on monster truck rallies. As to the my turn to pick the show question, I have to say that, yes, it's probably unfair to prohibit your son from watching it if it's his turn to pick the show, even if it does sour your occasional treks through the living room. I'd definitely argue, however, for very low volume - there's no reason that you should be subjected to the grunts, thumps, and narration when you are in other rooms in the house. Besides, rest assured, he'll outgrow it, and may soon come to find it boring. My brother watched it in the 1970s, and he turned out okay.

Note from Ginger: I found out wrestling only comes on Monday nights. I had thought it was on pretty much all the time! I decided I could deal with Monday nights if I get advance warning. Thanks to everyone for writing.