What does it take to be a good parent today? At some point most everyone has found himself or herself criticizing the parenting skills of others whether they themselves were parents or not. "I was a wonderful parent before I had children. I was an expert on why everyone else was having problems with theirs" (Faber and Mazlish 1). I was always prepared with some sort of constructive criticism for that mother who couldn"t control her crying child in the department store or for that parent who couldn"t get their child to sit still in a movie theater. Any parent who accepts the role of parent will even criticize himself or herself on occasion. Everyone has an opinion on parenting. Where should parents look to find out what it takes to be a good parent? There are television programs that deal with the topic, government policies that tell parents what is and is not acceptable, ratings boards for television and movies, and several books on the subject.
I am a single father of a five-year-old boy. By all sense and purpose my son is like most five-year-old boys. He likes playing and laughing, going to the park, eating a McDonald's chicken McNugget Happy Meal, and watching cartoons. Not only does he watch cartoons but he also watches some of the programs that I watch on television with me; Friends, The Drew Carey Show, and Malcolm in the Middle to name a few. I never really thought much of it. I was a "latch key" kid myself and spent the majority of my youth in front of a television: Gilligan's Island, Flipper, The Dukes of Hazzard, etc . . . I never thought there was anything wrong with television as a form of entertainment for children. .
Like most parents, I was having that typical discussion that parents have, gloating over their children, with a co-worker of mine who has a four-year-old daughter. The topic of television came up and before this conversation I hadn"t put much thought into my son's television viewing habits.