I have stumbled upon a way to use tv to keep my teens in the loop with me. In fact my friends ask how I get the teens to not only talk to me but to watch something with me. My answer is the way I use tv. I will admit, I love tv, but during the day, except for The View, the tv isn't on. The kids have tv's, but I control the parental controls, so they don't watch much during the week. What I do is pick shows, sometimes educational, sometimes fun, and sometimes just a movie, and the teens are welcome to come down and watch with me and hubby at night. I have found if given the choice between no tv, and appropriate tv with mom and dad, they will choose tv with us. Sometimes we will just watch Animal Planet, or even tivo Oprah if it is on a subject I want my kids to see, like teenage sex or drug abuse. We always pause a lot and discuss the shows we are watching. I will tell you I have found so many things out about them just from doing this than any other activity. For instance we watched an Oprah show on mom's around the world, that even my son had opinions on. The kids could not believe how awful some mom's have it around the world. Somehow during this show my daughter ended up bringing down the Guinness Book of World Records to look the oldest mom up and me, my hubby, my son and daughter were up until midnight reading all kinds of facts. I am not saying tv is the greatest thing for everyone, but for those of us who aren't willing to give it up, there can be ways to use it to your advantage. Don't tell them I said this or they will never look at tv with mom and dad in the same way again.
Another great event we viewed together was Steve Irwins wife's interview with Barbara Walters. This really affected the kids and I am glad we viewed it as a family instead of them closing themselves off from us to view it. I have even used Survivor as a learning device. We will watch it and during it I will comment to the kids on how they think the contestants could do things in a different way then lying and deceiving. Believe it or not they come up with some good points.