Out of all the TV that my son watches on a daily basis (all strictly time managed and NEVER when he is having his dinner you understand….cough, cough), I would have to say that, without doubt, Peppa Pig is my stand out favourite. I love Peppa Pig! I love the fact that the characters are so well observed and so cleverly portrayed, and I love the fact that they actually reflect reality as opposed to being all goody too shoes all the time, as is the case with many of the other kids’ tv shows.
Now, sure I understand that there is a big move towards, and a big support for, kids’ programs that are of an educational nature and teach our children morals and ‘the right way to behave’. And many a qualified expert (of which I am not!) will completely push the point that children will copy the behaviours of that which they witness on TV, therefore further fuelling the debate that children’s viewing should be limited, but I do also think there is a fine line between acknowledging what is just a little fun and what could be seriously damaging to a child.
If you can honestly say, hand on heart, that you have never eaten chocolate cake over vegetables when you had the choice, have never splashed in a muddy puddle, have never back chatted your own parents and/or have never belittled your partner in a sarcastic manner in front of your children then, firstly, let me finish applauding you before I continue on to confirm that, yes, indeed, Peppa Pig is not for you.
I recommend that perhaps you stick to watching the more sensible and educational shows on offer where fruit salad and vegetables are promoted and essential safety messages such as ‘ovens are hot’ and ‘scissors are sharp’ are repeated on a rather endless loop.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I totally understand and appreciate that there is a definite need for, and positive messages to be achieved from, educational programs, but I do also think that sometimes people forget that their children probably witness a lot more ‘traumatising’ behaviours around the home and out in public in general than that of which they may be exposed to in watching the likes of Peppa Pig.
It is a real and true fact of life that humans bicker (often in front of their children, despite their best intentions not to), succumb to eating junk food, get dirty, and occasionally use language of a sarcastic or somewhat patronising nature. Therefore, one could argue that in order to avoid our children picking up any of these ‘behaviours’ the simple answer is quite simply never to leave home, once again backing up the ‘wrap our children in cotton wool’ brigade!
However, in a move that seems to be increasingly common in the UK, parents are taking a stand against Peppa Pig by announcing a ban on the show in their home, citing it as the reason for their child’s recently acquired ‘naughty’ behaviours.
Naughty behaviours that they claim are a mirror image of those portrayed by the characters within the cartoon.
For example, one parent told of how, after watching George Pig refuse his vegetables in an episode, preferring instead to ask for ‘chocolate cake’, her son would no longer touch his cucumber and tomato. And another Father told of his despair in his daughter wanting to emulate Peppa Pig on the way to school by partaking in her favourite pastime of splashing in muddy puddles!
Now, whilst I do have empathy for these parents, I do also think that, in the grand scheme of things, a bit of mud and the occasional piece of chocolate cake never really hurt anyone (even if it is for breakfast), and, in reality, children will back chat regardless of whether they see it on a cartoon or not. It’s all about boundaries, learning how far they can or can’t be pushed, and is all just part of their development as individuals.
Sure, there is no denying that it can make our job as parents harder when we are challenged by factors influencing our children such as television, but we could, alternatively, also make life a little easier by taking a leaf from Peppa’s book and simply eating chocolate cake, splashing in muddy puddles and, quite simply, sometimes just breaking the rules!
Jo Hartley is a mummy, freelance writer and blogger living in Sydney. When not writing, Jo enjoys eating chocolate, thinking about dieting, eating ice cream, pondering gym memberships and drinking alcohol. You can check out her blog here or follow her on Twitter at @hartley_jo