News-Free Parenting

The best gift I’ve given myself is a news blackout. Yes, this is in opposition to my politics of love…those desires for inclusion, problem-solving, healthcare, respect… you know the ones. They are usually entwined with activism of all sorts.  But a news blackout means I sleep better.

representations of parenting

News-free parenting –

I heard Jimmy Carter on the radio, talking about national news coverage.  During his presidency, news was a national evening event, covering national and international politics.  With the advent of 24-hour news on multiple stations, “news” changed dramatically. Carter pointed out that with the pressures of so much programming, all of the stories covered are elevated to headline status to hook a wide array of viewers day and night.  Weather events, ongoing legal battles, celebrity dramas…. Katrina, Zimmerman, Michael Jackson.  Notice that they have their own logos specific to the story, perhaps their own intro music, often a designated reporter.  Parenting issues are also part of news coverage: family tragedies, drug-resistant illnesses old and new, predators, bad parenting, dangerous trends, the latest drug craze, celebrity teens acting out, this year’s must-have gifts… it seems endless.  Engulfing.


News-Free Parenting –

All-headlines news coverage seems to be asking us for two things: first judgement, where we side with Miley Cyrus or against her.  With Jon-Benet’s parents or against them.  Second, fear, where we self-screen our kids for autism, keep them out of the dirt, or fight so they can have the last Cabbage Patch doll in town.

For a high strung gal like me, it’s a recipe for militance.  Continue playing in the dirt with a scraped knee?  Playdates with school friends I barely know?  Walk to the wooded park with the older neighbor kid? The news is on in my head all. the. damned. time.  Wait.  It WAS.  Getting in touch with my inner helicopter pilot means extricating my voice from Dan Rather’s, Diane Sawyer’s, and especially Dr. Phil’s.

I listen to headlines on PBS or BBC, and that is all I need for now.  Spend three days without news and tell me what you think.  Do you find it easier to focus?  Are you more likely to break out in song?  Do you suddenly want to go outside with the kids and… play?


9 thoughts on “News-Free Parenting

  1. I am with you on this! It is definitely smart to limit the amount of “doomsday and drama” we put into our systems on a daily basis.There some truth to the adage “ignorance is bliss” – and when we tune out the daily reminders of how “bad and dysfunctional” the world is, we have more freedom to recognize and appreciate more of the good right in front of us 🙂


  2. I’m also with you on this Angela. Whether it’s local or national I just plain get exhausted after hearing all the negative news. It’s not that I want to pretend it doesn’t exist but how is one to stay motivated, happy, content and well-balanced when the news isn’t? I say turn on Pandora and listen to some tunes. Meanwhile spend time with those you love and like, build your business, career and knowledge and in turn try and make your world a little more positive somehow. 🙂


    • Thank you for your response, Wanda. I find more and more folks are ready to ditch the network news. I feel conflicted about being “less” informed, but it’s like a sickness, watching that and letting it into my head. Thanks for chiming in! xx a


  3. I with you momma! I’ve been on a news blackout for years! I especially avoid the local news at all costs! I do sometimes catch 30 minutes of one of the national morning shows — which seem to be like dumb and dumber these days. I think everybody can benefit from this. Pickup headlines online and you’ll be in-the-know-enough. Thanks for spreading some sanity!


  4. We rarely watch the news in our house for this exact reason. I like to be current, but not raging with fear or gawking at fame. We don’t appreciate most of what is covered on the networks, nor do we think it actually serves to grow our knowledge of what matters in the world. We use the internet and our local paper to find relevant and interesting news without the sensationalism that is just more noise in an already loud world.


  5. I watch very little news. The weather at 4:00, and that’s about it. I figure if it’s important enough, it will make its way to Facebook and then I’ll google it. I like to live a drama-free life. Or… correction…. I like to keep my drama on the stage where it belongs!


    • I’m fascinated by all the comments by folks not watching, when news (at least one of our local stations here) is advertising an app so you can get news as it unfolds. Makes me wonder who will get the app! Thank you for your comment, Wendi. Best, Angela


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