America's Most Stressful Home Videos

The other night Mark and I had a "date night" with Jafta. It was really cute. India spent the night with Grandma and Grandpa to get a little quality time in, and she went to a Gymboree class with cousin Tanner in the morning. So we knew we needed to frame it as a special night for Jafta. He was SO excited. In fact, he must have asked me 20 times what time our date night started, just to confirm it was really happening. He LOVES getting our undivided attention, and feeling like he is being let in on mommy and daddy's secret dating world.

So we went to Wahoo's, then Target (where he got to walk instead of ride in the cart) and then to frozen yogurt. He came home and we had another new treat: I had taped an episode of "America's Funniest Home Videos". Now this is not the typical tv fare that is on my DVR, but I had heard from a friend that her preschool-aged kids loved watching this show as a family. I had this fond memory of watching Dick Clark's TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes with my own family. My sisters and I would look forward to it all week, and just laugh and laugh together. I envisioned this being the case with my four-year-old.

I should add that we are a fairly stingy family in terms of tv watching. I think Jafta has seen a total of four differen children's series before, most of them on PBS or Noggin. Don't get me wrong, he watches a little every day. But the selection is limited. So to watch a "grown up" show was quite a stretch.

At the end of the evening, we told him we had a surprise and cuddled up on the couch together. I told him we had a very funny new show we could watch together. Only, instead of laughing hysterically, Jafta found the entire show to be a big exercise in stress management. He was deeply concerned for every groin kicked and every head bonked. He was devastated by the dad who fell off a sled. He asked "Are they okay? What happened to them?" about every person who tripped and fell. He seemed completely freaked out by the dogs who tugged on their owners pants, or knocked over a table full of food. He found the show to be completely humorless and utterly disturbing in every way.

I love my son so much, and this little quirk was somehow so stinking cute. He is such an empathetic little guy. He was completely unwilling to sit back and laugh at other people's expense (this is not something he learned from me). What a sensitive little soul. So a few minutes in, we turned it off, and let him process a bit about all those poor people who kept falling down and hurting themselves, and what a strange and cruel world we live in. And then we decided we'd stick to watching musicals for our family tv night.


  1. My kids are totally like your son...they don't like animal or people bloopers...they analyze it and get all upset!
    sandy toe

  2. Luxie is the same way! she wont even watch Disney movies because she doesnt like all the "trials" the characters face along their journey to happiness! She doesnt understand at all how we could laugh at people getting hurt:)

  3. I think that is so sweet and compassionate of him!

  4. I had the same experience. My son watched a person on AFV fall off a pogo stick and burst into tears crying "no! owwy!" We shut it off. It is a hard concept to explain, that accidents can be funny, but at the same time we don't want to laugh at another person's expense. I think there could be a whole psycological research project here.


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