In the News

Jan 14

“Mummy, I’ve been waiting for ages and ages. It’s SO BORING!”

In our household, the cheeky Peppa Pig has recently had a lot to answer for. Without any exaggeration, I’d attribute 75 per cent of Little I’s post-Christmas cheekiness and general answering back to our friend Peppa Pig.

Don’t get me wrong, I think Peppa Pig is a really lovely TV programme that is educational as well as entertaining, containing some brilliant humour. I often find it a useful source of reference for explaining general life lessons to Little I, such as why Mummy has to work, why it’s important to wrap up in the cold, what happens at pre-school, etc.

Generally we restrict Little I’s viewing to half an hour before bedtime, and occasionally a little more if she wakes up particularly early, or if I need a ‘babysitter’ while I’m cooking. But over the Christmas period rules were relaxed and she ended up watching a fair bit more. As a result, I can truthfully say that I’ve observed far more cheekiness in Little I’s behaviour, and the proof is in the language, as above.

Of course children love to imitate, and that’s all part of their personality development. Currently Peppa Pig seems to be the biggest influence, but I’m sure that will soon be replaced with Lola or god forbid, Norman Price! But it seems I’m not the only parent who’s noticed the negative influence of Peppa, according to this recent article in the Daily Mail, entitled “Is Peppa Pig making toddlers naughty? Parents despair as children copy cartoon by answering back.

The article, which is based on parent conversation on the Mumsnet forum, claims a growing number  of parents are turning against the TV character Peppa Pig, claiming she is a ‘bad influence’. The full conversation thread is an interesting read, which offers a very balanced argument, with some parents supporting the criticism of Peppa Pig, and others defending her. One parent says, “I don’t like Peppa Pig. She is a horrible rude brat who never gets told off.”

While there are numerous passionate responses, I really support this next comment which helps to give some perspective to the whole discussion: “This is life isn’t it? They see someone behaving differently to them – be it Peppa Pig, Horrid Henry, bloody Hannah Montana … or…someone at school or nursery – and they try it out for themselves to see what the response is. It is the response that matters!”

In our case, our relaxation of TV rules over the Christmas period (on one morning, two new Peppa Pig DVDs were played back-to-back for Little I and her cousins), has proven a bit too excessive, and we are now dealing with the consequences.

Within the Daily Mail article, psychologist Dr Aric Sigman explains: “Some 80 per cent of brain development is between birth and three years old, so if they spend a lot of time watching the TV, they will copy forms of behaviours that they see on the TV…The problem is you can’t distinguish to children what is real and pretend. You can’t just say to the child the pig was only pretending it was naughty.”

So the lesson for me and my husband…Peppa Pig is fine, in moderation! How about you? Do you have an opinion on the subject? Please feel free to comment below.

About the Author

Wendy McAuliffe

Social media & online PR consultant and trainer, and ex-journalist. Founder and Director of Populate Digital and Mum of two. Living by the sea in Bournemouth. @wendymcauliffe.

  • majestic whine

    Dr Aric Sigman explains “you can’t distinguish to children what is real and pretend.”  Really?  So my daughter is giving real cups of tea to her toys and they are really drinking it? 

    • wendymcauliffe

      Totally agree. My daughter is very ‘into’ the difference between what’s ‘real’ and what’s ‘pretend’ at the moment. But I guess irony/humour is sometimes harder for them to differentiate. Maybe that’s what he meant?

  • Gareth

    Peppa Pig also has a lot to
    answer for in our household. The phrases “I’m not your best
    friend anymore” and “boring” can be directly attributed to Peppa.
    However, we have used PP stories for positives, such as visits to the
    dentist and taking medicine. Worst PP phrase of all though? “Daddy has a
    big tummy”!!! All in all I think the positives hugely outweigh the negatives and we will continue to allow our children to watch PP in moderation.  

    • wendymcauliffe

      Agreed! We’re not banning Peppa Pig either – I secretly enjoy it too! But viewing will definitely be in moderation.

  • Lizzy

    I’ve had the same conversation about Peppa Pig with my husband, about her being a ‘brat’ and her behaviour not always what we’d like E to imitate, but the ‘bad’ behaviour which I have seen in my daughter, is not that sort of thing seen on PP, but picked up from other childre, so I’d have to say that she can distinguish from real and TV life. 
    I’d also say that actually, phrases from other TV programmes actually have more sticking power, and E tends to copy the positive ones! ‘I’m Mike the Knight and I do it right! – but quite annoying!!
    PS: limiting I’s tv to half an hour a day, very impressive!! I can’t manage that little!

    • wendymcauliffe

      Good point Lizzy – it’s not just the bad behaviour that I’ve seen my daughter imitate. She copies a lot of the cute and funny stuff too. P.S. the TV used to be on a bit more, but left to her own devices, Little I would watch TV all day long, so we try to keep an eye on how much she is watching. But it is certainly on a bit more some days!

  • Silly Mummy

    Why is it wrong for our kids to say these things when later in life they will express these thoughts and emotions anyway? I can understand not wanting my son to go around insulting people or swearing in public, but why restrict their language and expressions down to the point where they can’t tell their parents what they truly think or feel about something? If it’s boring then it’s boring.

    • wendymcauliffe

      Parenting is such a personal thing isn’t it. I think there’s probably a fine line between freedom of expression and rudeness, and where we draw that line is up to each of us as parents, which is probably also dependent on the child and their personality. In my daughter’s case, I think I know when she’s just expressing herself, and when she’s being downright rebellious and pushing for a reaction! I completely share your view on the importance of children being able to express themselves though.

      • wendymcauliffe

        P.S. Thanks for commenting Silly Mummy, as it’s great to be alerted to a fellow Mummy blogger!

  • Chloe Brewer

    Nice piece here. I just wrote a post about my sons adoration of Peppa pig ( and after reading yours here I realised something-why do we feel the need to defend ourselves about children watching tv? Well i certainly feel as though people think I’m a bad mother if I admit I let my son watch more tv than he should on some days, you know what sometimes I need a helping hand around the house and the only babysitter I can get is the tv! Peppa is great for this and at my sons age of 16 months he doesn’t answer back after seeing it there. Perhaps I would feel differently if my littile one repeated things I found a little rude etc?! But great piece, loved reading it! x

  • London PR

     I recall reading about Peppa Pig being a bad influence because she was naughty and jumped in puddles. I jumped in puddles as a kid without any influences at all. I agree, it’s harmless in moderation (too much TV is bad, after all.)

  • Deitra Pawley

    It isn’t just Peppa that’s rude, even though we live in America we are subjected to this show on Nick Jr. Right now my three year old niece just finished watching the sleepover episode and Zoey Zebra (I hate that I know the names Peppa overdose) goes into where her Dad is watching tv and without even asking changes the channel and when the Dad tells her he was watching the other show , Zoey’s response, “But that was boring.” Not even a sorry or saying they’d wait until the program was finished.

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