DEAR HARRIETTE: My wife and I do not agree on how to start our day, and it is becoming a problem. She likes to turn on the TV the moment she wakes up so she can see the morning news. As a result, the TV is on through breakfast. She often doesn't even remember to turn it off as she goes out the door. Apart from how distracting that is for us in terms of having a morning conversation, it also makes it hard for our children to stay focused when they are eating breakfast. I have brought this up countless times, and my wife just brushes me off. She doesn't even notice that they are sometimes late for school. How can I get her to consider changing this behavior? -- Turn It Off, Philadelphia
DEAR TURN IT OFF: Have a private talk with your wife during a neutral time. Face-to-face, without distraction, tell her that you are very concerned about the habits that the children are forming due to her insistence that the TV be on in the morning. Point out that they often take too long to eat, get to school late and do not start the day engaging directly with the two of you because the TV looms too large.
Challenge her to a week without morning TV. Assess how well it goes for everyone, and then encourage her to keep it up, with a maximum of one morning a week, if she just can't help herself.