You be the judge: should my daughter stop hogging the television?

The prosecution: Mick

Annabelle commandeers the front room for her trashy TV when I want to relax with a good drama

When I get home from a long day at work, I just want dinner, TV, shower and bed – in that order. But my daughter, Annabelle, hogs the front room to watch crap telly at least four nights a week.

I like to watch a good series, like Boardwalk Empire or Peaky Blinders, to help me switch off. But if Annabelle is back first, she binges on reality TV. Sometimes she says, “Dad, I was here first and I’ve been working too.” I tell her she’s not been working as hard as me – she’s still at uni. I’m a manager, and when I’m in the office I don’t get back until 7pm.

Even though I’ll say, “my house, my rules”, Annabelle will try to persuade me to watch her shows – but I can’t stand them. She loves dull dating shows, celebrities completing banal tasks, and influencers on islands. It’s so boring. Annabelle studies psychology and tells me her TV choices are educational, but I don’t buy that.

I have lost my temper a couple of times over this: I called Annabelle selfish and told her to consider moving out. I don’t like shouting, but raising my voice is the only way to be heard. I have also started hiding the remote control before I go to work so if Annabelle gets home before me, she has to go to her room instead of settling on the sofa. She will text me asking where I’ve put it, but I’ve got my secrets.

My wife doesn’t watch a lot of TV in the front room – she prefers her iPad. But when she does, it’s all soaps and reality TV. She tries to stay out of the arguments but I know she prefers my daughter’s TV tastes to mine.

I never last long when I do watch Annabelle’s reality TV. I think it’s terrible how society makes untalented people rich and famous. Annabelle doesn’t mind my choices as much as I detest hers, so she should compromise more. She can catch up on her favourite shows on her laptop in her room.

Besides, it’s my house. As long as I’m paying the bills and the mortgage, I should be able to watch what I want, when I want.

The defence: Annabelle

Reality television helps us empathise with others. Dad could learn a lot from it – and try to relax

Dad is exaggerating. Obviously if I’m home before him, I will chill on the sofa and put my favourite shows on. But if he comes back and asks me to move nicely, I will.

The problem is that Dad doesn’t always ask nicely. If he’s in a bad mood, he will storm in after he’s had dinner with mum and say, “Right then, move”, even if I’m in the middle of something. It’s really annoying and combative. How does he expect me to respond? I’m not argumentative but I do get snarky when he speaks to me like that. I’ll dig my heels in and tell him he has to wait.

I know Dad pays the bills and I’m very grateful to live at home for free, but it’s just manners to ask me politely to go to my room.

I don’t think my taste in TV is bad. Yes, I like dating shows. I watch the really dramatic American ones, like Are You The One? and Temptation Island, which Dad particularly hates, as well as the British ones like Dinner Date, First Dates and Love Island. I find watching human behaviour play out on these shows fascinating, and they sometimes reflect my studies at university.

Reality TV actually helps us empathise with others – and dad could definitely do with working on his empathy. When we do watch a dating show together, he just moans and tuts, which ruins it. He will make irritating comments or call people stupid. It makes me cringe. When I watch his dramas I’m don’t comment every five seconds on people’s acting or their accents, I just watch it quietly like you’re supposed to. Dad can’t do the same for me.

This new habit of hiding the remote control is really immature. I don’t even bother to ask him where he puts it any more; I just go straight to my room to watch something, but obviously watching television on a huge screen while spread out on the sofa is better than watching it on a laptop on your bed.

I have definitely had to compromise and watch Dad’s TV choices more recently. What more can I do?

The jury of Guardian readers

Should Annabelle give her father first dibs on the television?

Mick needs to press reset. Why not “Our home, our rules”? Annabelle is not a child, she’s a fellow adult with her own pressures. Making it about who works hardest will never end well. Try a family film night, taking it in turns to choose what to watch.
Michael, 52

Mick has let his adult daughter live with him rent free – if that’s the agreement, it isn’t fair to hold that over her. He has to accept that it’s her home too, and stop being so judgmental and inflexible.
Alice, 34

Annabelle is not guilty – there needs to be more tolerance and compromise. They should create a schedule so each can watch what they like at a certain time every evening.
Claire, 58

It’s understandable that Mick wants to unwind, but hiding the remote is just antagonistic. His wife also seems to avoid watching the television to appease him; surely it is her house too. Mick needs to reconsider how he expresses his frustration – it’s just TV after all! Nitya, 21

Annabelle is a borderline slacker. Treating reality TV as homework is a pathetic excuse for a psychology major. Dad has superior taste in TV shows, but if he really needs to “switch off”, I’d suggest meditation rather than a series about violent low-lifers.
Mick, 67

You be the judge

So now you can be the judge, click on the poll below to tell us: should Annabelle stop hogging the television?

We’ll share the results on next week’s You be the judge.

The poll will close on Thursday 20th January, 9AM GMT

Last week’s result

We asked if Mariana should stop bringing strangers back to her shared flat, as it worries her sister and flatmate, Mafalda.

24% of you said no – Mariana is innocent
76% of you said yes – Mariana is guilty

Have a disagreement you’d like settled? Or want to be part of our jury? Click here

The Guardian

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