Once I learned that the hottest film of the year is not about a guy, much like me, who irons his jeans and t-shirts before going to the corner store, I?figured it may be worth a look, eventually.?I never think about going to a summer-ish blockbuster until a few weeks after it’s released because I have no tolerance for long lines, bad seats, people kicking my chair, and all of the other annoyances that come with watching a movie with a bunch of strangers. At $11-$12 a ticket I?firmly believe that I should enjoy?a movie without someone’s foot on the top of the chair next to me, or someone shouting “yeah, I’m at the movies… Iron Man… No that hasn’t happened yet… Naw, she’s right here, you want to holler at her?” Anyway, none of this?rant was related to my point.
The issue at hand here is that my son wants to see the movie and so does the wife and I. Of course the film is PG-13, which means that Dev is about eight years away from actually being?the age that?the ratings board deems old enough to see the movie. Usually I hold firm to believing that such a film is inappropriate for?my son.?However, recently?I have?discovered that Dev has seen, and not in my house mind you, Transformers, Pirates of the Caribbean, the most recent King Kong, and?The Lord of the Rings, and others, all of which are PG-13. How this has happened escapes me, at least?to some degree. I do understand how some of those movies can seem like family fare, although King Kong and LOTR have some creepy scenes that can give even adults the heebie jeebies.
With this in mind I almost can’t see a problem with taking the kid. But I do. If the wife and I don’t keep to our rules then who will??I’m not?saying that Dev will be 13 when I take him to his “first” PG-13 film, because I’m sure he will not be, he just won’t be five. Or does it not matter at this point? Is there any going back after the kid has seen Johnny Depp play a drunk, effeminate (yet somehow manly) pirate? I’m not sure. For now I suppose?we will probably stick to our guns.
From this I am learning how fast kids grow up, and that I have to stay on my toes even now. With age Dev is getting smarter?and is learning that Mommy and Daddy’s rules can be broken when hanging out with others so long as he?doesn’t throw it?in?their?faces.?In reality the only way I found out that he had seen the aforementioned movies in the first place was because as he scanned our DVD library he mentioned all of the movies he had already seen. (Kids slip like that a lot, though I suspect he’ll be better at keeping secrets sooner then I’d like.) When asked to clarify he said “I didn’t see those movies.” I asked him again, he?let out?a guilty giggle which told me he had given up, and he reaffirmed everything. I hope he’s always as easily broken when being interrogated by his dad.?
I took my nine year old to see it, and I sort of regretted it, because there’s some brief but pretty strong gratuitous sexuality in the movie. No nudity, but close to it. The violence isn’t gory, and it’s generally in the context of self-defense or defense of others by the protagonists.
I’ll let my 4-year-old watch it when it’s on DVD. Yes, there is some violence, mostly cartoonish, but still a bit bloody at times, and at home I can easily control what scenes he does and doesn’t see.
I’ve got to tell you the sexuality was so brief I can’t even think of what Malik is describing, but again, if it is something a parent is uncomfortable with then a quick pause or fast forward and all is well.
I remember the scene Malik referred to. It’s almost uncomfortably intense but also blissfully brief. In retrospect, it’s just goofy.
I wonder how Dev reacted to the other movies. That might help you gauge which exceptions to make or when to make them.
This is a particular pet peeve of mine. I am annoyed that these movies are fully marketed towards young children, yet are rated pg-13. Walk in any toy store and there will be 10 bazillion different Iron Man toys and action figures filling the aisles. So of course Dev, my daughter, Sugar, and just about every other 4-12 year old who watches television, walks in a toy store or even goes to school and has friends – will want to see these movies.
To make it worse, the scenes that transform these movies from PG to PG-13 are usually unnecessary and completely gratuitous. Honestly, I tend to believe that the scenes are created specifically so the movies will get a PG-13 rating. I think the filmmakers – or rather the studio marketing people (I doubt this is something the writer or director insist upon) – believe that adults without children won’t go to see a movie with a PG rating – so they do what they need for the PG-13 and bank on the thought that parents will cave under pressure from little kids who’ve been intensely marketed to.
In any event, I’ll come down off my soapbox. Since I know that the marketing of movies is highly unlikely to change, I try to deal with the inevitability that PG-13 movies are marketed to my kids, who will want to see them. And to deal with the fact that there will always be family and friends who will let my kids watch movies in their homes that I don’t approve of.
Sugar has been pretty good over the years. She has, many times, told people that she could not, would not, watch movies that she knew she was forbidden to see. And when she started giving in to the temptation – she immediately told me. Thank goodness.
I think the reason she has been so honest is because she knows that the rules exist for specific reasons, and she knows that there are very few rules in our world that are written in stone and that we can’t be flexible about.
The rule is generally no PG-13 movies. However, depending on the subject matter, that rule can and has been bent a few different ways. When Sugar was younger (around Dev’s age) I would see the movie in the theater or would watch it first on DVD to screen for inappropriate scenes. Then Sugar would get to watch it with me and I would skip the scenes I didn’t think she should watch. If I wasn’t sure if something was going to be too scary for her, I would tell her a scary scene was coming up so she’d be prepared and if she started getting too scared, we would skip it.
For the Harry Potter movies, for instance, the rule was that she had to read the book before watching the movie. I think it’s easier to pause and get used to or discuss difficult or scary things when reading a book. So Sugar has always been pretty well prepared for whatever she might see in any Harry Potter movie. The early ones she watched on DVD, but the last one she actually got to go see in the movie theater.
And with something like Spiderman – the first two I screened and then allowed her to watch, in our limited way, on DVD, but since we knew the movies and could have an idea of how it would be handled, and because she was older, we went to see the third one in the theater.
I have been on the fence about Iron Man. I really want to see it. And at first I told Sugar that I’d probably let her go with me. But I’ve heard a few things that may make me change my mind on that. I wish it wasn’t so expensive to go to theater, because, if it wouldn’t hurt my very sparse pocketbook, I wouldn’t mind going to see the movie by myself to screen it and then taking Sugar if I thought it were OK. But there are too many movies I want to see this summer and too little money in my pocket for that approach.
All that to say, in a much too long way, that I think keeping rules and being consistent is important for kids. But I think children are, frequently, even more aware than we are, that circumstance change – that the kids themselves change. So, when we hold fast to rules that they either don’t understand – or think they’ve grown beyond – the rules no longer hold the weight they once did and just become something to be gotten around rather than adhered to. Sometimes by being flexible about rules we get to have even more influence on our children than by rigidly sticking to the rules.
Ahh – so the little Dev is keeping secrets – lol. Intersting. I think it’s admirable that you are choosing to filter what your child watches. I’ve always admired your parenting skills and this just makes me clap even louder at your actions.
Wow. My husband and I had a similar conversation with our two children: Veta, 8 and Omar, 12. We decided that Veta was too young. The first Friday of the movie, my husband took Omar with him to see it. Veta stayed home with me. We both went to Kinks the next morning to get our locks curled. It turned out to be a wonderful weekend. Our children deserve to be honored. It is our responsibility to do it correctly.
My husband and I thought about taking our kids to see Iron Man, but changed our minds once we learned a little more about it. Our kids saw Transformers, I didn’t know that it was going to be a little raunchy or they wouldn’t have seen it either. Yes, I can’t shield their little eyes (or ears) forever, but I surely wasn’t seeing pg-13 movies at 5, or even 9! As for theatre annoyances, we were at the theatre yesterday, and audience member chastised a fellow movie-goer for giggling during a preview. Seriously?
Anyway, a good resource for helping parents decide what will and won’t be appropriate for their kids is commonsensemedia.org. Happy viewing.
Thank goodness Lovegirl is still at the “movies are scary” stage. Right now, she’s only down for a Backyardigans video or two. My two cents? Protect him as much as you can for as long as you can.
Good for you for sticking to your guns even when faced with the temptation of an awesome movie. There is indeed some inappropriate sex/etc. and war-related violence and even threatened torture, along with the usual explosions and fights and such.
Once you see it yourself, you might be able to watch it on DVD with a ready trigger finger. Overall, though, you should probably wait for even that for a few years. Five is too young to even want to see that stuff.
My husband and I like to “screen” PG-13 movies before we decide whether or not to let the kids see them. If we decide to let them actually watch it, at least we know when it’s time to cover their eyes or ears or both.
There used to be a time when letting them watch it when it came out on TV would be the best choice because the censorship was pretty tight back then. Now we’re noticing that they are getting pretty lax on allowing some of the questionable scenes and language to appear on TV so we still have to do our own censoring. Such a shame.
BTW – visiting you from LiteralDan’s site! Good stuff here!
I thank what you’se doin is so respectable. Course, when I was bringing up my little whippers, we didn’t have all these fancy movies and such. I’m glad you’se doing what you doin. Keep it up.
Movie ratings are so weird. I think of a lot of PG rated movies I saw as a kid that would probably get PG-13 now. And I saw a lot of R rated movies as a child, even though my parents were pretty strict. Gosh, I remember going to see Ragtime in the theater when I was eight.
Anyway, we went to see Indiana Jones last weekend and I definitely spent some time covering up both my son’s eyes. I’ve realized they think it makes them big boys to say, “I’m not scared of that,” but I won’t move my hands.
Now that I caved and let them see Indiana Jones, they’ve seen the commercials for The Dark Knight and they see that that is also PG-13. So, they’ve started whining, “Well we saw Indiana Jones, so why can’t we see Batman?” And they are not, under any circumstances, seeing that film.
I think you’re right to stick to your guns. He can catch up on all those pg-13 movies later in life. my parents stuck to theirs and we turned out pretty well!
Well all four of my boys saw Iron Man with me, aside from my four year old attempting to make armor out of old vcr’s, I saw no bad affects.