Random question: Do you let your kid watch scary movies? Or action flicks? Basically, am I too much of a hard-ass when it comes to limiting what my 6-year-old sees on the screen?
We keep things pretty bland over here. No news when she's in the room and only channels she is allowed to watch when she's home and awake, even if the TV isn't on her for her. You know, little steeples and big ears and repressed emotions and night terrors and it's just a slippery slope I'd much rather avoid altogether.
Thing is, I can be Mean Mom with the channels at home, but kids can talk. Sure, we homeschool, but Eliana learned Justin Bieber wasn't just the punchline to that joke about Who Builds Dams and Sings during a play date. And my friend Jenny Ingram's little girl had her own brush with horrible things when a school friend gave her the play-by-play of a horror movie she had watched. Now Jennys' kid is afraid of her own shadow and Jenny wants to know if she's the hardass because apparently 8 is the new 13 in the progressive parenting circles.
I'll give you my short answer here: I won't bother listing all the things my kid cannot watch, so instead I'll list what she can: Nat. Geo, Disney Jr., & Nick Jr. The long answer is what I shared with Jenny on Facebook.
True story. And just this past year Despicable Me had her crawling onto my lap and burying her face in my jacket when the Minions turned purple and were evil (and sorry I didn't note that as a spoiler alert). The moment they turned yellow again? Off my lap, back in her own seat, and BEST MOVIE EVER!
A friend of mine has no issue with her 8-year-old watching Iron Man and Thor but Harry Potter is out because she's not a fan of witchcraft references. And I respect that. I may think she's off her rocker on the logic, but it all works out because she thinks I'm crazy, too. It's all good, though, because we aren't judging each other. Just agreeing to disagree, more or less.
I did touch base with Jenny before writing this, but only to make sure i didn't have to change her name to Jane before publishing this post. Turns out she's cool with it and even had a few points to add of her own.
"My son LOVED Veggie Tales, but one time he watched an episode with Larry the Cucumber and his imagination got the best of him and no more Larry the Cucumber stuffy could be in his room. This is why parents need to be so aware of their child's maturity and sensitivities. Even the most innocent things can affect them,": Jenny said. "Their little minds are not developed enough to sort truth from myth. It is our jobs to be their advocates. We also have to be careful about judging other parents - we don't know the battle in each home. BUT I am confident when I assert that young elementary children should not be watching horror.... blood, gore, language, nudity, and paranomal stuff is not healthy content for a maturing mind. In fact, that stuff can be absolutely devastating."
I couldn't agree more and like that so much, I'm not even mad Jenny borrowed my soap box without asking. So make that two of us who are fine with being the UnFun TV Moms and whose kids are aware enough of their sensitivity levels to know when to ask us to change the channel, tell their friends they don't want to watch something that they know could upset them, and feel nothing but good about putting their own sense of peace over peer pressure, either real or perceived.
Maybe we still watch the shows your 6-year-olds stopped watching two years ago because their friends stopped watching them because theirs did, too. Maybe that is perfectly fine for you and your child and that's perfectly fine because it works. We've got plenty of time for Eliana's world to get bit bigger when she's emotionally ready for it to expand in terms of what she watches on the screen. Until then, we are perfectly happy pissing off friends and family in the name of protecting our child's innocence and a good night's sleep.