When to Let Your Kids Watch What

Las-mejores-películas-de-miedo-para-niñosProbably one of the most controversial issues with parenting is when to introduce nostalgic entertainment to our kids.

Moms and dads seem to always have a different view on this topic, and Sarabeth and I are no different.

Every dad wants to show the old Star Wars movies to their sons, while moms seem content to let them watch The Little Mermaid for the eightieth time. (Not that I have anything against The Little Mermaid–I think it’s a masterpiece.)

One thing Sarabeth and I agree on is that our kids won’t have their own video game consoles – that’s just setting the whole family up for failure, and is a no-brainer on many different levels, in our opinion.

But I made a comment the other night in bed when we were watching The Lord of the Ringsimg494678dbe5ca2 that went something like, “I’m totally fine letting our kids watch these movies even when they’re five.” (Keep in mind this was during the scene where the cave troll had just stabbed Frodo in the heart and the other members of the fellowship were beating it to death.)

Sarabeth was gracious enough not to say anything, probably realizing I had at least four years to come to my senses.

Heck, I play Jurassic Park with my daughter all the time, pretending to be an T-rex while she’s a raptor. Our son just plays the stagnant dilophosaurus since he still spits up overtime he moves.

I’m all about skipping the whole Playhouse Disney stage and jumping right into Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. 

zs5WlqpUgxtNA6Ycf0naoaVRdDBut that’s because I forget that The Never Ending Story made me scream bloody murder when that wolf jumped out of the trees. And some old non-Disney cartoon version of Pinocchio gave me nightmares for weeks (in an alternate story, Stromboli actually did cut the puppet up into firewood – although, that may have just been a bad dream Pinocchio was having – I never cared to resist that).

It’s easy to forget that kids still think everything is real. The only thing that can be construed as imaginary is Mom and Dad telling them to do something they’d rather not do.

But I’m sure when the time comes to make those decisions, I’ll know my kids enough to know if they’re ready for such fun revelations.

Besides, it might all be moot. Who knows if, when my kids are thirteen in 2027, they’d even be interested in watching those old fantasy movies about “hobbits and stuff” made twenty-seven years ago.

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About Andrew Toy
Writer when I'm not being a husband or dad. So mostly just a husband and dad.

15 Responses to When to Let Your Kids Watch What

  1. mcasale2014 says:

    Those Pinocchio movies were the worst, even in black and white! Actually, I think my Pinocchio book gave me nightmares too! I have a similar piece about letting kids read certain books: http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/author/maria-casale/?_r=0
    These decisions are never easy, but I find our kids let us know what they’re ready for.

  2. Ray Dawson says:

    It is hard to determine. For us it will probably be different for different children. My younger daughter is currently less sensitive than my son. We’ll have to see. I’m pretty excited about sharing movies with them so I’ll probably try to young.

  3. It’s very similar with kids and books, too, and trying to decide at what age they can handle the content in books.

  4. Geraint Isitt says:

    This reminded me of a story my friend has. When he was around 12 he wanted to watch Psycho. His dad said, “okay, but only when mum and I are with you.” My friend watched it anyway. For the next 30 years he always opened a drawer in the bathroom that would block the door being opened.

  5. flygirl140 says:

    I really hope they are! and with that it’s time to watch some classic Jonny Quest!

  6. Lord of the Rings is a bit dark, and I’m a grown up (I was going to illustrate that with a point about ho long it’s been sick I threw up, but I realised that wasn’t going to make the point that I wanted to make.) How do you think they’ll respond to it in terms of questions?

    • Honestly, I never asked my parents questions after movies. I just either said, “Love it” or “Hate it.” I don’t think movies conjure up questions from kids as much as we adults anticipate them doing for our kids. I think they’re primarily there for our enjoyment and entertainment.

  7. shwabadi says:

    I’m glad that you’ve chosen not to restrict their viewing of The Lord of the Rings. I was only 5 when the first movie came out and it quickly became my favourite thing ever!
    I’m interested to know what you mean by your kids won’t have their own games consoles though. Do you mean not before a certain age? Or just not until they grow old enough to buy their own?
    As someone who’s played games all my life, I can’t really imagine why you’d choose to take that away.

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