Friday, January 25, 2013


The year my oldest daughter turned thirteen, these were the top five movies:

Forrest Gump
The Lion King
True Lies
The Santa Clause
The Flintstones

Included in the list of PG-13 movies that year was one about a young boy witnessing a murder involving the Mafia, Sin and Redemption, Ace Ventura, The Shadow.  For the most part, I could tell whether a movie was appropriate for her, and there weren't that many inappropriate movies for a thirteen-year old.

In 2012, the top five movies were:

The Avengers  (Trailer)
The Dark Knight Rises (Trailer)
Hunger Games
One of the Twilight movies

All of the above movies were rated PG-13. I wouldn't have wanted my daughter to see any of them, with the possible exception of Hunger Games.

Parents have a much harder job these days keeping an eye on their children's habits.  The child can be watching a suitable television show, but the commercials are full of violent trailers for movies or later shows.  They can access pornography and violence on the internet; they buy first person shooter video games with their allowances, bypassing any parental oversight.

And the electronic babysitter is easy.  In a home where there is a single parent or two working parents, it is understandable that after fixing dinner, overseeing homework, carpooling to school and sporting events, after a long day at the office, that the parent might want to read or watch television and be alone.  And a quiet occupied kid is a good kid, right?

This is one extreme, the tired parent who just wants to rest at the end of the day and lets their child self-occupy.  What about the parent whose kid stockpiled ammunition and guns in the basement? What the heck is up with that?

We still owe it to our children to parent them as long as they're at home.  We can't let them have all the choices because there are way more bad choices--even in what they watch on TV and do for recreation--than there were when my kids were teenagers.

A friend with two teenage boys said to my husband, "It's not like it was when your kids were young." And she's as right as can be.  It's not. The job of parenting is harder than ever, but it's the job we take when we decide to be parents.

If you are the parent, please weigh in on how you deal with the issue of overseeing your child's movie, computer, and gaming time.  How does your child react to any restrictions you place on him or her? Have you ever taken action in the form of letters of protest to television stations or movie theaters? What affect do you see violence having on your children?

And let us know what kind of support you need from those of us who aren't in that battlefield.  Are there ways we can get behind these issues with you?

Remember: This is a conversation.

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