Gets it Right ----
Prudes and PG-13
AM I THE PRUDISH PARENT I thought I would never be?
Olivia, my 11-year-old, had her birthday sleepover
this past weekend. I allowed her to have six friends
over. (I’ll catch up on my sleep someday. Maybe).
The evening started out fine, eating pizza, opening
presents, doing nails and hair. After a while, some
of the girls wanted to know if they could watch a movie,
and wanted to know where our DVD collection was ("What’s
a tape?", one of them asked me). I told them to
look in my other daughter’s room because we had
tons of movies there. A few minutes later, they came
back downstairs and informed me those were the “baby”
movies and wanted to know where the "good ones"
"What do you mean the "good ones"?"
"You know, the PG-13 ones."
Ted and I just looked at each other, then back at the
wide-eyed 11-year-olds. I told the girls that Olivia
is not allowed to watch PG-13 movies. You should have
seen the looks on their faces. “WHAT?” they
shouted in unison. Then four or five of these 11-year-olds
proceeded to tell me (all at once), how they are allowed
to watch PG-13 movies all the time. I wanted to choose
my words carefully, and not embarrass my daughter further.
(The look on Olivia’s face was much worse than
“Well”, I began, then Ted jumped in. “Olivia
is not allowed to watch those kinds of movies”,
he practically shouted. “They have violence, bad
language, and adult situations that you shouldn’t
be seeing at your age!” “AMEN”, I
wanted to shout, but then saw the "melting face"
look I was getting from Olivia, as if to say “Please,
someone kill me now.”
Ted wasn’t done yet. “None of you should
be watching those kinds of movies, they’re not
for children to watch, and I can’t believe your
parents…”, and so on. Olivia fainted.
I tried to say something, anything that would
not make us seem like, well, Prudish Old Fogeys. But
I couldn’t think of a single thing that would
spare us that label, because I believed Ted was absolutely
right. PG-13 movies are rated that way for a reason.
They DO have bad language, violence, and adult situations
that are not suitable for an 11-year-old girl. At least,
not for MY 11-year-old girl.
I have seen a PG-13 movie with Olivia. It was “Miss
Congeniality”. I hadn’t seen it before and
thought it was relatively harmless. There was some violence,
and a few choice words. But I wanted to watch it with
her in case she had any questions about something that
she didn’t understand. She did have questions
and I was glad to be the one giving the answers. What
I am hoping for is that the answers I’m giving
my children now will last throughout their lives.
I realize that I can’t be with my kids all the
time, and not all PG-13 movies are the same in content.
I’m not an overprotective mother, just a cautious
one. And I’ve gotten over worrying about what
other parents may think of my choices for my kids. I
have specific rules, and when my kids go to their friends’
houses, I let their parents know what those rules are.
The sleepover went great anyway, and the movie conversation
ended quickly when the girls saw that we weren’t
budging from our decision.
They retired to Olivia’s room and talked and
giggled until 2AM.
Until (yawn) next time……