Thursday, January 03, 2008

Scary Movies

Many parents we know are indifferent about what they let their kids watch. Not us. It's not uncommon for Bethany (almost a teen) to call from a friend's house to ask me to check the internet about the appropriateness of a movie everyone wants to watch. More than once, that simple call was enough for her friends to change their selection without much (if any) overt pressure.

I'll admit we're pretty conservative in what we allow into our kid's passive gray matter. But we've further edited our intake since the arrival of Neti and Meke.

For reasons we're not too sure about, neither one of them has shown much stomach for anything scary. Our scary movie pile now includes the likes of Ice Age, Toy Story, and Bambi. Finding Nemo is now classified as a horror flick (it has sharks, a bloody nose, AND the pelicans try to eat the main character!).

A trip to Daddy's lap is common if the climax of a DVD is more intense than "Oh no, Alpo has lost the letter M".

About a month ago a Rated G new release from the video store sent Neti screaming out of the room with her eyes covered. She sobbed for 10 minutes with her head buried in her pillow before regaining control.

It's hard to tell exactly what's going on. Is it simply that American kids more desensitized at a young age than Ethiopian kids? Or does the cartoon conflict on the screen somehow trigger bad memories? We haven't detected a pattern. In the meantime we still filter their input.


At 5:47 AM , Blogger Dave said...

You say: "It's hard to tell exactly what's going on. Is it simply that American kids more desensitized at a young age than Ethiopian kids? Or does the cartoon conflict on the screen somehow trigger bad memories?"

I wonder if it's a little bit of both. In any event, all your girls are lucky to have parents that actually are interested in guarding their young hearts.

At 8:42 AM , Blogger Lisa W. said...

Great parenting! I agree with you. I feel responsible for what I allow to get into my kids "grey matter". I bet it's mostly that our kids are's sad really. Your new gals are seeing some scary things...the pictures of that scary shark eating poor little's a lot to understand. Especialy since their TV and violence viewing is understandably limited.

Now your challenge is to find good movies for them that have none of that. Good luck, and please list them when you do 'cause all of us will need them too. Love your blog.

At 10:10 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh yes... Nemo, Shrek, Lilo & Stitch... all on our blacklist. Cars is a favorite though. We've also done ok with various Muppet movies. I think for the most part my son's reaction is due to a lack of previous exposure to any scary/violent characters. In movies with animals though, I'm sure that his knowledge of the dangers of predators is a factor. Having lived in a region with lions and hyenas, chase scenes are probably a little too close to home.

At 12:35 PM , Blogger Apryl said...

I think you got it right--most kids are desensitized and "scary" stuff doesn't bother them. We have to be VERY picky because Eli gets scared during the movie but Everett will wait until the wee hours of the night to inform us that he can't sleep, he's thinking about "that scary part". Ugh--by then it's too late...
Avoid Happy Feet at all costs--Eli was TERRIFIED!

At 10:25 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's quite refreshing to hear you say this! we plan to be the tv, movie and show nazis parents did it and i hated it at the time...but now, i'm eternally grateful for parents were uber-conservative...but we were forced to do such antiquated things like...use our imagination, be creative and play outside! :-)

At 1:27 AM , Blogger Tricia & Steve said...

great job again Waals. We no longer have a TV, and have been debating about purchasing one. When I mention to someone that we dont own one, I almost always get the same reaction. "No TV, how can you live with out it" It is followed immediately with "I wish we didnt have one".
It seems we have become "victims" of our TV's, I am in no hurry to own one, we get plenty of entertainment via DVD's. Keep up the good work.

At 5:37 PM , Blogger Michelle said...

I have always appreciated your "conservative parenting" as you call it. As as teacher, I see the effects of liberal parenting on a daily basis & wish more parents would care. Good luck with the selection process! :-)

At 1:07 PM , Blogger Angela said...

We are very selective, too... We watch Nemo every once in awhile, but the kids always ask to skip the 'scary' parts... I watched horror films as a kid and had horrible nightmares, so that's why i'm the movie police (but my kids police themselves, too!) And, we don't even have our Ethiopian kids yet! We're talking about getting rid of our TV when we move back to the states. I think it's gonna happen. It was hubby's idea, and I think its a good one. do I limit my blog surfing?! Such a time stealer!! much fun!


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