Lazy Parenting Award: Part Une | Teeny Manolo

Lazy Parenting Award: Part Une

By Glinda

Don’t let this be you!

There’s an entire segment of parents who will not be happy with what I’m going to write next.  But it’s the truth, and the truth can hurt, I know.  So, just have some band-aids and an ice-pack at the ready. 

You are the parent who lets their child watch PG-13 and R-rated movies.

You know who you are.

And no, I’m not talking about allowing your 16 year old (even though technically that goes against the rating system, but I will admit that there are some mature 16’s) to rent 300.

I’m talking about those that see no problem with their four year old watching movies such as Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, or Spider-man, or countless others.

I don’t know if in the back of their minds they are thinking, oh, Spider-man, that’s from a comic book.  So how bad can it be?  Why, there are even backpacks and shirts and pajamas with Spider-man all over them. And Star Wars? Didn’t that have some fuzzy Ewoks or something? Our precious Little Preston here will have no problems.  He’s so mature for his age, he can handle it.

I disagree.

Even though the action/violence in Spider-man is for the most part highly stylized, it is still violence.  Same thing with Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. When homeboy does his half-pike into the lava, that’s a pretty intense visual to expect a young, impressionable mind to handle. And in both movies, there is punching and kicking and people just basically looking to kick someone else’s ass.

Not the message to give your four year old, I’m so sorry to say.

I don’t care how much they beg you.  I don’t care if that is what their older brother/sister wants to watch and you are too tired to argue.   Those violent images will stay vividly in their minds, and for a longer time than you would think.  You are doing them no favors.  In other words, get a backbone!

So, parents who do either do not bother to look at the MPAA rating or simply do not care, you are a Lazy Parent AwardTM Winner! Step right up here so that we can all publicly mock you.

I won’t congratulate you because you will already have your hands full with your overly-aggressive child who will purposely hit someone on the playground as they “act out” the scenario.   You’ve got lots of meetings with the principal in your future.  Enjoy!

30 Responses to “Lazy Parenting Award: Part Une”

  1. mamacita Says:

    Amen. Similarly, if you let your kid watch Sponge Bob, don’t wonder why he’s suddenly got a smart mouth.

  2. dgm Says:

    I agree, but I’m even more disturbed by the parents who let their kids watch PG-13 or R movies with sexual references and trampy girls, or TV shows with same.

  3. dgm Says:

    But I (repsectfully) disagree with Mamacita about Sponge Bob. My 9 and 5 y.o. watch it but i wouldn’t say they have smart mouths. They do have really good senses of humor and wordplay.

  4. class-factotum Says:

    I was shocked and disgusted at how many parents brought their very young children to see “Raiders of the Lost Ark” last summer. I had nightmares from “Oliver,” which I saw when I was five. What are these parents thinking?

  5. Phalene Says:

    I’m not sure what to say. As a kid I was horrified by even the violence in Disney films, but I totally disagree with dgm. I was not sheltered from sexuality and surprisingly enough asides from a vocabulary that needed situational correction (which happens anyway) I don’t see how seeing British humour damages children.

  6. trouble Says:

    certainly I think studies have been slightly more conclusive about the effects of kids watching violence being harmful than watching sex. I think it’s good to be concerned about kids becoming desensitized to violence.

    But I also would distinguish between kids watching sexualized activity and watching sexIST activity/characters/plot
    (by the way a huge amount of the worst violence on screen IS sexist violence, especially when it is played for laughs ugh)

    But having kids watch yet another movie where the female characters do nothing but wait around to be rescued by the male ones while looking cute, or that fails the Bechtel test (by not having any two female characters onscreen having a conversation that is not about men), or have no independent identity, is more of a problem than having them get a glimpse of consensual sexual behavior.

  7. Jen Says:

    I watched the original star wars when I was little and I turned out fine.

  8. raincoaster Says:

    I really think the reason for not letting kids watch sexual scenes is instinctive, not sociological (ie we get skeeved at kids watching sex. It’s not that we think they’ll turn into Ted Bundy for watching it). As such, I have no quarrel with it. We’ve evolved to have sex in private, and keeping the view of it private from kids is just natural.

    Violence is a totally different issue. Hell, I had nightmares after watching Thomasina!

  9. Onirica Says:

    There was an article in the IHT which i thought had an interesting point of view. Perhaps it’s worth reading.

  10. Laura V Says:

    You know, I just don’t agree.

    But maybe that’s because I watched _Blade Runner_ at age 9 and still managed to graduate from university at age 20, and am happily married with a nice house and an awesome job. Or maybe it’s because my younger brothers watched every Schwarzenegger movie they could get their hands on, and both ended up happily married men who were VPs of their companies before they hit age 28. Or maybe it’s all 4 of my brilliant, articulate sisters, who are all either functioning, happy adults or functioning, happy, college students – even though they also watched movies that supposedly were guaranteed to mess them up (especially the one who watched _Batman_ just as often as she possibly could).

    At any rate, calling parents lazy because they (horror of horrors) do something you wouldn’t? The rating system is deeply flawed, and no substitute for the parent making his or her own decisions.

    Not to mention that blaming movies for overly aggressive children is simplistic at best.

    Congratulations: you just got the Lazy Blogging Award! Take simplistic argument, add blanket insults, put it in a box marked done!

  11. Bridey Says:

    I agree with Laura that the ratings system is flawed and that knowing your kid is the best approach to this whole issue. I even agree that blaming violent movies for aggressive kids is considerably oversimplifying a complex issue.

    But that Laura turned out dandy after seeing the violent and dark-hearted Blade Runner at 9 or that her sister obsessed over Batman and is a happy college student doesn’t meant that there aren’t parents out there who don’t pay remotely close enough attention to what their kids watch.

    I’m sure there are people taking their little kids to the torture porn flicks that are so sadly in fashion these days. And I’m sure that in 20 years some kid will be saying, “My parents let me watch ‘Saw IV’ when I was 9, and I turned out OK.'” That doesn’t make it right.

  12. Twistie Says:

    I think there is no blanket answer to this one. I can only speak from my own experiences, but when my brothers and I were growing up there was precisely one thing we were all banned from watching no matter what: The Three Stooges. Mom felt the violence was too overemphasized and too close to something we might try. One of my brothers was also banned from watching Mighty Mouse when he started doing MM’s kerpow punch without regard to how close others were standing. OTOH, the same brother was not forbidden to watch the horror movies he adored. His love of Poe was encouraged. I started watching Masterpiece Theater with my mother from its inception, nude scenes and all. It led to my lifelong fascination with the Tudor monarch, and with history in general. So there was a suggested beheading or two. I understood that was something one Simply Didn’t Do, even at seven but I wasn’t terribly traumatized by the re-enactment.

    The important thing is that she talked with us about what we were watching, and reacted to how we were reacting to the material rather than a blanket reaction to all material that included certain themes. My brother may have slugged a few people accidentally imitating Might Mouse, but all the Vincent Price films in the world didn’t encourage him to dip anyone in wax and make them into museum displays.

    That said, I do think there’s a huge difference between allowing a mature fifteen year old to see Animal House and taking any four year old to one of the Saw films. Knowing your child is important. Considering the material beforehand is equally important.

    Somehow all I can think of right now is a story I heard about Maurice Sendak once. A woman came up to him at some event and started berating him for writing such a scary book as Where the Wild Things Are. She said that every time she tried to read it to her daughter, the kid cried and screamed because it frightened her so much. Sendak asked why she kept trying to read the book to a child who was clearly being traumatized by it. She replied that it was award-winning children’s literature.

    That mom missed the point. If the material is too much for the child, it doesn’t matter how many other children adore it. But by the same token, if the child is ready for the material and enjoys it, I think parental consent is perfectly okay. It’s messy, but it’s important for the individual parents to think about their individual children and base their decisions on that.

  13. Glinda Says:

    @Laura V- I would be happy to accept your award, but I don’t feel like getting up off the couch.

    That being said, there is research to back up my position, I didn’t just wake up and make a judgement all on my own. I linked to three major studies.

    Of course it is up to the parent to decide if a movie is appropriate, but you missed my point. It is the parents who do not care and do not bother to check that I gave the award to.

    Anyone who has seen kids on the playground knows that they act out what they see. Be it movies or how mom talks to dad or whatever, they do what they see.

  14. raincoaster Says:

    Calling bloggers lazy because they (horror of horrors) think something you don’t? Hmmmmm.

  15. wannabe Says:

    Agreed with a clarification: the laziness comes from not watching the movie yourself first and then making an informed decision, based on your knowledge of your child. Not all PG-13 movies are the same — there’s a huge difference between some family comedies with the odd filip of bad language and well-simulated violence.

    I saw (and adored) each LOTR movie, but did not allow my child to see them in a movie theater. After all 3 were out on DVD, and after she begged to see the first one because other kids in her class had, we rented, at home, sitting between parents on the home sofa. When she had a trouble-free night or two, we knew she was ready for the others, and when she asked, we saw them too. Point is, I’d seen these and I knew that they were too scary for her. It is your job as a parent to research these things — ratings are a loose guideline imposed voluntarily by a group of not terribly bright people to assist a broad cross-section of the public. If a parent does the research, and concludes that so and so is a tough little nut who really enjoys the movies and won’t be bothered by what they see, then tis hard to call that parent lazy.

  16. Laura V Says:

    @Glinda: If that’s who you’re giving the award to, you need to be explicit. Instead, you gave the award to ALL parents who allow their children who watch movies that are rated as too mature. Or did I somehow misread you? I don’t think so. If that’s not lazy writing, then it’s bad writing.

  17. Glinda Says:

    @Laura- Let me break it down in the very simplest form for you, the fantastic reader who is so NOT into insults.

    So, parents who do either do not bother to look at the MPAA rating or simply do not care, you are a Lazy Parent AwardTM Winner!

    How is that statement above (cut and pasted directly from the post expressly for those with reading comprehension issues, my dear!) giving the award to ALL parents who allow their children to watch R or PG-13 movies? Please, please tell me, because I would really like to know. Has the English language evolved somehow without me knowing? Sigh.

  18. Jennie Says:

    Yeaaaa! Glinda! Super Fantastic writing award!!! (Roar of the crowd…)

  19. Tizzy Says:

    @Glinda. I couldn’t agree more. Cheers.

  20. Leah Says:

    I wonder, tho, if the pattern is:
    kids watch violent movies=more likely to grow up with violent tendancies
    or if it’s:
    kids with a penchant for violence want to watch violent movies=kids watch violent movies=violent kids grow up and are now violent adults.

    Whether you agree with the research, Glinda’s stance, or any one else’s opinion, it’s great to see all these people that ARE concerned with their child’s welfare. Lazy parenting is awful – we can all agree with that. It’s ok that the details of the decisions we make with our children are different.

  21. raincoaster Says:

    Glinda FTW!

  22. galadrium Says:

    Watching a PG or PG-13 movie does not automatically make you a lazy parent. Not finding out what is in that particular movie and deciding if your child can handle it and talking about it either during or after the movie makes you a lazy parent. PG does stand for parental guidance. And I don’t know about y’all, but it makes me absolutely CRAZY when I go to R-rated movies and parents bring little kids. It’s all I can do not to tell them off – my poor husband makes sure I don’t walk anywhere near them as we exit.

  23. toad Says:

    The age you expouse a child to violence is non-linear, what you let a four year old watch is consideragly different from what you let a 9 year old watch IMHO.

    A Friend of mines daughter works as an usher in a movie theater. She says their are parents or dumping kids in the care of other kids to see movies that she calls torture porn. Horror movies that are much more explicit than the stuff from even ten years ago. Same for sexually explicit films. “Brown Bunny” was mentioned.

  24. gamma Says:

    So I come back from out of town, and this is what I find? Can’t I trust you to behave yourselves for a few days without supervision?

    That just came out automatically. I have been a mom for FAR too long.

    Glinda, your writing skills and your analysis are impeccable. Everyone has to know their own kid, of course, but the days of dropping off Sweet Pea to see whatever’s on the Saturday matinee is so 50 years ago.

  25. raincoaster Says:

    How is it even legal to let a child into an NC-17 film?

  26. boogiemum Says:

    Guess that would be me. While we do edit what they watch and they haven’t seen all the things you mentioned b/c we feel some of them are too old; they have seen a few. We are very active parents, rather, and watch and make our own judgments on movies, rather than some people we never met. My boys are far from overly aggressive, too. Actually their friend who isn’t even allowed to watch Tarzan or any type of violence is the aggressive one. My kids also are extremely polite, per their teachers with “yes, ma’m” and “no ma’ms.” I think with consistent parenting you can allow children to watch some movies that are considered “violent” and still turn out some fantastic kids. When I was 5 I watched Star Wars and I turned out to be a “peace loving hippy” (in my husband’s words)
    I love you Glinda, but have to respectfully disagree with this one…

  27. a. beaverhausen Says:

    Wow…that Laura V reminds me of someone. Who could it be? Who could it be? Someone who enjoys pointing out the flaws in someone’s reasoning by doing so WITH FLAWED REASONING!! Oh year…Ann Coulter. Bitches separated at birth, no doubt.

  28. A. Beaverhausen Says:

    Laura V. reminds me of some famous harpie…er…person who enjoys the use of alledged blanket statements by using…uh…blanket statements. What other kind of hypocrite uses this kind of tactic? Hmmm? Oh yeah…Ann Coulter. She can dish it out…but really CAN NOT TAKE IT.

  29. raincoaster Says:

    boogiemum, if you edit what your children see then I’m afraid you don’t qualify for this award. Glinda’s point is not that letting your kids see these things makes you a lazy parent, but rather that not caring what they see makes you one.

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