Monday, March 30, 2009

Questionable Parenting Decisions

We've all made them, right? Help a girl out here. Lie if you have to.

A week or so ago I let Bear, who is 12, see a PG-13 movie at a sleepover. "Knowing" with Nicolas Cage, to be exact. I haven't let her see many PG-13s yet, so I did the conscientious mom thing and checked online to see why it had the PG-13 rating. It looked suspenseful, with some action movie style violence, and some language (nothing she doesn't hear around here when Mom cuts herself chopping onions). I was mostly concerned about sexual content, and I didn't see any mention of that, so I gave permission.



She later confessed that she watched half of the movie with her hands over her eyes, and the other half with her hands over her ears when it got loud. Despite this, she swore up and down when she got home that she loved it and that it was "the best movie ever." She described the plot in excruciating detail over and over again, popping out from unpacking her overnight bag to say, "Oh, yeah, there was also this part where...." I took this to mean that, though she'd been scared, it was more of the Pleasantly Freaked Out variety than the Emotionally Scarred for Life variety.

Silly me.

Fast forward to a few nights past, when the plot points and images had had awhile to marinate in her overactive imagination. I woke from a dead sleep with an awareness that something was off. Groggy from sleep, I wasn't able to place a finger on what was wrong until I started to sit up and heard a small voice behind me say,

"Hi, Mom. I thought I'd just lay with you guys for awhile."

I turned to see Bear lying on top of the covers between Daddy Shortbread and me. She had a Webkinz (well-known protectors against evil?) clutched to her chest. I walked her back to her room, and she seemed content to climb into her own bed with a kiss on the cheek and assurances that everything was fine. I'd been back in bed for about twenty seconds when I heard her footfalls again in the hall.

She thought she'd sleep on the couch. Was that OK? Yes. Go to sleep.

(two minutes later): No, the couch was even freakier. She was going to get a drink. Fine. You don't need to tell me. Just go to bed.

(two minutes later): Of course, it was still pretty dark in her room, and there was a strong possibility that there were floating faces in her closet. No faces in the closet, Bear. Here, I'll get you a nightlight.

(45 seconds later): Did I know that sometimes nightlights make weird shadows? Some of them look a lot like faces. Bear. You're killing me. You really are. Please, for the love of God, go to bed. I wil take personal responsibility for any and all floating faces.


The next day, as I was driving her to dance rehearsal, we passed the movie theater.

Bear: Oh, Mom, look! "Knowing" is still playing! I really want you to go see that with me. It was the best movie ever.

She was completely baffled when I told her that there was no way AT ALL ever even if she gave me a million skillion dollars that I would take her to see that movie again.


Jen on the Edge said...

After much thinking and pondering, we let our girls see the first five Harry Potter movies, even though some are PG-13. Grace was fine with it and, while Ellie seemed fine with it, she has some new fears that I can almost certainly trace back to when she saw the third movie last fall. So, no more PG-13 for a while for her.

See what a good friend I am? I'm publicly confessing to letting my 8 year old watch a highly inappropriate movie just so that you'll feel better about your decision! :-)

jenn said...

Bless your heart, Jen! That helps. My girls have seen the HP movies as well, and while my younger one was fine, the older actually had to be taken out of the fourth one. (Which probably should have been my first clue that this movie would be a problem...)

smalltownmom said...

I'm sure over the years I've let my boys (now ages 18 and almost-13) watch some unsuitable things, but they've never had a problem. There are certain things I personally won't watch, however (like the Saw movies and anything with demonic possession) because they give me the heebie jeebies. The younger one saw the Harry Potter movies at a young age and was fine. But at an early age, we made a strong distinction between movies and reality.

Country Girl said...

I am not real strict about what the kids watch except with sexual piece scenes. I am a bit skeptical about that. They are usually self limiting if it is scary but they have watched the Harry Potter series and done ok.
Cute story, thanks for sharing!