Sunday, January 20, 2013

Horror master

For some time, my daughter, Jennifer, has had a “horror fixation.” Specifically, a fixation on horror movies. She LOVES horror movies. This has not been easy for me to accept because, as a horror movie fan myself, I know for a fact that there is a lot of material that is NOT appropriate for young viewers. So even as I understand her fascination with horror movies, at the same time I’m mentally banging my head against a wall and wishing it was Disney movies instead.

But we can’t have everything!

So I have resorted to monitoring exactly WHAT horror movies she can watch. After all, she is 11 years old and not 18. The blood and gore gets a pass, but the movies containing rape, sex and nudity do not.

Recently, she told me she wanted to be a “horror master.” When I asked her what this was, she told me that it is someone who has seen ALL of the horror movies. I asked her where she got that idea from and she said from a friend at school. Apparently, her friend at school has seen ALL of the horror movies. And knowing that some horror flicks contain content that children should not see, I told her I seriously doubted that. She kept insisting it was true. When I asked her, “What about the naughty scenes?” she said her friend covers her eyes. (Does she also mute it?) I then wanted to know if this particular friend’s adults were actually letting her watch the movies and she said, “They don’t care.” (The adults she lives with are not her parents.)

Still, I wasn’t buying it. And there was NO WAY I was going to let Jen watch any old horror movie she wanted to watch. So, we struck a deal: Any R-rated movie has to get my okay first. If I feel it is okay to watch, then I’ll let her watch it. But if it gets graphically naughty, then … not.

So that’s what happened with the movie The Cabin in the Woods. Jen saw it in my Netflix queue and OF COURSE she wanted to watch it. I rented it for her but had to watch it first. There was a scene in this movie that made me want to throw up. I was so bothered by it, I could not watch the rest. (And, yes, it was a naughty scene!) So I told Jennifer this movie gets a “no” and then I told her why. She made a disgusted look and said, “Mom! TMI!”

Later, I thought more about this “horror master” thing. I didn’t want my refusal of her seeing certain movies to cause any competition or problems with her friend. So we sat down and had a talk about this. I asked her if she would wait until she was a little older – say, 17 or even 18 – to watch the movies I don’t want her to see just yet. She thought that was a better compromise and said she would do that. This sure made me feel pretty relieved and I’m glad we could continue with our system of me checking horror movies first before she watches them.

As for me, I do love horror movies, too, but with some of them, I just have to draw the line.


Jana B said...

You know, since I started working at my current internship, I have been shocked at what children are allowed to see... we had a child molestation charge that came about because the family let the two-year-old watch a movie with groping, and he tried it on his sister (we thought they were letting him watch porn, or he was seeing actual molestation.) and his older sister (age 7) was threatening to do things to other kids that she saw in horror movies.

I seriously applaud you for using appropriate boundaries with your daughter, but bargaining so she feels like things are fair. *Filing this example away for future use*

Dawn Colclasure said...

Thank you. :) I DO try to be fair. Children just do not understand the difference between fiction and reality. Some kids just copy things they see on TV and in movies. My daughter has even adopted the sassy attitude of girls she has seen on TV shows and I let her know that was NOT acceptable with me. I totally disliked one show where this mom let her daughter get away with everything and I was screaming at her, "Grow a spine, lady!" Unfortunately, I know a lot of parents who really don't care what their kids do or watch on TV, and that can be dangerous because kids tend to mix up where their boundaries are if they are too influenced by something they saw in a movie. Also, a lot of kids don't realize all that stuff is fake and that the actors will all go out for lunch or coffee after the scene ends. :)