Minutes earlier, “Can I see the movie with Henry??!!” my teen had questioned me as he got into the car.
He was referring to “The Bounty Hunter”, a PG-13 block-buster boasting hit actors and sure-fire hilarity… just enough to entice a young man eager to come into his own. The boy’s father had put the onus on me to vet the movie, even though I knew my answer before digging too far. I usually head to pluggedin.com when checking out the cinema, not only for the kids, but also for us. Movies are too expensive to just see anything. Plus a mind is way to valuable to either waste or impair by submitting it to inappropriate material…. okay sex stuff.
“No … Sorry kid. It just doesn’t look like a good movie for you.”
“WHAT??!!! mutter, mutter, mutter” (I didn’t catch the last part. My ear still isn’t working very well)
“Hey, watch your tone.”
“Do you think that gives you a free pass to see any PG-13 movie?”
“I can’t believe you. All you do is treat me like a baby! mutter, mutter … YOU’RE SO MEAN! … I bet you think ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ is ‘inappropriate’?!!!”
He turned to face the window and shut me out. I, not in a coddling mood, decided to dish it back. Thus making the maturity level in the car around the age of 7.
It is a road we travel often. The road of the Movie Police. Exhausting for each of us … for him, for me, for his dad. His father & I take seriously our responsibility as parents, which, to us, includes such things as setting boundaries on what goes in their minds (from t.v. to books, to movies). The teen is frustrated with what he assumes to be coddling, babying, emasculating and a complete lack of trust on our part. And, quite frankly, I don’t blame him. Until the day he arrives at discernment, cares more about himself than what people think about him, we will fight this battle pretty much every time a blockbuster “PG-13” hits the screen. For whatever reason, movie-makers can’t stop themselves from spicing up almost every film. Tamed actions can’t hide the “R”-rated content.
You don’t have to explicitly show it all step by step. The mind takes care of it for you. The teen, boy or girl, heads down the road paved by major lies the minute they step into a theater. Lies like: looks are everything (especially “perfect” figures, skin, teeth, etc.), groping kisses are casual/normal (like a good old friendly hug), sleeping with someone goes without saying (something is wrong with you if you don’t), … the list goes on. These don’t even touch on the vulgar innuendos common place in almost all the blockbusters.
The sad truth about a mind? Once images are in, you can’t get them out.
It really makes me mad. The thought that Hollywood wields such power over my kid. My kid that I adore with everything in my being. How I look forward to the day when he can understand that all the “no’s” had nothing to do with lack of trust/respect, but everything to do with my belief in him and his character. If he didn’t have it, why would we try to protect it?
As we drove into our driveway, he broke the silence.
“I’m sorry I got so mad at you Mom.”
(My heart jettisoned to my throat.)
He continued, “I just wish you trusted me.”
(O, honey. I trust you implicitly. It’s those creeps trying to sell a film who think so little of you.)
I put my arm around his neck and look deeply in his eyes. “Thank you, kid…. I do trust you.” I reply … desperately hoping he can grasp how much I love him, even though I can almost hear the “whatever” perched on his lips.
Thanks for walking the road with me.
If you don’t already, head to Focus on the Family’s “Plugged In Online” for reviews of movies, games, music, t.v., etc. They give you the full skinny … then you (& your child) can make an informed decision. (www.pluggedin.com)
Instead of arguing, one MOAT mom has her kids read the review of the flic in question. Then the kid tells them why he/she should be allowed to see it. You go girl!