With the holidays upon us, there seem to be endless choices for movies to escape to or to take the kids to see, especially during a weekend when the weather is bad. How do you decide what you are going to watch or what you are going to let your children watch? Does that seem like an odd question? Perhaps the first part of it is a bit foreign to consider, “how do I decide what movie I’m going to go see?”
Obviously we use advertisements and trailers, our favorite stars or directors or even the branded recognition of the studio that is producing it. How about the poster? Does the rating of the picture (G, PG-13, etc) come into play? And now we also can look at blog reviews or twitter and facebook recommends from our friends or social media go-to buddies. Who is talking about what at the park or mommy and me class. Still seem like a strange question?
If you are pregnant there are tons of studies suggesting that reducing stress is important not only to fetal development, but to the personality traits and coping mechanisms that your unborn child will have. Freaky huh? So going to see that slasher horrer flick while preggo might not be the best choice…;)
Since I had my daughter I’ve paid more attention to the movies that I select for her to watch, and truth be told, I’m fairly conservative about it. I remember taking her to the mommy and me matinee’s as an infant, so excited for a respite and a movie, and found myself concerned that the volume was too loud for those precious new ears. Later as I introduced dvd’s and movies I noticed that she would pay attention, of course, but also she would react to content that she perceived as scary. I was surprised at how much content she was afraid of, I was only showing her children’s movies, G rating, from a studio that I grew up with….but she would cry and be afraid and ask me to hold her. Hmmm, anyone else have this happen?
It made me uncomfortable frankly. Yes she was young, barely 2, but I didn’t think she needed to be so afraid at something that I was showing to her for entertainment. As an adult if I want to go see something scary, that is one thing, she was an unsuspecting toddler really. It made me think twice.
I don’t introduce any movies to her now unless I have viewed them prior and consider if it is age appropriate and personality appropriate for her. I know that it might be inconvenient, but there are some movies in theaters right now that are being marketed as kid appropriate, but have way more violent parts than their advertisement suggest. Remember, not all animated movies are created equal, and they are also trying to appeal to adults so they will go to the theater. It is a business.
The same with a bedtime story, I don’t open a book I’ve never read and read it to her before bed (well I have and found myself censoring super scary stuff on the fly…so now I read it first and prepare myself). Movies are great, and entertainment is really crucial to our self-care. Curious as to how you all have navigated this.
Alisa Donner, MSW, LCSW
Synergest and Co-Founder of Pregnancy Awareness Month®