My child’s friends at school are all seeing a movie that I’m not sure I want my child to see. They are always talking about it at school and my child is feeling left out and disconnected from his friends. What can I do?
There are a lot more dynamics to this question than the simple one of whether or not a movie is acceptable for your child’s viewing. When kids are on the front side of adolescence, peer acceptance and not wanting to be on the outside-looking-in when it comes to friends weighs heavily on their heart. Along with this issue is the whole dynamic of being a leader or a follower. And on top of that, some kids simply want to see unacceptable movies (whether their friends want to or not). Each child is different. Depending on your child, one of these priorities could be at the top of this conflict.
That’s why we must be careful students of our children. One child might not particularly want to see the movie, but the thought of being considered an outcast is almost more than they can bear. Keep in mind that this is a corridor of time when friendships and relationships carry extremely heavy weight in the average child.
On this kind of a dilemma, it’s best to break it down into its components and deal with them individually. The first component is the movie. What is it about the movie that makes it unacceptable to you? If a movie is graphically violent, tantalizingly sexual, or overwhelmingly contradictory to your world view, then the decision is already made. Your son or daughter shouldn’t see this movie regardless of the personal pain from the peer group.
But I wouldn’t make this decision based on limited knowledge. I’d read reviews on it to get a clear assessment of its true story line. I’d be leery of making my decision based solely on reviews that count the amount of profane words or acts of violence. Try to figure out the true content. If necessary, talk to people you trust that might have seen it (parents, youth workers) or slip out and preview it yourself. Some of my favorite sites for movie reviews are: www.pluggedinonline.com, and www.hollywoodjesus.com, www.mediafamily.org/kidscore/.
As seen in Entertaining Kids Magazine. Premiere Issue (p19)