Saturday, November 27, 2010

Setting limits

So - I'm the unpopular mother at the moment because I won't let my son (12 1/2) see the latest 'Harry Potter' movie.  He understands that it is scary and that he's probably better off not seeing it, but he said that he just feels left out.  All his school friends are off to see it at the movies over the weekend (or so he tells me - whether that is reality or not is questionable).

I make him feel left out a lot because we won't let him watch 'M' rated movies.  He has seen a few - at parties, friend's houses etc, but in general we'd prefer him not to.  I also don't let him watch whatever he likes on TV - again, seems to be fairly common among his friends.

I was also presented with the famous, "But All the other Mums are Letting their Kids do It" award last week by my daughter.  This was over a sleep-over birthday party that I was saying no to.  We had a bad experience last year where the girls only got about 4 hours sleep and as a 9 year old it took days for her to recover from it.

Plus what's left to do in high school if they do it all in primary school? I know that we're on the conservative end of the spectrum, but I do wonder if anyone's really that bothered about what is going into children's minds.  Are there any other parents saying 'no' to their children?  I'm sure that parents are saying 'no' - perhaps we're just doing it over issues at different points on the spectrum.

12 comments:

Richard said...

I'm not a parent, but good on you for holding the line on what you think is right Jenny :)

Wendy said...

I'm sure it doesn't help how you feel - but I suspect lots of us feel like lone voices saying no to things, not because we are 'party poopers' but because we care what our kids see and hear. I am just doing it at a 7, 5 and 3 year old level, not 10 & 12 years. Keep sharing though, it keeps encouraging us all as we all make decisions for our kids.

janaliel said...

So fun to know I am not the only mean mum!! We have also said no M rated movies. Our kids are 15,12,9 and 6. We have made some exceptions, eg Prince Caspian, and our oldest son wanted to watch the Lord of the Rings series because his friend had seen them all (!) and we said he could... after he read the books... so he did and then got to see them with a friend who is a huge LOTR fan and my husband and then they talked about it. We have also said no M rated games when at friend's houses. Our kids have been fairly understanding of the rule. But it is hard for them when everyone is talking about a movie. We just keep telling them that we love them and are doing what we know is best for them!! (pretty sure that sometimes they are convinced we are just doing it to make their lives a misery though!!) Jenny

kwillo said...

It's not just you, Jenny - my 11 year old informed me that 'everyone at school knows we're not allowed to do stuff and see stuff' - we have the same guidelines as you do!

Pip said...

Interested to know how you dealt with the sleepover issue seeing she went last year?...We Will be facing a couple of 'but you let me go last time' issues next year and need some tips!

Meredith said...

I once spoke with a mum of children older than ours, trying to pick her brain on all sorts of issues. This one came up at one stage and she said that none of her children have nightmares and none of them have ever needed the light to be kept on at night - because they have never seen "scary" movies and therefore don't have those sorts of images locked away in their minds.

Her children are now older - although the oldest is still not yet 15 - and the rules still apply and they discuss the not watching bad movies stuff in these terms and in light of Phil 4:8.

We have taken that on too and have a bit of a running joke that "those movies" will have to wait until the boys turn 15. Our oldest son is planning a movie marathon (that may go for longer than a day at the rate he is clocking up movie titles!) on his 15th birthday!! Now we may well let him see some of them before then, but at the moment it is the often to be heard catchcry in our house - "when you are 15!!" - which will no doubt turn to humour as they get older. And we hope it is this that will steer us through that time.

Good on you. You are being a responsible parent.

Beck said...

ok Jen.. confessions... we let our 12 yr old go to see that movie... it was a birthday party for a bestie... and for the first time we felt he would cope with it. (He's actually not a big HP fan... and thought the movie was only "pretty good" !) I'm telling you this not because I think you should change your limits in this case - but because a lovely result in this for us was our son's appreciation that we would consider it now and that we were recognising him as being a bit more grown up. He (and we) know/s it is one step at a time - but there's a mutual respect in it. Hurrah for limit setting - for your teenage kids will continue to appreciate you!

Jenny said...

Hey Beck - yeah - Aidan saw 'Avatar' for the same reason - a best friend's party. I don't want to become legalistic about it, but at the same time, it's the lack of thoughtfulness about the issue that is intriguing to me. When the kids recognise that 'this is a treat/something special', feels different to 'o well, this is just fine whatever, whenever'.

Heather said...

We're saying 'no' to things like this all the time (and ours is only 7 so far). It's been a difficult issue since pre-school. I grew up as the child that everyone knew wasn't allowed to watch/do things and I am very very grateful for my parents who said 'no'. In fact, by the time I was in Yr9 it had become a friendly joke with my parents - when I didn't want to have to join in with something I would ask my Mum to'ban' it.

Wendy said...

My parents were the same as Heather's and I am still so grateful. I hated the few times I got caught out unexpectedly at a slumber party or something and there was a scary movie playing. And my mum was very happy to be cast as the 'mean' mum so as to save face for me. She always said "blame me, and say I won't let you do it" - it was a great excuse as a teenager, knowing that if you didn't want to do or watch something you could just say you knew you weren't allowed.

Now, I still remember the few scenes from awful movies I did see as a teenager, and am so thankful I didn't see more.

Anonymous said...

Not a parent, but my parents had strict rules about lots of things, including ratings on TV shows and movies. The government guidelines were strictly adhered to (12yo for PG, 15 for M etc). Looking back, the rules about movies don't worry me, but the non-negotiable curfew times far earlier than my friends still smart. I was a 'good' kid but there was no compromise.
Emily

Jenny said...

Hi Emily - it's hard when you don't feel that you were trusted as a kid, even though you did all the right things (my parents had very conservative curfews too and I still remember, so I'm right there with you!). I think parenting involves increasing levels of trust and so over time I expect I'm just going to have to take a deep breath, let my kids do things that I'm not thrilled about, and trust that they have the strength of character to do the right thing.