My family is always amazed at some of the movies our daughter’s friends have been allowed to watch. From pre-school on, some of these children have been regularly exposed to movies rated “PG”, “PG-13” and even some “R” rated movies. The parents are either unconcerned or exposed the child to the movie themselves.
The conversations I have with some of these parents intrigue me. The parent begins talking about a disturbing movie they just watched with their young child in the room. The conversation switches topics and usually within ten minutes, the same parent is expressing concern and wonderment about their child, who is “suddenly” having a lot of nightmares or acting out in other ways.
I know many of these same parents believe our family is over-reacting to movies with mature themes or more adult ratings. We are viewed by many as naive or over-protective. So, out of fairness, I reviewed the academic research on children and how their behaviors are affected by what they view. I expected to find mixed study results, as often happens when various studies focus on a particular topic.
Funny thing about being in high school. A few years ago, I went back to my old high school. Since I had lived out of state for years and this was pre-Facebook, I had lost touch with almost everyone. As we stood around reminiscing about our past, I had an epiphany. Almost everyone in high school thinks they are not popular!
As I heard people I would have identified as some of the most popular kids in our class talk about being teased or not feeling like they fit in, I realized maybe the whole popular thing is more about learning to be comfortable in your own skin. Perhaps it is about realizing there is no “normal” person and being different can really be just great (in healthy, godly ways of course). Maybe our shared angst was actually more about discovering who we were than about how popular we thought we were.
If your daughter is over 5’7″, has long legs and is thin, someone has probably suggested she consider modeling. To young girls, modeling appears to be a dream job. Who wouldn’t want to travel to glamorous places, wear beautiful clothes and make tons of money?
In Kylie Bisutti‘s book, I’m No Angel, she does a fantastic job of describing the life of a model from a Christian perspective. As Bisutti shares her story, the reader follows her through her early aspirations, her conversion to Christianity and her life as a model. Throughout the book, Bisutti slowly reveals the experiences and thought process which made her decide to walk away from her dream job in order to honor God.
My husband can never understand why our teenage daughter and I know every bit of news – sports, world, local or family and friend news, before he does. We remind him that he has yet to join the rest of the world on Facebook or as I jokingly refer to it, “the source of all knowledge”.
There are many pros and cons about whether or not to even allow your child on Facebook. I believe it is really a family decision, based at least partially on the maturity of your child. If you do decide to let him enter the world of Facebook, I think you can also use it to teach some godly principles.
Recently, I was involved in a discussion about movies and which movies were appropriate for children to watch. As the discussion continued, Philippians 4:8 kept coming to mind. Why did Paul think it was important to remind us to think on things that were good, pure and holy? I think he knew there is a side of man that is drawn to things that are scary, dark and sometimes even evil.
I have heard many parents defend letting their very young children watch PG-13 movies. They believe the children have fun and understand it is just pretend. Interestingly, the subject often comes up because the child, who supposedly loved the movie, is still talking about it days later. Not in a joyful way, but in such a manner it is obvious the child was very upset by the images she saw. I have even seen parents puzzled why their child is having nightmares or acting out violent scenes from the movie.