Two kids asking me the same question.
Why can’t I watch what I want?
My four-year old, Ben wants to watch Caillou. But I won’t let him. In my opinion, Caillou whines and has temper tantrums quite frequently. It’s not the example I want Ben to see.
So I tell him “no.” He’s disappointed, complains he can’t watch what he wants and moves on.
My high school freshman is another story.
Rick and I pretty much control all of Jacob’s entertainment choices but this weekend I’ve realized that this can’t continue. On Friday, he came home with a permission slip from his Honors English class. Sometime during this semester, the class may be viewing the films “Hotel Rwanda”, “Mississippi Burning” and “Sometimes in April”. These are all films based on true stories that contain some very violent scenes.
Jacob is of the age where his worldview needs to, has to, expand. He needs to know the evil Man is capable of committing, the suffering of others, compassion, etc. So in that regard, I’m fine with him watching the films. But the permission slip states, “I give my permission for my child to watch these films and I agree that the educational benefits outweigh the violence depicted in the films.”
I don’t know if I agree with that statement.
I hedged on signing the permission slip which irritated my son. He thinks I’m treating him like his brother, Ben. He may have a point.
I know he needs to make his own decisions but making the wrong decision can have some serious consequences. Seeing certain images or scenes can rip away some of his innocence. You can’t “unsee” something. Certain things can leave a permanent stain. So…no, I don’t want him to make his own decisions.
But how will he learn to make good decisions? How will he learn from reflecting on the bad ones?
So….I signed the permission slip but added the comment “I agree that the educational benefits from viewing these films outweigh the graphic nature of the violence…on the above mentioned films.” I’ll take the permission slips on a case by case basis.
I’ve also told Jacob that for now his dad and I will continue to make his entertainment decisions for him and will gradually start giving him more freedom BUT ONLY if he gives some serious thoughts on this matter and decides where his personal boundaries are going to be. I’m asking him to draw his own line in the sand to decide where he will not cross.
I hope I did the right thing.
How do you handle the media choices for your teens? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
This terrifies me beyond belief.