This can be hard, deciding when your child is ready to begin watching PG-13 movies. There is a lot of PUSH to allow children to see PG -13 movies earlier and earlier. Movies are a favorite pass time for children and also movie going can be a fun parent / child or family activity. Here are some things to think about as you decide what is best for your child:
- All PG -13 movies are not the same. So this may mean evaluating each of these movies beforehand if your child is on a border line as to their readiness for viewing PG – 13 movies in general.
- The title PG – 13 gives some guidance as to the themes and the general idea as to the age that most children are ready for these kinds of movies.
- Is MY child ready for this movie, developmentally and emotionally? Can they understand cognitively what the message is of this movie and can they handle what is portrayed in this movie? Are they ready to process violence or sexual themes or death if the movie deals with these kind of issues?
- Is the message of this movie one for the age of my child?
- Is it a message I want my child to have?
- Get reviews on the movies. Check what the themes are. Go see it yourself before hand if you really are uncomfortable or unsure and feel you need to see it to decide.
It is so challenging as a parent when your child says all their friends are seeing a movie you feel they are not ready for and they say they want to see it. There are no perfect answers. Sometimes it is a compromise of letting children see a movie that is slightly above what they probably need if all of the children in their class have seen it and your child is feeling isolated and left out and not able to relate with the other children. Then there are other times when we feel for our particular child that they will have nightmares for weeks or it will create a fear they do not need to have at this point and that it just will not work. Parents have the tough job of evaluating and deciding what is best for their own child.
Going to the movies with your child can give you the advantage of discussing and giving your own thoughts to your values as a family, especially if the movie portrays very different values than you have as a family. It can help by finding out what your child is thinking and by you being able to help them process what they have seen.
Plus, parent / child or family movie going can be fun. And can create wonderful opportunities for discussion and sharing. Even if your child’s friend is invited, going to supervise opposed to dropping off gives you a chance later to visit with your child about the movie.
Movies have the opportunity to promote wonderful models and stories that are inspirational. Sometimes they do this and sometimes they do not. We can help guide or encourage movies that do so. Good luck in navigating the challenging waters of PG – 13 movies. Your child is lucky to have you as a thoughtful parent who assists with knowing the best time for this transition into this category of a movie.
Here is to finding lots of movies that matter and promote what we want for our children and their internal messaging!