Friday, October 23, 2009

I keep hearing this over and over...

As posted at FlickFilosopher: Question of the day: Is ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ too dangerous for children?: "I wondered in my review of Where the Wild Things Are whether the film wasn’t the beginnings of a shift away from overprotecting children from themselves and the world. After all, it offers a very dark portrait of the most secret workings of a child’s imagination, and it fully embraces of the fact that children are people and that they can be angry, resentful, and bitter." (You can read the rest at the link above)

My answer: As with any movie, I keep saying "You've got to know your child." LilGirl was watching the Lord of the Rings movies when she was three and was fine with those (and proceeded to explain the Balrog to her uncles one day). She also liked Hellboy, but when we watched Hellboy II (on video), she excused herself about 15 minutes in because "It's creeping me out." I have to admit I was a little surprised by that reaction, but I noted it. Besides the cost, we tend not to go to many movies in the theater for exactly that reason. At home, she knows if anything in the movie is too scary we can talk through those parts, or she is free to go to another room and find something else to do (this happens if the movie just bores her, too).

If we do see something in the theater, it's generally something we know is pretty innocuous, or something we have familiarized ourselves with enough to attempt to prepare her for "the worst." We tried to do that for Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, but a classmate had already revealed the Big Bad Moment to LilGirl, so when we mentioned it she waved it away with "Oh, I already know about that." Occasionally there will be something we didn't know about or that she reacts to unexpectedly, but the key is to keep an eye on her reactions throughout the movie. Most of the time, just an arm around her shoulder is enough. Once or twice, a well-timed "bathroom break" was a good idea.

Obviously, this is just my experience of what works with my kid. Every kid is different. You have to think about YOUR kid, not kids in general, when choosing a movie to see. This is Basic Parenting 101, folks, which is part of why the whole "Is it too scary for children?" thing bugs me.

All this said, I'm still on the fence about Where The Wild Things Are. I don't think it will be too scary for her. I have heard it may be a bit depressing, and that worries me. Scared is one thing, brokenhearted is another. But I think my biggest hang-up may not be about LilGirl's reaction at all. It's about mine, which I've blogged about before.

Photo by  http://www.flickr.com/photos/uaeincredible/ / CC BY 2.0