Friday, January 18, 2013

Parenting Confession #6: I Let My Kid Watch Sparkly Vampires

See past confessions here: #1, #2, #3-5.

I have already talked a little bit about the fact that we are pretty lax about tv rules in our house.  I can only remember my parents censoring what we watched maybe twice EVER, and it was usually my mom griping about hating You Can't Do That On Television while we ignored her and watched it anyway.  I can recall watching Poltergeist at age 5, burying my face in the pillow during scary parts.  We saw Goonies and Gremlins and Indiana Jones and Star Wars in the theater at very young ages.  My little brother and I would huddle together under a blanket, scaring ourselves silly watching IT or Unsolved Mysteries (I have no idea why this freaked us out so much...something about the music and the fact that we were home alone during a kidnapping episode).  I watched Eyes Wide Shut and American Pie with my parents and my GRANDMA.  Seriously, nothing was off limits. 

I don't think this scarred me in any way.  Well, at least not any more that any other person who has had the pleasure of watching an orgy or having a very descriptive pubic hair styling discussion in front of their grandma.  I was always taken aback when people weren't allowed to watch PG-13 until they were actually 13 or watch rated R in high school.  It seemed babyish to me at the time, but now that I am a parent, I totally get why people make those rules.  

That being said, I don't think having strict tv rules is right for my family.  I let Adriana watch cartoons that are pretty old for her, like Teen Titans.  Lucia actually gets into it too, and will now happily chirp "TEEN TITANS!" any time the song comes on.  Every once in a while they will use a word we don't use at our house, like stupid, and Adriana will question it, but I just use it as an opportunity to talk to her about how different people have different rules, and maybe no one taught Raven not to say stupid but that doesn't mean I like to hear it come out of Adriana's mouth.  Then we talk about how a word like stupid could hurt someone's feelings.  Then we unpause the show and watch the teen titans kick some ass.  

[Also?  It's probably weird that words like stupid and fat are banned in my house, but ass and fuck don't really bother me.  But that is a confession for another day.]

Anyway, the point I am trying to make is that I'd rather let my kids be exposed to whatever tv has to offer and then use it as a starting point for discussions rather than to shelter them from anything they might see or hear.  

When A'Dell's very informative post about not having cable went up, the hubs and I contemplated getting rid of our cable again.  We had previously (pre-kids) lived for a year on netflix alone, so we knew it was possible.  This time around, we are doing it with netflix, amazon prime, AND hulu plus, because we are ridiculous.  It's still saving us something like $700 a year even with these three services.

OF COURSE, within 3 days of cancelling the cable our internet went out twice in one week, and we were left with DVDs only.  THE HORROR!  By the end of the weekend, I seriously could not watch another Tinkerbell movie, and asked Adriana if she wanted to see some sparkly vampires.  She was intrigued, so I popped in Twilight.

She LOVED it.  Every day she begs to watch "Bella and Edward".  This has definitely sparked some interesting dialogue.

On the way to daycare, the morning after watching the first Twilight movie:

A: Mama, do vampires have wieners?
L: The boy vampires do.
A: Does Edward have a wiener?
L: Well, he's a boy, so yes.

While watching New Moon (which was actually Adriana's first movie theater experience - we took her to New Moon and Olive Garden when she was two months old):

A: Edward is not a little bit sparkly, he's a big bit sparkly.

A: Who is that blue shirt boy?
L: Jacob, remember?
A: I don't want to call him that, I want to call him long hair.
L: Yeah, but he has short hair now. 
A: Okay, I'll call him long hair short hair.

A: Who is that guy talking to Bella? [referring to the ghost Edward Bella saw whenever walked on the wild side]
L: That's Edward.
A: He's just a glowing Edward.  

[Upon meeting Sam's wife, who has a scar on her face}
A: Who is that crack face?

What were the rules like in your house growing up?  If you have kids, do you do what your parents did, or is your tv policy different? What is the most age inappropriate thing you have ever let your kids watch?


susan said...

I haven't really given it much thought, but I do agree, that leaving things open for discussion and letting them inquire on their own is better than sheltering kids from things. I dont' remember being sheltered myself...

We canceled cable for two years, and just recently added it back because it was cheaper to do one of their deals for a year than pay for internet alone. We also do hulu plus now too. I don't watch much TV so I don't think about it much.

Hmm.... Once we get through the adoption process, I might need to consider this .. in a few years anyways ;)

Erica said...

Anna has her own iPad and can watch whatever she wants. She only is interested in cartoons but she's 3. Sometimes she will put on a cartoon for older kids but usually loses interest. I tried to put on parental controls but I am not totally sure how well it works. For me I let her watch a ridiculous quantity of TV which I sometimes feel bad about but hey we get through the day.

april said...

I'm concerned with my children with blood/gore/sex much more than I am about language. I let them watch things a little old for them cartoon-wise (both kids love Beyblades, which is a 7+ show), but not yet on the live action. I don't know. I don't think I have any hard fast rules, but my kids are such KIDS right now (2 and ALMOST 5) ... I definitely don't think that I'll stick to ratings to decide though.

Brenna said...

My 5 y/o loves Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I have the whole series on DVD so we see it quite a bit. We've watched the 'Once More With Feeling' episode twice this week (so far). She also likes the Harry Potter movies. She also likes all the crap on the Disney Channel, and SpongeBob, which actually DOES bother me. Most of those shows demonstrate bratty and/or other behavior I find unacceptable. Killing vampires and dark wizards? Totally fine ;)

andreaunplugged said...

I don't feel like growing up we had too many tv rules. But we weren't allowed to watch the Simpsons. And we went to bed pretty early which eliminated some things.

No kids to make rules for now, but I laughed out loud at "long hair short hair".

Kara Keenan said...

My Mom is/was pretty anti-censorship. I watched a lot of movies and read a lot of books that were "off- limits" to most people my age. I even had an unrestricted Blockbuster card attached to my parents account (an account that they pre-loaded with money!), so I could and did rent whatever I wanted. I remember watching Basic Instinct as soon as it came out on video.

For my kids, I only censor movies that would be considered sex comedies. I mean, I love the American Pie movies, but my 9 year old doesn't need to watch them. But she has watched The Breakfast Club. However, my 5 year old is totally blood thirsty, and right now her favorite movies are Real Steel and Avatar- because she likes when they beat each other up. The kid's TV has only basic cable. The kids are allowed to watch whatever they want on it. The oldest also knows how to access my Netflix account, and I've seen that she's watched Hot Tub Time Machine at least once- it's not ideal, but I think that it's healthier not to make that big of a deal out of it.

Mama Tully said...

I was allowed 1/2 hour of tv a day growing up, except during summers, I think they were more lenient. I haven't put too much thought into tv rules yet, as my kids aren't really into many shows. The shows they do want to watch are pretty babyish...Sesame Street, My Little Pony, SuperWhy. L is really into movies, like The Little Mermaid and Toy Story. I think the worst thing I've let her watch was Shrek...which I quickly removed from her movie library when I realized how much name calling and potty words there were. She may not realize what it means right now, but she is old enough to repeat it without understanding and I just don't want to hear my 3 year old say crap or stupid.
I guess I won't put "rules" on tv until it becomes an issue. Right now my kids are just as happy to do puzzles or color as they are to watch some tv, so I just use tv when I need some down time (and it still doesn't always work!).

Kathleen Hardy said...

This made me laugh so hard!

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

I sort of love this post. Kind of like your division of household labor post, I feel like I'm seeing you in action in your everyday life. I might have to borrow this post (BTW, after I did my own division of labor post, I now know of at least three other people who have also ... it's spreading like wild fire!)

I should preface this by saying I'm a kid of the 70s who didn't have all the choices that come with cable. That said, we watched a lot of TV ... I don't ever remember specific rules about what kind of TV we were allowed to watch, nor how often we were allowed to watch it.

But ... Gavin is now 2 and we don't let him watch a ton of his own shows. Right around the holidays, we started letting him watch Handy Manny (which, I actually dig). He's seen Sesame Street a few times, too. But, that's about it. That's not to say he doesn't watch TV (just the other morning, he requested to watch the "news" and pointed to the cute, blonde meteorologist and said her name), but TV is usually background noise, rather than the main event. As he gets older, it'll be interesting to see how our TV "rules" evolve.

PinkieBling said...

CRACK FACE. Ahahahahaha.

Jessica said...

The worst thing I've let the kids watch is probably Top Chef. There is a TON of swearing on that show. But Thomas won't watch it with me, so I watch it during the day when the kids are around. Also, they certainly watch Friends from time to time, because it's my comfort show, and I'm wondering how old they can get before I have to stop so they don't pick up on the sex.

StephLove said...

I'm more on the other side of the spectrum. My six year old is only allowed to watch G movies and Y tv shows (with an exception for Word Girl because I'm sufficiently familiar with it to know I have no problem with it) and my eleven year old can only watch G and PG movies.

I feel there's no need to rush through their childhoods and there's plenty of time to watch all the things they might want to watch. It is swimming against the tide, though. Both kids saw their first PG movie without my knowledge (one shown by my mom, one at school) before I would have liked. And then my older one saw his first PG-13 at a birthday party.

It's good you watch with them and talk about what you see. I do that sometimes but not all the time and that's part of why I'm strict, because as they get older you can't be there all the time.

StephLove said...

I forgot to mention I let J watch Sleeping Beauty when she was 3 and she was so traumatized by the witch she was afraid of witches for years afterward. That was one time that showed me for that my kids, at least, it really does make sense to wait.

Jill said...

I laughed out loud at "who is that crack face" and "I'll call him long hair short hair."