So Michael has become interested in the whole Star Wars franchise, particularly Darth Vader, because, as like most children, a boy in his class is into Star Wars and Vader, and, ahem, his Mom is a huge fan and showed him all the trailers of all the movies because she can’t wait to see it and was hoping to see it as a family. 🙂 However, I have been asking around and have been told by a few parents that the latest one is a little more on the violent side. I was all set to take him to see it this weekend, but the violence, namely a graphic killing scene is what is stopping me. His father and I promised him when we buy it once it is out on DVD we will show him the rest of the movie that is not too bad, and fast forward the undesirable parts.
This brought me back to my childhood and the way my parents handled adults movies that nonetheless us kids, me eleven and my brother nine, wanted to see. One in particular I remember watching with my father and brother was Flashdance. Remember that one, 80’s kids out there? My Dad fast forwarded the sex and swearing scenes and we thoroughly enjoyed the movie. There’s enough our kids get exposed to with violence and more explicit sexual content beyond their years, that I don’t think we need to encourage or stand by as they watch more. Still, I find myself thinking, am I censoring Michael too much? Am I doing this due to his increase in anxiety, his fascination with some of the violence in the latest Minions movie? But then, he’s a boy. My brother and cousins played the violent video games, shot each other in war games and yelled out:
“You’re dead. I win.”
We didn’t think back then about violence in the media. I read explicit Harlequin Romances from twelve years old on wards. I think my Mom was happy that she didn’t have to explain it to me. Today, I would worry if I had a daughter, on or off the spectrum, is this the right thing? So, Michael is excited to watch the older Star Wars movies at home, but understands why we want him to wait with this latest one until it is on video. There is so much fear now around death, killing, separation. I didn’t want movie violence accelerating these feelings ,but I can’t help wondering am I over- reaccting? As in many things, I am using my gut and trusting myself on this one.
Michael’s reaction when he talked to me about Star Wars today put my mind slightly at ease. He wrote a story about the evil Darth Vader peeping and pooping on the floor. It was all I could do not to laugh my head off. Like any little boy, he loved watching the scenes on the teasers of the flying space ships, fight scenes and meeting the characters. I look forward to showing him the movies slowly at a time when he is ready to fully take it in and see if there is truly an interest in the story line. When I told him the movie is two hours long he complained that is too long to sit down, but is still interested in trying to watch it at home.
I have seen a gradual maturity in Michael, in his interest to play board games, his interest in movies, the way he tells me when he wants friends, when he wants me or his father, and when he wants to be alone. I hope with this decision, I am respecting who he is, not withholding something he is ready for just because I am scared, but doing it for the right reasons.
Exceptional Parents, what is your take on movie viewing with your Exceptional Children? What is your limit on violence viewing, and do you try out a film that not G or wait it out? Do you parent with more security due to special needs? As always, let your child be your guide, let your instincts rule, and don’t compare your child to others, including other Exceptional Children. We know our children best, and it’s important we do what’s best for them in the long run. Good luck with whatever way you go. Until next time.