From my 2009 Journal. What makes a good story great? What details make it acceptable? Realism? What scenes are acceptable for children to watch? What stories will leave them with nightmares and fears? At what point or age or maturity do we allow exposure to “reality”? Some unfortunate children experience far too much reality for their age. Some are more sensitive to violence and others to PG rating content and others to language. How long can we or should we as parents or grandparents shelter their innocence?
I don’t think we can predict what that limit is for a child . . . until it’s too late. We were pretty strict about what movies we allowed our girls to watch; but it wasn’t until she was an adult, that one of my imaginative daughters reported having had nightmares of spiders and wolves from our bedtime story The Hobbit. Who knew!
These decisions for our children are messy ones for each stage of their growth. How can we push back against the culture? My girls are grown now, and I don’t have to grapple anymore with these questions. But soon I may be influencing grandchildren, and I need to know what limits and boundaries are best for them.
And now it’s 2020, and I have 4 handsome grandsons to love on. I find I don’t think much about these questions anymore because I’ve relinquished all control and decisions to their parents (I’m thankful they have good boundaries). And when the boys are solely under my care, I’m far more apt to engage with them face-to-face with table games and hikes and playgrounds and reading or telling non-scary stories than to indulge in screen time together—or as one grandson calls it: “scream time” (and I’ll never correct him!)