I took the Teen to an “R” rated movie today. It was an accident. The Little Princess was with Grandma having some one-on-one time. DH left on a work-related trip this morning. It was just me and the Teen and I asked her if she wanted to see a movie with me.
I walked to the local Maverick for a Sunday paper, hoping that “Mamma Mia” had been released this weekend (it was not, sadly - I did find out it will be released later in July). The Teen was more interested in seeing something scary, in any case. She mentioned wanting to see “Happenings”, the new film by M. Night Shyamalan. The only other film I had seen by the man was “The Sixth Sense” - scary, but not too horrible for a teenager. Just as we were about to hand our tickets to the taker, I noticed the “R” in the corner. Ooops . . .! We went in anyway. The plot line to the film was interesting, but it was far more gruesome than I had expected. The Teen really enjoyed herself and I felt guilty at not doing the proper parental role and learning more about the film before I took her to it.
I have mixed feelings on the topic of kids and violent movies. My dad took me to several inappropriate films when I was a child, including “Omen II”, much to my mom's dismay. And yet as an adult, I really don’t like violent films – they usually stress me out and give me headaches. I also oppose violence as in war and social control. In my case, watching these films at an impressionable age did not make me a violent person, nor did give me cravings to see more and more violent films.
Even so, it’s hard for me to believe that seeing such sights don’t have an effect on the growing brains of children. I wonder about storing those brains with too many negative images. In the book, “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron, we are asked to nurture our creativity by “filling the well”, experiencing many different sights and sounds and experiences. I found that to be a pretty effective way to generate creativity, and so I worry when I think that my children may be filling their wells with horror and violence, even though fictional.