The Tween Years | R Rated Movies + Television

by , posted on April 16th, 2014 in Parenting, The Tween Years

Tweens and movies + television

I should probably start this post by saying two things:

1. I remember a time before PG13 rating became a ‘thing’ and
2. I’m probably considered strict or conservative by many when it comes to screen time

Both of these things probably color my stance on movies and television. I remember my parents saying, “Close your eyes! Close your eyes!” during certain parts of movies growing up. There are two stand outs moments that are seared in my brain. The first is when the Arc of the Covenant was opened and all the Nazis faces melted. The second was during The Right Stuff. To this day, I don’t know what Ed Harris was doing, but I assume kissing or worse, sex, was involved.

My parents didn’t have the luxury of a PG13 rating. So there were things that popped up they weren’t anticipating. And it’s entirely possible my memory is fuzzy, but I don’t remember as many ‘family-friendly’ movies when I was younger.

Today, I have figured out what to avoid, for the most part. And Dave and I search Common Sense Media if we have any questions. For instance, the kids have been asking about Winter Solider. I won’t let them see that, but I read that the first Captain America would probably be okay.

I’ve also found that going back to older shows like Rocky and Bullwinkle and The Munsters satisfies the kids. What’s not to love about a flying squirrel and silly moose? Plus, the language is sophisticated and playful, which I think helps hold their attention. I also have a soft spot for the reworking of fairy tales. (That’s probably me being a nerd though ;). The Munsters is just slap-stick.

There is a problem going back to the classics though, they lack any and all diversity. Or worse, when there is, the characters are a stereotype. It has lead to some weighty and difficult discussions about race and media. Ones that we should probably all be having even about present day movies and shows.

How about you? How do you feel about tweens watching R rated movies? And any tween movie memories you’d care to share? Here are two of mine: The Dark Crystal kept me up at night and has me, to this day, a teensy bit afraid of puppets. Yeesh. And I vividly recall watching Over the Top with my BFF at the time. Our friendship ended shortly after. Probably over the shame we felt sitting through that horrible movie together.

ps. Did you see this study? “The research to date suggests that keeping kids from R-rated movies can help keep them from drinking, smoking, and doing a lot of other things that parents don’t want them to do.”

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10 Responses to “The Tween Years | R Rated Movies + Television”

  1. Shana Herb Johannessen Says:

    April 16th, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    I remember watching Meatballs with Bill Murray every year when daylight savings time began, as it aired on our local Philadelphia channel (I grew up in a rural area without cable). It was the entree to summer. A few years ago I thought it would be great to share that start to summer feeling with my teenage stepson. I hadn’t watched the movie in many years, and just remembered the whole summer camp/underdog overcoming adversity theme. Needless to say, my husband and I were so embarrassed through the whole movie. All the sex and innuendo! Where were my parents when I was watching that?!

    Jennifer Cooper Reply:

    Shana, haha! Yes! We did the same thing recently with The Goonies. Less sex and innuendo, but it was full of stuff that had me questioning why I thought it was a good idea to watch. I was like oh boy, how did this pass as a family movie back in the day?!

  2. Sandra Says:

    April 16th, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    You have to be careful with so-called family movies to. We watched Bridge to Terabithia last weekend with our 8 year old. Big mistake as out of the blue the protagonust’s best friend (a girl) dies.

    Jennifer Cooper Reply:

    Oh my goodness, I SOBBED during Bridge to Terabithia. I didn’t read it in school so I didn’t know that was going to happen. I was all Nancy Kerrigan yelling, “WHYYYYY? WHYYYY?”

    Sandra Harris Reply:

    It was excellent til that moment. Then huge tears – the girl has a big heart. It just seemed so abrupt and harsh. And you know me, I pride myself in book and movie recommendations – we have family Sunday movie afternoon. Epic mom fail.

  3. Sandra Says:

    April 16th, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    We have had good success with Splash and Big.

    Jennifer Cooper Reply:

    Big! Now that would be awesome. Thank you for the rec!

    Jennifer Cooper Reply:

    I’ll also have to show the kids pictures of them on the big piano when they were in NYC. Ellie may remember it, Jonah, probably not.

  4. Sheli McClellan Says:

    April 23rd, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    I’m “strict” about my kids as well. My daughter is 13 and I still check and recheck movies that are PG-13 (she’s not seen many). My theory is that if Hollywood says you have to be 13 to see it, I probably think you should be 18. ;)

    I remember my mom taking me to see Grease as a kid (young kid). I was too young to catch the ugly words…except one. I asked my mom what a hooker was (Beauty School Dropout). While she was catching her breath, I said, “Oh I know. It’s somebody who pretends to be sick so they don’t have to go to school.” Oh the days of innocence!

    Jennifer Cooper Reply:

    haha! I can only imagine what your mom was thinking when you said that. That’s hilarious!

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