Have you ever noticed how songs seem perfectly innocuous until your child is singing the lyrics? They’re suddenly horribly suggestive and filthy and disgusting. When did the transformation take place? When did everything change?
The same type of logic applies to movies that you’ve seen a dozen times, sometimes even as a kid. Out of nowhere you’re child is watching it and BAM! A scene you didn’t even remember was in there.
This isn’t a new revelation, and I was even told about it from parent friends before Daughter was born. I was told that I would need to start viewing things with “parent eyes” to prepare myself for what Daughter would see and hear. I was explicitly told to watch or listen to things keeping her in mind specifically, even if I had seen them recently. It was a good strategy, and it worked for a while. But Daughter was into things that I didn’t predict and was not afraid of the things I expected. She loved “Labyrinth,” for example, to the point of dressing as David Bowie as the Goblin King for Halloween when she was in kindergarten. So I guess I got lazy.
Recently I was hearing Daughter sing a popular song on the car, and the sexual overtones of the lyrics made me almost gag. What happened? Where were my parent ears? I don’t know how I missed it. And here’s the worst part: I realized that I would have been hyper vigilant about the sexual overtones in the music, but I would have let the violence slide in movies and tv and music. Why is that?
I don’t have an answer yet, I don’t think. I’m not sure why I am more careful to avoid allowing Daughter to see the extreme end of one of two pretty basic things, because really, when it is broken down, sex and violence is really manifested love and hate. Is it because violence is so much easier to explain? Is it because it makes me less uncomfortable? And if so, why? Shouldn’t it be harder to explain the “violence” than the “affection” in, say, “The Hunger Games?”
Like I said, I don’t have an answer yet. But it sure is something to think about.
4 thoughts on “Parent Eyes”
I don’t recall exactly when we started with the filter but I do remember we stopped watching Friends and the Simpsons because of our oldest. Still thinking about it in movies with our almost adult child.
I think it’s vitally important to discuss both, but especially sex and especially to and about girls. Because if we can’t discuss it, that’s where shame develops and that’s how bad decisions get made. I’m not looking forward to those awkward talks with my son, who at 6 has shown remarkably little interest in asking about babies, etc. other than to know the names of the body parts, but I’m definitely going to have them even if we both have to squirm through the entire conversation. And to be honest, I’d rather talk about sex. I understand sex. Violence I just don’t get.
I agree with you 100% about seeing the same things differently when you have kids! When I had my daughter I was so excited to watch all my favorite Disney movies with her but 10mins into Snow White and I had to rethink that strategy. I honestly didn’t remember all these cartoons being so full of violence and scary stuff!
In the non-cartoon category, I’m also definitely more finicky with the sexual stuff than the violence.. Maybe we’re just too desensitized to violence these days.. I mean, the cartoons we grew up on (Tom and Jerry, Loony Toons, Bugs Bunny, etc) aren’t exactly non-violent 😁
Thanks for the comment. I think desensitization has a lot to do with it, too!
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