Old Enough For Star Wars?

Filed under: Opinions

darth vaderMy husband and I both feel there are a lot of shows aimed at our 8-year-old that are not necessarily appropriate.
The boyfriend/girlfriend story lines on the popular tween shows make us cringe and we both dislike the bad behavior many of the characters exhibit in the name of comedy.

We monitor what she watches pretty closely and are in complete agreement that she should not be exposed to mature content until she herself is mature. At least I thought we were in complete agreement until he came home with the entire "Star Wars" DVD collection and suggested we all watch it together.

Needless to say, she was thrilled. I was horrified. The same child who couldn't sleep for two days after reading "Coraline" is going to be okay with watching "Star Wars"? I loudly protested but his assurances and her pleas eventually wore me down. If he thought it was okay, then perhaps I was overreacting. After all, I lost interest in "Star Wars" after seeing the first movie in 1977 -- maybe it wasn't that bad. With my finger ready on the stop button, we settled in for a marathon "Star Wars" adventure.

Kids Movies 2009

    Hotel for Dogs
    What happens when you combine kindhearted siblings, and empty house, and a pack of stray dogs? Why, the Hotel for Dogs, of course! The perfect film for kids who love dogs (but be prepared for post-movies pleas for a puppy).

    Nickelodeon

    Inkheart
    Meggie's father has a magical power: when he reads aloud, stories come to life. Now Meggie must rescue him from a fictional villain come to life. Brendan Fraser stars as the supercool bibliophile dad in a film guaranteed to get kids interested in reading.

    New Line Cinema

    Coraline
    Newbery Award winner Neil Gaiman's magic realist novella comes to the big screen in a mesmerizing, scary adaptation. Coraline's new flat has a secret door in it; on the other side is a world just like hers but seemingly so much better -- until she discovers it's frightening secrets. This is definitely a big kids movie.

    Focus Features

    Pink Panther Deux
    While most parents will roll their eyes at the thought of another Pink Panther Movie, kids will love Steve Martin's slapstick humor and funny mispronunciations. Take the kids and try to remember what it was like to watch the original Pink Panther movies -- you might find yourself laughing at the pratfalls, too.

    Sony Pictures

    Under the Sea
    The first in the year's crop of 3D movies for kids, Under the Sea is a documentary about the costal regions of Southern Australia, New Guinea and the Indo-Pacific. Narrated by Jim Carrey, this is a movie that will thrill and educate the kids.

    IMAX

    Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience
    Not willing to take your tween to a Jonas Brothers concert? How about the next best thing -- the 3D concert movie! Earplugs recommended if you're over 16.

    Walt Disney Pictures

    Race to Witch Mountain
    Remember back when kids movies were smart and funny and exciting, like Escape to Witch Mountain? Here's hoping that the sequel will be all of that. But really, any story about a UFO expert and two kids with paranormal powers is the perfect Saturday afternoon matinee, for kids and parents.

    Walt Disney Pictures

    Monsters Vs. Aliens
    From the quirky minds of DreamWorks animation (the people who brought us Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda) comes Monsters Vs. Aliens, about, well, monsters who battle aliens. Guaranteed to make kids and parents howl with laughter (but not necessarily at the same jokes).

    Dreamworks



And it was okay. In fact, it was more than okay. She loved it and despite my doubts, had no problem following the complex story line. She did cover her eyes a time or two and we fast-forwarded through a lot of Episode III, but all in all it was a positive bonding experience between her and her "Star Wars"-loving Papa.

It seems that "Star Wars" is a hot-button issue in other families as well. A writer over at SFGate is currently playing the role of "mean mommy" by thwarting her husband and 4-year-old son's desire to see the movies. Despite her husband's assurances that there is no blood depicted, she's checked out the ratings and reviews and is concerned about how her son will react to the potentially scary scenes.

I think for a four-year-old, mom is probably right to be concerned. The movies are fairly intense and a child that young probably wouldn't understand the plot anyway. But while movie ratings and independent reviews are helpful in determining what is appropriate for kids, they aren't an exact science. The "Star Wars" movies are rated PG while those popular tween shows with bratty, lying, conniving kids are considered appropriate for an 8-year-old. Which would you rather your child watch?

How do you decide what your child sees? Do you rely on MPAA ratings or use your own judgement?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.