A reader's random ramblings

Tricky parenting dilemma #1 The Hunger Games

What’s your take on the suitability of The Hunger Games movie for children?

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My 11-year-old son, Josh, received the book trilogy for Christmas at my suggestion. I’d heard about the books and believed that Josh would enjoy them. As he’s been finishing each installment he’s been passing them on to me, and then on to his almost-14-year-old sister, Alana.

I made a point of buying tickets to the movie for Josh and I so that we could enjoy a fun mother/son outing together. We invited a friend of his (another 11-year-old boy) and his mother to come with us.

Alana saw the movie a week later with a group of friends from school.

I’m perfectly happy with my decision to allow my children to see the movie, but I understand that there is some controversy about the level of violence, the dark themes in the story, and its suitability for children under 15.

What do you think?

As for my two cents worth, I think that there are a couple of issues worth considering when facing this sort of decision.

Firstly, it’s important to know your own children and make decisions that are best for them without getting too hung up on what all the other parents are doing.

My children are mature for their ages, and insightful; thoughtful, intelligent kids who are capable of grappling with the difficult themes presented. They also both read the book prior to seeing the movie; and so were prepared for the violence that was depicted. This meant that I did not have any doubt about my decision to allow them to see the movie. I did not fear any ill effects or feel the need to protect them from it. This is my decision, based on my knowledge of my own kids, and I encourage you all to think in a similar way about your kids. No one knows them better than you do!

Secondly, I think it’s good to think about your parenting style when it comes to facing difficult issues. Do you plan to protect your children as much as possible?

I know that I am not a particularly protective parent when it comes to what I allow my children to read and watch. That is because I have made the decision that I would rather face difficult issues head on, and have awkward conversations with my kids when necessary, rather than keep my children completely innocent as long as possible.

That’s my decision, and I’m comfortable with it. It means that I often read the same books as my children and watch the same TV shows and movies alongside them. It also means that I’ve often had to screw up my courage to broach difficult and even embarrassing issues. It has certainly made for some of my most scary and uncomfortable moments as a parent! At first I had to “fake it until I made it”, adopting the most relaxed and casual tone that I could muster. It’s not often easy to open these sort of conversations, but I know that sometimes it’s my job, as the parent. You can’t wait for your kids to do it! But practice makes perfect, and I’ve developed a wonderfully open relationship with my kids in which nothing is off limits for discussion.

So that’s where I’m coming from on the issue of allowing kids to watch The Hunger Games
movie.

What do you think?

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2 comments on “Tricky parenting dilemma #1 The Hunger Games

  1. Cathy
    April 2, 2012

    Great post. I don’t usually let my kids watch m rated movies if they are under 15, but an exception was made for this movie because my son had read the books when he was in primary school. He is 14 and went with friends yesterday. His verdict was that he expected it to be better given all of the hype. He was happy it was true to the book though.

  2. Lynda
    April 2, 2012

    Well said. I am thinking along very similar lines. The (primary) school I work at has chosen not to stock the books in the library but my 11 year old is a very strong reader and prefers novels which challenge her to think and analyze. I would also prefer to be open with her, discuss the issues and hopefully avoid her reading/watching it behind my back.

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