We’ve all had that experience of being in a movie theater
with our kids when something inappropriate or too scary hits the screen and you
just want to melt into the floor. At least at home you can fast forward through
the bad bits or hit pause and have a teachable moment, excruciating though that
When my daughter was younger and wanted to go to a movie that was
clearly above her pay grade, I used to tell her that she could go only if I
came with her and to be prepared for me to ask the projectionist to stop the
movie for any necessary explanations of, say, sexual innuendo. All the parents
will appreciate it, I’d explain. She’d inevitably opt for another activity.
As she got older, of course, I had to get savvier with my
explanations, which I was able to do thanks to Common Sense Media and its
superbly detailed ratings system. As James Steyer, its founder, CEO and dad of four, writes in the new parenting guide "toughLOVE: Raising Confident, Kind Resilient
Kids," "both PG and PG-13 movies have been getting cruder, more
explicit and more violent over the years. Some of them are much too violent
and sexually graphic for most eleven- and twelve-year-olds—especially because
watching a movie is an intense, emotional and immersive experience… The best
strategy, with kids under thirteen, is to find out as much as you can about the
movies before deciding.” He goes on the delineate where and how to find good
reviews and what specifically to look for.
Once you’re into tween and teen territory, the list oh-so-thankfully
breaks it right down. There are film suggestions for 9-plus and 11-plus, as
well as 15-plus or 16-plus. Here, we’ve found some we’d forgotten had holiday
themes, including "While You Were Sleeping" and "Love Actually." We even discovered a
few we never would have thought to pick up, like "Pieces of April" and "The Best Man Holiday."
Up tonight? "Home for the Holidays" in preparation for Christmas dinner for 21 at our house. Thank
goodness so many of these are comedies.