With the just-in-time-for-Halloween releases of ParaNorman, Hotel Transylvania and Frankenweenie, parents like us are facing the time-honored question: “Is it too scary for my children?”
You just never know how kids are going to react to movies – even ones that seem harmless. Some children get freaked at the sight of Snow White’s wicked Queen when she changes into the ghastly hag. Others swear off viewings of The Wizard of Oz once they get one look at those flying monkeys. My 9-year-old son loves Ghostbusters (as do I), but my almost-7-year-old daughter is scared of blobby ghost Slimer and the rampaging Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.
With 19 children to raise, Michelle Duggar has no doubt run into this sticky situation more than once. She describes one recent incident in her blog this week for TLC.
On a recent Friday family movie night, the Duggars watched Bambi – a classic, to be sure, but a classic Kid Traumatizing Flick as well. Sure enough, 6-year-old Johannah soon came running to her mom in tears. Just hearing the ominous music was enough to alert her that Something Scary was coming up.
Michelle writes, “I told her, ‘Oh, Hannie, you know what, if you don’t want to watch that part, you go hang out over here. Keep your head turned the other way. Or you can go color in the office if you want until it’s over.’ ”
After the drama passed, all was well and Johannah was ready to watch the rest of the film. Michelle wisely honored her child’s emotions and didn’t force her to sit through a scene that was too overwhelming. She even confesses that she gets tearful at that part, too.
But did she miss a teaching opportunity here?
Michelle reflects on the scene: “And, yet, I think that’s part of life. You know, life and death, and we foster that as a family.”
The whole Circle of Life topic is an important one, and one that all parents eventually have to discuss with their kids. But in this case, there are other issues at play. Bambi’s mom doesn’t just quietly pass away from Deer Flu or from eating a bad mushroom; hunters shoot her. She ends up on a plate or hung on a wall. Like it or not, that’s a fact of life, too.
As it happens, the Duggars are hunters themselves. In fact, last week’s episode featured dad Jim Bob taking all the older children out on a turkey shoot.
So at some point in the future, Michelle will have to sit down with Johannah (and any other young Duggar who has questions) and try to sort out the paradox. Yes, it was sad when Bambi’s mom died. Yes, she was killed by hunters. Yes, people eat animals for food. Yes, we hunt some of our food, too. Yes, it’s okay to cry over a cute cartoon deer’s mom and still enjoy a home-bagged turkey dinner the next day. And yes, it’s also okay not to eat animals if that’s your choice. What can I say? Life is complicated, kids.
I wonder how Michelle will deal with Charlotte’s Web?
[Photo: via PacificCoastNews]
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