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How Young Is Too Young for a Midnight Movie?

By dadcamp |

kid eating popcorn at the moviesMy oldest son was nearly 3 before he saw a movie in a theatre. I took him to a midweek matinee of How to Train Your Dragon, and it was a big deal.

My youngest son, however, has been going to movies since he wasn’t yet 2. I was stuck to emcee a movie for the radio station one night and decided to test out his stamina to see if he could sit through Kung Fu Panda 2. He enjoyed it, and we’ve enjoyed taking him to movies ever since.

Last night, when a gunman opened fire in an Aurora, Colorado movie plex, it was the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises. In the audience, that saw more than 70 shot, were a 9-year-old, 6-year-old, and a 3-month-old.

Some have asked that we not blame the victims in a time like this. Fine, I appreciate that we don’t want to pile on the tragedy, but shooting or not, there is a big question lingering here:

Why the heck are kids at the midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises?

twitter asking parenting questions aurora batman

These same questions flooded Twitter

Okay, your 9 -year-old kid is a huge fan, and you’ve talked about it and made a choice that he will see the movie. Why is he at the midnight showing?

At 6-years-old, I can’t think of a reason why a reasonable parent would let their kid in the theatre on opening night. Fellow Babble Kid Scoop writer, Amber Doty, has a Bat-crazy son. She and her husband agreed to watch the film to judge for themselves if it was appropriate viewing. Even then, I’m guessing a matinee would be part of their plans.

And the 3-month-old? Certain things happen when you become a parent. Sacrifices need to be made. You can’t do all the things you used to be able to do when you were single.

Kids change things, and one of those things is the ability to see a movie at the drop of a hat. A 3-month-old, while likely to sleep through a midnight movie, has no business being there. The parents need to realize that if they can’t get a sitter on opening night, they can see it another day. Or, better yet, wait a couple months until the DVD comes out and watch it then.

I’ll save the gun debate for another post.

I’m not piling on victims of a shooting here, I’m asking a question about the choices modern parents are making, and asking why they make them.

Your mileage may vary, but I take my kids to age appropriate movies, at age appropriate hours. Call me crazy, I know. After all, I’m the dad whose kids have never been to McDonalds.

[UPDATE] I wanted to add my responses to some comments in the body of the piece so they remain more visible:

Children should be immortal. My heart aches every time I hear news of a child dying for no good reason (and there is never a good reason for a child to die). I did not know the 6-year-old was among the dead when I wrote this post.

That said, I stand by my original assertion that children of that age have no business being at a midnight screening of a movie of that type.

This article is meant to be a discussion on the appropriateness of bringing children to movies, the timing may be too sensitive for some, but this question was the first one that I asked when I read the story, and heard the details. I expose my honest reactions in my writings; this piece is just another example of that.

The Wall Street Journal asks this same question: Why Were Children At A Midnight Screening?

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3D Movies Are A Waste Of Money
12 Adorable Videos Of Kids Falling Asleep
Marissa Mayer Is Pregnant. Does It Matter?

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About dadcamp

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DadCAMP is Buzz Bishop, a dad, broadcaster, writer, and runner from Calgary, Alberta. When not working the mic on XL103, or wrangling his two boys, he's always training for another Team Diabetes marathon somewhere in the world. Read bio and latest posts → Read Buzz's latest posts →

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96 thoughts on “How Young Is Too Young for a Midnight Movie?

  1. Heather says:

    Wow. This is so tacky and inappropriate. It hasn’t even been 24 hours. A terrible parenting decision is not using a seat belt, not taking your kid to a midnight movie.

    Very disappointing.

    1. dadcamp says:

      This article is meant to be a discussion on the appropriateness of bringing children to movies, the timing may be too sensitive for some, but this question was the first one that I asked when I read the story, and heard the details.

      I expose my honest reactions in my writings, this piece is just another example of that.

  2. Krista says:

    Yes, the tragedy aside, this was one of my first thoughts as well.

    I remember seeing The Dark Knight in theatres, at a late hour, and there was a Dad behind us with his 7 or 8-year-old child. Having read a few articles and seen the trailer before coming, I whispered to my husband that I could not believe a parent would bring a child to this movie. The violence in the trailer alone looked unbelievable, not to mention how scary and creepy the Joker’s character is.

    As the first scene unfolded (the scene with the horrific bank robbery) the Dad behind us got up and took his son out of the theatre. Clearly he knew he had made a mistake.

    I think a big problem is that parents don’t do their research. They hear it’s a Batman movie and think of the comic books – which many kids read. I get so frustrated with people who don’t do one simple google search and watch the trailer of a movie before taking their child. I mean, come on. I love what you wrote about the parents viewing the movie first to see if it is appropriate. That is responsible parenting.

    Thanks for writing this.

  3. Caitlin says:

    The kids at that theatre didn’t die because their parents took them to a midnight screening. They died because someone shot them. No one could have predicted that there would be a gunman there. You ARE blaming the victims, and you’re being totally illogical, and you need to stop.

    1. dadcamp says:

      Children should be immortal. My heart aches every time I hear news of a child dying for no good reason (and there is never a good reason for a child to die). I did not know the 6yr old was among the dead when I wrote this post.

      That said, I stand by my original assertion that children of that age have no business being at a midnight screening of a movie of that type.

  4. Daddy Files says:

    “A 3 month old, while likely to sleep through a midnight movie, has no business being there.”

    Well, glad you cleared that up. Except you’re wrong. You wouldn’t take your 3-month-old — fine. But why judge another parent who would? I took my 3-month-old to the movies, because a 3-month-old will sleep for the duration of the film and not bother anyone. One of the undervalued advantages of the relatively newborn.

    But who the heck are you to say when a parent can and can’t see a movie?! Yes things change when you have kids, but not everything. I took my son to bar trivia at a neighborhood pub when he was that young. He slept, I got out of the house to socialize and everyone benefited. Would you ban me from going simply because “I’m a parent now?”

    Maybe these parents didn’t have a sitter. Perhaps they don’t have family to watch the kids. I would not take my 4-year-old to any showing of Batman because it’s a little too dark. But my 9-year-old? Maybe. And what if the midnight showing was a reward or just meant as a special treat? There are dozens of reasons why those parents took their kids, but none of them are any of your business. And using a tragedy to criticize the parenting styles of the victims of the this crime is pretty low.

    1. dadcamp says:

      I guess I just take my parenting responsibility differently, then.

      My lifestyle changed when kids came into the picture. Those changes included not taking them to movies as infants, or the bar for that matter.

      When I don’t have a sitter, I don’t go out. Or maybe I do, and my wife stays home. Or maybe my wife goes out and I’ll stay home. Different strokes.

      And I wasn’t using the tragedy as an example. It just so happens that these details became apparent because of the tragic nature of the story.

      Why the hell are kids at this movie? was the first gut reaction I had when I saw this story. I wrote about it. It’s what bloggers do.

  5. TamIWas says:

    I’m just curious what makes you the authority of what constitues a terrible parenting choice. I can understand if it’s not the same choice you would make for your child. I personally wouldn’t take my six or nine-year old to see such a dark movie either. However as long as it’s not another parent taking my kid, what they do with their own is up to them. We aren’t in a position to determine what those partiuclar children are capable of handling in terms of entertainment. As for the hour, I don’t even see how that’s relevant. I remember some of the unconventional things my parents let me do on occasion. My mom picked me up early from school one afternoon and took me shopping. Was it a regular occurrence? Of course not. That’s why I so vividly remember the excitement of it and why it’s become a precious memory for me now. So a parent takes their younger child to see a late movie on summer vacation. I can think of far worse things we can publicly castrate parents for (Casey Anthony for example). And I have a three-month old who I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to take to strap to my chest in a carrier and take along to a late movie with me. Why doesn’t he have any business being there? Again, if he isn’t screaming or ruining the experience for other moviegoers, how on earth is it up to someone else to tell me it’s not appropriate. That’s along the same theory that a woman who was raped really had no business wearing a short skirt and low-cut tank top. It’s not even remotely relevant to the event in question. Using a national tragedy as a platform for criticizing parents on matters, especially ones that are personal choices, is unncessary and inappropriate.

    1. dadcamp says:

      Thanks for the comment, Tami.

      I don’t claim to be an authority. I’m a blogger.
      I blog. I ask questions, offer insight (when I have it), promote discussion, foster debate, offer support, give food for thought.
      The genre I blog in is in regards to parenting issues, so I raise them when I see them. I found this situation to be remarkable (as in ‘worth remarking on’), so I commented on it.
      It’s what I do.
      The beauty of social media is you get to comment on the piece and agree or disagree.

  6. AMY says:

    Your question – Why the hell are kids at this movie?
    My answer – because the kids wanted to be there and their parents agreed (the 6year olds case).
    OR – because the parents wanted to see it and whats the difference if a 3 month old sleeps in their bed or in the snuggly strapped to the parents chest?

    There, question is answered.
    Your timing is hideously inappropriate and your judgment evident.
    Wrong on so many levels. I am stunned you would publish this.

    1. dadcamp says:

      Thanks for your comment, Amy. I stand by my comments, and the updates above.

  7. katie says:

    When did it become our business to publicly discuss or judge anyone else’s parenting decisions? If you don’t believe in taking a 3 month old or 6 year old to a midnight show, then don’t bring a 3 month old or a 6 year old to a midnight show. But writing a post on the day that an infant and a child were shot in a movie theater, criticizing their parents’ decisions? That’s deplorable. I hope you teach your kids to not judge others as openly as you are today.

    1. dadcamp says:

      This will come off as overly flippant, I’m certain, so I apologize in advance.
      Parenting blogs discuss parenting practices, decisions, outcomes, strategies etc all the time.
      This article represents my honest initial reaction to the news, and I stand by it.
      “Why the heck are kids at a midnight showing of Batman?” is a totally reasonable question to ask.

  8. fran says:

    I agree with Dadcamp. I think maybe today is the wrong day to have this conversation, but I thought the same thing when I learned there was a toddler and a newborn in the theater. I’m a mom, and I would never bring my child to an adult movie with me, not because I am morally superior to someone who would, but because I think its rude to the other people who just spent 50 dollars on tickets to have a night away from THEIR kids to have to hear MY kid whining for 2 hrs.

    1. dadcamp says:

      Thanks for the comment, Fran.
      Mine isnt so much about other kids disturbing moviegoers, because kids can get squirmy in a Madagascar matinee just as easily, it’s more the genre, and timing of this film that I have issue with.
      Dark Knight Rises at midnight on a Thursday is NOT an appropriate place for children. Full stop.
      If your kid REALLY needs to see the movie, and you’ve made a responsible parenting decision to take them, then take them on Sunday at 2p, not midnight.

  9. Laura says:

    I think you summarized the entire problem with your blog post when you said “Why the hell are kids at this movie? was the first gut reaction I had when I saw this story.” When 12 people are dead and 70 some odd injured due to the despicable act of an, obviously, profoundly disturbed individual, any blogger worth his salt is going to ask himself more important questions than why were there children at a midnight show. Your immediate jump to the parenting soap box illustrates everything that is wrong with the parenting blogoshpere. So much of it exists just to perpetuate hyper-judgment and the self-importance of those writing the blogs. I haven’t read your other blog posts, but I certainly hope you have more to offer the blogging community than this rubbish. Otherwise, I might suggest a change of career.

    1. dadcamp says:

      Thanks for the comment, Laura.

  10. katie says:

    Um, no. Your initial reaction the news should’ve been one of condolence for the family. It should’ve been one of sadness.

    If your initial reaction to children being shot is to criticize their parents, you may need to do some self-reflection.

  11. dadcamp says:

    Knowing children were involved makes me ask the question even louder, to be honest.

  12. Shannon says:

    Why are people so scared of honest questions? Why should we not ask this question ‘yet’?
    It was my first question too.
    3 month olds in a loud theatre is dumb.
    6 year olds at a scary movie is dumb.
    6 year olds at a midnight showing of a scary movie is ridiculously dumb.
    It’s very very sad that a 6 year old died, yes, but waiting to ask questions until later won’t make it less sad.

    1. dadcamp says:

      Thank you, Shannon.

  13. TamIWas says:

    Fran, you just assume that every child in a theatre will create a disturbance as if it’s a violation to your right as a consumer to not be exposed to someone else’s offspring. Whether a child is three or 16, if they’re being loud and obnoxious in a public place, I agree – they should be removed. But if a parent has a well-behaved child who can sit through a movie without issue, who are you to claim they have no right to have that child there? You can’t put a blanket judgement on every child out there. Nor should a blanket judgement be put on every parent just because some feel it’s appropriate to take their kid to a late movie. At this point, arguing theappropriate time for a child to see a movie is semantics. This is still a tragedy no matter WHO was in that theatre at the time.

    1. dadcamp says:

      Tami, the point of my question was to debate this exact issue. I prefaced it by trying to separate the events of last night away from the question.
      If I had chosen to see the movie in my hometown last night and had seen the same aged children here, where nothing evil happened, I would raise the same questions.
      This is not about Aurora.
      This is about asking why parents would consider a midnight showing of a violent movie to be an appropriate place for a 6 year old and infant.
      That is the question.

  14. Tanis the Redneck Mommy says:

    Here’s the thing Buzz, unlike you, I know first hand what it feels like to make a decision that results in the death of your child and what it feels like to bury your child and what pain is involved in carrying on after that child’s death.

    I’ve buried my 5 year old son. While the circumstances of my child’s death was VASTLY different than this particular circumstance, the end result is the same. I’m a parent with out my child, living with my own consequences.

    While there may be a need for this discussion (and I managed a multiplex cinema for five years so I certainly have an opinion on this very subject), from my perspective RIGHT now is not the time to have this conversation.

    This post could have waited. Page views aren’t worth this tackiness.

    1. dadcamp says:

      Thanks Tanis. I appreciate your situation, the point of this post is not to be insensitive, or chase pages. It’s to ask a question I had. It’s to hash out conversations I had with friends and colleagues today.
      I am not the only one asking this question today.
      http://blogs.wsj.com/juggle/2012/07/20/a-midnight-screening-why-were-children-there/

  15. TSN says:

    I know my children. I am THEIR MOTHER. Therefore, I get to make these choices. It is not a usual activity, but we have taken our kids a couple of times to a late show. I get to make that choice. I know when they are too tired, I know when they have good manners at the movies so they don’t affect anyone else. I know how they’re going to feel the next day when they’re too tired. If a theater wants to limit ages in certain movies at certain hours, fine. But until then *I* get to make that choice. My kids are quiet and well behaved at the movies. Maybe your kids can’t handle it or you’ve had a bad experience, but that does not apply to all children. I would not take my kids to this movie at any time, or even let them watch it at home when it comes out until they’re older because of the content. BUT the last day of school on an impulse we loaded our three girls (9, 7, 6) up and went to an 11pm showing of Avengers. We’d already seen it and our girls are huge superhero fans. They were perfectly quiet, involved, and haven’t stopped talking about it since then! It was a fabulous family night. When our daughters were young we always had them babysit during movies between about ages 1 1/2-4 or so, and after that age they only went to appropriate movies as determined BY US, their parents. Around those ages we went to a lot of family -friendly movies at the dollar theater and several times left, or one of us stood out in the hall, with a child who wasn’t engaged. Prime time to take our babies before then was late night movies because that’s the only time they’d reliably sleep. So yes, I absolutely would take a 3 month old to the movies because for MY children that worked.

    What you mean is “my children are too young for a midnight movie”. Just because it doesn’t work well for your children is no reason to beat up the parents who deemed it a good choice and have now lost their child. They don’t need any self-righteous judgement about their decision to take their kids to a movie where all hell broke loose.

    1. dadcamp says:

      Thanks, TSN.
      My wife and I are the parents who went to Paris with a 10 month old, only to spend every evening in the hotel room at 6p because we weren’t comfortable taking our son out late.
      http://blogs.babble.com/kid-scoop/2012/07/03/do-you-stick-to-your-kids-bedtime-schedule-on-vacation/
      My parenting style dictates that children are too young for a midnight movie, your mileage may vary.
      And THAT is the point of this discussion… to raise personal stories, share experiences, and come to an understanding of why these decisions get made.
      Thanks for participating.

  16. marinka says:

    I wouldn’t take my child to a midnight showing of a movie, but to be fair, I wouldn’t go to one, either. I’m an early bird.

    Shortly after 9/11, I took my children to visit a local fire house that lost men. They were under 1 and under 4. And there were people who criticized me for it, who thought it was inappropriate to expose children so young to such tragedy.

    But you know what? They were my kids and I needed to be there, so they tagged along.

    Is my visiting the fire house more important than seeing Batman? Does everything need to measure up to that standard?

  17. AJ says:

    I totally agree with you. When I read this and saw there were children shot, my first thought is that children that age had no business being in that theatre at that hour. IF I were at a midnight showing and I saw kids that age, I would first groan at the infant because I know mine would not have been quiet for that long or that loud of a movie, and then when I saw the older child I would be questioning their parents judgement on first thinking that these movies are appropriate for that age group (it says PG-13 for a reason, and based on the one before it I’m shocked they aren’t R rated), and second that hour. I was not at a midnight showing, however, because I have two small children under the age of two and I do not do that sort of thing anymore. SO, regardless of the tragic event that occurred last night, I would be questioning why you would take your child to a midnight showing of anything even if it were a Madagascar movie. Be a parent, not a friend, sometimes it is ok to say no and reward them with a daytime activity. The movie is just the same at midnight as it is at 2pm the next day.

  18. alimartell says:

    (I think my first comment got eaten by Babble. Let’s try this again…)

    WOW. Just wow. I cannot get past that you wrote THIS: Why the hell are kids at this movie? was the first gut reaction I had when I saw this story. I wrote about it. It’s what bloggers do.

    The fact that your FIRST GUT REACTION when you saw this story was about why there were kids in the theater. This makes me incredibly sad.

    1. dadcamp says:

      Ali, the first reaction was heartbreak (as detailed in the piece).
      The first question was to ask why were children at the movie. A reasonable one.
      It’s a conversation I had with my wife, with my friends, and a question that is being asked by others today as well.
      Others in the comments find it reasonable to ask as well. People, like you, also disagree. And that’s fine. Debate is a good and healthy thing.
      Still …. the question hangs: is it appropriate for young children to be at midnight screenings of DKR? I’d ask this of parents in Seattle, Toronto, New York, or Regina.
      The events of last night only prompted this post in the sense that the details were revealed that very young children were present in a situation I find to be not appropriate.
      As a blogger, I ask questions about parenting styles and methods all the time. This is one of those questions. Some have chosen to answer with their own experiences, that’s the point of the piece.

  19. Matt says:

    So much interesting discussion here. I’m surprised so many people are commenting that you shouldn’t be criticizing anyone else’s decisions, and, yet, here they are criticizing *you* for having an opinion. Parenting is HARD, and full of mistakes, so I think people get very defensive about others disagreeing with their parenting decisions. The fact of the matter is, no matter what any of us think, there’s no question that the parents of those kids – particularly those of that poor little 6-year-old who was killed – are thinking this same thing, that bringing their kids to that movie at that time was a bad decision that they wish they’d not made.

    Also, as an aside, I’m confused as to why everyone defending the decision to take an infant to a late film so unquestionably assumes that an infant is guaranteed to sleep for those couple of hours. In my experience, the only thing predictable about the sleeping patterns of infants is that they’re completely unpredictable!

    God bless those people killed and hurt, and their families and friends. Terrible.

    1. dadcamp says:

      Thanks for commenting, Matt.
      Debate is good.

  20. Chrissy says:

    I fully agree with you, DadCamp. The point is, no CHILD should be at a movie theater at midnight. Period. Why would a parent want to expose their child to drunks, foul language and other adult behavior that is, to be sure, more visible during late night hours? I mean, really? REALLY?!

    Look – the discussion is about how young is too young. A midnight viewing is senseless.

    1. dadcamp says:

      Thanks for commenting, Chrissy.
      A movie theatre, at midnight on a Thursday, to watch Batman, is not an appropriate place for kids under 10. Exactly my point.
      If the kids *really* need to see the movie, and you’ve been a responsible parent and thought about the pros and cons of violent imagery for your very young child, I can’t fault you. But take ‘em on the weekend to a matinee.

  21. K. C. says:

    If this had happened on Christmas Eve in a church, would people be asking why kids were at a midnight mass?

    1. dadcamp says:

      As an atheist… never mind.
      No, I would not be questioning children at a church event at midnight.
      A loud, violent movie, however, is not Midnight Mass.

  22. rachel says:

    Every day parents make decisions that may have seemed like a good idea at the time. Often we think twice about it after, and realize we wouldn’t do it again and are grateful everything was ok (served food that seemed ok before baby was ready, they choke a little and spit it out – take our hand off the baby on the bed to grab a diaper and they suddenly learn to roll over) and have moments of panic and relief when we think of how it could have gone.
    It is disingenuous to say that this is only a discussion about parenting choices. That may have been your initial plan, but that is clearly not how it has turned out. When involved in an unforeseeable tragedy, folks spend the rest of their lives second guessing their choices (shouldn’t have gone to work, taken that train, gone to the store, today), while I can’t believe this was at all on your radar, or you wouldn’t have put this piece out there, you are, in fact piling on these folks who are already going to spend the rest of their lives regretting this small decision – whatever we may think about it. It is just not ok. And the idea that someone involved will stumble on this at some point and be hurt more, should be enough to reconsider this article. I say this as someone who typically enjoys your writing.

  23. Beta Dad says:

    Uncool, dude. Bring up shit like this when somebody’s brat screams in the theater when you go to see a movie. Not when people’s children have been killed. That’s like saying, after 9/11, “You know, a lot of those people were smokers, and I find that troubling. We should really discuss this.” I don’t know what would be worse: if you did this just for pageviews or if you actually thought now was an appropriate time to have this conversation.

    1. dadcamp says:

      @Betadad
      I wrote this post because it is a discussion I had with at least half a dozen people today. Sometimes started by me, sometimes started by them.
      It’s a question I saw posed on Twitter.
      It’s a question I saw posed by journalists.
      I wrote about it, because it was relevant to my experiences with this situation today.
      I wrote an honest post about a true and honest question I actually asked out loud today.
      I’m not issuing a press release to promote the post.

  24. Brian says:

    DADCAMP, I completely support your very valid question. These other over emotional idiots that are replying here are stupid. I asked myself the exact same question i.e. why are young kids watching a violent movie at midnight. I am positive that, just like me, you care very much about the dead and wounded in this tragedy.

    I don’t see anything wrong at all in asking the question you asked. It’s a given that you are concerned about the wounded and dead and their families, so why not ask your question? I don’t think by doing that you are insensitive, or uncaring at all. Some people are just SOOOOOOO emotional (seems like mostly females mostly getting upset here on your blog).

    Now, if you had posed a silly or stupid question, that would be different. But if one takes the time to read your full post, it is obvious that you care about people in general, and specifically children. So, ignore the idiots here who don’t understand that, and keep asking your questions!

    1. dadcamp says:

      @Brian
      I am not wanting to dismiss the concerns of others, I appreciate that it is an emotional time for many people and opinions on the timing of my piece will vary.
      This is not an article about 20/20 hindsight on bringing kids to the theatre in Aurora, it’s a piece about parents, in general, and the boundaries that appear to be appropriate to people.
      In my world, a midnight Batman movie is not the place to bring kids whether it be in Atlanta, Nashville, Chicago, or Aurora.
      Could that question have been asked next week? Sure.
      But I had the discussion with people about it today. It was a fresh experience today. It was a question people were tweeting and writing about, so I posed it with my own thoughts.
      Thanks for commenting.

  25. Crystal T says:

    Would I have my kid out at midnight to see a movie? No! I am a strong believer in nothing good happens after midnight. That is way too late to have a child out. Having said that, do I think people should live in fear that if taking their kids to a movie at midnight will result in such a horrific and senseless act? No! This was a horrible thing that occured and I hope never happens again. We do not need to bash Dadcamp on posting this. He has not once said that the parents are to blame for their children getting shot. He is asking a question among us parents if we would have our kids out late. This is why I love Babble, because everyone is honest and states their own opinions! To be honest I think it is a selfish act to drag your kids out that late when you can catch a matinee the next day. I have only been out to see one movie in the two years that we had our child. I usually wait until the movie comes out. I also think it is disrespectful to the other people in the theatre who pay alot of money to see the movie and there is a crying newborn right beside them.

  26. jen says:

    Great post, DADCAMP. And not at all inappropriate. In fact, very sensitive and thoughtful. A lot of defensive parents responding here–a disproportionate number, I would say, except that I seem to see such parents a lot anymore. Either that, or you’ve got trolls. Thank you for your post and for your very patient responses.

  27. Amy says:

    The same parents that take their kids to a midnight violent, loud, scary movie are the same parents that are in Walmart at midnight with crying toddlers… I’m an RN, I work late, I’m out late at night at times. Those that can’t separate an OPINION about parenting from the obviously much more devastating event of murder are ridiculous. Of course, the events that took place in the theater are of more importance and the tragedy is unimaginable. The completely separate topic of parents making ridiculous choices for their kids is what’s being discussed here. Kids have NO BUSINESS in movies like this– at noon or midnight. Do people not see a connection between exposure to violence as “entertainment” and the desensitization of people TO violence?? I am appalled– yes, appalled, at parents that are oblivious. There is a sidebar topic about parents discussing this event with their kids. I find it paradoxical that there are parents that won’t discuss this event with their kids but would take their kids to these movies. (shake head…) To those screaming “JUDGMENTAL” to all the logical parents with an ounce of common sense, do you not have opinions about others? Do you live in a “live and let live” world at all times? Have you never questioned your friends, your siblings, your co-workers for decisions they’ve made? Of course you have. It’s called having an opinion. The whole subject of parenting in the general public irks me. I have many opinions. I also have 4 kids from age 7-16 and they’re not at the movies at midnight nor will they be seeing PG 13 movies before they’re 13. It’s my JOB as a parent to raise my kids, not be a kid.

  28. Kristen says:

    Everyone’s looking for someone to blame, for a way to somehow channel their anger about such a senseless act.

    I can assure that this is not how to do it.

    You are not simply “trying to start a discussion as to whether parents should bring their kids to a movie theater.” Because you would have had that discussion at a different time, and not after a national tragedy. And guess what, you would have approached this topic it in a way that doesn’t come off as a douchebag being judgmental about other parents.

    But that wouldn’t get you a bunch of comments and traffic to Babble and bla bla broken record.

    It’s not like the parents took their kids sky diving. They went to the movies — the reasons that many commenters already discussed above — and a crazed gunmen shot at people.

    I’m certain those parents are more than regretful.

    So really, WHO does this discussion actually help? No one.

    Here’s a discussion that would help: How do we describe these senseless acts to our children and should we? How do we, as parents, cope with the choices that they made that could negatively affect their kids?

    But those would require compassion, empathy, and actually writing skills. So I get why you wrote about this. Because it’s all you’re capable of.

  29. Mom101 says:

    @Brian you write:
    “Some people are just SOOOOOOO emotional (seems like mostly females mostly getting upset here on your blog).Now, if you had posed a silly or stupid question, that would be different…So, ignore the idiots here who don’t understand that, and keep asking your questions!”

    I have learned one thing from blogging and that is, when you write a post, the Calling people that disagree “idiots” or “emotional females” does nothing to make your case.

    And @Dadcamp, don’t you think you have an obligation to keep the discussion as civil towards the dissenters that you’d like it to be towards you?

    One thing I have learned from blogging, is that the discussion isn’t always what you want it to be about. Sometimes it becomes about the topic, sometimes it’s about the way you wrote it, and sometimes readers cling to one particular line because that’s what struck their own emotions. It happens to me, and it happens to all bloggers. It often requires introspection on the part of the writer that we didn’t expect to address.

    I think a lot of people are uncomfortable with the timing of this and the sanctimonious tone of the piece (ie “I would not have done this, therefore my children would be alive today, therefore the parents are to blame for their children being shot by an insane person). I’d love if you would actually address those valid questions with a bit of introspection, instead of continually redirecting the conversation back to what *you* want it to be about.

    1. dadcamp says:

      @Mom101
      I agree that Brian’s classification of the commenters was off base, and mentioned as such in my reply.
      I have kept the conversation civil. I have thanked commenters, clarified opinion, and engaged in a reasonable discussion.

      I have addressed the timing of the piece in my comments, and in the update to the original piece. While it may appear to be too close for the comfort of some, this very question was being asked by many people around the web the past 24hrs (I added the screen shot to the piece), including the Wall Street Journal.

      Sanctimonious as my piece may seem, but I did not choose an internet handle that proclaimed me to be a professor of parenting (Mom101).
      While I appreciate the lecture, I’ll stick to the issue: things change when you have kids. You can’t do all the things that you did when you were single, and that includes bringing very young children to very late movies with very inappropriate themes.

      Your mileage may vary.

  30. Kathryn says:

    Dadcamp- obviously from the comments you can see that it was too soon to bring up the topic or discussion of the pros and cons to bringing young children to an adult movie at midnight.You aren’t at all saying parents are to blame for the unforseen tragedy.
    I don’t feel like your comments or thoughts were putting blame on the victims. Obviously, there was no way on earth to know the horror that took place. However the timing is too soon and many people will read too much into your question of why parents bring children to adult movies in the wee hours.
    I agree young children should not be viewing such movies, as the ratings clearly state as well.
    If this is to spark a discussion on the topic; where are the pros for exposing a young child to violent movies in the wee hours?
    Also, in response to another comment: A young child should NOT be in a bar!!! A late night bar or trivia bar is not a typical place for young children or babies. It’s not typical because it is not the right environment. Not to mention a lot of adults are there not expecting or wanting young children to be present either.
    With parenting, comes amazing wonderful joyous adventures. Some of those times, you also won’t be able to go out at late night hours or wait to see a movie, or wait till you can get a babysitter; that is part of parenting.
    I can’t believe some harsh reactions here. Does anyone honestly think it’s that ok? Would it than be fair to say if local bars and late night events plastered discounts to parents with young kids, that it would be tolerated and welcomed? Can’t imagine that and don’t want to. Since we are at it, why not bring your infant to a strip bar too? They will probably sleep through it and the toddlers will enjoy the music. Heck, you might as well teach your preschooler how and when they should call you a cab too. Don’t want to put a damper on your late night social life.

    1. dadcamp says:

      @Kathryn
      I concede, and appreciate, that others may find these questions to be ‘too soon’, but they were the questions I asked after the event. It was a conversation my wife and I had over breakfast.
      It’s not too soon for me, so I wrote about it.
      And you’re right .. many are upset with me for asking a reasonable question at what *they* determine to be an unreasonable time.
      Those that are bothering to answer the question are concurring: a midnight showing of a violent movie is no place for children, that was the point of the piece.

  31. Terri says:

    I am with dadcamp on this. Of course my very 1st reaction to this story was heartbreak for the victims and their families. My 2nd was why was there small children in a violent loud midnight movie? It seems some are having trouble separating the fact that this blog was only about children being in an inappropriate place and time for their ages. The shooting is horrible and tragic but know one is saying it is the parents fault or that kids shouldn’t be there because a shooting could happen, we are saying they should not be in a theatre at midnight. I have been to midnight shows before (twilight, don’t judge my shameful movie habits,lol) & was shocked at the number of car seats being carried into the theatre. When I became a parent it stopped being all about me. Movies are so loud and midnight showings are chaotic. Not the the place for babies and toddlers. If I don’t have a sitter, I stay home. Amy was completely right about the screaming toddlers at Walmart at midnight,I cringe when I see that. And Jen was right that dadcamp has had great patient responses.

  32. Liz says:

    There was obviously no way to know what the outcome of going to see that particular screening would be. The two are separate, but it brings the question to our attention; what are the pros to bringing small children to a violent movie at midnight? The movie has a high rating, which clearly tells us that it is not meant for young children. If a parent still feels the movie is ok for their child, that is their choice. But I do think movie theaters should and could say certain movies you must be a certain age even if accompanied with a parent, same with the time of a screening. Same goes to bars and other adult events.
    I like to socialize with my friends. I enjoy spending some adult time without my children like most parents, especially stay at home parents. However, if an event comes up that I want to partake in but can’t find a babysitter, than I must pass on the event. A bar or midnight showing of any movie in my opinon is not the right setting for a young child. Let me quickly clarify by the use of the word bar. A restaruant with a bar that is welcoming of families and children is fine, but one that only serves drinks and focus is only on adults 21 and over, than no. I saw someone’s comment about a trivia bar, but I don’t know what type of atmosphere that particular place has. However, if it’s after 10pm I would think it not the right setting for a child.
    As most parents we try and do the best we can, and make wise decisions. Yes, at times even the most well educated and well intentioned parents make unwise choices. But that is also part of parenting. If I personally researched a PG-13 movie for my 6 year old (presentingly questioning Avengers) and after thinking about it thoughtfully still took him to see the movie and he was scared by any scenes or traumitized by anything the movie showed that would be on me. I would feel horrible and that I failed as a parent at that particular moment.
    With that in mind, I know many children around the age of 7yrs who watch violent movies such as the incredible hulk, the batman movies PG-13 and above ratings and never was phased by it. The children who went to see Batman could very well have been those types of children, who know it’s pretend and enjoy the excitment and are able to separate reality from movies. As long as those children are well-behaved just as I would expect an adult in the movies to behave, than I have little issues with that.
    The timing on the topic is very sensitive, but still worth the discussion.
    In no way are those parents to blame for even a second for the outcome of the shooting. I pray that each adult, teenager, and especially young child that were effected by the shooting heal both emotionally and physically from the event and will forever keep them in my thoughts and prayers. Post Traumitic Stress is a horrible disorder for anyone to go through. I would like to see the movie theater with professional security and psychologists there and escort the surviviors to another movie when they are emotionally ready. I can only imgaine ther intense and real fear of movie theaters from this day forward.
    Thank you dadcamp for another thought provoking blog.

  33. Mom101 says:

    Actually my handle refers to being a student of parenting. As does my tag line. Sometimes students share knowledge with one another and hope that it will lead to productive discussions. Then, sometimes it just leads to your response here.

    Carry on.

    1. dadcamp says:

      @Mom101
      Exactly. I write posts posing questions to seek out answers, to further debate and to gain insight into how different people parent. In the end, I hope it helps us all better understand each other, appreciate different ways of doing things, and raise happy, healthy, and well-adjusted children.
      So I’ll ask the question again: Is it usually appropriate for very young children to be at midnight movies? If so, why?
      My kids can’t stay awake late enough to watch fireworks in the summer, I can’t imagine dragging them out til 3am for a shoot ‘em up movie. Then again, your experience may be different and shed light on a different way of doing things.

  34. Mom101 says:

    I’m happy to answer: Every parent has his or her own boundaries and if it doesn’t affect me directly, I try not to judge it.

    I’ve let my kids stay up dancing until midnight at a street festival in Madrid (thanks to jet leg and a cotton candy rush). I’ve allowed my 6 year-old to go to a bar with her father on Sundays to watch the football game–she gets bored after about an hour, but she’s treated like a goddess, there’s no smoke, and she likes coloring the place mats and drinking Shirley Temples. I’ve also been the parent who puts my kids to bed at 8 at Disney World, while toddlers are just heading out for the night; and the one who won’t let them watch hormonal “tween” shows when their friends are watching–although they do watch the Simpsons with us because it opens conversations about political and social satire, which then leads to us searching for videos online about MLK or evolution or famous blues musicians.

    None of these decisions were made without a lot of thought. And yet, I’m sure plenty of people would reduce it to, “Simpsons? Football bar? Bad parent!”

    In other words, my own opinion is that I can’t look at a single snapshot of a moment and come to any reasonable conclusions about a parent’s motives, abilities, or overall judgment.

    1. dadcamp says:

      @Mom101
      Thanks for participating.
      It’s hard not to have knee-jerk judgey reactions when you see headlines based around a few facts.
      I wrote a post about my initial reactions, you take a more measured approach. Fair enough.
      Perhaps this post is ringing hollowly with some people because my blog style is not to express a complete narrative of my life like many others seem to take. I’m not bold enough to think the minutiae of my everyday world will fill enough of a soap opera to sustain an audience. So I’m not a ‘reality blogger’, like others may be.
      I’m an issue-based blogger. I take headlines, form opinions, and try to foster discussion.
      I’ll offer insight when I have it, spice with personal anecdotes where relevant to move the narrative forward, but I dont want my blog to be an “Enough about me, Let’s talk about me” type discussion.
      This is news, I’m talking about it. Thanks for talking about it with me.

  35. goddess says:

    Once they get to high school aged. IS there no scared time for adults anywhere anymore?

  36. goddess says:

    “sacred”, not “scared”., LOL

  37. Mom101 says:

    Some of the best issues-based writers in the world are the parent bloggers I read, @dadcamp. I hope you’re fortunate enough to discover them.

  38. Susan says:

    As the parent of a dead child, I am not impressed that you think this is an issue worthy of debate. One day after 12 people were murdered is not the day to debate the decisions they or their parents made. Victims and their relatives need compassion and deserve to be put first. You have chosen to put yourself first, as many people do when confronted with tragedy. It is hard to know what to say to the parent of a dead child, but believe me asking them what they were thinking when they made decisions about that child is not the right question. And it is disingenuous at best to say it s worth the discussion because it is never worth adding to another human being’s pain deliberately.

  39. Daddy Files says:

    Dadcamp: You wrote “This article represents my honest initial reaction to the news, and I stand by it. ‘Why the heck are kids at a midnight showing of Batman?’ is a totally reasonable question to ask.”

    If your initial reaction to the shocking tragedy of a dozen people dead at a movie theater courtesy of a crazed gunman was really “why the heck are kids at a midnight showing of Batman?” then we can end the discussion right here. Because I don’t know anyone in my life whose initial reaction wasn’t “Oh my God, that’s so horrible. I feel awful for them.” I know we’re all bloggers, but c’mon. If the first thing that jumps to your mind is really to criticize parents who were just victims of a horrific tragedy, then maybe a break from blogging is in order to regain a little humanity and compassion. And that’s coming from someone well-versed in cynicism. But there have to be limits.

    Also, you say “different strokes” but you clearly don’t mean it. Because you still have repeatedly said THESE KIDS DON’T BELONG AT A MIDNIGHT SHOWING OF BATMAN! We get it. You wouldn’t take your kids. But other people would. And those other people are not wrong for doing so simply because you have a different parenting style.

    I just think a little tact was called for here, and this post was definitely a swing and a miss.

  40. HaroldE says:

    Having done some research (Google):
    The cost of three tickets (two adults, 1 child) to the midnight screening of Batman Rises at the theater: $28.50
    The average cost of childcare in Aurora, CO for a night out at the movies: $25
    Amount of babysitters advertising on Sittercity.com for Aurora, CO: 3,417

    The parents were selfishly irresponsible, irregardless of the tragedy.

    “It’s always too soon, until it’s too late.”

  41. Kristen -- Motherhood Uncensored says:

    As I stated above, your so-called discussion doesn’t differentiate you, an “issue-based blogger,” from the lowly “personal bloggers.” Funny thing, if you actually read a few parent blogs, you’d realize that we tackle the issues too. We just don’t use labels as a way to make ourselves seem better (or not, apparently) as you do.

    Based on what I read in your post, this is not a true discussion about “should parents take their kids to midnight movies” but rather an opportunity to climb up on your soapbox and preach to tens of people about how you think people should parent. And it’s not even because THEN they wouldn’t have been injured. But it’s that your own kids wouldn’t be. Because you know better than to bring your kids to a movie theater at midnight.

    It’s your judgment of those parents not-so-well-disguised as a discussion.

    An actual discussion about movies and kids should really include a discourse on whether the kids are old enough to see a PG-13 movie and whether they can behave and not disturb the other patrons during the movie, something that would probably be more pertinent to a daytime movie than one at midnight, where there’s probably a good chance that the kids would sleep.

    Clearly that was not the case in what you presented above.

    It seems to me that you’ve monopolized a tragedy to give yourself a hearty pat on the back for not being one of “those” parents. And, to feel justified and supported in your decision.

    If there’s anything that I’ve learned about parenting, it’s that inevitably, the fingers we end up pointing at others will always come back to be pointed at you whether you like it or not.

    So judge away. But don’t be so surprised when people give you a rash of shit about it.

  42. Mum of four says:

    This was the first question I asked too when I heard a 3 month old baby was involved.
    I wasn’t alone there were many asking the same out of disbelief.
    It is bad parenting full stop, sadly a choice those parents will regret for the rest of their lives. An outcome no one could foresee and a terrible tragedy that doesnt change the fact that small children (& especially babies) don’t belong in late night movies!
    Movies run at different times & there are even Mums & bubs sessions here where babies are welcomed so Mums dont miss out.
    The movies have ratings for a reason and an MA15+ movie (the rating it will have here) isn’t suitable for children under 15 due to the violent nature.
    Children under that age are not allowed in to see it & this is enforced by the theatre staff (as it should be at all theatres).
    My 14 year old was not allowed to buy a ticket to Ted last week due to the adult language and I am grateful for that because it means they are enforcing the movie ratings!
    A horrible tragedy but your definitely NOT the only parent asking that question!
    For the record I think parents make different choices and it works for them but young children out at midnight anywhere is not good for the child & they should come first.

  43. JENNY says:

    It’s a valid point and a valid discussion, and I agree with DADCAMP. My first reaction was of course shock and dismay at the tragedy. But to hear that a child was killed in a place where no child should be, only compounded the sadness I felt.

    Many here are understandably emotional from the horrific event and are lashing out at those asking honest questions. Dadcamp has led a thoughtful, respectful discussion. And I don’t believe stating an opinion is the same as blaming the victim, or judging others. I have not seen one single person, anywhere, claim that these parents deserved what they got. The mom of the 6 year old girl that was killed is still in the ICU. When I read of how she was coming in and out of consciousness, calling out for her daughter, it broke my heart. She still doesn’t know she is gone. I’m sure she will regret the decision for the rest of her life, and I do feel compassion for her.

    Another issue that needs to be raised is a cultural obsession with violence – in TV, movies, music even. By continually accepting and supporting violence as entertainment and fun, are we creating a world where things like this may increasingly happen?

  44. lam says:

    There is nothing wrong or shameful about discussion and debate sparked by any event, including those that are violent and tragic, possibly even especially those that are violent and tragic. We are all capable of more than one emotion/thought at a time. Just because this incident has raised (again) serious questions about gun laws, mental health care, theater security, and yes, young kids in an R rated film late at night, does not negate the sympathy and grief that we all surely feel for the victims and their families. To insist that we focus only on that deprives this massacre of its unfortunate potential to help us prevent another one like it.

  45. Arnebya says:

    Dadcamp, I guess the issue I’m having is in one of your comments you mention if the kids “really” need to see the movie, take ‘em on the weekend. Yet, after reading your post, I am left with the impression that regardless of the day/time, you would still make the argument that the kids didn’t belong there. Would the day/time have made that much of a difference if this same incident happened at a matinee on Saturday? I love discussion. I absolutely thrive on differing opinions, BUT I thoroughly dislike when others’ parenting choices are questioned based on what another parent would/wouldn’t do. Your post is laden with so many “I would never”s and that’s unfortunate. Who made the rules that kids under 10 have no business at a midnight showing? There are so many what ifs here. Yes, when I walk into a theatre and see kids or infants I do hope they’ll be quiet. I do hope that at the first rustling of discontent the parent will react and remove. MY kids slept like rocks. While I never took one to a midnight show, I did take my son as an infant to a movie. He woke when it was time to nurse and went right back down. But that’s MY kid, and I knew to expect that from MY kid. I just don’t get the sanctimonious (this is how it appears to me. In my dislike of your judgment of those parents, I am trying not to in turn judge you for your words/choices/thoughts) they had no business there. Really? Says who? I have friends for whom movies are a regular occurrence. While I disagree that 8 year olds (in my friend’s instance) should be at an R rated movie, this is normal for them and doesn’t register as bad parenting to me. Just because you wouldn’t make the same choices doesn’t mean their choice was wrong.

    I don’t know. I guess I’m just thinking that yes, we can have this discussion, but did it need to be worded the way you did? I think that’s what makes it seem callous when I don’t believe that was your intention at all. To repeatedly say you’re a blogger, this is what bloggers do…huh. I’m a blogger, but I don’t throw bad choices, especially of something as inconsequential as a moviegoing choice, back into grieving parents’ faces. While I did think about the kids being at the movie and at the movie at that hour, my thought wasn’t “why were they there” but “if only they hadn’t been there.” There’s a difference. It gives the sole decision to take the child at that time to the parent and doesn’t judge them for doing so because just like everyone else, they had a right to be there. No one has a right to simply walk in and shoot them.

  46. DeathMetalMommy says:

    That was the first question I asked as well. What in God’s name were small children doing there? There is no movie that I want to see bad enough to drag my toddlers to a movie theater and try to get them to sleep uninterrupted in an action movie no less. Kids change your activities and priorities. Roll with it. It doesn’t make it any less tragic, though.

    http://www.deathmetalmommy.blogspot.com

  47. Ashley Austrew says:

    “This is NOT a post about dead children, guns, and random assaults. It’s a post asking why parents consider it appropriate to bring very young children to very violent movies at a very late hour.”

    It may not be, but you have to admit the timing is a little bit odd and insensitive. I think, whether intentionally or not, you’re exploiting this tragedy a bit. Violence, midnight showings, and children may be a hot topic, but now isn’t the time.

  48. J says:

    There’s a man and woman making rounds on TV at the moment, they took their 4 month old and 4 year old. The guy heard the shooting, PUT HIS BABY ON THE FLOOR, AND RAN. Leaving his girlfriend and 2 kids to the mercy of the gunman and other theater goers. I get the impression that taking their kids to see Batman was not a ”parenting choice” but rather a personal entertainment choice.

    Anyway, I totally agree… what the hell were babies and young children doing at a midnight showing of BATMAN?! I guess as a special treat I *might* take a 6 year old to a midnight showing of Madagascar, or Happy Feet, maaaaaybe, but I doubt it. Like Dadcamp says, when you have kids, things change. I haven’t been to the movies in well over a year. It’s just one of those things. I can find a sitter if I want to go badly enough.

    And the part I love here is all the commenters shouting that we shouldn’t be judging other people’s parenting choices — are they serious? If someone lets their kid play in traffic we should just say ”hey, they’re making the choice they feel is appropriate for their child!”. Come on!! Most of us judge, and most of us are able to keep our judgments to ourselves (when we feel it’s appropriate). In this case, I feel raising the question is entirely appropriate. Inappropriate to blame the parents for the children’s deaths, but appropriate to ask why they were there to begin with.

  49. Arnebya says:

    @J — The example of playing in traffic is unfair. One knows that a horrible ending can result in playing in traffic, therefore it is supremely inappropriate because of the KNOWN potential result. Going to a movie, regardless of nature of film or hour which is still a parenting choice that those parents have every right to make, “should” have no potential fatal result. We can ask these questions until we’re blue in the face but the reality is the question stems from what each person asking believes to be a good parenting choice. There is no parenting book I’m aware of that says breast is best and don’t go to midnight movies.

    I’d ask all of you (myself included when I reread my initial response) to read what you’ve written. Look at how many times you’ve used the word “I.” YOUR choice is just that — yours. You wouldn’t do something that I might. I wouldn’t do something that someone else has no issue with. If it’s something like a late night movie that no one expects (or should anticipate) ending so horribly, all “I” can muster is get off your horses for they are mighty high.

  50. J says:

    @Arnebya: I think the basic issue here is that your standard for whether or not a ”parenting choice” is ok to judge is whether or not is has the (realistic) potential to be fatal or not.

    Of course, nobody thinks going to see a movie is going to be fatal. Of course, playing in traffic is significantly more likely to be fatal.

    But I disagree with one key thing — that we can only judge parenting choices of others that are likely to prove fatal. I’m ok with judging parenting choices that are likely to cause unseen harm to the child. Many others have mentioned that society as a whole seems to be becoming more desensitized to violence… and I believe (but have no proof to provide, of course) that watching a violent version of Batman at 4 years old can only contribute to that. If someone sits their toddler down in front of ”Scream”, am I going to judge that? You betcha, without a doubt. It’s not going to kill the child, but it is likely to give them nightmares and unlikely to help them grow into a healthy adult. Same with Batman.

    If you let you’re young child watch a horror film, ur doin’ it wrong – it’s common sense. I should hope, anyway. And I don’t have a problem judging that.

  51. Amy says:

    I’m not going to sit in judgement on anyone, as that is not my place. I personally don’t understand parents taking their young (under 10) children to the midnight showing of any movie. I’ve taken my kids to movies when they were little but it was always a late morning to early evening showing (11 am-6pm) and they either slept through the movie or watched it quietly. Our local theatre works the schedules so that children’s movies don’t play past I believe 10pm and children under 6 aren’t allowed to see any R-rated movie past 6pm. While I personally wouldn’t have taken any of my 4 kids to see this movie at midnight, I can see why some families would choose to do this.

  52. Sharon says:

    I agree with you, DADCAMP, 100% and more!! I am sure many, many people asked the same question, but were afraid verbalize it because they didn’t want to be “unpolitically correct”.

    My oldest child is almost 13 and has never been to a midnight viewing of any movie and I would say she’s still too young for a few more years. Parents today are often selfish and unwilling to sacrifice their time for their kids’ time, so they take them to inappropriate places at inappropriate times. Some parent out of guilt, giving in to their children’s every whim. Others parent their child as if they are the child’s best friend. True parenting means the parents are coming from a place of knowing their role: to raise responsible, respectful, caring and productive adults.

    This movie is rated PG13, so taking a child under the age of 13 is not “professionally” advisable by those who set the ratings. It is a fact that children under the age of 8 do not have the ability to discern reality from fiction. Based on these FACTS alone, my children will not be watching this film either insider or outside a theater.

    All that being said, who would’ve known that there would be a mad gunman inside any theater in our country? I’m just sad that some parents made the choice to take their children . . . it was a high price to pay for a few hours of what would have been “feel good” event for them.

  53. Angela says:

    Well I guess if it concerns you to the point that you have to blog about it you could always contact the parents?? It is the fault of the shooter not the parent.Trust me you WILL at some time make a parenting decision that doesnt align with other parents.Do you think your choices should be analyzed? I seen the interview of the newborns parents.They were young and had just relocated to Aurora.They hadnt made friends yet and had no relatives nearby.I guess they couldve looked on Craigslist for a sitter huh………I’ve noticed Babble is just a bunch of babble!

  54. Smr says:

    I agree with you, DADCAMP, 100% and more!! I am sure many, many people asked the same question, but were afraid verbalize it because they didn’t want to be “unpolitically correct”.

    My oldest child is almost 13 and has never been to a midnight viewing of any movie and I would say she’s still too young for a few more years. Parents today are often selfish and unwilling to sacrifice their time for their kids’ time, so they take them to inappropriate places at inappropriate times. Some parent out of guilt, giving in to their children’s every whim. Others parent their child as if they are the child’s best friend. True parenting means the parents are coming from a place of knowing their role: to raise responsible, respectful, caring and productive adults.

    This movie is rated PG13, so taking a child under the age of 13 is not “professionally” advisable by those who set the ratings. It is a fact that children under the age of 8 do not have the ability to discern reality from fiction. Based on these FACTS alone, my children will not be watching this film either insider or outside a theater.

    All that being said, who would’ve known that there would be a mad gunman inside any theater in our country? I’m just sad that some parents made the choice to take their children . . . it was a high price to pay for a few hours of what would have been “feel good” event for them.

  55. Liz says:

    I absolutely agree with you whole-heartedly! Many (not all) parents now a day are too concerned with what’s best for them not best for their child. So the baby is going to sleep the entire time, ok…. but is sleeping on mom or dad in a loud noisy theatre really the best type of sleep for your child? I mean come on, people. Like someone else previously posted, if I don’t have a sitter, I don’t go. In fact, my husband went and I stayed at home with the baby, no big deal. I was appalled when I went to see Hunger Games and saw a little 4/5 year old. Granted the child slept the most of the time, but just the premise of the movie was appalling and I would never take a child to it. If it’s not a movie MADE for children. which Batman is NOT, then children should not be allowed. I personally think the movie theatre should not even let children attend these types of movies, even if parents are present.Afterall, that’s the point of the ratings. Is what happened tragic? ABSOLUTELY! I’m not questioning that neither is the blogger.

  56. Linda says:

    My husband and I used to take our very calm baby boy to the movies with us – left the older three with the sitter, that was enough for her – and he was not aware of what was going on and if he started to stir – out one of us went with him. But never would we have taken him to a midnight show – it is too disruptive to a baby’s sleep cycle to go to something like that and expect a baby or small child will just sleep through. Parents do need to consider what is in their child’s best interest. I agree that the timing is difficult, but I think many parents wondered the same thing. It isn’t that we worry our kids will be murdered, that is such an unusual circumstance that it would be crazy to think like that, but it did make it obvious that parents are not using their parent brains if they take their kids to midnight movies.

  57. christine says:

    It’s completely appropriate to have a discussion about people’s opinions on when R rated movies are appropriate for children. But it’s not appropriate to reference the Aurora shootings. It’s not even necessary. There are so many cases of seeing 6 year olds at R rated movies that it does not need to be related to the midnight showing of Batman. It was terribly insensitive of the author.

  58. Amber says:

    I think a topic that has been ignored here, is the fact that the author is not privy to all the details that went into the decisions the parents made.

    For many of my youngest years, my parents worked night shifts. Therefore, the whole family clock was reset to later than “normal” to maximize the amount of family time spent together. Did I get less sleep than other children…no, just different hours. And a midnight showing would not have been out of the question. Granted, some of this came to a halt when I started school, but not all families go to traditional school. Many choose homeschooling again, as a way to not be limited to traditional “hours”. Who are we to say that it isn’t just a good a way to parent?

    And who has not taken advantage of the easy going sleeping of a newborn? I know I have.

    I have too frequently been judged for my parenting choices by people who don’t know all the details that went into the decisions. Nor should I have to explain them. Just a few weeks back at a fast food place, I actually had a woman come up to me and say that my 3 yo should be drinking milk and eating fruit with her nuggets, and my 11 month old should be eating babyfood, not solids and drinking formula. I said, “good thing you’re not their parent because that would have killed them. But thanks for the judgement.” Should I have to explain the breadth and scope of my children’s life threatening allergies to any stranger that walks by and wants to judge me? Nope, it’s none of their business.

    And why those children were there….is none of ours. Nor are we in any place to judge whether or not those children where capable of handling/acting appropriately in that theatre during that movie.

  59. MittenMom says:

    Thank you for bringing this discussion out. Parenting decisions are up to each individual but the hope is that we use common sense and make our decisions with our child’s best interest in mind. Children’s well being should be the parent’s priority, not socializing etc. there should be nothing controversial with that mindset. Yet some parents seem to forget this simple goal, to do what is best for their child. I have seen children at violent movies. I recently went to Las Vegas and was surprised to see babies and young children if all ages walking around at midnight with their parents. What is to be gained for a child in these situations? In my opinion, there is no positive gain. Both situations are completely inappropriate for children, yet they are there. And that is also a tragedy.

  60. Janet says:

    So glad someone is finally asking these questions! Why aren’t the restrictions enforced by the theatres? It’s all about the mighty dollar! Greed and selfishness

  61. star says:

    juyst because we have kids should not mean we are not allowed to enjoy time out with or without are kids not everyone has others to ask to babysit. Us as parents do what we have to do and no one should worry about others and their parenting skills if we want to take are kids to a movie at midnight that is our choice as parents its no one elses issue. When we have kids we should not stop enjoying life we should make them part of that life and continue what we are doing life does not stop just beacuase we have kids example my husband works long hourse from 8am to 9- 10 pm mon-friday i let my oldest who is 7 stay up to see his dad because if i didnt he wouldnt really get to see his father that ofter so am i a bad parent no i do what i have to do to keep my family happy and its diffrent with every family so taking a kid to a movie at midnight is not bad parenting maybe they did beacuse thats the time they had to do we (other people) dont know there problems or why they did it but its not bad parenting they did not tell that bad man to come shoot at their kids shit happens it could happen any time any place and not one of us can change bad things that happen or plan it

    1. dadcamp says:

      @Star.. here’s the thing: when you have kids, life changes. you cannot continue to do everything when you were a swingin couple with no kids. priorities change. kids come first. those priorities that change = going to movies whenever you want. it can’t always happen because .. you’re a parent, and the kids take priority.

  62. Dolores says:

    My son is only six months old, and I have yet to take him to the movie theater. But this is because he is too young, the movie theater sound is too loud, the seating is too crowded, and neither he, nor my husband and I, would be able to enjoy a movie under these circumstances. Also, I doubt others around us would appreciate it if he were fussy, or noisy–although he has been known to sleep for hours, with plenty of noise going on around him. That being said, I would certainly never judge someone who felt that, for whatever reason, they wanted to take their children–even infants–with them to the midnight movies. Also, it’s summer vacation–most kids are not in school, and do not have to worry about getting up early in the morning. My concern, however, would be about the content–violence, etc. I haven’t seen the new Batman movie, so I don’t know about the content. I think if the movie is violent, etc. it is best to find a sitter, or at least preview the movie before deciding to take your child to see it. It is unfortunate that these children had to experience such violence and trauma first hand; but as someone has already stated this could have happened at a Shrek movie too. We can’t judge these parents for an innocent decision to treat their kids to a movie night–they did not know this horrible tragedy was about to unfold.

  63. CMG says:

    While I do think the timing of this blog was horrid, the question of why these children were at this theater crossed my mind as well. I am a huge promoter of debate/conversation, but my issue comes when people directly place judgment on others. That, in my opinion, is just wrong. It’s one thing to simply state that you don’t agree with taking kids to a midnight movie (I agree with that too), but to call these parents irresponsible, unreasonable, or any other judgmental word u may choose, is just inappropriate. There is not right or wrong answer to this question. Why is it that people can’t express opinions without phrasing them as facts?? The fact that they took their kids to that movie on that night does NOT make them a worse parent than anyone who would not have made that decision. So I don’t feel a need to bash these parents because they have different parenting techniques than others.

    BTW: A concern of mine much larger than what time someone takes their child to the movies, is that atheist comment………but that’s neither here nor there………

  64. ryuu says:

    On yahoo there was a story about the 6 year old and her 3month old brother. Their parents were unable to find a sitter last minute and had already gotten tickets. When the movie started both children were sound asleep on their parents laps. Having seen the movie myself it is no more violent than the other superhero movies or much of the shows on TV today that children watch. The movie was only PG-13. i know not everyone know what all that means but the first bit means PARENT GUDIED and 13 only means you can’t get in without an adult until you are over 13. And what is the difference with taking your child to a midnight screen vs. a daytime show. Many that they are more like to SLEEP and not watch the violence in the midnight screening.

  65. Mommy of 2 says:

    Ok really? Why does it matter if a parent chooses to take their children at ANY age to a midnight showing in the middle of Summer, there is no school to get up early for…isn’t that what Summer is a little bit a bout, not having a set bed time…let’s not take the focus off of the real crime here and stop pointing fingers at parents who wanted to take their kids out for a movie…I would have done it, that does NOT make me a bad parent…Shame on anyone for even thinking to blame the parents during this type of a tragedy!!!

  66. Amy says:

    I want to keep my children ‘children’ as long as possible. I asked the same question after hearing about the tragic shootings. Unfathomable, but I don’t agree AT all that a 9 year, 6 and 3 mo old should have been in midnight viewing of a relatively frightening film. Most of my friends watched IT as a kid, and are completely terrified of clowns as adults. I wasn’t introduced to scary movies until later and have no fear of clowns. I think it’s poor judgement to introduce things at such a young age. Sad really. I understand that some parents run into complications in babysitters etc, but as the author stated, don’t go. My husband and I have sacrificed a lot with having kids and have DVRed/Netflixed A LOT of stuff. To watch AFTER the kids go to bed. I read a lot of arguments on this blog and it’s amazing how quick people are to call the blogger an insensitive ass (summing up what I read- sorry) etc… but he’s got a point. A lot of people’s 1st thoughts were WHY WERE THOSE KIDS THERE?? My heart goes out to the victims and I’ve cried reading the articles. I could never imagine. Just sucks.

  67. Monica says:

    My parents took me to the movies when I was only days old! So does that say they were BAD parents?!?! I take offence to this article! There is no reason not to bring any child of any age to a movie, no matter the time, unless that movie contains inappropriate material for their eyes. I was allowed to do things with my parents at all hours. I bowled at midnight and 1 am on weekends and went to late movies (if I fell asleep, they just carried me in the house). The author of this article has no right to pass judgement on others because I am sure that if Mr. “DADCAMP” has children, he makes mistakes that others would have negative things to say about. Shame on you!

    1. dadcamp says:

      @Monica
      This post is a discussion about best parenting practices. If you think it’s fine to bring kids to a late movie, then let’s have that discussion.
      I happen to have 2 boys (5 and 2) whose bedtime is 730, meaning I would never take them to a film like this. My oldest is all about Batman, like many others, so we’re watching the funny and campy series from the 60s, not the loud violent films of today.
      Are others who make different decisions “bad parents”? Maybe, maybe not, but for sure they have a value system that is far different from mine.

  68. Lauren says:

    Your all entitled to your own opinion and can take care of your children in your own way but I don’t believe you should judge what other parents do with theirs. There are alot of other parents out there that should not have had children, so judging those parent who take their kids to the movies is just a waste of your time, you could of said ” while some parents brought their kids I personally wouldn’t of.” instead of judging them and making them seem like bad parents. I took my daughter to the movies when she was 1 month old because she just slept all the time and I knew she wouldn’t distrub the other people in the theater. Not all moms and dads want to watch as the other parent goes out and instead wants to join them even if they dont have babysitters but work and therefore have to go out at night. As long as the children are happy and healthy and get the love and attention they deserve we don’t have a right to judge how others take care of their kids.

  69. Kaisa says:

    This is an interesting discussion. I live in North Europe, where movie ratings are not only recommendations but they are enforced. The new Batman movie is rated K12, which means that a 12yo may enter without a guardian and a 9-11yo may enter with a guardian. If I try to take my 8yo, they will refuse access and we don’t get a refund. The ratings are there to protect children and they are pretty much accepted by parents. Of course, you can buy/rent the dvd and watch the movie at home. I did that with Star Wars, but I didn’t allow the then 6yo to watvh every scene and sometimes I turned down the volume.

  70. jennifer Angelly says:

    not trying to offend or be mean but that was the first thing that popped into my head when i heard about the shooting. “what were small children doing there that late?” im a mother of a 2 and 3 yr old i would have never even thought about having my children out that late hell if its past 9pm oh well this momma aint going nowhere. i agreed with one of the statements about how if your kid can tell the difference between reality and fantasy at an early age then you definitely are a better parent than i also and maybe you should write abook about it as for mine we are still not there yet they cant even watch certain parts to Finding Nemo without crying about being scared not blaming the circumstances that happened but really? now we cant spank our kids so i guess we cant tell them no either and people wonder why kids are becoming psychos desensitized to violence at an early age and lack of discipline lets just shove pills down thier throat and hope for the best right?just so you know i do spank my children but its the last resort after talking to them and timeouts

  71. Harmony says:

    I have been asking that same question & a lot less politely than you. Not that I don’t sympathize with the victims or value the loss of lives but I believe in karma. These parents made a bad parenting decision & had their children taken away. Once I was at a late movie. It was r rated for gore, violence, etc. & someone brought their infant along. We the audience collectively booed & jeered this mother until she finally packed up & left. My husband & I have only seen 1 movie in the past yera since my son was born & I covet our date nights zealously. The last thing I need to deal with are irresponsible parents to ruin my one night sans baby with their sitterlessness. When are kids old enough for a midnight movie? I say teens. Our oldest has gone to a few through HS on the proviso that she get up at a reasonable hour and/or does what she needs to do the next day. But also the movie had to be age appropriate for her. I wouldn’t let a 13-15 year old see a R Rated movie no matter what time it was.

  72. Redd says:

    I actually did have the same reaction. What the Hell is a child doing in a movie theater at that time of night, and my second question was, isn’t that movie a little over their heads? Well, hindsight I guess. No one would have thought it was possible. I am a true believer in fate. When it’s your time, it’ your tijme. He could have picked any theater in that complex or any other for that matter. What made him pick that particular theater? Who know what’s in the mind of a deranged person. I try never to stand in judgement of how someone else raises their child, It just wouldn’t be my choice, and God knows none of us are perfect parents. We can’t go back and change things we just have to do better in the future. We get through something like this, but we never get over it.I’m so sorry for all the people that were there and my prayers are being said for them.. You know what they say about opinions. Thank you for listening..

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