From Tami: Mature Media

little student girl studying and reading book at school
What do you do when you discover that your kids are consuming media that is above their age and maturity level?

Do you take it away? Are there consequences? Do you use it as a teachable moment? Or do you tell them that you will discuss it when they are older?

Now obviously the answers to these questions depend on many factors, like how far above the maturity level it actually is, or whether the child knew prior to the action that he or she wasn’t allowed to read or watch whatever was read or watched. Generally speaking, however, I try to turn any of these moments into teachable ones—at age appropriate level, of course.

I first dealt with this with my eldest and books. She was a voracious reader as a child, and would pick up anything with pages. She would read quickly and intently, which meant that she was often done with a book within a day or two. While I loved how much she read, I didn’t always love what she read.

I remember coming home, when she was still in elementary school, to find her reading a romance novel that her great-grandmother had forgotten at our house after a visit. It dealt with very adult themes—sex, obviously, but also infidelity, violence, and miscarriage.

I was not prepared for my baby girl to be reading that kind of material at that age. Maybe I was being over-protective, I don’t know. What I do know is that what has been read cannot be unread, what has been seen cannot be unseen, and what has been learned cannot be unlearned. So we talked about it. We talked a bit about the content, and how she felt about it. I told her that I was not comfortable with her reading any more of her great-grandmother’s novels unless I screened them first. I explained that these books have a time and a place, but there were plenty of other books to read that were more appropriate and probably more fun as well.

And she got it. She went back to fantasy, adventure, and mysteries. Romance novels were shelved for a few more years.

I have since had this issue with pretty much all of the other kids at some point or another. Sometimes it is books, sometimes movies. Sometimes they stumble upon it themselves, sometimes they are introduced to it by an older sibling.

I try not to get angry about it, unless it is something that they have already been asked to avoid. My preferred route is to use these moments as jumping-off points for discussions. After all, the best lessons are the ones you don’t plan.

Do you find your kids trying to grow up too fast by reading or watching excessively mature media? How do you handle it?

I’m sure you do it well. That’s why you’re a Super-Mom.


Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>