The Walking Dead premieres tonight and I’m not letting my younger kids watch it. I’m such a good mom. I really am. Because I’m a not fun, bitchy, frumpy, know-it-all, sanctimonious mom who makes her kids pick up their own damn socks. And I don’t let them watch MY television shows. Or, as I’m fond of calling them, “My stories,” like how my grandmother used to refer to her daytime soap operas. My 16-year-old is allowed to watch some of my stories. He is a fan of Breaking Bad and loves watching reruns of Arrested Development. We love discussing movies and music and TV with each other, and for the most part I’m confident that if he ever saw anything that really upset or disturbed him he would come to me.
My son is a self-proclaimed cinephile, and I have explained to him there are certain movies I don’t feel comfortable with him watching until he is older. Not because I’m worried about him seeing naked bodies or sex acts, but because if certain movies upset me as an adult I think he can wait a few years to watch them himself. The 2002 movie IrrÃ©versibleÂ by GasperÂ NoÃ© is an example of something I don’t want him to see yet. Although I think the movie is brilliant and well-made, it’s an amazingly hard movie to watch and one I don’t think I’ll ever watch again. My son can wait on that one until he is much older. When he had read about this movie he asked me about it, and said it is supposed to be “very disturbing.” I told him that it is and that although it’s a “good movie” it’s a terribly ugly movie, and that even though it’s worth seeing, I wanted him to wait until he was older. When he asked me why I told him because it’s graphic and very sad and extremely violent, and it’s the sort of movie that makes your heart hurt. I have pretty liberal views on censorship. I think One Million Moms are ridiculous. I’m more worried about misogyny than violence in video games. And even though I know quite a few of his classmates watch it, I don’t let my ten year old watch The Walking Dead.
His older brother owns the graphic novels but doesn’t watch the TV series. My ten-year-old has read one or two of the books, and badly wants to watch the show. Even though I would never let him stay up that late to watch it on a school night, I suppose I could do what some other parents I know do and let him watch it on the DVR later. But this is MY story! And although I rarely get scared or freaked out while watching it, I still think it’s gruesome enough where I don’t feel totally comfy with my kid watching it. If he is still terribly interested in seeing it, he can watch it when he is sixteen or 17-years-old. I don’t care if his classmates make fun of him for not watching it.
I think kids grow up way too fast. And as a mom I love the idea of making them wait until they are older for things. I won’t let my daughter get her ears pierced until she is thirteen. Not because I think jewelry sexualizes girls, but mainly because I think having something to look forward to makes it more special somehow. My son didn’t get a cell phone until he was sixteen, and he has recently lost his privileges due to late night phone calls with his girlfriend. Unless they are heavily involved in after-school activities or I work outside the home, the other kids won’t have cell phones until they are at least fifteen. I like making my kids wait for things. And if they nag me about going to certain concerts or staying up past a certain time or watching certain TV shows, I simply remind them of what we have discussed.
The Walking Dead is rated TV-14, which means it is equivalent to about a PG rating. I have let my ten year old and even my eight year old see PG rated movies, but as a family and because I think the movie merits viewing due to content or educational aspects. I love The Walking Dead for me, but when it’s on it’s MY story, the kids are in bed, I can have a glass of wine, and listen to my husband in the background quipping snarky about my “zombie soap opera.” Even though I think it’s a well-acted show, it’s not a show I feel like sharing with my kids. They can watch it when they are older if they are still interested. Until then, I have my stories and they can have their own stories. It’s not like I’m begging them to let me watch The Disney Channel.Â