being a mom

Keep Your Grubby Hands Off My Walking Dead And Watch Your Own Stories, Kids

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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 Irréversible by Gasper Noé 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. 

(photo: AMC)


  1. kathleen

    October 14, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    Your husband bears a striking similarity to my husband — he wonders why it focuses more on the characters and less on the killings and the zombies. He doesn’t think it suffers because of its focus on story, he’s just familiar with my devotion to horror movies good AND bad and my fondness for the gorier aspect of the latter.

    My eldest (18) has the graphic novels and my youngest (15) has read them. Both of them watch the series — last year each episode was an event. Eldest’s boyfriend came over, we had snacks, boyfriend would shush us when we made references to the graphic novels (all of us have read them except for him [and my husband, but he doesn’t actually like horror films or novels so he doesn’t really share our devotion to this series]), and then we would discuss what had happened, then boyfriend would go home. Good times.

    This year Eldest is watching with her boyfriend (then will drive the 1.5 hours back to school) (we will be Skyping beforehand) and Youngest will be on a plane, coming back from visiting her father. She is royally pissed and wants me to wait for the re-re-broadcast at 11. Is not happening.

    Anyway, I completely understand why you want to keep your 10-year-old away from the series. The first season, only I and Eldest watched (she was 16)…Youngest wasn’t allowed to watch until last year (14 and caught up with season 1 via DVD). I was reluctant to let her watch with us, but my desire not to make her feel left out overrode my worries about her age. As a result, she had a few sleepless nights worrying that zombies were trying to burst in her window, but not any more. I think that makes me a bad mother. Oops.

    So yeah — please post something tomorrow regarding your thoughts on the episode. Or come back here so we can talk about it. Looking forward to Michonne…..

    • Eve Vawter

      October 14, 2012 at 1:57 pm

      I can’t wait for Michonne. I am DYING for a kickass female as opposed to Laurie who I think we can nominate for bad mother status. I think they way you watch with your kids sounds awesome! For me, because of their age, I feel like “GO TO BED it’s MOMMY time” plays a big part of it. I would have no issue with my 16 year old watching with me, he just would rather read the books and he is usually doing last minute homework when it’s on. My husband hates horror and finds it really boring, so he likes to make fun of The Walking Dead, True Blood (My sexy vampire soap opera) and American Horror story. He watches Mad Men with me and that is about it.

    • kathleen

      October 14, 2012 at 7:16 pm

      Oh I HATE Laurie — we are all hoping she gets killed at some point. Andrea’s good, except for that kind of gross Shane-sex thing,

      I wonder if it also has something to do with gender — mine being girls and all.

      My husband and I watch “Storage Wars” together…he watches “Once Upon a Time” with Youngest and then he watches an AMC show that seems to be a western ALL ALONE because I don’t like westerns. I make him not-watch “Walking Dead” with me because he doesn’t fully support it and I know he’s internally kind of mocking it. He watches NetFlix instead.

    • Eve Vawter

      October 14, 2012 at 8:08 pm

      Here is my Laurie imitation for you: ” has anyone seen Carl? Where is Carl? I was real busy having an introspective moment by myself over my existential angst over who the baby daddy of my unborn child is and I can’t find Carl. There are hoardes of flesh eating zombies all over the place and I just can’t seem to find my son, Carl…”

    • kathleen

      October 14, 2012 at 10:06 pm

      I liked your comment TWICE because that was right on the nose.

      Have you WATCHED IT YET? OMG.

    • kathleen

      October 14, 2012 at 10:10 pm

      I wish I could like your comment eleventy times because that was right on the nose.

      Have you WATCHED IT YET? OMG.

    • Eve Vawter

      October 15, 2012 at 5:18 am

      ” has anyone seen my son Carl?” ” oh, he’s off firing a gun and eating cat food..”
      I have a question about the scene with blond singing Hershel daughter and Carl, but don’t want to spoil it in case any readers haven’t watched it. Oh well, it’s not a huge plot point but why was Hershel all ” have you found your bed yet? ” it’s like ummm, Carl is what? 12? He can’t share a cell with that chick? During the zombie apocalypse it’s very inappropriate to have the young boy share a cell with an early 20’s woman. EYEROLL. I’m surprised Lori hasn’t forced everyone to have her a baby shower yet. She is sooooo self-involved. ( I know, they can give her the thing Hershel ” lost” hee hee ) I really like Michonne’s ” pets.”

    • kathleen

      October 15, 2012 at 11:23 am

      I think the daughter is supposed to be about 15, and let’s face it — Carl’s voice has changed and I’ll bet he’s having adolescent dreams….and the pickings are pretty slim. In the books Carl had a thing for Sophia, but I think we all know THAT’s a dead end….

      I hope Lori keeps getting the big ol’ cold shoulder from Rick. She earned it. It would be nice if Darryl accidentally shot Lori through the head and then the baby was a zombie and then Rick could shoot it and banish all previous issues with Shane and his sperm.

    • Eve Vawter

      October 15, 2012 at 12:05 pm

      Whaaaaat? If she is 15 then the zombie apocalypse ages the survivors terribly. What was up with Sophie’s ” no longer a prepubescent crush option”‘s mom ( I can never remember her name either) trying to engage Darryl in some sexy top-of-the-trailor action? Isn’t she like old? It’s the zombie apocalypse! No one looks their age! Oh I totally hope Lori gives birth to mutant zombie baby and it eats her.

    • Eve Vawter

      October 15, 2012 at 12:08 pm

      Plus the baby can also eat Carl. He really annoys me too. Then Lori can stop misplacing him

    • kathleen

      October 14, 2012 at 10:55 pm

      So…double posting. But oh well.

  2. Njknskj

    December 10, 2012 at 12:34 am

    You suck

  3. Violet

    January 6, 2013 at 10:48 am

    TV-14 means the show is recommended for kids 14 and old. That is not the same as PG in movie ratings and is more stringent than PG 13.

  4. #1 dad

    February 10, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    My kids can watch whatever is on tv. I take the time to teach them life, and not 1% of life is about tv, and they r raised to be strong enough people so they wont be influenced by something as silly as a tv program….I would never blame tv or music for my failures as a parent.


    February 24, 2013 at 10:25 am


  6. Mifra

    January 15, 2014 at 4:24 am

    Thank you so much for this post. I read of parents who let their 2, 3, 4 year old kids watching the show. I love the show, too. But this is no show for kids. I am really liberal as you, but kids need limits and we as parents have the responsibility to set them. Thank you!

  7. abcd

    February 17, 2014 at 2:15 am

    It’s not YOUR story lol, you don’t own the show. It’s TWDFamily’s story. Our story.

  8. Gern

    June 14, 2014 at 2:42 am

    Parents who let their kids watch the walking dead are morons. A developing brain cannot handle certain images and if your kid gets nightmares, needs a nightlight, battles depression, gets homesick, well, duh. DONT LET HIM WATCH DISTURBING CONTENT. Fortunately my kids are very self-aware and I don’t have to tell them not to watch it. They’ve heard about it and what they’ve heard bothers them and they know that it will make them scared and uncomfortable. They don’t do things because other kids do it, thank goodness. My son’s best friend watches it and won’t tell his mom it bothers him, but he told me it does. He wants his parents to think he can handle it! He is 12 and he is in therapy. He’s a sensitive kid, his parents have been showing him disturbing content since he was three. I swear people like that don’t deserve to be parents.
    When I was 12 I saw Jaws. It terrified me. I went to the movie theater a week later with different friends and I ran to the lobby as soon as I heard the music. I had to leave. It made me sick. I suffered from nightmares and to this day I am uncomfortable going into the ocean. Even though I grew up in Central Missouri I live in California now and I’m not in love with the beach.
    I have seen Jaws as an adult, but the images don’t bother me at all BECAUSE I AM AN ADULT.
    Parents who say their kids can handle it because the kid says he/she can are idiots. Or lazy. Or both.I have happy well-adjusted kids who can spend the night at friends’ houses, don’t need night lights, don’t have nightmares and don’t need me to sleep. If you do have kids like that and you don’t monitor what they watch, then you deserve what you get.

  9. Jack Ingram

    September 22, 2014 at 7:15 pm

    The graphic novels are MUCH worse, rape, cannibalism, and extreme violence. You should allow your son to watch it.

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