Bad Mom Advice: Should We Let This Young Kid Watch American Horror Story Plus Temper Tantrum Tweens

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largeWelcome to my weekly Bad Mom Advice column where I attempt to answer all of your parenting questions as only I know how — with zero degree in early childhood development, but with the experience of raising four kids and not having any of them in prison – yet! Plus, I back all my advice on numerous scientific research, which may or may not include me making fun of your dumb kid behind your back and drinking a bunch of wine! Welcome to Bad Mom Advice!

Eveveveveveveveveveveveveeeeeeeev, my kid, she is eleven wants to watch American Horror Story with meeeeeeeeeeeee should I let her I told her you get to decide, what do you think? 

I love emails where people sound like they are panicking/and/or apeing Kanye West‘s light board proposal to Kim Kardashian.It’s hard for me to know how to answer this because I don’t know how mature your kid is, but I say no. Haha! I am so mean. I think if she were 13 I would say totally okay, because you would be watching it with her and you guys could have all sorts of amazing conversations about the underlying feminist messages and all that, but 11 just seems SO YOUNG to me! I want to keep all the babies, babies. Sad face. I know that lots of moms let their daughters watch Twilight and even though it just started, AHS Coven has even better messages than Twilight. What do you think I am? Common Sense Media? I would not let my own daughter watch it, or my 10-year-old son, because I think it’s a bit gory and I don’t wanna deal with some long-legged kid insisting upon sleeping in my bed on a school night, but that’s just me. Why don’t you start her off with something a bit less hardcore like Buffy and see how she does? Let’s see what the readers say! The readers are way cooler than I am and less uptight, so I am sure they will say let her watch it.

Dear Bad Mom Advice,

It finally happened.  My tweenager finally scrawled “Keep Out Forever.  I hate you” on his bedroom door.  As this happened while I was still at work and the mother was home, I can only surmise that something acrimonious occurred regarding his homework versus his time spent playing online with his friends.

We actually have taken a more liberal attitude toward our son’s online gaming because it was only a few months ago that he totally shut out all of his school friends and became extremely withdrawn.  We thought he may have been bullied into solitude – so we really regard his emergence into these new social circles as a real blessing and absolutely do not want to regress.

It is so joyous to hear him laugh and so saddening when he does not.

I do plan on taking multiple photographs of the door for sentimental reasons, and have politely asked that he clean his door and write a formal apology to his mother tonight.  I will have a discussion about moderation and get an understanding where his frustrations are at.  I can only say that our son is not in any danger of academic failure – quite the contrary.  He’s shown improvement in his standardized test scores and received an A from his last French midterm evaluation.  Math seems to be his weak spot, but he is willing to work with me (at least) for help there.

And, for a brief time, he got along with his younger sister.  Pokemon cards, of all things, brought them together.

So, Bad Mom Advice, do you suggest he use a Magic Eraser or do you think he needs to exert some real elbow-grease and be given a frayed toothbrush with a box of baking soda?


“Thankful it didn’t say ‘Redrum’ “

Why are you removing it?

I would keep it there forever. Eventually he will get tired of it and put something over it. I don’t know, now I sort of want to write the same thing on my bedroom door with lipstick just to be a jerk. Being a tween is hard, being told what to do is hard. As long as his grades are good and he is an otherwise happy, well-adjusted kid I don’t see what the big deal is. My teenage son is always leaving really weird messages on his door but he writes them on notebook paper, and then on occasion one of my younger kids will steal the message and put it on their door. Here is an example just for you:

exisistence__1382532991_74.134.205.46And he spelled “existence” that way because he is a weirdo and I think maybe it is a song lyric or something from some of that rappity rap he likes. All I know is that it is now on my daughter’s bedroom door. Kids are weird!

Why don’t you get a gallon of chalkboard paint and make him help you paint over his door and that way he can write all the weird messages he wants and if he writes anything hateful like he “hates” people you and your wife can cover it with smiley faces and flowers? That’s a good plan to me. Kids are supposed to hate their parents, that’s normal, that means you are doing your job right. As long as he has no other issues and seems happy enough I don’t see what the big deal is.

Need some Bad Mom Advice? Of course you do! Email me, tweet at me or leave me a comment here!


  1. Alex Lee

    October 23, 2013 at 11:54 am

    I was exposed to horror movies before I was 10. It started with “Halloween” and “The Shining”. Then it progressed to “Friday the 13th”.

    My mom took me to see “Poltergeist” in the theater. Yeah, THAT DAMN CLOWN.

    Anyway, kids won’t know how scared they’ll be until they see it. And if they’re volunteering to see horror, then they have only themselves to blame and, I think, can deal with fear better.

    • Aldonza

      October 23, 2013 at 12:41 pm

      Yeah, I started watching horror films suuuuper young, because my Mom watched them. I LOVED them. Loved being scared, loved ghosts and Freddy and Jason and monsters! I was watching Twin Peaks with my parents and brother when we were 8 and 10 respectively. My brother and I used to bond over episode of Tales From the Crypt and monster movies all night. It totally depends on the kid.

  2. VicMcSeven

    October 23, 2013 at 11:55 am

    11 year old watching American Horror Story?

    All the nope.

    • Eve Vawter

      October 23, 2013 at 12:09 pm

      all the nope made me looool

  3. libraryofbird

    October 23, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    I fully back the watching of Buffy, aka the greatest show EVER.

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      October 23, 2013 at 9:43 pm

      I wrote an essay about how awesome Buffy is that is my sample for my middle schoolers. So always some of them start netflixing it. Otherwise they’ve never heard of her. Plus, I have a “And then Buffy Staked Edward: The End” sign in my room, and they all want to know what that’s about. BUFFY rocks! A strong feminine hero!

  4. cesp

    October 23, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Ok, so I totally watched horror movies from the time I was six or so because my dad loved them and it was something we used to bond over. I still go over to my parents’ house every Halloween to watch Pet Cemetery and Puppet Master. That being said, while I do still love horror movies and have fond memories of spending time with my dad I would never let my daughter watch those kind of movies as young as I did. I know I know, ten is different than six, but I think the subject matter of AHS goes beyond scary and quickly enters the world of mature adult content. In fact it’s not the blood and gore that would keep me from showing it to a child it’s all the weird sexual stuff. Like vagina teeth and ghost porn. (The movie Teeth is amazing BTW). I agree that maybe by 13 kids are old enough to understand the deeper context of shows like this and not pee their pants in the process. But 11? Not in my house.

    • elle

      October 23, 2013 at 12:11 pm

      Yep I agree. It’s not the horror that’s the pro men it’s basically everything else. Ugh do you really want to have a discussion about gang rape with your 11 year old?

    • Eve Vawter

      October 23, 2013 at 12:11 pm

      Yeah, that was the issue for me too

    • cesp

      October 23, 2013 at 12:18 pm

      “Mommy, what are they doing?”
      “Well honey, when a former nazi and demonically possessed nun love each other very much….”

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      October 23, 2013 at 9:46 pm

      Puppet Master and Pet Cemetery!!!!!!! You rock!

  5. Janok Place

    October 23, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    Parental hate is totally a sign of A+ parenting. Eve, chalk board paint is brilliant. If that’s how he likes to express himself, help him do it, showing him support and acknowledging that you have an interest in sharing his feelings, be they good or bad is an opportunity to become closer with him.

    11 year olds and scary movies? I’m a grown ass woman and I don’t watch them. Eeeek no. My mom tried to toughen me up when I was sixteen, I think we both slept on the couch with the lights on and never ever tried it again. In my house it’s a big fat no, or my hypothetical 11 year old would likely be very very tired from having every light in the house on and mom hovering at her door. Nope, moms a big baby and everyone suffers.

  6. BubbleyToes

    October 23, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    The chalkboard paint is brilliant. I do not have children but I want to run home and promptly paint my door with it so I can draw on it all the times. I would let me kid watch AHS, moslty because I am a horror movie fanatic and always watched them with my dad from as young as I can remember. That made it into something fun for me and not something scary and I love them to this day. I drag my husband to all the new cheesy ones that I know won’t be good but I can’t help myself. If my kid was easily frightened, that would be different of course. If they like it, it’s fun. I’m not on board for torturing 11 year olds. The gang rape might lead to an interesting convo, but hey…

  7. Alex Lee

    October 23, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    I now know where to go for discussions on parenting and existentialism.

    Thank you, Mommyish.

  8. Gaynor

    October 23, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    I just started watching this season with my 15 year old daughter and thought the sex scenes were too graphic for her let alone an 11 year old! I could tell she was uncomfortable when the one girl started bouncing around on top of her boyfriend and blood began to gush out of his orifi (is that the plural of orifice?) … but only uncomfortable because I was there watching it with her … she probably knows more than me. The scary horror stuff is tame compared to the sex stuff … so it’s a no from me for 11.

  9. Sam Inoue

    October 23, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    My kid is 7 and already does the I hate you, you are ruining my life stuff all the time. All the other moms tell me that kids will always go through a phase of hating mom specifically, but I wouldn’t know as I didn’t have one.
    On the scary show front, I am afraid of that show so I wouldn’t let her! But then again I am a horrible judge of what to let kids watch, my niece lives with me (She is 14) and we watch The Walking Dead together. I guess you just have to know your kid and be able to tell if they will be traumatized for the rest of their lives (which I assume Aisling, my niece, will be anyway because she has me for a guardian).


    October 27, 2013 at 12:22 am

    My eleven year old sister is on a massive horror kick lately. She’s been addicted to movies like Silence of the Lambs and shows like The Walking Dead. She also likes shows that air on HBO (it’s seriously weird how often she references Game of Thrones) and has known all of the lyrics/dances from The Rocky Horror Picture Show since she was six. Does this make me a bad influence? Most likely. But that kid is probably the most well-adjusted, well behaved kid I know, I wish more kids were like her, the world would be a better place, and I hope to someday have kids as cool as she is. If she told me she wanted to watch American Horror Story, I’d be like “sure why not.” Obviously this wouldn’t be the case for all kids. It would depend on maturity, sensitivity, etc.

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