The new Toy Story 3 is out and I would love to take my kids (ages 4 and 20 months). I heard a lot of good reviews and everyone who has seen it has loved it and even got a bit emotional. However, even though it is G-rated, I was warned that there were a few parts that might be too scary for my kids. For this reason I have opted not to take them and will wait just a little bit longer for them to see the movie, probably on Netflix. But I'm still debating...
After having my children I have realized that even G-rated movies can be a bit too scary. Think about the Disney classics. I grew up on Disney movies, but think about it: Bambi--Mother dies (we own it, still haven't shown it to our kids yet); Snow White--witch, scary stepmother, Incredibles-murdering robot; Toy Story 1--Neighbor kid does experiments on toys and they are new scarier versions of themselves. The list goes on and on.
For this reason, my husband and I are really particular about what our children watch. Especially since my son seems to be sensitive to anything scary. He came home from childcare at the gym one day telling me he didn't like the Incredibles because it was too scary. They showed it at the gym, I didn't know about it and couldn't prep him, and he wasn't comfortable going to anyone to hide behind when it got to scary. If I had been there, he would have had at least been able to snuggle with me.
I remember that we brought Ratatouille for him on one of our trips. We popped it into the portable DVD player, gave him a pair of headphones and didn't think about it. Twenty minutes later he's waving his arms around screaming "Stop, Don't do that, AHHHHHHH" in the middle of the plane. (Even though I'm sure we watched it with him at home at least once before he saw it on the plane). He had gotten to the part where the old woman pulls out a shotgun and tries to kill the rats. It was supposed to be comedic, it wasn't (for him). This was a couple of years ago. My son was petrified. We watched it again last night and he kept hopping up and down when the rats where in the house...at one point he ran into the kitchen and started to say, "Skip it, Mommy, skip it. Did you skip it?" Not a fan of the shotgun.
For my son's 4th birthday we took him to see "How to Train your Dragon." We knew it might have some scary parts and it did. But my husband and I were both with him. He sat in my lap the whole time. He did try to take off his 3D glasses a few times to make it less scary. The interesting thing is that the part he disliked the most was when Hiccup's father told him "You are not my son." It hit hard with my son and even though we pointed out that the father asked for forgiveness and Hiccup forgave him. My son stubbornly said, "He is not a nice man and he is not a good father." That was the scariest part for him, that a father would deny his son.
So maybe we shelter our kids too much. They are only allowed to watch PBS and Sprout (a PBS affiliate). They watch preschool shows. They don't watch a lot of the popular cartoon tv shows because I think the content is too grown up (even though the jokes would probably fly over their heads). We stick to Thomas movies and Veggie Tales. When we do wander into Disney or Disney Pixar movies...we make sure we are all there together and someone has the remote to skip through any scary scenes.
Though we do look forward to sharing some of our favorites when the time comes. Star Wars, anyone? It does make me wonder if Buggy will be exposed earlier to "scarier" movies because she'll want to watch the same movies as our son does. I wonder if it will become a non-issue as we (if we) have more kids and the younger ones will exposed at an earlier age. I wonder if it will be less scary to them because they'll be watching it with their big brother or sister. I wonder....