Raising teenagers takes lots of time, energy, and investigative work. Many parents think that once their children reach being teenagers they can slack off a bit. Our middle school principle tells sixth grade parents each year at orientation,"Parents, this is not the time to slack off in being a parent. You need to be more attuned and watchful at this age...guiding them to make wise choices."
One area that I see many slacking off in is the area of going to the movies and what they allow their teenagers to see. The movie ratings really mean nothing to us. We have our own ratings system. We check everything out. Just because we have a nearly 14 year old daughter and two boys ages 15 and 16, they do not automatically get to attend any PG13 movie they so desire. We have raised my nearly 20 year old the same way and for the most part I believe he has made wise choices.
We have been shocked through the years by Christian parents that we know that allow their children to see any PG13 or 'R' rated movies. When our younger sons were around nine and ten years of age the movie the Matrix was very popular. They had friends from church that owned the movie. They were over at this friends house and when he pulled the movie out they told him that they were not allowed to see that type of movie. We have taught our children to blame it on us when it is appropriate..."No, my parents won't let me", or "No man, my parents would freak if I saw that...did that....etc.,"
What we are teaching our children is not about censorship but teaching them what to look for in entertainment and how to protect their minds and hearts. We do not want them to fill their mind with lustful things, foul language, s*xual situations, for the sake of entertainment. Garbage in equals garbage out.
There are two great resources that we utilize. One is free and the other has a yearly subscription that is worth it. We love James Dobson's Plugged In Online. It is free. It is a great resource for movies - current or video; music, print, or television. With our older boys we have gotten to a point where we will print the review off and ask them if this is the sort of thing they want to fill their mind with. Too be honest, anymore we let them make the decision, especially as they mature, but for the most part we tell them why we feel it would not be a good choice for them to see XYZ Movie. More often than not they change their mind and see something that they know would be more well-suited. Children want boundaries and just because they are now teenagers does not mean that they do not still want some sort of boundaries in life.
The other choice that used to be free but now goes by subscription rates is Screenit.com. This service tells you EVERY word that is said, every scene that is inappropriate and why it is inappropriate, the morality of the movie, whether there is drinking that is glorified, or situations that even as an adult I do not want to see in a movie.
We have also been known to go see the movie before allowing our children to view it but that was when they were much younger. Try to find like-minded friends that feel the same way you do about what movies to see or not see. I have learned the hard way that sometimes your closest friends or even family can steer you wrong. You have to know that you are like-minded on what you feel is inappropriate so that you are not surprised. Including your teenagers in the process helps teach them how to handle this type of temptation when they are older. It works for us!
For more Works for Me Wednesday see Rocks in My Dryer.