Your Tween Was Invited to an “R” Rated Movie – Now What?

parenting decision movie

My son who is 12 years old was invited to a sleep-over Party. They will be showing a horror movie that I do not think is appropriate. This party is with his regular friends and he really wants to go. Now what do I do? Asked by Tia – New York City

MarjorieStick to your house rules when it comes to movies that you allow, regardless if it is at someone else’s home. Talk to the parent hosting the party and explain that you would love for your son to participate in the party, but that you don’t allow your child to watch horror movies. The parent may or may not change their movie choice, so be prepared for either decision. Perhaps you can pick up your child from the party before the movie begins so he can enjoy some of the party festivities. If you decide to forego the party altogether, plan an activity that you and your son (maybe with a friend along) to do instead. Marjorie – 30 something


Life CoachThis is a tough one – I guess you are weighing your son’s need to be in sync with his peers against his readiness for certain content in the movie? Peers are so important at that age and I can really understand you not wanting to make him stay home when all his good buddies are sharing an experience.

In similar circumstances (my son playing with a friend who had an inappropriate video game) I have opted to have a conversation with my son. I let him know why I was uncomfortable with the content of the game. We had a conversation where I listened to his thoughts and shared my own with him. Children listen to the opinions and thoughts of their parents (although it doesn’t always seem like it) and even when they are in situations that we don’t like, they begin to be able to discern for themselves what is and is not appropriate. Something they will have to do soon enough.

Another way to make a decision is to weigh the negative effects of each choice. If you keep your son from going to the party, how long will he be upset? How long will the negative effects of the movie last?

I hope my thoughts help you – of course as his mother, you know best intuitively. Trust that. Jamee – 40 something


annGlaserThis is a tricky subject but definitely an issue that needs to be dealt with. I would suggest first checking what the rating is on this movie. We had a rule that my kids couldn’t watch a PG13 movie until they were 13.

So you may be able to solve this issue by calling the parent and saying that your child isn’t allowed to watch PG13 movies until they are 13 and they certainly aren’t allowed to watch R rated movies. Now I know plenty of parents who disregard this issue-but it doesn’t mean you should. So, when you speak to the parent, find out when the movie will be playing and say that you will be picking up your son at that time.

It will be tricky to explain this issue to your child, but no one ever said being a parent was easy. Stick to your guns. And the positive side will be you will not have a child with nightmares after Halloween. Ann – 50 something

margeGiuntoliSince this is just a party and not an overnight where he would have to sleep away from home with his imagination working overtime, I say let him go. However, there are some very violent and rather sick movies popular around Halloween so before granting permission, and if you have not already done so, preview the entire movie yourself. If you still consider it inappropriate call the mom and tell her your son will attend the party but won’t be able to stay for the movie. If your son objects because he doesn’t want to be singled out, watch the movie together with him prior to the party to reduce the shock factor. Or, simply remain firm and tell him he can go to the party minus the movie, or not go to the party at all. Marge – 70 something