When To Say, “When”… Defining Boundaries For Our Kids

Some of my Facebook friends (and friends of friends) and I had/are having a great discussion on TV/movies and where to draw lines for our children/families. It has provoked me to think about how we make decisions for our family.

As far as movies go, we tend to take it on a movie/by/movie basis. I’d rather our oldest watch some R rated movies about WW2 than a “sexy” PG movie. I’d rather them watch some PG-13 movie than a Shrek-type movie because they pick up all that potty mouth humor that I hate… and boy does it stick. We watched “The Conspirator” the other day as a family (it is historical movie about the assassination of Lincoln) It had a hangin’ and some violence and “mild” cursing. We watched “King’s Speech” as a family (we FFed through the scenes with the “f” word). GREAT movie. I’d rather that than a tacky, potty mouth filled “cartoon.” I also have what I call “one time watches”… movies/shows i don’t mind them watching once but not over and over and over.

Here is another thought of mine. Do I trust the WORLD to determine (the rating system) what my kids will watch? Similar thought to my above thought. As I see Disney TV… there are some boyfriend/girlfriend type stuff that is just inappropriate to me. The “I Love You Like A Love Song” video (that plays virtually non-stop) by Selena Gomez is very sensual. I actually think it’s more dangerous because it’s so “innocent” and such. Another thought- what about Hercules… it’s G (I believe) but all that Hades/demon type stuff is questionable at best… it’s in the guise of “cute & funny” and there is NOTHING cute/funny about Satan or his demons. We do let ours watch “Lord of the Rings” and “Star Wars.” For us, the distinguishing factor is that evil is clearly evil… good is clearly good. So for us, Harry Potter (evil and good blurred with the “good” guys being into witchcraft -IMO) is not a good option. Greg and I have determined (not officially – but practically) that rating systems aren’t our decision making tools… although they DO help. So, while we’re very conservative… I try to look at what makes a movie receive a certain rating. Sex  and “sexy” stuff- is out whether it’s pg, or pg 13. If there is some cursing or some violence that is “required” to be historically accurate, I’m more flexible. Even then, we have to be careful.

What about causing our children to rebel. It’s a REAL thing. There are often those who think their children are picture perfect because they “obey” in front of parents/adults… it’s not always the same away from parents. We all knew these kids growing up. I certainly had that tendency! I knew one kid whose parents allowed NO candy/sweets. Well, when that kid got “out”… he/she ate enough sweets to choke a horse. Those parents (well intended) “caused” (yes, i know he makes the choices) the child to rebel in this area because he/she was treated unrealistically (my opinion). This is one reason I have chosen not to be “Dugger-ish” about swimsuits for my girls… modest and cautions but not freaky. I don’t want her to feel so “out of the loop” that she feels she needs to prove something to me/the world and wear floss. We have let our boys play organized sports. I felt the need to let Boy1 know about a really bad word the other day… I said something like, “I just want you to know this is a terrible, bad, horrible word.” He let me know that he knew it was terrible because he had heard playing soccer. Ugh. I feel that they need to know how to participate in team sports but this is definitely a  downside. It’s a delicate balance. We are to be set apart… but we have to function in this world the Lord gave us. Otherwise, we will be a group of people who exclude and shun others to a fault… then who will love the unsaved, wild ones?

It’s just plain difficult. So many point out that we must let our kids out into the real world… “experience” real life… especially our homeschooled. So, what areas do we let them “out” into the “real” world… where to we “shelter” them? WHEN does all this happen? That is why we as parents have to know our children (and all are different) and pray for wisdom. Each set of parents tend to have different convictions based on our past and the experiences thereof. At the end of the day, we have to make the best decisions we know to make based on God’s word and the insight He gives us as parents. Greg and I have chosen to keep our TV (albeit antique, hah) and seek to be cautious. Do we make mistakes? YES. And if I know me… I’ll make a few more before it’s said and done. We try to point out the wrong and encourage the good. We try to admit to our children and one another when we’re wrong. We try to shape their decisions as they walk this journey. Rules for legalism sake will benefit no one. All our rules and regulations must be based in truth and must come from a heart of love. It is a daily battle! It changes and morphs as they grow and change… the world becomes more evil… but Jesus is the same… so that has to be our steady. Pray and ask the Lord to show you where to draw the likes for your children… He is faithful and will give us insight.


7 thoughts on “When To Say, “When”… Defining Boundaries For Our Kids

  1. good article Michelle, and great points…one thing that I would say Eric and I do is this: If the movie is questionable (and most are) we opt to view it first without the kid(s) who want to see it and then decide on its appropriateness. This has saved us many times when we thought something would be ok and then after viewing it…we discovered otherwise. There are movies we have let our girls see that we decided not to allow our boys to see because of the occasional skin / dresses that had some major “pushing up” going on. (NOW granted…my boys dont usually like those kinda movies anyway…but…) The “view it first option” is a little more expensive, but to us it has been worth it on occasion because there have been many movies that other’s (friends whose opinion mattered to us) have recommended and for one reason or another we decided that this movie was not for our family. 🙂 One last thought…Eric ALWAYS says this: If we can do this for the glory of God, then we can do it and if not, then refrain…chances are you WONT regret it later.

    • Hey Teresa!

      While I agree that a pre-viewing is a GREAT idea… how do you find time for that? I’m not asking to be disagreeable… but just being honest. It’s kinda’ like “Read the book before your kid…” Yikes! I’d never be able to do that… not even for one kid :)….

      I think it’s partially because of the ages of my kids right now… a “kid-free” movie viewing would be virtually impossible 🙂

  2. well, michelle, since you asked for it….
    about movies….can’t remember my children being enthralled w/movies or tv. we didn’t have cable. and we didn’t have time. each of the boys either played in the band or played baseball (practice every day for both.) times were a little different because we were first introduced to cell-phones for young people when it was time to move from our small town team into the city…about 12 or so. we played…and still do…a lot of board games. our single tv and desk top computer have always been in a family room…never a bedroom. however, there were times when i would have chosen to turn something off while my husband chose to watch it. we talked, talked, talked. boys were outside a good bit. we went fishing a lot. and we participated in church activities.
    we tried to keep the avid readers happy w/books from the extensive book lists that were provided thru homeschool resources.
    we did allow the youngest one to participate in a chat room for artifact collectors if one of us was in the room. this meant we could not have a Christian filter in place. cookies were checked often and we never saw evidence that the privilege was abused.
    we had lots of issues….just not movies or tv.
    opinion: don’t care for disney. didn’t allow cartoons. didn’t care much for sesame street. or fantasy. could totally do w/o tv in my home. been called a lot of strange thing and had the police called on me more than once.

    • Thanks, Jo for taking the time to write/read. I value your opinion very much :)…. we were just telling someone the other day about our “crazy homeschool mom friends” from Havana. Looking back… you all were pretty much right on everything 😉

  3. Good Blog! As far as movie watching goes you first have to examine yourself! I know that there are movies I watch that I should not. Not that the movies are terrible movies but that they emotionally affect me in some way which is not a good thing. Our kids are still pretty young and wouldn’t understand the Harry Potter movies, but Billy and I don’t watch them either. Witchcraft is witchcraft whether good or bad and we do not support that! We will never allow our children to watch those as long as we are making decisions for them. I am not a big fan of Disney movies such as “CInderella”, “Sleeping Beauty”, etc. The reason is because I do not want to instill in my girls the “fairytale” idea of living ‘happily ever after’. And while I have a wonderful husband, he does disappoint me and is not perfect. Those princess movies all portray the idea that prince charming will sweep them off their feet and be just the perfect guy! I want them to know the only one who will never let them down and will be the perfect husband, which is God! Ratings are not a great way to look at whether or not it is a good movie. Now days a PG movie as terrible potty mouth stuff or just rude comments. As far as other Disney movies there are some that I don’t like either because of content. We do PBS in the morning, Veggie Tales, and some Disney Pixar movies. There are others but just to give an example. Once Hannah reached the age of being very aware of feelings and learning words we no longer watch adult movies with her period. She is just a very sensitive girl and a sponge who takes everything in!

    As far as getting out in the world because I stay at home and do plan to homeschool (well, I mean like Kindergarten) it is difficult to draw a line somewhere on what you do and don’t do. You want to teach them to stay from evil and protect them (which is God’s job and i often want to take over). But there is also them learning to have self-control and be able to flee while being in the midst of evil. At what age do you bring those opportunities though? Just you as a parents knowing your children. Billy as brought up the idea of maybe sending Hannah to school. Of course I freaked out about it! Just to give her time with other children to learn important social skills that she definitely lacks on. She doesn’t get much time with other children being at home even here on campus at Seminary. Basically, the time she gets is when I have a play date or when we are at church. And lately when I go to my Minister’s Wife Class. But it isn’t much time when you think about it. Sending her to school scares me honestly. Because of all the possible things that could happen. I would much rather her be younger because it would be easier for her but older would be of more advantage too. We are just praying about that. Billy says it is good experience for her. I say lots of kids are homeschooled and get the outside world experience doing other things.

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