23 Feb
Help, My Son Wants to Go To the Dark Side!

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I have a 5-year-old son who has never seen Star Wars. We were planning on watching this iconic movie with him when he got a bit older. Except, all of his friends at school seem to have seen it. He asks about it, but we are a little worried that he’s still too young. Our son is very sensitive and doesn’t tolerate violence on television well.

I know this seems like a small problem, but I really don’t know what to do. Do I sit down with him and watch the movie? Are we being too over-protective?

Sincerely,

Not Really Han Solo Averse

———————————————–

Dear Pro-Han Solo,

All kids develop at a different rate. For instance, my own son is four and has already asked to borrow the car. Of course, we’ve explained to him that he will get those keys when he starts to contribute to this family’s financial situation. I’ve even left the classifieds out to help him, but he keeps saying: “Mom, I can’t read!” As if that’s a real excuse!

Anyway, you know your son best. If you believe he may be too sensitive to watch the movie then most certainly you should follow that instinct. Frankly, five seems a bit young to watch that movie to me. But then, I may be writing to you for advice in a year when my son wants to know all about Darth Vader.

I can’t imagine that you are the only parents that have this issue. For some children, watching Star Wars may be no big deal (I’m talking about the first three, of course. I’m a grown up and, honestly, the last three – or prequels – gave me nightmares because they were so bad) but that doesn’t mean that your child falls into that group. That also doesn’t mean your child is alone in it either. Reach out to some of the other parents and see what they have to say. How have they handled it? This is just the beginning in your child wanting to do things that may, sometimes, not be right for him no matter what his friends are doing.

If he keeps bugging you about the movie and it becomes an issue, why don’t you try reading him some of the books first?  There is even a series on Star Wars that will help your child practice reading. And, for Mommy, there’s even one dedicated to that major hottie Han Solo!*

Another way to handle this would be to watch the movie with him but fast forward past the parts that he may find scary or unpleasant. I do this with CSI Miami. That guy with red hair really freaks me out.

Good Luck,

Tonya, TMH

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

20 Responses to “Help, My Son Wants to Go To the Dark Side!”

02.23.12#1

Comment by Brett Minor.

I couldn’t agree more. It really depends on your kid. My daughter saw Halloween at fours years old. (I know. I’m an awful parent.) She has loved horror movies ever since. She is 16 now and it was never an issue. However, my son got freaked out by some cartoons that were too intense at eight years old. He was treated differently in what he could watch because I knew my kids.

Use your best judgment.

sisterfunkhaus Reply:

You aren’t a bad parent. Kids have their quirks. Mine has been watching House, Bones, and any other medical drama she can find since she was 6 or 7. I let her b/c she loves science and medicine. She ignores the other plots and just hones in on the medical stuff. The blood and what not does not bother her.

Plano Mom Reply:

Same here – we’re a Bones/House watching family. We rate the realism of the gore, which helps remember that its. not. real.

02.23.12#2

Comment by nyc2kiddiesandahubby.

I am experiencIng the EXACT same problem with my 5 year old. He is obsessed with Star Wars and knows most of the story because of what his friends have shared with him. He, too, is sensitive; he gets upset when watching Disney movies like Snow White. Mouthy HW is right, there are some great early reader books as well as an enormous pop-up available to buy. I am standing my ground until 7 years old! Best of luck!

nyc2kiddiesandahubby Reply:

^^^^oh, and I wish I had a piece of the Star Wars licensing agreements. I just saw star wars cookie cutters. George must be laughing all the way to the bank.

02.23.12#3

Comment by wendi.

We DVR’d the original Star Wars & skipped the scarier parts when the boys first watched it at ages 4 & 6. (Which made the movie an hour long.) They mostly just like to see the characters & light sabers.

02.23.12#4

Comment by Bean.

Great advice, and we run into this all the time with the princess movies. They inevitably cause nightmares with my girls – even the almost 7 year old. Even cars 2 scared the 5 year old.

It makes me mad, actually. Most the disney/pixar movies are supposed to be G, and there’s really a lot of violence in them.

Wendi Reply:

I’ve long thought that the Disney animators are a sadistic bunch. The mom is always dead, too.

Tonya Reply:

I actually think Star Wars is much tamer then any Disney/Pixar movie.

My son watched 10 min of Cars 2 and got freaked out. We turned it off and he watched a documentary about Sharks. Go figure.

Big ol' B with a capital B Reply:

Two words: Finding Nemo.

My God, I couldn’t even sit through that movie!!!

02.23.12#5

Comment by sisterfunkhaus.

I think you have to do what you think is best. It sounds like you think he shouldn’t see the movie. Maybe you could just tell him why he can’t see it and tell him what age he can see it. It worked with mine. I didn’t let her watch iCarly until she was nine because I didn’t think she was old enough to understand that their bad behavior wasn’t cool or right. I also didn’t let her watch Hannah Montana and other kids shows until she was older than most of the girls in her class b/c I felt like on some of the show, the kids were growing up too fast, behaved badly,etc… I explained it to her, she didn’t like it, but she did understand. She hasn’t been stunted b/c of it. She has turned out fine so far.

02.23.12#6

Comment by Mrs. Dee.

It really depends on your kid as others have said. My 7 yr old loved the first Nighare on Elm Street(fast forwarded through adult scenes), but is terrified and has nightmares with Ghost Hunters. Loves Star Wars, but can’t watch one of those ASPCA commercials without bawling her eyes out. Come to think of it, the reality type things on TV distress her more than fantasy. So every kid is different and what you choose is right for yours.

02.23.12#7

Comment by Plano Mom.

We had to deal with this on dinosaur movies and the Jurassic Park series. Keep the remote handy, and let your son control when the FF button gets hit. For my son, it was a gradual series of looking at the T-Rex parts without getting terrified.

02.23.12#8

Comment by KatesOwnRants.

As a fully-committed Star Wars dork (I mean FAN!) I would advise you start with episode 4. That one has a terrific hero/villain adventure story that is easy for kids to understand, and it is probably the least violent/scary out of all of them. The rest of them can probably wait until he’s older.
If you want him to lose all interest in Star Wars forever, watch episode 1 or 2. Brutal. You’ll be fast forwarding the whole thing. Especially because the parts that aren’t violent are impossible to understand and completely boring. (trade wars? senate hearings? what the…?)
On a side note, I must say I’m feeling very squeamish over kids watching Halloween at 4 yrs old or Nightmare on Elm Street at 7… huh?
I can see a child who is interested in anatomy or medicine watching Bones & House. There is some logic there. But I fail to see the redeeming value in horror films, even if “the kids love ’em!” Yikes.
I agree with most replies – it is up to you to decide and you know your child best. But use some adult judgement here. Maybe your child is unfazed by violence and gore; they may tolerate it without having nightmares. But you should still decide based on what YOU think they should see. That may not coincide with what THEY want to see or what their little friends think is cool.
Good luck Mommy, and may the Force be with you!

02.23.12#9

Comment by Lisa.

“We were planning on watching this iconic movie with him when he got a bit older. Except, all of his friends at school seem to have seen it.”

Any time you feel torn about how to handle something with your kid, look at your argument and see if it could come out of the mouth of your teenager wanting to drink, “But mom, all of my friends get drunk.”

Makes it pretty easy to see the question for what it is – Do I cave to peer pressure? ` and decide what you want to teach your kid about that.

02.23.12#10

Comment by Marinka.

I wish parents would realize that once they make the decision to show a movie to their kids, they’ve made the decision to show it to their class too.

I don’t understand why parents are so eager to have their kids grow up so quickly.

Parents today! ::shaking fist::

02.23.12#11

Comment by Meredith L..

OK, this hit so close to home that I am going to do the Unthinkable: post my own comment first, *then* go back and read the others.

Keep in mind that I am barely an expert on my own child, much less other people’s children.

My son is 3-years old, and first became conscious of “Star Wars” when he saw my laptop wallpaper. So I showed him the original movie. We sat side-by-side, and had a talk before the movie started: if, at any point, he got scared, I would turn it off. After 10 minutes he got bored and smashed his toy subway cars into one another.

Since then he’s developed a fascination with Darth Vader.

Now, this is where I’m going to get all armchair psychologist on you. Like most of us born in the 70s, I grew up on Star Wars. When I was 3- and 4-years old, Darth Vader was my boogeyman, my biggest fear in life. (Father issues, much?) I dealt with this fear by imagining Superman protecting me at night. (I come from a geek family.)

My son deals with his very real fear of Darth Vader by exposing himself to the Sith lord as much as possible. He likes to look at pictures of Darth Vader on Google Images. My parents bought him a Darth Vader costume last month, which he puts on upon waking in the mornings and not taking off until bedtime. He has both a red and a blue light saber – sometimes he is Darth Vader the Bad Guy, other times he is Darth Vader the Good Guy.

He’s now seen all of the first Star Wars, Empire, and Return of the Jedi. Of the three he (correctly) likes Empire best, and he knows what scenes scare him. Sometimes he *wants* to watch them – to cope, to deal, to face his fears. Other times we skip them. Honestly, I am in awe of his bravery. I was not this brave at his age.

My point is, maybe talk to your son beforehand about what he can expect from the movie. Don’t overdo it or you’ll terrify him, but let him know that if he gets scared all he has to do is say, “Stop!” and you’ll turn the movie off. Watch it with him, during the day, together, way before bedtime. Talk about it after.

And may the Force be with you.

02.23.12#12

Comment by Amy.

Personally, I watched Star Wars: A New Hope when I was three and don’t have any deep psychological issues or anything from it. Speaking as a teenager with no parenting experience, I think you’d be best off just judging for yourself whether your kid can handle it. Some people are more sensitive than others- I know some people who can’t handle any violence whatsoever, and others who won’t get upset by even the most gory of films. If in doubt, just let him watch it with you and fast-forward through any parts he thinks are scary.

02.24.12#13

Comment by GrandeMocha.

My son & I watch Chuck on the DVR. We fas forward the fight scenes. He gets enough to know what happened but not the details. We did the same with “Pirates of the Carribean.” He watched all of the 1977 Star Wars, no FF necessary. We’d pause it & discuss it when it got intense. The garbage disposal scene was one. I wouldn’t do it near bedtime.

02.24.12#14

Comment by Gina.

There is also an animated Star Wars series called Star Wars: Clone Wars. My 5 year old has watched those (with his Dad) and has had no problems. Maybe that would help him understand a little bit more about Star Wars, but not get into all the original movies. It still has some more mautre themes, so you would definitely want to watch it with him.

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