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How careful are you about what your child reads?

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 

A friend of mine previews everything her nearly 8 yr old, gifted daughter reads.  I don't preview or restrict my 6 1/2 yr old daughter's reading at all... my daughter has read stuff her daughter hasn't yet.  Interestingly, DD is less sensitive to "scary" stuff in books than she is in movies.  Nearly every movie is "too scary" during any dramatic moments, but I think there's only been one bit in "Bunnicula" (or one from that series) that she found "scary" despite many of the books she reads being fairly dramatic - or at least the same as movies.  I swear the music they play in the movies makes a huge difference. 

 

Anyway, it just got me wondering how many of you pre-read/restrict reading for precocious readers?  I do try to steer her towards things that are age appropriate - I don't need her reading teen drama, yet, but if she was sold on reading one I think I'd probably just let her have-at.

 

What are your experiences with this?

post #2 of 38
When my son was young, I had to approve everything he read. My reason -- I didn't want him putting junk in his head. I believe that while values are being formed entertainment should reinforce those values, or at least not go against the values I was trying to teach. Compassion and empathy were among the values, so violence, torture and ridicule were not acceptable.

Stories and books have the bad guys to give a reason for the plot to exist. But violence just for the sake of violence, or of a graphic nature, was forbidden.
post #3 of 38

My kids self-regulate themselves.  I don't preread or restrict.  My 10 year old, however, restricts herself a lot.  That's both for things that are too scary as well as outside her world view or experiences.  Teenage angst books are certainly within her reading ability, but she's not interested.

 

Being high sensitive is not a function of having less exposure.  Your kids just aren't as sensitive than the other kid you know. 

post #4 of 38
Thread Starter 

Mine are pretty sensitive... I don't think it's from the amount of exposure, either, though.  Sorry if it came off like I did.  Actually my friend and I have had a number of conversations on how sensitive our kids are - and they're well matched.  I just don't pre-read.  I figure if my daughter doesn't like the book she'll stop reading it or come asking for help.  My friend mostly doesn't want to have to explain difficult concepts to her 8 yr old or deal with the freak-outs, I guess.  At least that's what she's told me.  I was just curious if I was WAY out of the spectrum for this or anything.

post #5 of 38

while this is an internal struggle with me - i have stuck to my original stance. no restrictions. i want dd to decide. 

 

at 7 when the twilight craze was on - dd REALLY wanted to read twilight. most of her friends due to older siblings had 'seen' the movie so dd wanted to read the book. 

 

oh how i struggled and hemmed and hawed coz really i didnt want her to read it. till finally one day it was staring at us at the used book store. whew!!! dd read the first couple of pages and put it away. she found it boring. lesson learnt that day. stick to self regulation. dont overthink. 

 

dd too is more sensitive to movies than books. except of course when a toddler. where the wild things are at dc introduced her to the concept of monsters which did not exist before that. 

 

dd's first long book was diary of a whimpy kid. a lot of the teen stuff went over her head. 

 

dd at almost 10 is going through tween emotions and teen books. she is enjoying romances. its interesting listening to her - as she isnt just reading the book, but comparing it to RL too. 

 

she reads crap. she reads good stuff. she is reading maya angelou right now. i dont know why the caged bird sings. she is a thinker. and its right up her alley.

 

what i really enjoy are the discussions we have about her books. she loves sharing passages of her books with me. 

post #6 of 38
Thread Starter 

I'm with her... I read the first couple chapters of twilight and was bored to tears, so I ditched it.  LOL

post #7 of 38

I did ask DD (now 15) to wait on a couple books when she was little but otherwise, both kids have pretty much regulated themselves.

 

My DD did read the Twilight books when she was 10/11. She found them to be drivel but she was in middle school and this was almost 5 years ago when the books were HUGE. Having read the books was an icebreaker and a connection to peers for whom she had to be around daily but had little in common with..same reason she watched "High School Musical." Good to have a little popular knowledge when faced with those awkward moments.

post #8 of 38
Also note that some kids won't be able to regulate themselves, requiring some screening, otherwise leading to nightmares or other negative consequences.

As with everything in parenting, it depends on the kid.
post #9 of 38

oh that reminds me. the hunger games. i really wasnt comfortable letting dd read that book at 9 - more for her sensitivities.

 

but her whole 4th grade was reading it and dd begged. she promised if she got too involved she would stop reading it. i was surprised. she didnt react to it the way i thought she would. she was able to have a discussion on it. 

 

this summer she also read and listened to The Help and of course while she didnt get all of it, it was a moving experience for her.

 

i recall this about my childhood. i recall being totally fascinated by hemingways for whom the bell tolls in 6th grade. i again read it in 8th grade and it was almost like reading a new book - i got so much more out of it that i had missed earlier. 

 

and geofizz you are correct. it all matters on the indiv child.

 

one other thing i also have found. dd has the kind of personality where she does better if she is introduced to the subject earlier than later - earlier when she has the intellect to understand but not really get it emotionally. so by the time she hits the emotional ready age she can deal with that kind of issue easily. 

 

when she was little for a couple of years she was fascinated with death and the process of dying and we did a lot of research on that, including rituals. so we both discussed what we wanted done to our bodies. well she cant talk about my ritual now without being upset, yet knowing what i want can sometimes lead to a personal conversation without her getting upset.

 

in first grade she got interested in teh atom bombs and we covered every aspect of it. now she finds too painful the effects and is horrified that it was even carried out. so she cant do more research on the social aspect, but can take part in peace advocacy and also in discussions.

post #10 of 38

My kiddo is almost 12 (next week).  I don't censor.   J has been reading over 1000 pages a week for the last couple years.  Now he has a Nook and the ability to read almost anywhere with downloading books instantly.  J goes thru phases, like most kids.  Sometimes he is totally into non fiction topics and other times he is into fiction 'junk'.  But when I look at my reading patterns sometimes I have a thirst for knowledge and other times I just need fluff.  There are days I just need a good murder mystery and some days I have no interest in the best seller list.

 

That being said.  My kiddo still checks out every level of book when we go to the library, sometimes he gets picture books,some times its a college text book.  

 

Each kiddo is different and processes stories in their own way.  Some parents feel a need to control what goes on, however I bet those kids are still reading things just not letting mom or dad know what is going on.  ( I lived in a highly censored home but there are ways around that).

 

So I don't censor, I don't pre-read.  J has free range in the library, the bookstore, downloads.  Whatever he needs or wants.

post #11 of 38

I have a sensitive kid and a not so sensitive kid. I don't censor what either one reads, but I do give the sensitive one a heads up on things and may pre-read myself. The only thing I would censor would be an adult book. I read some crime novels ("Girl With The Dragon Tattoo", etc) and some with sex scenes and I don't think it's appropriate for them to read that, but I don't censor kids or teen books. They are not very into romance, though, so not too interested in the teen romance genre. I do sometimes look at the books with them and talk about what I think it will be about. Dd1 has a lot of anxiety, as well as being sensitive, so she often reads the ending of books and flips around in them and reads different bits and pieces before she delves into it to relieve the feeling of suspense/anxiety. She's able to relax with a book much more if she knows where the story is going. Whatever works. With the Harry Potter books she got a lot of spoilers at school and she really liked that. I told her that a kid dies in book 4 and that helped her prepare for it, but I don't censor that and tell her not to read it, nor did I when she was 6.5 or 8.

post #12 of 38
Thread Starter 

I could see censoring adult books.  I'm not really sure I'd want my kids reading Stephen king or something, either... So far she just sticks to kid books though, so I haven't bothered with any of it.

post #13 of 38

I've never censored books, even though DD was reading chapter books before school started.  I do sometimes read the same book around the same time (sometimes just after) to know where the questions are coming from.  My kids usually quickly recognize if they are uncomfortable with subject matter in books and just don't read it.  What I actually did sensor when they were little was news - papers, radio and on TV.  Sometimes the news gives an impression that only bad stuff happens all the time and it's even hard on adults.  I waited until they were about 8 to especially watch news on TV, and I read up on the same articles they do so we can discuss.
 

post #14 of 38
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FarmerBeth View Post

I've never censored books, even though DD was reading chapter books before school started.  I do sometimes read the same book around the same time (sometimes just after) to know where the questions are coming from.  My kids usually quickly recognize if they are uncomfortable with subject matter in books and just don't read it.  What I actually did sensor when they were little was news - papers, radio and on TV.  Sometimes the news gives an impression that only bad stuff happens all the time and it's even hard on adults.  I waited until they were about 8 to especially watch news on TV, and I read up on the same articles they do so we can discuss.
 


I was considering exposing her to "kid news" this year, I guess I should check it out more closely, just in case.  Good point.

post #15 of 38

Time For Kids is a good kid-friendly news source. Many schools get the little magazine (8 or so pages).

 

http://www.timeforkids.com

 

The website has Neil Armstrong and the Republican convention on the home page right now.

post #16 of 38

I don't censor books at all. I have two highly sensitive kids (both on the border of anxiety disorders) and they self-regulate very well. Ds (my more anxious child) actually likes dystopian novels. Go figure. Dd doesn't and won't read them. Dd's my more precocious reader and she's very good at self-censoring. She's 8 and could easily read teen books, but they bore her. It's actually a problem finding decent reading materials for her because her ability/interests just don't match.

 

I have censored news when they were younger. Last year, ds' 5th grade teacher really got him interested in current events and so I had to quit filtering for him. I do suppress headlines about graphic murder or rape, and we don't watch TV news because both my kids are far more sensitive to visual violence than to violence in books. But we discuss politics and world events regularly.

 

Dd has a friend whose mom censors stuff and it drives me nuts. This child is also a precocious, voracious reader and mom is really limiting what she's can read.

post #17 of 38

Lynn, my 8 yr old is pretty voracious, too, but she doesn't seem to have much trouble finding reading material. She likes a lot of "girl" books, like the "Winnie Years" series ("Ten", "Eleven", "Twelve", "Thirteen", "Thirteen plus 1") by Lauren Myracle, "The Sisters Club" books by Megan McDonald, etc, etc, etc. She also likes Harry Potter and the "Dear America" series and luckily will happily re-read many of her favorites. She still likes "Ivy & Bean" a lot, too, so she has a pretty wide range.

 

As far as the censoring goes, I just have to make sure I don't leave my crime novels in the bathroom for them to pick up because they'll read anything that's lying around. My dd1 (11) likes to read my parenting books. I find them pulled off my bedside table and laying around open. I finally had to move some of them. She's my super sensitive, anxious one and I got the "Out of Sync Child" when she was little and I had some concerns about sensory issues (avoidant). She has outgrown most of her blatant sensory issues, but is just a very cautious kid. I don't want her to feel like there's something wrong with her. Maybe I should just pass that one on. Anyway, point is, they will grab all sorts of things off the book shelves so I have to consider where I leave grown-up books, but I don't censor kid books. 


Edited by beanma - 8/30/12 at 8:13am
post #18 of 38

Another parent of voracious reading young children who gradually discovered immense amounts of appropriate material. My current 9-year-old loves dystopic stuff, but my older girls didn't at ages 6-9. They had great fun reading through the entire Redwall series, Narnia Chronicles, Anne of Green Gables and all of L.M. Montgomery's stuff, Eleanor Estes, E. Nesbitt, Phillipa Pearce, Dick King-Smith, George MacDonald, Edward Eager, The Penderwicks books, Enid Blyton, Arthur Ransome's books, Patricia Wrede's Enchanted Forest books, the Paddington books by Michael Bond, Avi's Dimwood Forest books, the Little House books, Ursula LeGuin's Catwings stories, Tove Jansson's Moomin books, Sydney Taylor's All-of-a-Kind Family books ... that's probably close to a hundred novels, many of them quite long, right there. 

 

Miranda

post #19 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

 

Dd has a friend whose mom censors stuff and it drives me nuts. This child is also a precocious, voracious reader and mom is really limiting what she's can read.

I, of course, know even less about this family than you, but please reserve judgment.  Your kids limit themselves, protecting their own sensibilities.  Not all kids can do that.  My DD is good about limiting herself (sometimes a little too cautious, in fact), but she doesn't speak up quickly enough if what I'm reading is problematic.  I'm *very* conservative about read aloud material -- yes, I still read to my 10 year old, with pleasure -- because she can't tell me it's a problem until too late.  That was a lesson first learned when I read her the first Addy American Girl book to her as a 5 year old.  She had nightmares for 6 weeks, and I *still* get anxious questions about children in slavery from her.  She knows a lot more about the topic than she did as a 5 year old, but that book is still on her mind at times.

 

I always reserve judgment on others who pre-approve their kids' reading.  Thankfully, I don't need to, because there would be no way I could keep up!  I can just barely read ahead fast enough in Illustrated Man to ensure the stories I'm currently reading aloud are ok.  And yes, I've skipped a few.

post #20 of 38
This thread reminds me of my childhood. My parents didn't restrict at all. We'd go to the library once a month and I could get anything I wanted.

At 8 I was definitely reading teen drama. I suppose I self-censored to a degree, due to lack of interest in extreme violence, etc., not necessarily from discomfort/sensitivity.

Of course I gravitated towards kid books mostly, but I read plenty of other things too. My whole childhood I definitely was reading things that were technically age-inappropriate (sex, adult topics/relationships, etc.) and if my mom had known the details she may have censored, I don't know. I was also that kid borrowing my mom's books off the shelf and reading anything and everything that caught my interest.

But to be honest, I think I am much better for it! I don't know that I would have been such a reader if reading had been this restricted thing instead of an infinite world of possibility. For me part of the allure was I could read whatever I chose. It's not like you could stop someone from doing that anyway, if they really wanted.

I don't know many people who read as much as I did as a child--like, I was reading Dickens at 11--and I think it's kind of awesome and hope my kids do the same. So, not saying you shouldn't pay attention, but I guess I'm in the "don't restrict" camp.
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