Pre-teen and censoring reading - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 43 Old 10-24-2010, 01:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My eldest dd turned 12 about 1.5 months ago. I have never censored what she chooses to read b/c she has always done a pretty good job of self-censoring. A few years ago, for instance, she started reading the Piers Anthony Incarnations of Immortality series. I knew that there was a suicide in book one and that it had some challenging issues. She and I discussed it and she chose to read them anyway which was okay. After getting a ways into the series, she decided to stop reading them when there were some issues with treatment of women in the books that she didn't feel prepared to read about.

Just a few weeks ago, she picked up the book, the Lovely Bones. One of my friends told me not to let her read it, but by then she had already finished it. My friend is, admitedly, much more conservative and protective with her child than I am. I then read the book which was good, but devastatingly sad. I'm not as bothered with her reading about the family coping after the girl's murder. I don't know if that hit her as hard as it did me b/c she isn't a parent.

What I am worried about her having read were the scenes that dealt with sex and especially the rape of the main character, who was 14, before her murder. Recognizing that dd and I have a close relationship, that she is a fairly "old soul" type of kid who is comfortable in her own skin, and that she tends to have friends who are 1-2 years older than herself due to where her bd falls and that she skipped a grade in school, would you censor her reading things like this? Simply discuss the content with her? Anything else?
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#2 of 43 Old 10-24-2010, 02:03 PM
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I would first ask myself why the topic of rape bothers me more than the topic of murder. I would then ask myself what I'm trying to protect my daughter from. Personally, if I had girls I would want them to be well aware that rape exists.
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#3 of 43 Old 10-24-2010, 02:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I would first ask myself why the topic of rape bothers me more than the topic of murder. I would then ask myself what I'm trying to protect my daughter from. Personally, if I had girls I would want them to be well aware that rape exists.
Dd knows that it exists, but I'm not sure that I want her reading about it in detail at her age. Obviously, both are disturbing, but sexual violence as women is a greater likelihood in our lives. Granted, we could all be murdered. I guess that I just see her as being more personally damaged by hearing specifics of rape. The murder wasn't covered in detail. You know she was murdered, but they didn't describe it.

Either way, the question remains in regard to censoring what she reads.
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#4 of 43 Old 10-24-2010, 04:05 PM
 
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What I do is discuss the book with DD1, and I make a recommendation and tell her why. She's not comfortable with sex scenes, but if they're incidental to the plot, she asks me to dog ear the pages so she can skip the scenes. I'm sure that at some point, she'll use my marking them as indicators of what to read first but I'm okay with that, since most of what I have done that with have been Mercedes Lackey books.

The books that I've made the strongest recommendation about are Ender's Game and a book where the main character has a form of vampirism transmitted by rape or something. She declined to read them.

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#5 of 43 Old 10-24-2010, 04:27 PM
 
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I can't really answer as a parent, as ds1 has never been prone to reading terribly adult content until very recently (I suppose I have to include Watchmen and V for Vendetta).

However, as a former preteen reader...I don't intend to ever censor what my kids read. I chose my own reading material as a child and very rarely read anything that bothered me very much. If it started to bother me, I stopped reading it. Sometimes, things went over my head (I know I missed some things in The Thorn Birds, for instance), but that didn't bother me. I kind of felt - and mom agreed with me - that if I were old enough to understand it, I was old enough to read it.

Mom didn't read much of what I read. I was into SF from an early age, and my mom didn't read it. So, she really didn't know everything that I was being exposed to, anyway. (She used to flip through some of my comics, just to keep up on what I was reading. She happened to read an X-Men comic, involving an alien race called "The Brood" and never read one of my comics again.)

Anyway...I'm rambling, but I don't censor reading material.

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#6 of 43 Old 10-24-2010, 04:43 PM
 
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I wouldn't assume that I had the ability to censor my preteens reading because I don't think that's really possible. Like music, the internet, etc., kids are going to find what's interesting or compelling to them and explore. So, I'd probably be wanting to explore the idea that you are available to discuss books, answer questions or provide guidance, should she ask. This is the approach I plan to take, or probably should have taken already!
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#7 of 43 Old 10-24-2010, 04:52 PM
 
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I wouldn't censor. At 12 I knew what rape was and murder as well. I think as a parent, remaining open and letting her know you think it's mature material and you would be happy to discuss it with her, or refer her to someone else to discuss it with, would be better.

Twelve is not all that young. I remember writing vampire stories with romance and death in them at that age. No rape, which I believe I found Too Weird Too Contemplate, but still.

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#8 of 43 Old 10-24-2010, 10:09 PM
 
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I wouldn't censor, either. If you think it might bother her, or is too much, maybe try bringing it up with her in a "non authoritarian" way... like, "I read that book and I was really bothered by the rape of the main character. It made me really uncomfortable!"... and see what she says. She may agree, prompting a conversation about it. She may not agree, and say that she was able to separate herself from fiction. Either way, she's learning more about what her personal boundaries are.

IMHO if you bring it up as a, "I don't want you read this, it makes me uncomfortable" it creates the temptation to hide it from you, lie, or go out and find something past her boundaries just to spite you. I'm not saying she WOULD, but with pre/teens that reality is definitely something to consider.


PS. As a young child I frequently read very graphic Stephen King novels, and watched a LOT of violent/gory horror movies. I started young... we're talking 7 years old! My mom didn't know about it, of course, I stayed up late and turned on the horror hour on TV (or set a watch alarm so I'd wake up when the house was asleep!).
It never bothered me or screwed me up, and while my mom was edgy about it my dad was much more open to it (once they found out what I was doing). He talked with me about muting the TV, or he'd watch something with me and we'd make jokes about the gore, or he'd explain how the make-up was done... it made watching horror movies the same kind of fun that riding a roller coaster is.

I remember that the only movie my mom put her foot down about was Bram Stoker's Dracula, because of the bestiality scene. So of course I went out and watched it the first chance I could... only because she made such a big deal about it. And I wasn't a rebellious kid!! Turns out it wasn't that bad; I was disappointed it wasn't worse, and thought the movie kind of sucked anyway. TBH I probably wouldn't have gone out of my way to watch it if she hadn't said anything.

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#9 of 43 Old 10-24-2010, 10:14 PM
 
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I've censored in the past and have no qualms about it. My DD was a very advanced reader at a young age and so subject matter was often an issue. People have no qualms about censoring movies but books and music, people get defensive lol. I wouldn't have wanted DD to read that at 12. Yes, rape exists. Sure, my DD knows about it. I send her to women's self-defense for a brush-up once a year. Still, there are millions of books to choose from... not sure it needs to be that one at that age.

Is it the end of the world that your DD read it? Of course not. I would talk to her. Acknowledge the bad but also remind her of the many positive relationships a woman can have with a man. When my DD was 9 she grabbed a high schoolers copy of "To Kill a Mockingbird." That prompted a lot of discussion but it was OK. I never outright forbad DD from reading a book. I was just honest that I was uncomfortable and we'd find something similar but a little more suitable. She's in high school now so reads anything she wants now.

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#10 of 43 Old 10-24-2010, 10:17 PM
 
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You can have older friends and be comfortable in your own skin and not want to read about rape or other extreme violence. One doesn't have a direct relationship to the other. At the very least, I'd make sure she knew the kind of content included by reading reviews ect before reading the books that might be questionable. I read Helter Skelter as a teen and honestly, I wish I'd never read it. It probably didn't help that I lived really close to where some of the murders happened and the trial was fresh in my mind but I nightmares off and on for quite awhile.
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#11 of 43 Old 10-25-2010, 12:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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You can have older friends and be comfortable in your own skin and not want to read about rape or other extreme violence. One doesn't have a direct relationship to the other.
I think that I mentioned some of the background in terms of who she is and her being somewhat ahead in grade placement b/c she is being exposed to things she might not otherwise be at her age due to her grade. For instance, one of her teachers recommended a book about date rape in 6th grade (Speak) when she was just shy of 10. I wasn't too keen on a 9 y/o reading about that and she agreed when we discussed the topic.

I mention her being comfortable in her own skin b/c she is pretty centered kid who doesn't tend to rebel. We're very close and she is very open with me.

I wasn't so much thinking of forbiding any specific books. I would be more inclined to let her know that I wasn't comfortable with the topic and asking that she consider waiting a while. In this instance, it is too late anyway.

eta: I also wanted to mention that I don't think that dd is particularly drawn to reading about rape or extreme violence per se. She just enjoys good literature and found the book to be fairly well written. She's also enjoyed books about all kinds of other topics and not enjoyed some of the more traditional preteen fare, such as Twilight, b/c the writing was so bad.
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#12 of 43 Old 10-25-2010, 12:33 AM
 
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So my take on The Lovely Bones is that the rape and murder, while horrific are secondary if not tertiary to the spiritual questions/themes posed by the story...life after death, connections between the spiritual and physical. To me, it is an extraordinarily painful and beautiful work of literature. It is a story i would never dream of keeping from my kids.
That said, I've tried "censoring" my DD's books and it's not only against my values, it's close to impossible. The books I tried in vain to limit were of the crappola genre...Gossip Girl, Twilight (uhg), etc. She soon outgrew those and moved on to Sartre, Kierkegard, and Dovsevtsky. (Please excuse the spellings)
She reads SO many books so much faster than I do, it's just impossible to screen what she reads.
Seriously, during my DD's existential phase at age 14, I would have loved for her to read Gossip Girl instead of "No Exit" for just one day.
In addition, my oldest son will only read Archie Double Digest and cookbooks. I'd love it if he read...Harry Potter but he won't. He'll read what he will.
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#13 of 43 Old 10-25-2010, 07:25 AM
 
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My experience is that kids will read what they choose to read. At 12, my youngest was reading detailed books about the Nuremberg Trials, including specifics on medical experimentation that was done. Some truly horrific stuff. I could've censored it, but then she wouldn't have read anything. Instead, I got an extra copy and read it along with her. She hasn't read Lovely Bones, because she doesn't enjoy fiction of any sort.
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#14 of 43 Old 10-25-2010, 09:22 AM
 
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I lean toward lots of discussion and guidance and suggestions rather than censorship.

First, I figure I can't ensure that they don't read any particular book, so there's no point in making a rule I can't enforce. They aren't always with me, so they have plenty of opportunities to read whatever they want without me knowing about it. I'd rather not create that situation.

Second, they read widely and so did (do) I. I'd rather be able to have honest discussions about what they are reading than try to be prohibitive. They listen when I suggest that a book isn't appropriate. It's moot now that they are 17 and 15, but when they were pre-teens they listened when I discouraged them from reading something. It didn't happen often, so they knew that I had my reasons.

I have to say movies are different. DD read A Clockwork Orange when he was 13. I asked him not to see the movie until he was much older. I don't think he's seen it yet.
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#15 of 43 Old 10-25-2010, 12:00 PM
 
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I have to say movies are different. DD read A Clockwork Orange when he was 13. I asked him not to see the movie until he was much older. I don't think he's seen it yet.
I don't think movies are really so different. Not if you are a vivid reader. I've read things that disturbed me as greatly in print as on screen. When my DD was 5, she started to read a little house book and I didn't think twice about it. It started with a description of hog boiling and DD was so disturbed we had nightmares for months and she never went back to that series (and she's in 9th grade now lol.) I'm not singling you out... I just think it's interesting that many parents wouldn't allow their 12-year-olds to see this PG-13 movie but find it wrong to deny that book to their 12-year-old child to read.

We are parents. We censor all the time.... most the time, we don't even realize we do it. We naturally take the side streets downtown that don't cross in front of the adult porn shop. We censor our conversation when they are in the room. We limit their TV and how much they can watch. Some buy software for the computer that limits where their kids go. We don't take them to R rated movies and are cautious with PG-13 ones. We do TONS of censoring because they are our children and while they will know of the dangers in life, we also want them to understand that that's a very small part of the over-all picture. Not owning specific books, keeping them on the high shelves when they are little, talking to your kids about what concerns you and even saying "no, I'd rather you not read that just yet" are just extensions on parenting.

Censoring a growing child is different from banning books. Yes, some parents make odd choices. I had a friend who wouldn't let her 16-year-old read the last Twilight book lol. That was ridiculous to me but whatever. Some parents refuse to let their kids read Junie B Jones because she's a brat with poor grammar... OK. Some refuse Harry Potter because their minister told them too. I really don't care what others do as long as they are raising good citizens and they don't try to dictate what MY kids can read and do.

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#16 of 43 Old 10-25-2010, 01:19 PM
 
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I don't think movies are really so different. Not if you are a vivid reader. I've read things that disturbed me as greatly in print as on screen. When my DD was 5, she started to read a little house book and I didn't think twice about it. It started with a description of hog boiling and DD was so disturbed we had nightmares for months and she never went back to that series (and she's in 9th grade now lol.) I'm not singling you out... I just think it's interesting that many parents wouldn't allow their 12-year-olds to see this PG-13 movie but find it wrong to deny that book to their 12-year-old child to read.

We are parents. We censor all the time.... most the time, we don't even realize we do it. We naturally take the side streets downtown that don't cross in front of the adult porn shop. We censor our conversation when they are in the room. We limit their TV and how much they can watch. Some buy software for the computer that limits where their kids go. We don't take them to R rated movies and are cautious with PG-13 ones. We do TONS of censoring because they are our children and while they will know of the dangers in life, we also want them to understand that that's a very small part of the over-all picture. Not owning specific books, keeping them on the high shelves when they are little, talking to your kids about what concerns you and even saying "no, I'd rather you not read that just yet" are just extensions on parenting.

Censoring a growing child is different from banning books. Yes, some parents make odd choices. I had a friend who wouldn't let her 16-year-old read the last Twilight book lol. That was ridiculous to me but whatever. Some parents refuse to let their kids read Junie B Jones because she's a brat with poor grammar... OK. Some refuse Harry Potter because their minister told them too. I really don't care what others do as long as they are raising good citizens and they don't try to dictate what MY kids can read and do.
Well, I won't deny that there are vividly written scenes that can disturb a reader. If I did, I'd be undermining the strength of the written word. I believe though, that my DS can process what he is reading at a different level than a movie he is watching. He can slow down or speed up his reading, skim or skip pages. We can discuss the content without the spectre of the graphic image. So for us, I think there is a difference between movies and books. YMMV for your child.

As for the daily "censorship" that might be happening, I think that's also something different. If I drive down a different street to avoid the porn shop, my child hasn't been asking to go into the porn shop and sample the wares - unlike a book they may have expressed an interest in reading. As a matter of fact, I don't recall ever avoiding an area of town on the basis that I need to protect my kids from seeing something.

The thread is also talking about pre-teens and I think they sometimes require different approach than a younger child. A pre-teen is often testing their independence. I've often found it's better to state my reasons why I think something is a bad idea (like reading Twilight) rather than outright censor. At least then, if they go ahead with it, we're able to have honest discussions about the content. Which is exactly what happened in our house with the Twilight series. I think a lot of pre-teens and teens subjected to censorship will read the book anyway, but the parents won't have any input at all. It's a missed opportunity.

When I have stated that I think something is really inappropriate, they trust my judgement and put it aside. They know that if I'm discouraging it, it must be serious.
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#17 of 43 Old 10-25-2010, 02:08 PM
 
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I do censor for my young kids, but my kids are going to know what sex and rape are before twelve. I want them to know and be educated and aware. I think at some point, warning and offering support works better than censoring.

And no, my parents didn't mince words about porn when we were young. No profanity but there was definitely a point, around middle school, when my mom spoke openly about sex. AFAIK as a working studying single mom she wasn't getting much so it didn't come up, but if it did, say, in a movie (yes, we were allowed to watch R-rated movies), she didn't censor her discussion.

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#18 of 43 Old 10-25-2010, 02:13 PM
 
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As I said, I wasn't singling you out. I just find it interesting how in this thread and the music thread, people are quick to state they don't censor... like it were a dirty thing. I just feel it's rather hypocritical as we ALL do it in some way. If we didn't, well, we'd probably be under investigation with CPS lol. I used your movie comment to point out that we censor all the time and it can be appropriate. The origional poster shouldn't feel morally wrong in not wanting her 12-year-old to read this book. She's the parent and it's her choice. It's no different a choice than deciding which church (if any) you will join, whether you raise them vegetarian or not, ect. We make decisions for our children everyday. Yes, as they get older, that shifts. However 12 is still pretty young. For a child who has NO personal experience with sex and probably little to no experience reading about positive sexual experiences, reading first about the rape and murder of a young girl warps the perception. Plus, knowing about it and how it happens is different from reading a first person account of it.

My DD is 13. She reads whatever she wants and has for a long time. There were a handful of novels I delayed when she was younger due to knowing her and her response to cruelty and brutality.

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#19 of 43 Old 10-25-2010, 05:17 PM
 
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Christa, have you had a dialogue with her about her thoughts on the book and the problematic content areas?

I was a precocious, sensitive reader and a lot of stuff I couldn't easily handle didn't go "over my head." I'm now raising a precocious, sensitive reader of 11.

I discourage DD from drinking coke, and I don't buy it for her. I encourage her to eat wholegrains, and I encourage her to be kind, and I encourage her to dress appropriately (ie wearing a raincoat when it rains). I'm providing thoughtful, connected guidance in all sorts of things. I do the same with reading. I encourage her toward books I think she'll enjoy, and discourage stuff that I think she's not ready to process yet. Twilight is a good example. She's read 1 and 2, thinks they're pretty mediocre and is okay with my advice to leave 3 and 4 for now.

Another point is has anyone here been to a teen/ya bookstore section lately? The themes have sure changes over this past year, to a whole lot about monsters <yawn>, and about kids being held captive and other dire, weird stuff. I'm beginning to think that a lot of books intended for adults are going to be less problematic that the ya section.

I think providing respectful guidance related to all forms of media is part of my parenting role.

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#20 of 43 Old 10-25-2010, 05:40 PM
 
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I'm enjoying this discussion. It has given me a lot to think about in terms of what censoring really is.
I think books and movies are quite different. It's one thing to have to imagine the violence described in the book, A Clockwork Orange (or any other book that has violence in it) and quite another to see a director's image of it, made to sell movie tickets and lacking much of the social commentary of the time that was present in the book.
The best made movies just don't capture the entire context of the books they are based upon.
Yes, we guide out kids...diet, dress, language, etc but we do that so they learn to make their own choices. Not so that we continue to control those choices.
And for many of us, it's just close to impossible to monitor what our kids read.
My DD reads too fast and I don't lock my bookshelf the way gun owners lock their gun lockers or some folks lock the liquor cabinet. (I don't, BTW)

Would I have preferred my DD not read my Anais Niin collection last summer? Yes.
Did I kinda kick myself for having it on the living room bookshelf? Yes.
But it opened up a dialogue about her budding sexuality, the changing nature of what is considered sexy, etc.
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#21 of 43 Old 10-25-2010, 05:53 PM
 
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Yes, we guide out kids...diet, dress, language, etc but we do that so they learn to make their own choices. Not so that we continue to control those choices.And for many of us, it's just close to impossible to monitor what our kids read.
My DD reads too fast and I don't lock my bookshelf the way gun owners lock their gun lockers or some folks lock the liquor cabinet. (I don't, BTW)

Would I have preferred my DD not read my Anais Niin collection last summer? Yes.
Did I kinda kick myself for having it on the living room bookshelf? Yes.
But it opened up a dialogue about her budding sexuality, the changing nature of what is considered sexy, etc.
EXACTLY! I just don't want to drop her in the deep end of the pool before she's ready - I'm trying to scaffold her.

I do not pre-read at all - there's no way I could. I have a pretty good idea of what's she's reading much of the time, and she's certainly read stuff I was surprised by. I try to get her to the library regularly to keep her supplies up .

I'm actually not worried about sexual content if it's mutual etc. It's violence that I worry most about. I should say that my method is based on what I experienced and what I see about my kid, and it may be/is very different for other people. I have read stuff that I would love to expunge from my brain, but it's there. Once you read it, the deed is done. I read a large range of genres, including crime fiction. I often just go ""yup, ok, jump ahead a bit because I don't need that imagery just now, thanks!" I'm not terribly faint hearted, but I definitely have certain images/themes that squick me out and I avoid.

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#22 of 43 Old 10-25-2010, 08:15 PM
 
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I think if I were you, I would encourage her to recognize what bothers her and either skip those pages or move on to another book. Then if you know a book she is going to read has content you are concerned about, you can suggest she pick a different book, or ask if she wants you to find the gruesome part so she can skip it. Ultimately I would leave it up to her.
I can be really sensitive to violence or explicit content and just giving myself a pass to ditch a book if it makes me uncomfortable is really healthy. In fact when I was about 14 I stopped reading the Harry Potter series because Voldotmort (sp?) was disrupting my sleep. I was very self-aware though, and that took courage and humility for me to recognize that was a healthy choice for me, even though my peers weren't affected the same way.

Amara ~ Married to my HS sweetheart, we're having a blast with baby Z (1/29/2011)

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#23 of 43 Old 10-26-2010, 12:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Interesting thoughts. I won't quote you all but will try to address some of the comments. Like Joensally, dd reads a few books every week and there is not time in my schedule to preread everything. This week, she's read The Art of Racing in the Rain and A Dog's Purpose -- both pet related novels as I understand and both books she loved.

She also liked the Hunger Games series. Those, too, were violent. Someone earlier mentioned the distinction btwn knowledge of what rape is (which dd has) and reading a first person account of being raped. Likewise, the same poster I believe said something about the challenge of having a child who has no experience with sex (either personally or even having read the likes of romance novels, which she has not) having one of her first reading experiences about sex being about violence. I don't want her to view sexuality in that light.

Also, I didn't like the fact that the main character (the one who is murdered) has a younger sister who starts having sex with her boyfriend at age 14, later marries him in her early 20s and, conveniently, doesn't get pregnant unexpectedly until after they are married. I don't mind reading that personally, but I recognize it for the fantasy it is. I wouldn't want a young girl to get the impression that sex at 14 is okay, that teens who sleep together often stay together forever, or that you can expect to avoid pregnancy for 8-10 yrs after starting having sex. You might if you are really diligent about birth control, but then why are you suddenly unexpectedly pregnant after getting married? Did the bc suddenly stop working?

That is a conversation I do plan to have with her. And, no, we haven't discussed it in detail yet in that life has been unbelievably busy and I'm barely sleeping at this point with all I've got going on. We will be, though.
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#24 of 43 Old 10-26-2010, 12:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, and last thought: I was encouraging her to self-censor prior to this b/c she had always skipped over things that bothered her or stopped reading books that felt like more than she wanted to read. This is the first book she has chosen to complete that made me uncomfortable but apparently didn't make her uncomfortable enough that she decided to opt out herself.
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#25 of 43 Old 10-26-2010, 11:14 AM
 
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I am not sure censoring books and movies is different. I have been kept up nights by books - but rarely by movies. The book experience is longer and can really get into your brain. This may be a different strokes for different folks sort of thing...but I am just as likely to have concerns over a book with graphic violence as I am a movie.

___________

May I say that the preteen period is so tricky? With younger kids if you do not want them to do something - they do not get to do it. Pointe finale. With older kids (14 or 15 plus) - as long as their choices aren't illegal or disrespectful (etc, etc) they can do what they want. Preteens are such as gray area.

I would absolutely let her know that there is a rape scene in it, and that it may be disturbing, and that she can always choose not to finnish a book. She can read the book if she wants to, you are simply warning her because you know you hate to be blindsighted by a book. It may be fun to discuss the readers bill of rights :

The right to not read.
The right to skip pages.
The right to not finish.
The right to reread.
The right to read anything.
The right to escapism.
The right to read anywhere.
The right to browse.
The right to read out loud.
The right not to defend your tastes.

My own 11 (almost 12!) yr old is unlikely to read anything disturbing - she simply avoids. MY 14 yr old reads Magna which I am sure is disturbing, but he is 14, can handle it, and is reading (many of his friends don't) so I do not say anything other than "you might want to order the next few in the series" There was a time when he wanted to read something I thought he was too young for - The Giver. He was about 11. It had been a gift (note to world: do not give controversial gifts to 11 yr olds - their moms might be put in a place of saying "no, you cannot read that now" - and that is not fun!). I ended up hiding the book. He found it - he read it. He actually liked it enough he went on to read the quais-sequels. We now have an inside joke - whenever I want him to read something, I leave it around and when he finds it I tell him he cannot read it because it is inappropriate.

Do you have the book in the house? Or was this at a library/book store? If it is in a library or book store I would not be the one to acquire it for her. I think it is fine to say "I do not think the book is appropriate for you to read, but I respect your right to choose your reading materials - you want the book, you go get it". Put the responsibility for acquiring it (even paying for it) on her.
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#26 of 43 Old 10-26-2010, 12:50 PM
 
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As with music and movies, we do not censor books in this house. We discuss them. I'm not forbidding anything like that because I think they'll read it anyway (I don't see/control them 24 hours a day), we all have different tastes and levels of interest and maturity in our educational and entertainment materials, and I'd rather have a relationship based on open dialogue than censorship. I think this philosophy permeates other aspects of our parenting.

I give my opinion, my reasons, listen to theirs, and then let it go. For example: 12 yr old dd recently has developed an interest in watching scary movies. Except she gets totally freaked out. So after a big discussion with her, here are the rules we set up together. She can watch scary movies with someone. She can't watch them when she is home alone, because she is scared she won't be able to handle it. She can sleep with me or my husband if she wants after watching a scary movie for a night or two; but if it scares her to the point that it causes anxiety and the inability to be alone in the house or sleep by herself long-term, she needs to lay off them until she can handle it. Basically, if watching scary movies causes her to become physically ill (unable to sleep, become so nervous it affects her appetite) or emotionally ill (more than a day of anxiety or nervousness; or triggers extreme social anxiety, stranger anxiety, etc), then she needs to stop watching them for at least six months or until she feels better able to handle it.

We found a recommended list of scary movies for teens that she thought she would try...things that are PG-13 or lower, ones that are thrillers as much as slashers, or are so over the top as to be funny instead of scary, that sort of thing.

Point is, we don't censor unless we truly feel it is negatively impacting their health in a major way. If they are reading something I don't like or don't think is appropriate, I'll let them know why, I'll ask why they're interested, I might suggest something a little more appropriate, and then I'll let them make their decision. I'd set up some guidelines, that if the music/book/movie results in inappropriate or unhealthy behaviors, THEN it will be censored.

The kids do pretty well self-censoring thus far.

Adding: At 12 and 15, my kids are old enough to do this. If my kid was 5 and wanting to read a porno, I'd be censoring it. I'd probably explore why she was interested, what she thought she's learn/experience (is she curious about sex? Interested in it? Wants to know what naked bodies look like? Heard about it at school?) by reading it, and try to supply some age appropriate materials, but I certainly wouldn't employ the techniques I now use.
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#27 of 43 Old 10-26-2010, 12:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Dd read the Giver a few years ago, too. That one didn't bother me as much b/c she had read Obedience to Authority a few years before that and I knew that she was aware of the human atrocities on some level. It also seemed more abstract and removed (e.g. - not likely to happen in her life).

The Lovely Bones was one she picked up at the used book store when we were there to buy something else. She started reading it in the store and I did, admitedly, let her use her gift card to buy it. I had a general idea that there was a death or murder in the book, but I didn't realize how graphic some of it was until later. She finished the book in a day or two before I had a chance to hear feedback from other parents and then, later, read it myself.
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#28 of 43 Old 10-26-2010, 12:54 PM
 
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Also, while the lovely bones is horrible, particularly for a parent, most kids your daughter's age are ready to be confronting and contemplating the negatives of our culture.

Junior high and even elementary school reading lists contain books that have some very strong themes. In 9th grade, my daughter read the Kite Runner for her lit class. In 6th they read some book about an experimental society, where people were assigned roles and "reeducated or eliminated" if they didn't fulfill those roles. In 8th grade they read Ann Frank's Diary and discuss the holocaust. Can't get heavier than that.
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#29 of 43 Old 10-26-2010, 01:10 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lorijds View Post

Junior high and even elementary school reading lists contain books that have some very strong themes. In 9th grade, my daughter read the Kite Runner for her lit class. In 6th they read some book about an experimental society, where people were assigned roles and "reeducated or eliminated" if they didn't fulfill those roles. In 8th grade they read Ann Frank's Diary and discuss the holocaust. Can't get heavier than that.
That doesn't make it right, though.

I was thoroughly traumatised by being forced to read Lord of the Flies in grade 7 or 8 before I was ready for it.

Some kids may be fine reading LOTF at that age - and some won't. It is up to the OP and the OP's daughter to weigh whether this will be overwhelming or not.

I do not think schools should have reading list with sensitive material when they know numerous kids in the class are not ready for it (and yes "re-education or elimination" is probably "too much" for numerous grade 6's ). The argument that "the schools do it" does not hold much weight with me.
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#30 of 43 Old 10-26-2010, 01:19 PM
 
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I find it interesting that these discussions end up in polarities, and that guiding ones child in matters of media is automatically deemed "censorship."

DD read The Giver in gr4, Anne Frank in gr5, all kinds of stuff. Anyone read The Hunger Games? Apparently #3 goes in a pretty intense, new direction (this one gave her pause - a little cry, a little reaching out to me, and she was back at it). This list is not the list of a child who is being censored - she has a lot of choice in what she reads, and I'm there to support her and help as needed.

Another example. DS has read the Harry Potters. He tried to watch HP6 in the theatre, but lasted 5 minutes. My parental instincts told me he wasn't ready, and he ended up feeling embarassed about having to leave. We're now discussing whether he's going to try HP7. This is a kid who sobbed through and after Toy Story 3 because he found it so dark. I don't think it's censorship to honour who a child is and to help them make decisions that work for them as individuals.

Mom to a teenager and a middle schooler.

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