Just Heather
Helicopter Mom or Good Parenting?

Earlier this week, I did an interview on my reasons for not letting my tween daughter see New Moon this weekend. As it turns out, the article was for CNN. I had no idea. I also had no idea people would view my decision as something bad. In the comments, I have been called a cruel, controlling cougar. Okay, one comment, but it has several Likes so there are obviously people who agree with Krista.

I am, quite honestly, shocked that anyone would disagree with me. The movie is rated PG-13 and based on a “young adult” novel. My daughter is only 11. It seems only logical that I would have to make a parental decision on the matter and assert some authority as her mother. In fact, I have trouble understanding the parents who let their children read the books or watch the movies without any personal knowledge of the content.

I have read the entire series—10 times. I, obviously, love it but that doesn’t make it automatically appropriate for a child. I love Cosmos too but you don’t see me passing them out at family dinner. Twilight is quite tame, as is New Moon, really. The Volturi are creepy & scary, sure, but she has enjoyed Aliens and Poltergeist so that is not an issue. She’s also read the entire Harry Potter series and seen the movies (in fact, she’s watching one now on a sick day) so the fantasy thing is clearly not an issue.

Where I take issue is with Eclipse, as the content turns more adult. Bella faces decisions about premarital sex and teen marriage. In Breaking Dawn, her struggles expand to include the topic of abortion. Yes, I’ve discussed all of these with her but that doesn’t mean she’s ready to see them played out in her imagination or on screen. I did finally relent and let her read Twilight & New Moon, but I put my foot down on finishing the series. At least for a few years.

However, I was not willing to let her see this movie yet. Mostly, because there is always the chance with a book-based movie for content from later books to insert itself into earlier movies. I wasn’t sure how much of the above subjects would be a part of New Moon. As it turns out, the movie is actually quite accurate to the book. I was pleasantly surprised. We’ll probably let her see it when it comes out on DVD.

That’s called parenting. I see nothing cruel about letting children know some things were not meant for them. When did it become okay to let children make their own decisions. I either stand idly by while my daughter does whatever she wants or risk being called a mean mom and a helicopter parent. I tend to be fairly liberal about a lot of things. I think their dad and I do a pretty good job of finding middle ground—giving our children freedom as appropriate and reining them in when they need guidance.

Why is everything black or white with Mommy Wars? You either breastfeed or you don’t. You can work or stay at home. We draw so many lines about what is and isn’t a good mom. There doesn’t seem to be any recognition that every parent has different children and, therefore, will need to tailor their own decisions. I can’t even use the same parenting twice because I have 3 very unique girls! Is it really so hard to understand each child, situation and parent may need to make decisions unique to their circumstances?

14 Responses to “Helicopter Mom or Good Parenting?”

  1. Totally with you on this. I look at WHY it’s rated, not what it’s rated. If it’s for violence, hell, they’ve seen that. Language, different story. Sex and beyond? NOT YET.

  2. http://www.kidsinmind.com describes EXACTLY what scenes, events, actions, plots earned the rating. Best tool ever for deciding what’s appropriate for your child.

  3. I agree with Mindy – I care more about the reasons behind the rating than the rating itself. We make the decisions we feel are in the best interests of our children. I would never presume to force my opinions on someone else – to each his own!

    Do what you feel is right and try not to feel like you have to defend your choices.

  4. You are right. 11 is too young for some of that content.
    Good luck

  5. You are her parent. You have to do what is right for you and her. YOu know wether or not she is mature enough. I think sometimes it is hard to know if you are making the right choice. It sounds like you made the right choice for your child. The ratings are just a guideline. My 16 year old brother is very smart and half makes me feel dumb. We have adjusted the ratings to fit him.

    Keep your chin up and let the comments roll off. You are the only one that truly knows your family.

    congrats on the cnn article. We love cnn

  6. Unfortunately there will ALWAYS be people who don’t agree with your decision on the way you parent. I would have done the same thing you did though. Why on earth would one want to introduce their children to mature things? I mean, it will be there for them, ten fold, in a few years, keep them sheilded for as long as you are able. Just my thoughts as a Mommy, am I bad now too? LOL! Great post!

  7. I agree with everyone else, you did the right thing. Just because you care enough to be concerned for your kids doesn’t mean others should be saying you are bad for it. What are they thinking anyway? Maybe they should be spending more time following what their children do…

  8. Keep your head up, Heather. I think you do a great job. PS…I’m kind of unclear as to how your decision to keep your daughter from seeing that movie makes you a cougar. Did Krista elaborate?

  9. I think it’s kinda sad that you would be slammed for not allowing YOUR OWN CHILD to see a movie, no matter WHAT the rating. You have very good reason as well as personal knowledge of the story line in this case, so it’s not one elses business if you allow your child to see it in the theatre or not! Not to mention what is now PG-13 would have been R 20 years ago when I was seeing movies like that. I remember not being allowed to see Top Gun in the theatre when I was 11. A lot of my friends got to go, but not me. Oh such a tragedy!!! Oh, wait, I survived, AND I think I’m a fairly well adjusted adult too…hmmmm, maybe there is something to this word “no.” (At least now I can watch Top Gun to my hearts content…well, maybe just the volleyball scene is what matters.)

    So that person that called you a cruel, controller couger…wonder where his/her kids will end up someday…my guess is prison, but maybe just YEARS of therapy. Either way, don’t worry about the negative comments, you did the right thing!

  10. I suppose, then, I should nominate the women that had their 5 yr. olds at the movie today for Mother of the Year?! lol

    Don’t ever forget (I don’t think you will) that YOU are your daughter’s mother…and no one (even your daughter) has to agree with how you do the job!

  11. I have three words for you:

    You’re a good mom!!!

  12. Good for you. I think you made the right choice for you child and YES that is parenting. Just ignore those other people who disagree. Chances are they are the ones who do let their kids make all their own decisions. Which we know is a bad thing.

  13. Good for you, Heather! There obviously aren’t enough parents out there who actually parent. I say you’re doing a great job.

  14. Let me at the cougar-name-calling Mommy. So quick to judge. Tolerance, patience, acceptance. We are mothers, afterall.