Is \"age-appropriate\" media different for PA kids?

Posted on: Tue, 02/27/2007 - 2:37am
Corvallis Mom's picture
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Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

Sorry about the topic label, which I know is strange.

Not sure how to phrase it more succinctly.

DD is almost 8. She recently read "Bridge to Terabithia" which I previewed and allowed (albeit with misgivings).

(For anyone unfamiliar with the book, it deals with a LOT of very heavyweight issues, but in a very age-appropriate manner for kids 7-12. Including the sudden, unexpected death of the female protagonist midway through the novel.) It is a very powerful novel, beautifully crafted.

Anyway. It was a book club selection for school, and DD definitely "got it" and all. I was concerned that she might identify too closely with the character, who has some VERY eerie parallels with DD's own life (she's the only child, etc. etc.). But it seemed fine. She enjoyed the book, but definitely found the ending bittersweet.

Anyway-- she really melted down over this after we saw the movie on Friday. I think it was the first time she ever really considered just how frightening [i]we, as her parents.[/i] find her allergies. She has known for a long time that she could die from her allergies. We never needed to tell her-- she just knew. What I think she [i]didn't[/i] know or think about was how shattering it would be to us, and how frightening it is for us to live with all the time.

I'm kind of babbling here. I felt terrible about this-- I would NEVER have taken her to the movie if I had known she would respond so differently to the film than to the novel.

I mean, she certainly didn't spend a lot of time dwelling on it the past few days, but she [i]burst into tears[/i] on the way home and began babbling about her late parakeet, dead over a year. But frankly, I don't think that display was about the parakeet. I think it was a metaphor for something she couldn't put voice to. She was very withdrawn for a few hours... but hasn't brought it up since.

DH, my mom and I have all come to the conclusion that there were some elements in the film that prevented her from keeping the character at arm's length as she had done in the novel-- that is, she identified more strongly with her (in part it was costuming and casting.... DD looks quite a bit like the young Ms. Robb, and the setting of the movie is deliberately pulled into a generic present day). That coupled with her unusual awareness of her own mortality probably pushed the content in a direction that it wouldn't have for most children. In other words, most kids wouldn't have the context that she does. So without her PA, it probably wouldn't have elicited such a response. The fact that she had quite a rough week preceeding this may have played into things, as well.

Is there even a question in here? I guess there is. Has anyone else experienced this with an uber-aware PA kid? Is this something I need to take into consideration with her and try to buffer? Or is it just inevitable, albeit painful "growth" for her?

Posted on: Tue, 02/27/2007 - 3:39am
luvmyboys's picture
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Joined: 05/25/2006 - 09:00

Your poor sweet daughter...allergies or not, we know she is bright beyond her years. Perhaps empathetic beyond her years as well? Many a book series caused me days of sadness as a child and early teen as well and I had no health conditions or relevant life experiences...I guess just be sure before putting connections in her head she may not know she's making - KWIM?
On the other hand, I would have to say I go in the opposite direction of what you're saying. I would tend to be a protective parent to begin with and not big on TV. But FA makes me all the more protective and I so want for my children to be normal and feel normal. I have been pushing all the Disney films for 6 months just trying to expose the kids to 'normal kids stuff' without compromising our values or safety. And DH's eyes get big when he hears me reading things like The Spiderwick Chronicles to a 4 year old or The Enormous Crocodile to a 3 year old. I wouldn't do it if it affected them emotionally, but my kids are absolutely not frightened by that fantasy stuff. So what the heck...I am trying to expose them to what I can when I can. Maybe if it was more realistic they would be troubled by it? I don't know for sure. My 4 years old did want to know why Charlotte had to die, but it ended there. I do get way to many questions about death and I imagine our honesty about PA is to blame for that.
Hope your dd is feeling more cheerful soon!
Luvmyboys

Posted on: Tue, 02/27/2007 - 7:17am
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

It was enough to switch us away from Sonlight as a curriculum.
I got so tired of (pre-) reading (M was 5-ish but devouring Narnia level stuff - I had to draw a line between academic and emotional appropriateness) books where people were dropping like flies.
Loved the idea of lit-based program, but found the reading list depressing, if not downright morbid. I have a lovely stack of pristine paperbacks as a result.
B to T didn't make the cut here, although based only on a hazy memory from my own reading way back when.
Not like there weren't any casualties in Narnia...just enough degrees removed from reality. Revolutionary War seems not to be producing sleepless nights, either.
I think your point about identification is key.
Sue

Posted on: Tue, 02/27/2007 - 11:59am
MommaBear's picture
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Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by Corvallis Mom:
[b]
DH, my mom and I have all come to the conclusion that there were some elements in the film that prevented her from keeping the character at arm's length as she had done in the novel-- that is, she identified more strongly with her (in part it was costuming and casting.... DD looks quite a bit like the young Ms. Robb, and the setting of the movie is deliberately pulled into a generic present day). That coupled with her unusual awareness of her own mortality probably pushed the content in a direction that it wouldn't have for most children. In other words, most kids wouldn't have the context that she does. So without her PA, it probably wouldn't have elicited such a response. The fact that she had quite a rough week preceeding this may have played into things, as well.
Is there even a question in here? I guess there is. Has anyone else experienced this with an uber-aware PA kid? Is this something I need to take into consideration with her and try to buffer? Or is it just inevitable, albeit painful "growth" for her? [/b]
Oh, I don't know, my family saw this movie together last week, and *all* of us were bawling. I couldn't see straight for the tears. My oldest son cried all the way home. I sat next to him and held him through the rough parts, my younger son was on dad's lap, huge Marine crying too.
[i]I don't think it was a PA issue, just a life in general issue.[/i]
although, if I had to put a finger on it, I'd say my son identified with the boy and a longing for a friend closer than a brother. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img] PA having [i]nothing[/i] to do with it. I mean, it didn't even cross my mind, I made the assessment after reading your post. Except, wait, it took me a few scenes before I got past the peanut butter smear on the boy's shirt. I kept waiting for hazmat to come and decon him.
I mean......[i]how could anyone keep any of the characters at arm's length?[/i]
I'm still overwhelmed. I probably identified most with the fear of the bus. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]

Posted on: Tue, 02/27/2007 - 12:01pm
MommaBear's picture
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Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

...I *knew* there was going to be a turn in the road when he hesitate to invite her to the art museum.

Posted on: Wed, 02/28/2007 - 12:31am
Corvallis Mom's picture
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Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

Thanks! I don't think it [i]traumatized[/i] her-- she is back to normal now and has been since Saturday.
FWIW, the novel is a good deal BETTER than the movie... it is a real period-piece from the early 1970s, set in a very impoverished, very rural Virginia... IMO, certain subtle but rich elements of the novel have been lost by "modernizing" the story. The response to the Twinkie incident didn't make as much sense in the film... in the novel, the Twinkies are a [i]HUGE[/i] status symbol... a really big deal for Maybelle (and for Jess, who is deeply resentful of them).
[i]"Where have all the flower-children-turned-into-idealistic-music-teachers gone....." [/i] [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img]
DH and I both find it nostalgic... did anyone else have one of those hippy music teachers that you [i]just knew[/i] your parents would NOT approve of?
[i]and yes-- DD and I both [b]gasped[/b] out loud at that scene on the schoolbus!!![/i]

Posted on: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 11:51am
McCobbre's picture
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Joined: 04/16/2005 - 09:00

Oh, I'm so there with you--and also with the second poster. Both/and. We did start Harry early and Unfortunate Events early. But I think this is different.
BtoT came out after my day, but I heard an interview with the author and her son, who had the movie made, on--was it Diane Rehm?? All Things Considered? I don't know. It was one of NPR's Most Emailed Stories one day last week--that' a specific podcast I get each day. The author said she wrote the book after her son's best friend, who was a girl, died after their second grade year. It was the author who had had cancer, and so it was a surprise that he lost his friend and not his mom.
We've been meaning to get this book so DS can read it. We can't go see the movie until he does--just an unspoken (or maybe it's spoken?) rule at our house, and he just finished rereading Order of the Phoenix, so we can finally go. See, that was not traumatic, but I worried about BtoT after hearing the NPR interview, because his two best friends are girls.
There have been other times--books and even movies, although I can't remember specific examples right now--when I've thought, "This is getting to my extra sensitive boy even more because he knows the risks with PA."
There is media I sensor and media I don't so much. If it has value, I tend to go with it, explain bad words, delve into complex emotional situations. The stuff I sensor is the stupid stuff out there that i don't see has any value. So this--I don't know if I would keep DS from it. Although right now, I may think about it, because it's emotionally a tough time. I don't think he'll identify with the one who dies because he's a male, but he is looking at long-term separation from his best friend, and so the movie may be especially difficult. Or it could be a way to work through it.
And maybe the movie will end up being a helpful way to work through some of this for your DD. After all, she's a sensitive child; it's not a bad thing that she's made more empathetic by this if she can get a handle on it and it doesn't have a handle on her.

Posted on: Sat, 03/03/2007 - 11:44am
NicoleinNH's picture
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Joined: 06/21/2003 - 09:00

Corvallis' Mom-I don't know if it is peanut allergy related. My children are younger and we haven't seen the movie. I bought the book to read because I heard it was profound.
My friend read the book with her 10 yr old daughter (also an only child but has no health issues) and when they finished reading it, her daughter decided she did not want to see the movie. She said it would be too hard to watch the girl die and leave everyone behind. She's a fairly young 10 yr old, but the story had enough of an impact that she didn't want to watch the movie (even though she loved the book).
I'm sure multiple issues resulted in your daughter being so touched by the movie.
My older 2 (ages 7 & 5) are quite sheltered as we have a 2 yr old who is always nearby [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] and it definitely impacts what we allow them to watch.
I have friends who are horrified that my kindergartener reads Junie B. Jones---she knows when Junie B. crosses the line and she also understands it is fictional (she's on book 13 and we haven't seen her mimic Junie B. for any length of time yet) [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] If it interests kids and they decide to keep reading, then they are probably ready for it. Junie B. makes our entire family laugh at the 'naughty' things she says [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Movies can suprise even adults with how "real" the emotions are.
I'm glad she is feeling better,
Nicole
[This message has been edited by NicoleinNH (edited March 04, 2007).]

Posted on: Wed, 03/07/2007 - 9:59am
Triciasmom's picture
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Joined: 08/03/2000 - 09:00

Corvallis mom,
I think that your daughter, as well as mine, is in the "intense" catagory.... it goes hand-in-hand with being profoundly gifted. It is a burden of sorts to live with impending doom lurking in the form of food.

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