We saw The Conjuring Saturday morning. Of course, further investigation into the Parron family haunting is now required. Here’s a sort of non-sequitur; I love the musical prefaces movie makers use to startling events.
So, here’s the rub. We were also treated to a newborn’s attendance to this R-rated movie. The parents took the baby out when it cried. That was considerate. But the child cried only when there was an event that made the mother or father jump or start. In other words, the infant reacted to the stress of the parent.
We spoke to a theatre manager. Their corporate policy prevents the admittance of children under six with a parent or guardian to an R-rated movie after 6 p.m. Corporate policy also states that a disruptive child and parent may be asked to leave the theatre.
Corporate policy does not attempt in any way to protect a child from the stress or emotional damage the viewing of a violent or frightening movie. It is left to the parents’ discretion.
We have an incredible amount of ambiguity in our causes. The conservative rite (please note the spelling is in deference to the fact that opinion does not make right) is demanding the preservation of life from conception, but leaves corporations to make policy on living children; policies that are not always in the best interests of children. The stress a parent feels is transmitted to an infant and though the infant may not have specific memory of the incident, the effects of stress, in my experience, are cumulative. And the same would apply to the stress any child is subjected to when viewing violence or horror.
The infant attending The Conjuring won’t have recall, but why would a parent subject the child to that stress.
I would not allow my children to watch horror or excess violence. Falon didn’t see Pulp Fiction until after her twenty-first birthday. She told me she wished she had never watched it. Zachary was a bit more difficult to monitor and he saw it way too early outside my supervision.
Don’t get me wrong, I made other mistakes and lots of them. My stress level during Zach’s first few years was enough to scar the kid for life. I have to live with that. I have to live with the scars I dealt Falon as well. Life can be hard to bear at times. And all of us are muddling through the best we can. I don’t really know if nature or nurture is the key to a well-adjusted, happy child, but why take a chance. Nurture is something we can all work on. We can try to help one another raise the kids we already have in the best manner possible.
So my theory is this: start by asking movie theatre corporations and independent cinemas to stick to the ratings guidelines no matter what time of day it is. Go to your favorite’s website and contact them requesting this policy. Ask parents to stick to the simple guideline of age 14 with an adult, no matter how mature the child. Give kids a chance to grow up and learn to handle stress in a healthy manner before subjecting them to violence and horror.
It may not be the end-all answer, but it’s a beginning.
We have to advocate for the ones we have.