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worried about what bil lets 9yo son watch

(37 Posts)
Moomin Sun 06-Feb-05 19:11:23

my brother in law is quite eccentric - very very clever and a frustrated artist but few social skills. he married an indian girl 9 years ago and they came to live over here and have had 2 sons. i only mention that she is indian because she was very naive and innocent when she first came over and she still has some difficulty seeing that her husband's behaviour and the decisions he makes about their kids can sometimes seem a bit weird and so doesn't intervene much.

their ds1, our nephew, is 9 and is an extremely intelligent and articulate boy. he's always seemed to have an old head on his shoulders in many ways amd bil does converse with him as you would an adult. this isn't weird as such, although i think he comes across as a bit arrogant at school and impatient with other kids when they don't catch on as quickly as him.

bil thinks he shouldn't be shielded from the realties of life and lets him watch tv that is far too old for him at times. e.g. he let him watch gladiator when he was 6/7 which me and mil were both a bit shocked at but didn't feel we could say a lot. i've now found out that he has been allowed to watch the auchwitz (sp?) documentary on bbc2 for the last few weeks and this is worrying me. just because the boy seems ok with it now bil doesn't see anything wrong with it. but i think seeing atrocities like this when you're so emotionally under-developed might have a lasting effect on him - either cause anxieties later or de-sensitise him to killing/inhumanity. i'm all for history being explored with him, but surely this is a bit ott? am i overreacting?

Yurtgirl Sun 06-Feb-05 19:18:14

Message withdrawn

Lonelymum Sun 06-Feb-05 19:18:35

Oh no I don't think so. My ds1 is nearly 9 and we didn't let him watch Gladiator when we bought it recently even though he loves Roman history. Also the Auschwitz programmes are very close to the bone (that puts it mildly - well how do you describe such atrocities?) I think that subject is the sort everyone should know about but when you are older and emotionally able to cope.

morningpaper Sun 06-Feb-05 19:23:13

I wouldn't have a problem with it. I'm sure that Jewish families don't avoid mentioning the holocaust until their children are 'emotionally mature enough' to accept it...

Lonelymum Sun 06-Feb-05 19:24:19

It is one thing to know it happened, quite another to see the photos of bodies piled up like a mountain or to hear details of how people died.

Moomin Sun 06-Feb-05 19:29:31

my argument to this is to say would you let a child watch porn then? after all, it does happen so why shield them from it?

PuffTheMagicDragon Sun 06-Feb-05 19:30:20

Agree with Lonelymum.

morningpaper Sun 06-Feb-05 19:32:12

Personally I don't think it's appropriate for anyone to watch porn...

I wouldn't have a problem with a 9 year-old watching a sex education film.

morningpaper Sun 06-Feb-05 19:34:59

I would worry far more about a 9 year-old watching horror films or Sex In The City.

SenoraPostrophe Sun 06-Feb-05 19:43:14

I would also be more worried about a 9 yr old watching Gladiator (in which violence is a way of life) than about an Auschwitz doc (in which violence is condemned).

Lots of kids these days watch all kinds of innapropriate stuff and don't grow up weird though.

ScummyMummy Sun 06-Feb-05 19:53:35

Tend to agree with lonelymum on this one and believe some of the visual images of the holocaust are not appropriate for younger children to see. I would categorically not let a nine year old watch the Auschwitz programmes, though I might talk to them about what happened. Children at nine are still not always totally sure of the difference between fact and fiction and I would be extremely concerned that they would either underreact because they could not take in the enormity of the horror or be absolutely terrified and have no clue as to how to deal with their emotions. I vividly remember seeing the Auschwitz images for the first time at around the age of 14/15 and the feeling of my heart, pounding with horror, shock and disgust. I really found them devastating images at a level I can't quite explain but suspect is common. However, at that age I had some resiliance and could translate that feeling into some kind of learning. Probably some of the most important learning I ever did at school, actually. I don't think I'd have been able to do the same at 9.

Moomin Sun 06-Feb-05 20:02:56

thanks for your comments. dh and i have been talking about it all evening. dh has decided to bring it up with his brother when he rings him tonight. he's the best person to speak to bil about it because it won't come across as busybodying then. i think bil will be surprised that anyone might think it was questionable. that's not to say he will agree with us but i'd be interested to hear what he says. i think scummy's comments were spot-on. i remember having much the same reaction when i learned the details.
i lost my mum when i was 9 and although i 'knew' she was dead, i was still expecting her to come back for months afterwards. i didn't fully understand that dead means you are gone forever. i worry that our nephew although he is very intelligent will feel the same type of things: a confusion about the enormity of what happened and the brutal robbing of so many lives. i don't want him to feel matter-of-fact about it!

Skribble Mon 07-Feb-05 10:59:53

I think it is right to protect our children as much as possible. They take in so much and worry about things when you don't even realise it.

I will discuss anything with my 8 yr DS if he wants to know about something. I am as honest as possible, but I don't like him watching to much news etc.

Its important to know what they are watching so you can discuss things and pick up if they are upset or confused by things. He was very worried by the Tsunami.

These images stay with us for years. I still see the faces of the people in the football disater that was live on telly when they were all crused up against the fence. If I had had kids then I would have turned it off and let them see the newsround reports later which are aimed at kids.

Let them be kids for as long as possible they will jave plenty time when they are adults to watch scary films and harrowing programmes. We have to censor when so much is availible.

Good luck Moomin with brother and BIL its not easy when its your family difficult position to be in, 9yrs is a bit young for a visual education on the holocaust.

blossom2 Mon 07-Feb-05 11:03:18

brother of a friend of mine has 2 little girls, must be 6 & 4 now. they both watch Casuality and have been watching it for some time.

i lett my DD (3) watch Cbeebies alot but no way is she still up to watch casuality at 9.00pm.

Moomina Mon 07-Feb-05 11:10:45

Agree that 9 is far too young to be watching the Auschwitz programmes. Don't think you're overreacting at all. There's a big difference between teaching your children about these things (which we should all do) and plonking a 9-year-old in front of a hour's worth of deeply disturbing and affecting images. FWIW, I will never ever forget visiting the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC, where I found many of the exhibits etc very hard to deal with and didn't sleep for nights afterwards - and that was 3 years ago at the age of 28!

Skribble Mon 07-Feb-05 11:12:57

Casualty can be a bit graphic sometimes., but I don't mind that sort of stuff so much. DS 8 yrs watches the life guard programme. I watch with him though to explain some things.

Gwenick Mon 07-Feb-05 11:15:15

lol blossom - got a friend who's DS is in my DS's group at nursery - he watches Casualty and Holby City and loves pretending to do CPR on his teddy's and soft toys.

Apparently he was up later on night not well and saw it, and became hooked! Now she lets him stay up, or records it for him, and lets him watch it - funny thing is she can't stand ANY of these hospital programmes but sits through them for him

Have to say I was quite shocked when I first heard about it, but I guess if that's what he likes (he's got just about every 'doctors' kit for 4yrs old going) then fair play.

My DS watches lots of wildlife programmes with daddy, watching lions and tigers ripping other animals apart......

Skribble Mon 07-Feb-05 11:21:29

Its funny how some things are OK to watch. Mine love nature programmes too. But I don't like them watching Eastenders not a good example of family life and how to conduct yourself in the big bad world.

I draw the line at American Idol its far to harrowing .

Skribble Mon 07-Feb-05 11:25:50

When it comes to films DS 8yrs says "Well you watch it and see if you think I can watch it"

Films that are a scarey like lord of the rings he watches the making of it first and loves to explain how all the special effects are done.

When BIL first came back to stay with MIL I would come in to find them watching all sorts of films. He now knows to check with me first.

Moomin Mon 07-Feb-05 19:10:22

quick update - dh didn't get chance to speak to bil last night but he's ringing him tonight about something different and plans to bring it up then. i've read all the comments here and am now convinced bil has underestimated his ds's take on the things he's been watching. i also think that he (bil's ds) is the type of kid that could well be quite de-sensitised to things rather than become anxious, which is also worrying.

i'm reminded of my friend's sister who is an incredibly brainy person (one of those sceintists that is looking for a cure for cancer, that kind of thing), telling her 5 year old dd about periods, because she asked about a tampon she'd seen. there was no easing her in gently, my friend's sister told the child everything and couldn't undertand why her sis and mum were shocked. a few weeks later her dd started having nightmares and developed an aversion to going to the loo as she was convinced she'd start bleeding at any time .

in some ways, it's too late now anyway, as the boy has watched all the programmes now; there's only 1 left.

noddyholder Mon 07-Feb-05 19:13:04

my ds is 10 and watched this as they ewere studying it at school I am worried mnow although he wasn't traumatised at all and seemed moved by it etc It is real after all and some of the fictional stuff they watch is worse

Moomin Mon 07-Feb-05 19:18:11

but the fact that is is real is the difficulty. i find it deeply upsetting to think about the tv news report about the two undercover policemen that drove into an ira funeral by mistake and were later beaten to death. i remember their faces so well and couldn't reconcile myself to the fact that this real life - one minute they were there, alive on the tv, and the next minute they were dead - you could see the expression on their faces really clearly. - and i was 18 when i saw this.
i just think kids don't have the emotional capacity to take stuff like this in.

maybe if you talk to your kids you can gauge how they are feeling. i'm all for them learning about it, as someone else said earlier - but they don't need to witness all the harrowing details until they are older, imo.

Moomin Mon 07-Feb-05 19:21:16

or maybe even see it from the point of view that the story does need to be told, but the true horror of it can only be truely appreciated from an older person's perspective. kids may not necessarily be traumatised about it but they may be de-sensitised to it (sorry to use that word again, can't think of a suitable alternative).

noddyholder Mon 07-Feb-05 19:21:48

but the details of these issues are harrowing and some of the other things they watch aren't so that seems pretty realistic to me and balanced

philippat Mon 07-Feb-05 19:25:20

If it's any help the Imperial War Museum put a suggested min age of 14 on their Holocaust exhibition. The British Board of Film Classification put a 12A cert on IWM's Horrors of Genocide film, although IWM themselves suggest min age of 16.

I think I read Anne Frank at about 9, though. Perhaps that would be an alternative?

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