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Surviving Christmas TV with a child who joined the family by adoption

143 replies

Italiangreyhound · 14/12/2014 17:31

Oh look, Kung Fu Panda (adopted by a stork), on Sat 29th, Cinderella (lost her birth mum and dad married a bitch) in 22nd, The Rugrats movie (returning a new born baby to the hospital) in 23, Puss in Boots (and Humpty Dumpty was in the orphanage) on Christmas Day! Plus on that day we have Nanny Mchee (the children who have lost their mum), the child catcher on Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and later Kung Fu Panda 2. All we need is Tanged and Elf and we might be part way to a full set!

We started watching Elf last week on DVD but once they started talking about Will Ferrel going to find his 'real dad' I felt we should probably stop!

So there are a lot of programmes on TV this Christmas that some of our kids might find worrying.

OP posts:
WillkommenBienvenue · 15/12/2014 21:39
Confused
Kewcumber · 15/12/2014 21:40

I don't see the problem

Well you wouldn't would you Confused

I'm not at all precious about watching adoption themed films with DS in fact one of his favorite films is Mathilda. Frankly most of us (particularly with older children aren't short of "opportunies" to explore their feelings! DS is confronted with the reality of "why did your real mum give you away" in the playground fairly often thanks.

And as DS did come from an orphanage of sorts he is almost invariably confronted with grim horrible places run by evil crooks in almost every film I have ever seen with an orphanage. His reality is very far from this portrayal, but it still requires reassurance and a discussion every time about how it wasn't like that and how he was cared for by some lovely kind women who took very good care of him.

I don't need Disney to provide me with an opportunity to excel as a parent, I get bloody enough of them as it is!

In DS's case where he has attachment issues and dreadful self esteem problems as a result, the nifty giving backwards and forwards of children like unwanted parcels isn't helpful.

And I don't find it unusual that adoptive parents should be discussing which films are potentially problematic for our children. I'm not quite sure what your lack of insight adds to the discussion (even if you were an adoptive parent, as just because your child didn;t have a problem with it then it doesn;t mean many others won't).

It would be a bit like me wandering onto the SN board in a thread discussing the poor portrayal of people with disabilites in films and announcing that I didn't see the problem and how it gives them a lovely opportunity to discuss with their children the realities of life. Do you not see how dismissive that sounds. Particularly as I've only this morning had to plough through the long email from our inclusion manager with the various attempts the school is making to help him deal with his (adoption related) issues at school.

As Jameme says sometimes, you know, you just want to watch a film.

64x32x24 · 15/12/2014 21:42

Willkommen, I'd say two things to that:

  • If there is a movie about a 'difficult' topic, say, a war, or the holocaust, or a natural disaster. So you watch it together and discuss and learn. But assume that the movie shows things in badly incorrect ways. E.g. all the people who are killed suddenly come back to life at the end of the movie, and laugh about being killed, as it is all only pretend anyway, and people don't get killed in wars. Or, assume that it shows things in a way personal to your family, e.g. a natural disaster destroys the very house, in the very town you live; despite this kind of natural disaster being highly unlikely for your area. Would you still want to watch this movie with your kids, unprepared? Would you still see it as an 'opportunity'? Or would you turn it off as soon as you realised just how wrong the message is that comes across, and just how personally upsetting it will be for your children? You sometimes cannot 'discuss away' deep-seated fears and anxieties, you know. And in adoption you might not even realise how very personal a movie scene is for your child, whereas if you saw your family home being crushed by volcanic lava, at least you would know that your children might be upset by that.


  • And would you be happy to come across such a movie, unprepared, on Christmas day - when you were hoping to chill out a bit and focus on the good things in your lives and maybe beginning to build a positive kind of Christmas tradition for your new-ish family (say, it's the first Christmas with your new partner and his children after a long time of being a single mum). Or would you perhaps prefer to have some genuine feel-good movie, with no nasty surprises, and have the 'discuss and learn' movies at another time?
Kewcumber · 15/12/2014 21:43

I think what concerns me really is that you feel you have to hide something from your child

Right-o.

Confused

Let me translate... what Jameme means is

"Fuck right off with your condescending concern, I probably have had more difficult conversations with my child (or in store for me) than you can possibly imagine. And they aren;t difficult they are potentially life changing".

Feel feel to correct me if I've misunderstood Jameme.

Kewcumber · 15/12/2014 21:47

Actually 64 - I think its more akin to watching a film about the Holocaust with a child survivor where a princess waves a wand and everything gets better.

Some of our children already know that bad things happen to good people and it doesn't matter how good you try to be bad things can still happen and your parent can't or won't protect you from it.

And lets not get into the conversation about how early life trauma affects the brain and the neural pathways and how children can react to scary (in their eyes) stimuli.

64x32x24 · 15/12/2014 21:50

Yeah it's a bit like saying 'why won't you let your child watch porn? Sexuality is a natural part of life, it concerns me that you feel you have to hide something from your child. Never mind that porn movies portray sexuality in a way that won't fit exactly your own child's experiences of sex as they grow up. You could use them as an opportunity to discuss things; or wince and avoid.'
And never mind that the sex shown in porn movies is unrealistic, conveys awful stereotypes, and might damage your child's mental health.

Jameme · 15/12/2014 21:52

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Kewcumber · 15/12/2014 21:54

I think as I was paraphrasing you, you're safe. Grin

Kewcumber · 15/12/2014 21:57

The laugh of it is that it isn't even a thread where we precious adoptive paretns are insisting our little Fifitot shouldn't be exposed to such damaging stereotypes. We're really discussing which ones are a bit of a problem and what to watch out for.

Silly us managing our children's deepest fears by hiding the truth from them - I must remember that for DS's Life Story Book - less age appropriate truth, more fluff and deception.

WillkommenBienvenue · 15/12/2014 21:58

It would be a bit like me wandering onto the SN board in a thread discussing the poor portrayal of people with disabilites

As a parent of a child with SN I see her as a child first and the disability is something she just deals with in the same way that all children deal with various disadvantages. I wish there were more films with disabled children in them trying to overcome their problems, whatever their story.

I appreciate that it's not that simple but I am wary of deliberately avoiding opportunities for interpretation. Maybe I'm just jealous that your children are represented in films and mine aren't!

Jameme · 15/12/2014 21:59

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WillkommenBienvenue · 15/12/2014 22:00

"Fuck right off with your condescending concern, I probably have had more difficult conversations with my child (or in store for me) than you can possibly imagine. And they aren;t difficult they are potentially life changing".

And I haven't?

Nice.

Jameme · 15/12/2014 22:05

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Kewcumber · 15/12/2014 22:06

Do you really believe this Willkommen...

I think what concerns me really is that you feel you have to hide something from your child, that there are some things that are to be kept quiet

Do you seriously think we need a lecture about dealing with difficult issues? Have you read any of the threads on adoption where people have shared some of the difficulties they and their DC's are having? Given your personal position I'm really startled at how cavalier an attitude that is.

I don't know how to type a hollow laugh that it would even be possible to hide the issues caused by DS's early life.

Kewcumber · 15/12/2014 22:08

Nice

That isn't actually a requirement for adoptive parents (thankfully), I haven't had a "nice" day and I didn't think your passive aggressive lecture about how we ought to be dealing with it was "nice" either.

So I wasn't nice back.

Kewcumber · 15/12/2014 22:09

And I haven't? I have no idea - I said "probably" and if you really have I'd expect you to have more empathy.

WillkommenBienvenue · 15/12/2014 22:11

Oh good grief.

Kewcumber · 15/12/2014 22:11

I'll stop raging now. You can blame the sinusitis and a severely anxious child who isn't sleeping well. (Not that my opinion would have been different, I just might have phrased it more tactfully)

Gavlarrr · 15/12/2014 22:12

You're thinking into it waaayyy too much!

Jameme · 15/12/2014 22:13

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Kewcumber · 15/12/2014 22:13

OK I'll tell DS that, thanks for that. It hadn't occurred to me to tell him not to worry his pretty little head about it.

Kewcumber · 15/12/2014 22:16

DS was fine with tangled but then he didn't identify with it at all. She was stolen from her parents and raised by a witch and "real" parents were a King and Queen so it depends how much she identifies with it and how much of a witch you are

Stuart Little 1 was a way bigger problem for DS. We had to stop reading the book. SL 2 and 3 are fine.

Lilka · 15/12/2014 22:16

Wilkommen - Christmas is a stressful enough time as it is for many children. If I judge a movie right, or it doesn't really have an effect, it's fine. It's like 'Annie' or 'Despicable Me'. Or maybe we will be able to talk about it and explore their feelings. But judge it wrong, and it's not a calm and exploratory conversation I'm dealing with, but depending on the child it might be fright, tears, sudden aggression, hours and hours of very difficult behaviour. It's not a calm discussion if it's speaking to your deepest fears, which pervade your life already as it is. DD2 was diagnosed with (complex) PTSD, and it's not 'ooh here's an opportunity for a good discussion' if something would be a 'trigger' for her.

Christmas eve/day is not the right time for risking this, so we never watch new films with potentially iffy themes then. And I always appreciate a heads up about an upcoming film with difficult themes.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe' remake? Humungous massive mistake. Never again. Ever

Books are often better for exploring issues - DS is really responsive to books. But films are so immersive and 'in your face' (especially in the cinema) that it's a really different matter

Kewcumber · 15/12/2014 22:18

God Lilka - I was only thinking today that the combination of me being ill and Christmas is an absolute killer for DS. He should destress a bit when he finishes school.

I need more sleep!

Kewcumber · 15/12/2014 22:20

DS is worse with books - almost like me reading it in my voice makes it more real for him.

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