Why you should never ever let your children watch romantic movies

30 Jun

Quote from High Fidelity by Nick Hornby:

“People worry about kids playing with guns, and teenagers watching violent videos; we are scared that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands – literally thousands – of songs about broken hearts and rejection and pain and misery and loss”

The same holds true for romantic movies. I usually avoid all tear-jerker movies – I do not have the patience for sob stuff anymore – usually it’s so over-the-top that you just want to throw up. I and my husband quote Joe Queenan whenever we end up watching such a scene in an otherwise entertaining movie/TV-series -”die witch, die”. This is what Queenan was thinking when the girl in ‘A Walk to Remember’ was still talking when she was supposed to just die. I haven’t seen the movie but Joe McQueen’s review was enough to convey the message. (‘Notebook’ is my dirty secret because it has got Ryan Gosling in it but otherwise I hate Nicholas Sparks books and movies based on them.)

Coming back to the quote in High Fidelity, just imagine your impressionable teenagers growing up with movies where people get married to their ‘eternal love’ because it has been destined so, imagine the pain and heart-break when they find out that there is no ready-made Mr. or Ms. Right? All these movies that portray such love should be rated 21-and-above because any younger, you are not ready to understand the difference between real-life and the edited version of reel-life.

I had my heart-broken once, though looking back now, I know I broke it myself. The other party was blameless. I ended up reading Herman Hesse’s ‘Steppenwolf’. Not a good book to read when you are sad. But somehow, being the eternal optimist I am, I did not go down in despair. But I do worry for my children.

How are our children going to learn that compromises and respect is what keeps people together? What if, they never feel content with what they have in hand? What if, they wait forever because they think there is someone out there who is a better fit? Or what if, they never take a chance because of all the pain it might cause? What if, they think they should choose the first person that gives them a love-note because that is how it is to be and in case that does not work out, grow despondent?

That is scary!

I hope my children realize that a relationship is lots of hard work which starts right after the ‘They lived happily ever-after’. I hope they realize that whomever you choose, there is no 100% guarantee that your relationship will remain the same – time and daily-life can be cruel masters. If you both work on it, you can both grow to be an even better-fit but if you stop communicating, your relationship can fall apart (queue in the movie ‘Blue Valentine’).

I try not to cocoon my children from all the differences me and my husband have just like I do not hide my love for their father. And I am still learning from my in-laws how illness and hardship does not mean end of a happy relationship.

Without hope we are lost but to expect easy fairy-tale endings would be foolhardy. I am going to go bake a cake with my children and tell them ‘How I met their father’.

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15 Responses to “Why you should never ever let your children watch romantic movies”

  1. bona92 June 30, 2013 at 7:18 am #

    I don’t have kids, but I know quite a lot of people who got stuck in their way of thinking of how an ideal relationship/courtship should be because of this. It’s not that they shouldn’t watch them, but I think they just need to realize that these are fiction, not real life, they are made to sell, they’re for entertainment purposes, and of course the makers would put what looks good on screen, and what would work for the universe of their story. Sadly, a lot of people don’t realize that.

    Had my heart broken in the past too, and thankfully I’m not a fan of romantic movies (I don’t mind them from time to time), but yeah, I watched a lot of action packed movies instead, with the guns blazing and explosions here and there… much better (and well, my kind of movies). Someone I know actually watched gazillions of romantic movies when she was heartbroken, which I think was a very stupid move, and only made her feel miserable and wondered why her love life can’t be like what was on screen.

    Great post. I love the quote too, btw 🙂

    • karma2000 June 30, 2013 at 8:09 am #

      Thanks for the comment. I hope your friend has made peace with the situation and herself. You are right, it is not that they should not watch but should understand the difference. I think that happens only if they have real role-models like family around them. Parents should be open with their kids and that would save an entire generation from disillusion.

  2. Simple Northern Life June 30, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

    Great point of view, I agree with you 100 percent that these movies are not a good portrayal of life. I have let my daughter watch a few of these but I find myself talking to her during and after about how unrealistic they really are. In addition to the Princess movies from Disney when she was younger. Thanks for sharing, I look forward to your new posts. Have a great Sunday! Allie

    • karma2000 July 1, 2013 at 2:46 am #

      That is the key. To provide the children support and talk to them about what they are watching and what is going on around them. This post was triggered because of a tragic suicide of a starlet in India because her relationship did not work out and she left a note blaming the guy for it and he is in Jail now. It is also so sad. I just hope that we all remember to keep our children grounded on reality.

  3. indra June 30, 2013 at 4:44 pm #

    well written.one of your best piece of writing.food for thought.

    • karma2000 July 1, 2013 at 2:39 am #

      Thank you! It was actually in response to this tragic suicide of Jiah Khan. Although in her case, probably clinical depression played a role but I think parents should be aware and talk to their children about reality.

  4. thatfilmreviewer July 1, 2013 at 12:40 am #

    Reblogged this on mewatchingfilms and commented:
    I could not agree more.

  5. loadupmolly July 1, 2013 at 12:43 pm #

    I hope that children learn more from their parents and other adults around them than they do from silly movies. It just goes back to how important a supportive family is for the development of a child. While I agree with you about the over climactic message of romance films, there is also something to be said about teaching children not to settle. They should expect someone and something great for themselves, because they are worth it. As long as they are taught that even a “great” relationship takes work from both sides and that relationships (and all things in life) are undulating, then I think they will be as well equipped for life as we can hope for.

    • karma2000 July 1, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

      I agree! Perhaps I did not write that clearly, they should definitely *not* settle and ‘accept’ their fate/destiny but neither should they strive for “perfect” match, be it a life-partner, job or even that perfect flat. They should be able to see what is real and what is conditioning. And I hope my kids will be able to understand that difference

  6. cchung90 July 1, 2013 at 11:04 pm #

    I think you raise some very good points. Romance movies are pretty unrealistic–to be fair to them, however, there are quite a few romance plots where the main character has a friend, pursues some ideal person, and then later realizes that their friend (who was there all along) was the right match for them. Though this is idealized too somewhat, at least it reinforces the notion that we may not want what we think we want.

    • karma2000 July 2, 2013 at 2:16 am #

      I agree. Its not the movies that are at fault but the missing discussion about what our children are watching and dreaming about.

  7. Conna Bond July 2, 2013 at 4:19 am #

    Love this…have blogged about similar things a few times.

    • karma2000 July 2, 2013 at 4:23 am #

      Just read our post on Machiavelli. Left you a note! Have a nice day!

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