A mother starts protecting her child the very moment the baby is conceived. The mother thinks differently about what to eat and how to exercise, aware that the baby is taking in everything she does. The mother knows the baby is affected, positively or negatively, by everything that it’s exposed to.

The first ride home from the hospital the father drives 10 miles per hour, while the protective mother sits in the back seat watching over the sleeping baby. By the time baby is crawling, mom has carefully baby proofed the house. Fast forward a couple years and she’s constantly reminding her toddler to “be careful”, “don’t run”, and “that’s too high to climb”. She is always ready to step in at the playground if those big kids are being too rough around her child.

We can’t help our protective, motherly instinct. It’s always on.

We slather them with sunscreen in the summer, bundle them up so they can hardly walk in the winter, check labels for high fructose corn syrup year round, and always listen to the clean version of pop music.

Add one more thing to the list: checking all the reviews before taking toddlers to the movies. You cannot go off the previews no matter how funny and cute they are. I made the mistake of not researching the latest movie my family and I went to see. My bad! The movie Zootopia was too dark and violent of a movie for my kids, ages 4 and 2. My 4 year old said he wanted to go home a few times throughout the movie. The first time he jumped it was because something scary and unexpected happened, and second time he jumped-this time hiding his eyes-was when one of the characters got shot. Yes, shot!!

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After the movie, when I was speaking my mind during the car ride home, my husband reminded me it was rated PG, not G. So I’ll take the blame on this one. Again- I need to do research a little better than I did. I found a website where they break down the movie and it’s positive elements, sexual elements, and violent elements. Below is part of a review about Zootopia from the website pluggedin.com. See for yourself:

“There are some dark, roaring moments of peril in the course of Judy and Nick’s investigation that could leave the youngest of popcorn-munchers feeling a little afraid. Drugged animals, for instance, go wild and rabidly rip and tear at the environments around them. We see a small beast rake his claws across another animal’s forehead and eye. An angry fox scratches Judy’s face when she’s just a baby bunny. Larger animals threaten bodily harm to Judy and Nick. A speeding railcar crashes and erupts in an explosion. A running weasel criminal causes havoc and destruction as he crashes through a tiny town of mice and shrews (with Judy barely able to save some of the tiny creatures). Kids perform a short play depicting mammalkind’s past predatory bloodlust—ketchup and red ribbons subbing in for spurting blood.”

Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 10.05.07 PMDon’t see the big deal? That’s fine. You are the one who carried your child for 9 months. Expose your child to whatever you want-you’re the mother. But I usually let my feelings guide me. I didn’t like how I FELT in the theater knowing my children were getting fed by fear and violence. Am I over reacting? Over protective? Maybe. Interesting though-people say there is “nothing but violence on the news,”  “there are so many ‘crazy people’ out there now a days,” “crime is at an all time high,” “the youth don’t respect authority anymore,”  yet no one wants to admit there is a connection between these things and media. What we allow our children to watch does affect them.

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THE OPENING LINE of the Minions movie the narrator says, “Minions have been on this planet far longer than we have. They go by many names: Dave, Carl.. that one is Norbert-he’s an idiot.” Already? The movie just started. My guard went up from the beginning and never really came back down. Now my kids, and all the other kids watching, know the word idiot. Great! I don’t want them to use this word toward someone else but when it’s said in the movies we’re supposed to laugh?

What we permit is what we promote.

Sure enough, after seeing the Minion movie, my 2 sons starting talking like them. We all know this is jiberish.  I didn’t mind it so much when they were playing with their toys, but when my 4 year old got in trouble and I needed to seriously scold him, all he knew how to speak was minion-ese. Not funny. A few days later we met a nice old lady in the grocery store and she tried to have a conversation with my son. He spoke minion. She was confused. I shook my head.

I don't want my kids acting like this.

I don’t want my kids acting like this.

I highly doubt I’ll take my kids to see Minions 2. We saw enough minions in thongs and butt slapping in the first movie. The character Scarlet Overkill tells them a bedtime story about BLOWING THEM UP if she becomes disappointed with their work. Thaaaat’s nice.

Once my children are a certain age, making decisions for themselves, are showing they are mature and responsible, they can do whatever. But right now, I’m still in protective mama mode. My guard goes up if I don’t feel right, I can’t help that. I’m going to be careful because it’s a crazy time we are living in.  Our little ones are the best thing that ever happened us, aren’t they? Why wouldn’t we protect them??!