I’m not entirely sure when it happened but at some point all three of my kids, from the 9 year old to the 4 year old, have learnt how to drive an insanely hard bargain. It’s now next to impossible to ensure that the eldest actually puts his socks on when he gets dressed without entering into some sort of prolonged and tortuous negotiation process.
Of all the three, he is definitely the hardest to deal with in this respect. For example, a trip to the dentist saw all 3 children rewarded with a small Beanie Boo soft toy for not throwing a tantrum. His starting point was the LEGO Star Wars Death Star, a retired set, that goes for £400 on ebay at the moment, and he wasn’t happy when I told him that having his teeth checked over didn’t warrant that sort of investment.
Currently we have sporadic wheedling over the Deadpool movie. My view on 15 certificate movies is much like my view on 15 & 18 certificate videogames, and that’s an outright no. Further though, there are a broad range across certifications, so there are 12s that are closer to the PG end of the rating and there are 12s that you scratch your head in puzzlement as to why they didn’t get an 15 rating.
Deadpool is similar to that but in the sense it’s a 15 that I can’t for the life of me understand why it isn’t an 18. When I went to see it at the cinema, the cinema was literally wallpapered with signs saying nobody under 15 would be admitted and to expect to be asked for ID. I’m 41, and I didn’t get asked but that does give you some sort of idea over the level of violence, sex and everything else that Deadpool contains. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great super hero movie, it’s just not a kids movie. It has a lot of swearing, a lot of fairly gory shooting, the love interest is a stripper, and there’s a montage of the two having sex every month of the year with a gag about her using a strap on penis to have anal sex with him during International Womens Month. This is about as suitable for kids as South Park’s Bigger, Longer, Uncut was (ie, not at all).
Unfortunately peer group pressure/bragging among the 9 year olds in my sons class has him rather upset over my intransigence in refusing to let him watch the film. A large number of the boys in his class (some with older brothers), swear blind they’ve seen the movie and are making him feel like a baby because I won’t let him watch it.
Whether their parents have been that irresponsible, or they’re extrapolating from having watched the trailer on YouTube is nothing to do with me but his negotiations have upped a notch on this one. Last night he offered me £12.83 (all the money he has saved up), if I let him watch Deadpool. When I said no, he asked what he could do that would let him watch it, and I had to tell him to get 6 years older.
I’m now public enemy number one.
I don’t like being public enemy number one, and I remember watching age inappropriate stuff when I was younger. It was often massively to my detriment. After a diet of Hammer Horror movies taped off BBC late night, I somehow managed to blag Nightmare on Elm St for my 13 birthday. I don’t think I slept properly for about 6 months after that, it was horrific. Given the lad still has the odd nightmare about Winny the Witch (and witches in general), I’m fairly convinced that I need to be mindful of his development as well as being sure I stick to age appropriate stuff.
Over the weekend we watched Jaws together. That film was upped from a PG to a 12A back in 2012 as some scenes were deemed too intense for younger kids. It’s amazing how well it still holds together, how much of the tension relies on suggestion rather than effects but how good the majority of the effects in the big climatic boat hunt actually are. We made sure Eddie, our 4 year old, didn’t watch it and Fifi decided against it too as it was a bit scary.
The boy is interested in the mechanics of film making and he’ll often either pause a film to tell me how the effects were done or look up how they were made on his iPad while watching the thing. He is exactly the sort of person the making of featurettes on the DVD/BD are made for- personally I never watch them as I don’t like the mechanics of production interfering with my suspension of disbelief- but even an understanding of how things are done doesn’t remove my parental obligation of keeping inappropriate material away from him.