Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Art of Screening

I'm the youngest of four girls. We were raised in a pretty conservative, fairly strict home and there were restrictions on what we could watch and read and what age we could start watching and reading certain things. In elementary school this was no big deal for me, my friends liked me anyways and I rarely got made fun of; aside from the time in fifth grade when my leotard fell out of my back pack and I was taunted by all the boys who lovingly referred to it as a onesie. But I digress. Things were rough for me in middle school...all three I'm sure it was rough on the majority of my peers. You can probably guess but I got teased, ganged up on (not sexually just by mean girls), made fun of, talked about, and in general had a horrible experience for those three years. High school was better, I joined the swim team and made new friends don't get me wrong though I still got made fun of but it was a little easier to accept since I knew I'd always have the swim team. You couldn't pay me to redo middle school....not now, not EVER!

Whoa! I'm really off topic. Back to screening. I know that my parents watched movies and tv shows first to ensure they were appropriate and read books first to ensure that the material was suitable for my eyes. As an adult I can truly appreciate their protecting my innocence but as a child, specifically in middle school, I found their protectiveness a lot of things but I never appreciated them for doing it. I had never seen MTV until I was a senior in high school and that was because I snuck and watched it at my grandparents (they had the good cable), I couldn't listen to mainstream radio other than the christian or oldies stations until I was in 7th or 8th grade, I wasn't allowed to read teen girl magazines but as an alternative my mom got me a subscription to a christian teen girl magazine, and the protective list goes on and on. The reason I'm telling you all this is because those things I just listed only encouraged my peers to test what I "knew." And when I didn't know something they knew about, it warranted more teasing, taunting and the like. I cried a lot in middle school. I never talked to my parents about it, I don't know why. But those three years were the worst years I've experienced so far.

There are a couple of interesting things that have come from not only my middle school experience but also from being protected by my parents from inappropriate things.
  • I became more compassionate towards others being teased.
  • I learned who my true friends were.
  • While I haven't learned to not care about what other's feel about me...I feel like I care less.
  • I feel the need to read a book first before passing it on to my mom.
  • I also need to watch a movie first before I will either recommend it to my parents or watch it with them.
  • I find myself cringing when I'm watching a movie with my parents and there is a sex scene, excessive cursing, etc.
It's funny to me that I now feel like I need to screen things for my parents. I mean, they are adults and can watch and read whatever they like but I still feel like I shouldn't recommend things that I haven't pre-approved for parental viewing. Ha! I guess it's one big circle of protectiveness. OH, and just so you know I wouldn't change a single thing about how my parent's raised me...I may have hated it at the time...but they definitely knew what they were doing and I only wish I would have trusted their judgement more. My 12 year old self is disputing this fact probably because she wants to watch Real World and read Seventeen...but I've tuned her whining out. My parent's are awesome...and that's something my 12 year old self might even agree to. :)


  1. I remember sneaking to my grandparents and seeing Real World for the first time. It was a marathon that day and I was hooked. We didn't have cable until I was about 16. And I STILL cringe if there is a sex scene or crude language in a movie if I'm watching with my parents.

    P.S. They think I don't cuss. Shh

  2. I can totally relate to the entirety of your comment!! ALL of it!

  3. I'm glad you joined the swim team.

  4. Wow, sounds a lot like my upbringing. My parents were protective and strict. No, make that very strict. And when it came to not knowing "things" my peers did, I was wayyyyy behind.

    I turned out just fine. Thanks mom and dad.