Nostalgia Gone Wrong: When Sharing Becomes a Parenting Fail


I love, love, love sharing old books, music, TV and movies from my childhood with my kids. It is the most amazing thing to share a childhood favorite and watch your child connect with it on the same level you did at their age. Listening to my son say “Bueller? Bueller?” Listening to my daughter sing along to Cyndi Lauper. Watching my kids try to do the African Anteater Dance from Can’t Buy Me Love, and even learn a lesson or two about how to be true to yourself.

Nostalgia Gone Wrong: Movies

After a few missteps, I have become pretty good at gauging what movies are appropriate to share with MY kids, age 8 and 13. (I realize every family is different but this is what we are comfortable with.) I have found that PG movies from the 80’s are VERY different from PG movies now. But, armed with a few valuable Web sites like Common Sense Media, I can review the content of my favorites and know that they are OK for my kids. My kids can quote National Lampoon’s Vacation, Better Off Dead and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off by heart, but Sixteen Candles is a little too much for them yet. I am OK with most profanity, but I draw the line at too many mature situations.

This week we made a mistake. Big time.

During a recent pay cable free preview, we DVR’d Kindergarten Cop. Our recollection was funny lines like “It’s not a tumor” and slapstick violence more like Home Alone. Boy, was I wrong. While I realized quickly the violence was not slapstick, I figured the humor would offset the questionable early scenes and it did. Until the end when we realized very quickly that today’s kids have a very different view of violence in a school setting. When we watched that movie as kids, we saw an over-the-top action scene of a bad guy facing off against a good guy, where the good guy wins and everyone lives happily ever after. My kids saw it through the lens of monthly lockdown drills and the very real possibility that our schools are not the safe place we naively believed as children.

We were able to reassure our kids, especially my youngest,  that this was a work of fiction and focus on the happy ending. But, I will take more care in the future to frame my decisions on what they watch not only on the content of the show, but how they will experience it as a teen and child in 2018.


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