I’m always impressed when children calmly decide when stuff might be “too much” for them.
Over the holidays, I made a little horror film with some young kids. We were just getting ready for the bit where the monster rises from the depths when Thomas, the youngest (who’s three), stopped everyone and announced that “this is too scary for me.” He then affably left the room so the rest of us could continue.
Children who are patronised don’t stand a chance.
At a party a few months ago, our hosts put on Shaun of the Dead. I was a little skittish about having the kids watch it because I wasn’t sure of how violent/scary it was, but I really wanted to see it, so we stayed. About fifteen minutes in, after the first head was pulled off, my almost-three-year-old, who was sitting on my lap, turned to me and said calmly but with a hint of panic, “Papa, I don’t want to watch this.” We of course left immediately, and everyone at the party was impressed with her lack of fear expressing what she wanted, as were my partner and I. We also felt pride in ourselves for not preemptively deciding what she could handle and for having allowed her the space to feel comfortable expressing her desires.
Patronizing parents don’t stand a chance either.