Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Peer Pressure, Parent Edition

The other day Nate said he wanted to go to the movies on Tuesday. I said okay, but he asked when I was kind of busy and a bit distracted. I asked what he was going to see. The choices here are quite limited, as most things are dubbed in Hungarian. He said he and his friends wanted to go see Hangover 2. I never saw The Hangover (Part 1) but am not surprised that a sequel was made. Money follows money. But, that doesn't mean I want my Not-Quite-13-Year Old to see it. I asked what it was rated. He said he thought it was PG. I Doubted it Very Much, but didn't say anything. I would find out for myself.

Last night his friend called just to say they would pick him up at 1 PM and that he could stay over and that everything was all set. I could tell he wanted to get the okay, and move on quickly. He didn't want a lot of questions about the movie. I was asking them though. There were "some other kids" meeting them at the movie. I asked him what movie it was. He said The Hangover 2. I asked what it was rated and he said on the cinema web site it was rated appropriate for 12 year olds. Nah..... I don't think so. 

I asked to talk to his mother. He started to splutter. He said "I've already told the other kids the time and we can't change it. It's all set." Now I could smell the fear- the 13 year old fear that some mother was going to ruin their plans. He wasn't liking where this was heading.

His mother got on the phone with me and said that it sounds like all the other kids in 7th grade have seen it and that it just sounds like a "silly movie". She seemed okay with them going. Was I really the only one who thought this was inappropriate?  I said I thought it might be a "little old" for Nate, and was supposed to be kind of raunchy. She didn't like the sound of that. Her radar was on now; she had heard the sanitized version of the movie from her son, and was going along. I could still hear her son in the background saying "All the other kids in 7th grade saw the first one and it's FINE"; it's just stupid and funny, and they wanted to go, and the web site said it was okay for 12 year olds... While we were on the phone together, I googled it, and it's rated R in the US. Um.... Nope. Not happening. I told the other mom I didn't want Nate to go. Then, the moment of truth. She said she didn't want her son to go either. I could hear him trying again. Because Everyone Else is Doing It. 

I have to say, I felt the peer pressure myself. When the other mom said that everyone else had seen the first movie, I felt like I was out of step- a buzzkill, a prude. And I think I'm not those things. I think I'm usually pretty fun. But why is it that Everyone lets their 12 and 13 year old watch a movie like this? I was going to have to be the bad guy. Usually I'm up for the job, but Nate is leaving, and this might be the last time he'd see his friends and he had such a hard year socially and I was killing his last chance to hang with his friends, and blah blah blah....  I could feel myself starting to give in, not wanting to be the bad mother, not wanting to be The One Who Says No.

But then I remembered that was my job. Sigh.... And someone has to do it.

I did it. I said No. Maria said No too. It made me feel better to have company in the Land of No. More of us should live there, I think. Our kids would be better off, and we'd feel less inclined just to give in because everyone else is doing it, if we knew there was another soul in the country who Wasn't doing it.

So, Mothers of the Land of No Unite. 

No comments: