I prefer teaching older kids. The vast majority of my timetable is made up of GCSE and A level classes and that suits me just fine, but I do teach a Year 7 class twice a week. Whilst I love their enthusiasm and innocence at this age, I find the “Miss, I’ve lost my pen” and “Miss, I’ve come to the end of my page, should I turn over?” just a tad irritating.
However, since having Little O I do find it fascinating when they talk about what they are allowed to do at this age, and what they’re not (Yes, I’m gathering tips for when O gets older). One thing one of the lovely boys in my class told me today was that his mum wouldn’t let him watch Sherlock. Several of the other boys seemed shocked by this, but he was completely unfazed and didn’t feel hard done to at all.
It got me thinking, is Sherlock suitable for an 11 year old boy to watch? I stood there trying to remember the details of Sunday nights episode. Yes, someone got killed. I can’t remember there being any sex, I can’t remember seeing anything too graphic or violent, but I can understand why as a parent you wouldn’t want you child to watch it.
At the moment we don’t have to worry about this because if it’s not CBeebies, Peppa Pig or Ben and Holly my son isn’t interested, but how do you start to judge what exactly is age appropriate? I probably didn’t have the best role models for this as my parents never really prevented me or my brother from watching anything. This suited me fine, but after watching something a bit too scary at a young age my brother has never been able to watch a horror film. Never! And he’s now 36! My mum and dad will admit they should have been stricter with what we watched but this came a bit too late to save my brother.
I know I don’t have to worry about this for a few years yet (at least, I hope its a few years off), but I find myself watching things and wondering at what age I would feel comfortable with O watching it, and I suppose it also comes down to the individual child. Whilst one member of my Year 7 class is banned from watching Sherlock, I overheard his friend telling him that he watched “Revenge” because it’s full of sex! I wouldn’t class myself as a prude, but this did make me feel quite uncomfortable and I quickly intervened to bring the conversation to an end.
As parents we will all have different opinions about what we think is suitable for our child to watch and at what age. As we are just embarking on the “What’s that?” phase I know O is always going to question what is going on and, in time, question my decisions. There is a very fine line between protecting our children and wrapping them up in cotton wool, so I can only hope I get the balance right. My brother* is living proof that getting it wrong can have long lasting consequences.
*he can laugh about the fact he can’t watch scary films. Good job as I’ve spent the past 30 years taking the piss out of him for it!