Opinion & Features

Catholic Dilemmas

My children nag me to allow them to watch 15- or 18-rated films which their school friends have seen. I am inclined to say no, but do not want to be seen as too strict.

Our Lord asks what father would give his son a scorpion if he asked for an egg (Lk 11:12). When children ask for harmful things, it is as though they actually asked for a scorpion in the first place. Parents have the privileged responsibility of protecting their children from harm and providing a good spiritual and psychological environment for them to mature.

The British Board of Film Classification advises that a 15-rated film may contain strong violence, portrayals of sexual activity, sexual nudity or drug-taking. Children may think that watching such things has no effect. But scenes presented in films of high technical quality with expert production values can remain in the memory as a significant disturbance to the spiritual life. Enduring the children’s moaning and nagging is a worthwhile price to pay if you are able to guard them from what might wound their souls. Sooner or later you will have to resist the peer pressure to which they are subject at school, unless you are content to go along with the lowest standard of parenting in the class.

If you are able to offer your children richer experiences, especially those that do not involve staring at a screen, you may have the joy of seeing your children become opinion leaders among their classmates, rather than following the crowd.