Is ‘The Force Awakens’ Okay for Younglings?

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As the first of my Facebook friends to have seen The Force Awakens, I have gotten a lot of questions about whether it is little kid appropriate. My own L is 6-years-old, precocious cognitively, but very 6 emotionally. So, my answer is:

It is kid dependent. Multiple factors have to be considered before taking your youngling to go see this movie.

If your kid freaks out in Pixar movies because the movies are emotionally grueling, be prepared. L refuses to watch Inside Out again because he says it’s too sad. Same happened in varying parts of TFA.

If your kid is one who finds the reality of visuals difficult, TFA might be hard. L told us “because a movie is bloodier in a movie. Just how they die. And it’s more specific and I don’t like specific blood.”

If your kid gets overwhelmed by a lot of dark colors on the screen because it’s scary, you might want to consider waiting.

If your kid is bad at huge explosions, it’s a bad idea.

If your kid is the kind of kid who gets super attached to characters and is super emotional, it’s a bad idea.

If your kid is sensitive to characters and stories on the screen, then some of the overwhelming emotions throughout the movie are difficult.

If your kid was scared by the darker parts of the prequels, specifically Phantom Menace, I’d stay away until you can fast forward through things.

I asked L a bunch of question to give a kid’s perspective.

Per L: “Parts of it were super scary.”

Was there anything in it you didn’t understand? “No.”

L told me that if he’d had spoilers earlier on, it would have made the movie easier for him.

Asking him about the beginning: “Not really good.”

How did you feel about the First Order? “I didn’t really like them. Because they were bad.”

What did you feel about Kylo Ren? “I don’t like Kylo Ren.”

As always, your mileage will differ. Ask questions, know your kid, plan accordingly.

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3 thoughts on “Is ‘The Force Awakens’ Okay for Younglings?

  1. As we exited the theater, I broke away from my excitement and thought about this a bit as I saw how many much younger kids were there. While very much in the spirit of the original movies, definitely more intense.

  2. Thanks! This is good to know. Oddly, in our family, I think the younger (6.5) one would be fine, but her older brother (8.5) IS the one who found Inside Out too emotionally grueling. She’s the one more INTERESTED in Star Wars anyway, but we can’t very well take her and leave her brother behind, so I think it will just be a nice kid-free anniversary date for their parents. 🙂

  3. Hi! It was enlightening to read a parent’s and a child’s perspective, but now I have more questions! I have worked with children and read up on parenting but not had kids yet, much though I’d like to (so, you know, I have opinions but less cred) 😉 I remember sitting in a showing of The Two Towers in my early 20’s and a frightened toddler was whimpering into his mom’s shoulder in front of me during a scary scene and I wanted to just say “Hey, this is my third time watching this, would you like me step outside with your child while you enjoy this PG-13 movie with the other adults here?” But, you know, offering to take a stranger’s child out of their sight in a public place doesn’t tend to be well-received so I kept my mouth shut. That sense of befuddlement (and yes some judgement, sigh) at parents bringing children into a movie clearly rated for older children and adults has stayed with me. I don’t want to be judgmental about people’s parenting choices; I also don’t understand why my third graders a few years back had all seen Avatar or more recently saw Tony Stark as their hero. (I finally caved and watched his first movie so I’d know what they were on about, but didn’t find much in the dude to like or respect.) I was brought up somewhat sheltered compared to American culture in general I guess, but I would like to understand a little how/why parents make the choice to expose their child to the violence and sometimes hatred, sexual objectification, etc in PG-13/R movies and at what age. Can I ask that without being judgmental? Is there an answer that would help me understand? Like, if L found those parts of the movie difficult that you mentioned, do you feel it was still an overall positive event, or do you regret taking him? Are you helping him learn to deal with this sort of content by exposing him to it bit by bit as he grows up? Do you have a certain way you deal with those things that disturb him? I noticed the “anything you didn’t understand?” question, which seemed like a neat jumping off point for conversation… Anyway, thank you for sharing, and for your other posts about Star Wars, especially the “where are all the girls?” sort – I found you because like you I was trying to find a decent photo of Leia in her dress from the end of the new movie and your photo of the two dolls was the only one in the Google Image results (and it’s not even exactly the star neckline on the doll’s dress, which is what I was looking for- crazy, no? finally found it on a Pinterest image.) and then I ended up reading quite a few of your Star Wars related posts. Peace. Lily

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