My daughter is afraid of movies

UPMy 4 year old is afraid of movies. Every movie we have taken her to has been a near disaster. The first time we took her to see the Hannah Montana Concert movie she sat on her dad’s lap for most of the movie. She only started dancing and singing when the music came on near the middle of the movie. The next time we saw a movie, she sat there chewing her sweater with tears in her eyes while watching a different movie that was supposed to be funny and rated G. The last time we took her to see “Earth” which was rated G,  she was scared to her wits end because the soundtrack was so loud in the movie coupled with the scary predator imagery, she never wanted to return to the movies ever again.

I do believe that some of the issue is that my daughter is an only child who is exposed to very little that is beyond her age group, however I blame the movie companies for some of the issues because they try to market movies for a wider audience to sell more tickets. For example, Earth is a rated G movie, but the sound effects and imagery of predatory creatures are so scarey in the movie, a 4 year old will end up spending most of the movie hiding under his or her sweater instead of learning about nature in the jungle and the sea.

Tomorrow, my 4 year old is supposed to be going with her kindergarten summer camp to see the movie “UP”. Since my 4 year old is afraid of movies, I thought showing her the trailer would help alleviate some of her fears of movies. I was wrong. The trailer confirmed all her fears with the barking dogs, loud thunder and lightening scenes, and the scary dark house with the grouchy old guy. The humor in the movie is more for older kids and adults and completely went over my 4 year old’s head. Therefore, my 4 year old will be staying home with me tomorrow instead of going on her school field trip because this kids cartoon has content that is marketed for a wider audience.

I am worried my child will never outgrow her fear of movies. It seems like people with more than 1 child in the family manage to take their 4 year olds to movies with no issue, but my 4 year old cannot deal with the loud noises in the theater. I even went so far as to bring an Ipod in the last movie with me so that she could listen to her favorite Taylor Swift songs while watching the imagery on the movie screen to block out the loud scary sound effects from “Earth.” That did not help, she still sat in her seat chewing her sweater with tears in her eyes as a polar bear lost his way amongst the melting ice caps.

In a way, it is something my child will have to eventually get over, but at the same time, I want the movie companies to rate their movies properly for children. Since when is a movie like “Earth” supposed to be G rated when there are lions attacking elephants in the dark or sharks attacking fish in the scenes?

Children believe everything they see is real and they have a hard time differentiating between what is real and what is not real. When my daughter watches a commercial on television that tells her it is time to do Back to School shopping, she tells me we need to go do some back to school shopping. Movie companies should get back to making G rated movies really appropriate for people of all ages.

For now, I have to figure out how to get my daughter to the next movie. For sure, “UP” is not the movie for her to try her next foray into learning to like movies. Doesn’t it sound strange that she has to “learn” to like a movie? If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “My daughter is afraid of movies

  1. Aisling

    I think probably your daughter will outgrow this fear, but in the meantime, do you watch movies at home? If so, maybe turn down the lights next time, so it seems more like a theater. I understand your concern about the violent actions on the screen (but even the old kids’ cartoons like Bambi and the princess movies have that sort of thing). I really empathize with the volume they keep the speakers, but it seems like all the movies are like that nowadays. Good luck.

  2. Ralph

    The problem is you. As the parent you need to preview a movie first before exposing it to your kids. Yes, it’s time consuming but that is what good parenting is. Stop blaming others. Her fear could be irrational (at her age they develop sudden fears of the dark, butteflies, etc) but you are not helping matters.

    • Pam

      Get a grip Ralph. Yes, of course it is a wise parenting idea to preview movies prior to.. especially if your little one is afraid of movies. However, she has a point. Movies often depict images that don’t need to be there to get the point accross. As long as people send their two years to such fare they will keep making them. If it is any consolation, I have three kids 5, 3 and 1 and the only movie we have seen is Earth. Surprisingly, the kids didn’t do to bad.. I think because it was real and not animated. The kids will watch most movies at home with the lights on. I personally think we are rushing kids.. If they won’t swim because they are afraid of water that is an issue. I doubt they won’t be going to see movies with their friends when they are 10. Many kids I know who go to the movies won’t go on a waterslide and mine will. Different fears. Relax she is 4. She is just more sensitive to the noise. Try dimming the lights or the drive-in if you have one.

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