Do you go out of your way to shelter your kids?

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-31-2011
Do you go out of your way to shelter your kids?
Thu, 03-21-2013 - 6:50pm

Last night, dd14 sat next to me at the kitchen table while I scrolled through some news. We watched a video about a gay rights activist who purchased a home across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church and painted it in a gay pride rainbow. (Story here.) Dd and I snickered about the story, talked about how awesome the activist was, and dsd18, who was sitting across the table from us, asked what we were talking about. 

My dsd had never heard of the Westboro Baptist Church. Never. I brought up the funeral picketing, the long chains of people who protected the mourning families from them--nothing. Never heard of a bit of it. She seemed surprised that her younger sister had. 

Do you go out of your way to shield your children from the realities of the world? Current events? Social issues? Politics?

I understand sanitizing things for young children, but not completely blocking the world out. For those of you who do shield your children from the uglier parts of the world, is there a point where your role of parenting shifts from protector to informer? Surely few people would have an aim to keep a child as sheltered as my dsd. But I know some parents do attempt to keep their child as innocent as possible, and while I do respect that, is there a limit? 

I realize there's no real magic age. It's not like you'd just sit your child down upon his tenth birthday and say, "William, now that you're older, we have something to tell you: the Easter Bunny isn't real, your aunt Thelma is gay, and also there are war lords in Africa who chop limbs off to terrorize small villages. Happy Birthday!" But there must be some kind of transition, even if unconscious.

My dsd is going through a bit of culture shock in our home. My dh and I are on the extreme opposite end of shielding. We sanitized when the kids were young, but never shielded and neither of us believes in censorship. 


iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2013

My kids are still pretty young. My son is 9 and he is learning about politics and some history in school. Once I realized he had a handle on 9/11, I knew he'd be OK to discuss other things. He's very bright, and he's quite sensitive, so I want to make sure anything horrible that happens (e.g., Sandy Hook) comes from me. Oh and he also knows that our cousin Doug and his partner Juan are actually a couple, not just roommates. He doesn't quite understand sexuality but he certainly understands love. :D

Shaking my head at the things grown women get their panties in a wad about.

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Registered: 03-25-2013
Mon, 03-25-2013 - 8:19pm

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Registered: 01-05-2000

This has taken me a while to answer.  I had to think about and discuss it with Dylan.  I censored some things.  He got to watch Terminator 2 for example around age 5 but he still hasn't seen Terminator 1.  Having Arnold be the villain in the first movie but the hero in the second would have confused him.  Also he wasn't ready for the sex scene in the first movie.  But the violence didn't bother him.  As far as he was concerned at that age, everything on TV was make believe, including the news.  He watched way too much "making of" documentaries to think otherwise.  He was in the room when we watch and discussed 9/11; also both times we were facing fires.  The first fire, we were not evacuated but it was a close thing.  The second one, 4 years later, we were.  Although, Dylan doesn't consider camping out in grandma's living room to be evacuated.  He also saw Katrina footage.  He seen pictures of the Holocaust but hasn't seen Shindler's List.  We don't shelter but we approach them in terms of age and context.

It's a little different as Dylan was raised in a family of 3 adults and 2 teens when he was born.  He grew up watching more adult TV than children's programing.

Don't ask about the girls because I don't remember that far back and haven't had a chance to ask them what they remember.


The truth may be out there but lies are in your head. Terry Pratchett