Recently, I wrote a column about a little boy (about 9 or 10 years old) who was alone at the movies – an "R" rated film. I asked my readers to let me know if I have a generation gap with today's parents because I felt that the boy's parents were wrong to let him sit in that theater alone. (Actually, I felt that he should not have been allowed anywhere near that theater – either alone or with parents – because the movie was too emotionally disturbing).
So many of you responded to my column that I felt it necessary to let you know how some of your opinions stack up against my own – and each other's.
The great majority of my readers agreed with me. That young man should not have been allowed to sit alone in a movie theater showing an "R" rated film. In addition, most of you also agreed with me that, even with his parents there, a boy his age shouldn't be exposed to that type of film.
One reader expressed her views this way – "When I was 10 years old, we didn't have movies that would fit this category, so my parents didn't have to worry when they sent me and my brother to the Saturday matinee." She went on to say that her grandchildren love to go to the movies, but that the films that they are allowed to see are "few and far between." The choices are limited for children when parents insist on a "G" rating.
Another regular reader of the column told me to "be kinder to myself" and not blame my bewilderment on my age. He said, "Age has nothing to do with it – it's all a matter of common sense." In his view, parents in the year 2011 have to "look down the road" to see what will happen if they let their child watch inappropriate films and videos. Too often parents don't think about the effect that disturbing images have on a young mind.
I can remember when two of my grandsons stayed overnight with me. They wanted to watch a movie on TV – "Child's Play." I thought – "how bad can it be – it's about a red-headed doll." Boy, was I wrong. We didn't watch the whole movie (mostly because I got scared.) That night, both boys needed me to lie with them until they fell asleep, thanks to "Chuckie." Needless to say, I didn't let them pick the movies after that incident. That's just a mild example of how parents can forget that young minds are very susceptible.
One of my friends also had a comment about the "Alone at the Movies" column. She said, "Those parents are selfish. They wanted to see what they wanted and didn't care where the kid was as long as he was out of their hair." There's some truth to that, I'm sure. Many parents behave in ways that frighten me – providing beer for under-age drinkers, allowing "sleep-overs" for boyfriends or girlfriends, not monitoring Internet access by their child, or allowing the child to see whatever movie he wants. Good parenting requires hard work. A good parent pays attention to what his or her child is doing at all times – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, until adulthood is reached.
I guess I don't have a generation gap. I think I'll call it a "common sense chasm" instead.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO DISCUSS THIS OR ANOTHER EDUCATION AND FAMILY TOPIC WITH DR. SMITH, SHE CAN BE REACHED AT HER EMAIL ADDRESS: JSMITH1313@CFL.RR.COM  OR IN CARE OF THIS NEWSPAPER.