Who decides what is suitable for our children?

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This is something that always crops up with us and probably many other families.  It starts with baby toys, you buy them based on the age recommendation and as a first time mam who are you to argue? But what happens when you have a very advanced child?

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Jamie was always an advanced baby, not with the usual mile stones but with learning.  By 6 months we were playing with the Phonics Bus, which is recommended for children aged 1-3 years.  By 1 year old we had a “My First Laptop”, not recommended for under 3’s.  By 18 months she was independently using the my first laptop.  Because by 18 months she was talking in sentences, she could count to 20 and she knew all of her colours.  Aged 2 she could read and by 3 she was reading Roald Dahl Books, aged 4 she was onto Horrible Histories, Jacqueline Wilson and Harry Potter.  She is 9 now and has read so many books that are above her reading age.  People would say to me, “should she really be reading Jacqueline Wilson books” “should she really be reading Harry Potter” “Horrible Histories is a bit too gory for a 4 year old isn’t it?” Well what is she supposed to read? She tried Enid Blyton and Dick King Smith and just couldn’t get into them.  She loves to read and like everyone else she will only read what she enjoys.  She could quite easily read 10 books in 1 day and her favourite books are re-read over and over again.

Since the Hunger Games was released the Hunger Games Trilogy has become her favourites.  She has them in Paperback, on Kindle and is currently collecting them on audiobook.  Last year I had a message in her diary from school saying they were concerned about her reading the Hunger Games and when people see her with the book they will often judge that she is too young to read them.  Then I feel I am being judged for letting her read them.  People can’t believe that I have let her watch a 12 film!  Am I bad parent because of this? I don’t think so.  Age recommendations are purely that – recommendations.

Aged 2 she had a Nintendo DS Lite, Aged 3 she had an Ipod, I don’t know many kids that could mange these devices at such a young age but Jamie didn’t want dolls and toys, she wanted these things and they have been wonderful for her.

When it comes to TV programmes she isn’t into the things that her peers would watch.  She prefers either younger things like Jake and the Neverland Pirates or much older things like The Secret Circle (which she is gutted has finished).  2 of the things she looks forward to watching throughout the year are Celebrity Big Brother and I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!

She doesn’t swear and knows that swearing is wrong but I certainly don’t stop her watching things with swearing in.  For example she likes to watch Karl Pilkington and loves his books.  They have some language in them but she knows swearing isn’t nice and wouldn’t do it herself.  I obviously wouldn’t let her watch anything with sexual content as I think she is far too young for that.  IMDB is great for checking out films before you watch them.  They have a parents guide which will tell you the amount of swearing and if there are any sexual scene’s or nudity, smoking, drugs, alcohol etc.

I also find with time the ratings change, for example one of our favourite family films to watch is Footloose.  Now Footloose is a 15 and I am certain if it was classified today it wouldn’t be.

Age ratings can often cause issue’s with an Autistic child too.  Once Jamie downloaded a game to her Ipod and when she saw that it was recommended for ages 9+ she went into complete meltdown (she was 6 at the time), also we vet what she downloads so we had okay’d the game.  Some of you may know it “Fantasy Hero”.  She wouldn’t have Little Big Planet for her PSP until she was 7 as the rating said 7+.  We have discussed this with her and have told her that if we think it is suitable then that is okay.  She is a major SIMs fan and that has an age rating of 12.  I can’t begin to imagine how different our lives would be without SIMs in it, in fact it doesn’t even bare thinking about!

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