It’s been quite awhile since I have posted. Maybe I am getting more used to life as a stepfamily. Maybe I was just tired of feeling like I only posted when things were rough. At any rate, something finally struck a nerve again this week, and I felt the need to share.
We recently rented some movies. Seems like a harmless, family activity, doesn’t it? In fact since we have so many children, I am very good about researching movies before we see them. I look on a couple of websites recommend by a friend. I read about movies on commonsensemedia.org and kids-in-mind.com to see if the content is age appropriate for our kids. Those sites tell me about sexual references, adult themes and content, violence, nudity, even consumerism, but there is one things those sites don’t tell me. They don’t tell me which of those movies will do terrible damage to the fragile identity of a stepfamily.
Stepfamilies have enough challenges without all of the movies that perpetuate the archetypes. When we watched Cinderella, I knew what we were in for, and I was ready for the wicked stepmother, but I really did not see it coming with San Andreas. San Andreas is an action movie about “the big one.” The boys 12, 13 and 15 were excited to see this movie. I checked to make sure it was age appropriate.
Spoiler alert: Very early in the movie, the stepdad and daughter are in a car in a car garage when an earthquake hits. The daughter is trapped in the car and unable to move and the stepdad leaves her there alone to fend for herself. In the meantime, the “real dad’ finds and saves her mom and then finds and saves her. And, of course, over the course of the movie and mom and dad fall back in love and end up together at the end of the movie.
Those caused my son to ask all sorts of questions. He wanted to know if his stepdad would leave him if something like that happened, if people who were once married but are now divorced often get back together, if it is okay for people who were once married but are now divorced to kiss, and more.
I’m glad there are sites when I can check movies for ratings on violence, language and sexual content. I just wish there were also a site where I could find ratings on things like: accurate portrayal of stepfamilies, positive role models as seen in stepparents, and likelihood that divorced parents will end up together. That way, I would know which movies t avoid or at very least which ones are going to merit some major discussion following the movie.