Tweens, Media and Violence: The Hunger Games Question

Chances are, if you're the parent of a tween girl, you know that this Friday The Hunger Games are coming to a theater near you. Some of you may be lining up for tickets right beside your daughters, while others maybe aren't so sure she's even allowed to go! Several articles this week in Time and Salon have addressed the predicament parents find themselves in when faced with the question of how much to let their children see, in what context and with what guidance. Here are our tips for how to solve the Hunger Games Question:

1. Know your subject! You'll be in a much better position to decide what's appropriate if you take the time to read the books, watch the shows and listen to the music your tween likes.

2. Be approachable! You want your tween to feel safe and comfortable talking with you about things she likes, and not fear judgment or reproach. Let her explore the complicated themes of violence, class, gender inequality and sexuality with YOU and not just with her friends.

3. Join the conversation! Remember that with or without you, your tween will be exposed to violence and sexuality in the media. You have a choice in whether you participate in the dialogue.

4. Set developmentally-appropriate limits. Let your child and your values guide you, not an arbitrary age. Explore your concerns with your child and create space for you to talk with her about her own burgeoning values and ideas about the world.

Whatever decision you make at the box office this weekend, keep in mind that every new fad in tween culture provides you with new opportunities to create open communication with your daughter and catch a deeper glimpse into her world. You might even discover a new world to explore together!