“Mommy you’re a blockhead!” my son happily exclaimed. I immediately knew who was to blame for my son’s insult. Charlie Brown and The Great Pumpkin. Well, technically I was to blame for being foolish enough to download the app and let him watch the special but who knew how foul the language on a classic cartoon could be.
A blogger recently wrote about the issue. He thinks it’s time to retire the beloved special due to the bullying and negative messages. Folks seem outraged at the suggestion and think that parents today coddle their children too much. I disagree.
I can’t stand the “I watched it and I turned out okay” mentality. Good for you but okay is subjective and in some cases I beg to differ. Our parent’s generation was far from perfect. Isn’t our goal to improve and be better than the generations that have come before us? Should we subject our children to questionable classics for the sake of tradition? Do you also show them the racist Disney cartoons from days of yore?
My children don’t watch television on their own (unless I’m in the shower and in those instances I leave on PBS to be safe). My husband and I monitor what they’re watching closely. When we watched Charlie Brown together I made it clear to my son that we don’t call people stupid or refer to them at blockheads. It was a great time to start an age appropriate discussion with my son about name calling.
Some of the parents who expressed their disdain at the prospect of banning Charlie Brown felt that today’s parents baby their children too much. Someone mentioned that avoiding the cartoon was a terrible way to parent and that a better idea would be to allow the kids to watch and have a discussion with them about the themes. I agree with that. We can’t hide our kids from ugly human behaviors forever.
However I don’t think there is anything wrong with passing on Charlie Brown or any other cartoon that is mean spirited. There are tons of entertaining options that don’t involve having to explain to a toddler why saying “sitting Indian style” is inappropriate. Thanks Scooby Doo! Another valid point a friend made was Charlie Brown wasn’t meant for preschool aged children. I hadn't thought of that and that was totally an error of judgement on my part. I’ll be more careful about cartoon selections from my childhood.
We’ve evolved as parents compared to previous generations. Some think its for the better and others say its for the worse. Regardless of which side you're on I think we can all agree that there is no need to judge parents for their choices especially one as trivial as which cartoons their children are allowed to watch. Different strokes and no one on either side is ruining their kids childhood with their decision.
What do you think? Are some classic cartoons inappropriate for today’s kids?
Veronica Armstrong is a photographer, blogger, and freelance writer whose stories spring from the cinderblock walls of her married graduate student apartment. You can find her on Google+ or see more of her writing and photography on her blog.