Parent Spotlight: Does 50 Shades of Grey Affect Kids?

spotlight on 50 shadesSome topics are just plain tough. Parents often wish kids never heard about these hard truths, but unfortunately, they do (and often at younger ages than we think). Each month we’ll discuss one of these facts of modern life, equipping parents for conversations with their kids.

50 Shades of Grey is a trilogy of books, the first of which is being released as a movie today. The book has sold over 70 million copies. With its violent and graphic sex scenes, this literature is definitely not for children and is questionable at best for adults.

Others have discussed its appeal for women and the impact it has on them and their romantic relationships. (See for example this Focus on the Family broadcast by Christian authors Dannah Gresh and Dr. Juli Slattery.) We want to look at possible implications for children.

In their book Pulling Back the Shades, Dannah and Juli share the stories of women who read EL James’ now-famous books. One woman became hooked on erotica as early as nine years old! Others share how becoming addicted to these types of books of “escape” drew them away from their families, even climaxing with desires to leave their loved ones. This type of literature definitely affects children and families, even if only one person in the family is reading it.

Many parents dread talking to children about sex and relationships. The problem is that kids will hear about these subjects on TV, in movies, books, online, and from their friends. If kids feel a subject is taboo at home, they will not discuss what they are learning or doing in that area.

Parents can help kids understand and frame what they hear. Is it truth or fantasy? Can I really get into an abusive relationship and expect it to turn out “happily ever after”? What is acceptable in a relationship? Does it really happen like in the movies? How far is too far to go in a relationship? Why are boundaries important?

As a parent, you have influence in these areas. Will you take advantage of windows of opportunity or surrender your say? It is up to you.

Have you discussed sex or relationship issues with your kids? How did you do it? At what ages?

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* Children's first names only used with written permission from their legal guardians. Children's last names are never given. Other people’s names and small details may have been changed to protect individual's privacy.