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tedibear's avatar

Do you think that the TV version of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" is an appropriate show for a four year old?

Asked by tedibear (15812 points ) December 14th, 2013

My niece will be four next week. She is not super-sensitive, nor does she have nightmares. I would call her a standard issue four year old.

I asked her dad about getting her The Grinch DVD for her birthday. His response was that he didn’t think it would be “right” for her right now. Did I miss something? Is The Grinch really scary or traumatizing?

Things to keep in mind: My BIL doesn’t do scary movies, or “scary” anything else. Also, the communication was via text, so his wife might have nixed it.

Now I have to restrain myself from buying her the book!

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25 Answers

snowberry's avatar

Depends on the kid. Some kids do well on the intensity of a movie that would give nightmares to a more sensitive child. You never know.

Judi's avatar

If the parents say no then no. They know their kid better than anyone and even if you think it’s unreasonable it’s not your call.

keobooks's avatar

I thought so until my three year old daughter started watching it. She freaked out and was scared by the faces the grinch made. It seriously never occurred to me that she’d be afraid of the cartoon. She was also disturbed by his stealing and it didn’t matter that we told her he was going to give it all back at the end.

Some kids are more sensitive than others and you have to respect that. Every kid is different.

Seek's avatar

Little Cindy-Lou Who was no more than two.

* shrug * That stuff is all up to the parents. Me, I’m a super-liberal mama, and my son watches Dexter and The Walking Dead with me. We make a big point of separating fantasy from reality. But then, if you’re teaching your kids a stranger in a red suit is going to break into your house and leave you toys, I can see why it might freak them out to hear a green, furry stranger in a red suit is going to break in and steal the toys.

funkdaddy's avatar

Watched this last night with my one year old (16 months), she’s not really able to follow the story yet, but wasn’t freaked out at any point. (not really the same)

The thoughts I had while watching it is that I need to find a copy before they stop showing it due to being about Christmas rather than “the holidays”. And I wonder if my little one will ever enjoy cartoons that old. There’s no crazy gradients or edgy themes, no 3D modeling, it’s just old school illustration. Like watching black and white movies.

Maybe one of those points was closer to your brother’s objection than it being too scary?

Judi's avatar

@Seek, if your child had shown signs of distress when he first saw a zombie I’m sure you would take that into consideration with future choices wouldn’t you?
That’s why I believe the parents discretion should be honored.

Seek's avatar

^ Which is exactly what I said.

Judi's avatar

@Seek, sorry. I read it as “you’re super liberal” so that dictated what your kids can watch instead of seeing anything about the kids disposition having anything to do with it. My bad.

Seek's avatar

It’s cool. Actually, we don’t watch shows like The Sopranos and Sons of Anarchy while he’s awake, because he’s uncomfortable with gun violence. Thank goodness.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

The cartoon version or the real version?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Who knows, I think Dexter is okay to show to my 4 year old, lol.

jazmina88's avatar

I thought Wizard of Oz was scary…..but the Grinch is about turning around the dark side and holiday spirit. Cindy Lou Whoo is one of my favorites. The music is awesome.

livelaughlove21's avatar

What the hell is scary about it? It was made for kids. How paranoid can a parent be? Yikes.

If the parents don’t approve, I wouldn’t let her watch it, but it’s still stupid that they think it’s inappropriate for her. Real life is way scarier than the Grinch. Poor kid.

filmfann's avatar

It is up to the parents. They know their kids better than you do.
Imagine their reactions if things went badly, and they had told you not to show it the the kids.

jonsblond's avatar

I agree with @Judi. Every child is different. Our oldest son was terrified of The Mask when he walked past the video at the video store at a very young age. Zombieland came out when our daughter was 5 and she’s probably watched that movie at least a dozen times since. It’s one of her favorite movies. Some children can handle scary and others can’t. I think the parent knows best.

@livelaughlove21 He can be scary for very young children. especially if we are talking about creepy Jim Carrey.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@jonsblond The OP said the TV version – as in the cartoon version. Not scary. She’s four, she’d be fine.

I can see kids being scared of The Mask. When Dorian puts the mask on at the end, it’s pretty scary-looking.

Yeah, all kids are different, but I seriously doubt anything by Dr. Seuss is going to traumatize a 4-year-old.

dxs's avatar

I remember my brother getting freaked out from that grin that the grinch made when he got a wonderful, awful idea.

keobooks's avatar

Little kids can sometimes react to things adults think nothing of, @livelaughlove21 . Like I said, my daughter was spooked by the cartoon and it surprised me. My daughter isn’t fragile. She just reacts more strongly than a lot of kids to facial expressions and emotions.

I remember watching a documentary about the PBS cartoon Arthur—made for 3 – 5 year olds. They frequently get mail from parents saying that they scared the kids by some accidental thing. Once they showed a character imagining her head popping off like a cork to demonstrate that she was very angry. The kids were totally spazzed out about the character decapitating herself. It was a show meant for preschoolers and it scared the crap out of them for a minute. It happens—even to stuff made for kids.

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

There may be some other issue at hand. Parents know their kids best. My daughter would not speak on the phone until she was ten, even to say “Hi”. People in the office at her school would let her call home for something. She would dial the number, roll her eyes around until I tell her to give the phone back to whoever was handy so I could find out what’s up. She wasn’t afraid, it just wasn’t her thing. She’ll use phones now, but never to chit chat.
Some kids just have no desire for something that the whole world expects them to love.
Instead of believing he is depriving her of something,suppose he is just saving you some time and money.

tedibear's avatar

@Judi and @filmfann – I’m asking for opinions about The Grinch, nothing more! I would never buy her something that her parents said no to! Geez. I may not agree with them, but I wouldn’t override their decision!

I didn’t think the Grinch was scary when I was growing up, but most scary things didn’t freak me out. That’s why I was wondering what others thought of it.

Judi's avatar

@tedibear, don’t take it personally. We don’t know you and believe me there are plenty of well meaning aunts, uncles, and grand parents who WOULD disregard a parents wishes behind their backs. Our comments may not apply to you but they might apply to someone reading this public thread in the future.

filmfann's avatar

My kids were watching such things long before they were 4.
When they were 4, they were watching Three Stooges and Chaplin.

Katniss's avatar

When my son was 4, the movie hadn’t come out yet, he watched the cartoon though. I think he was around 2 the first time he watched it. We also read the book quite often. He turned out just fine.
Like @Seek_Kolinahr, I tried to be a liberal mommy and let him watch what he was comfortable with. He was watching South Park and playing GTA at a pretty young age. Again, he turned out just fine.

keobooks's avatar

My kid watches battle scenes from Skyrim and Dragon’s Age with no problem. They get pretty violent and graphic. But she still freaks out at the grinch’s evil grin. I think she’s just sensitive to facial expressions. She will burst into tears if you give her a dirty look, but if you yell at her, she ignores it.

I remember babysitting this kid when I was a preteen and I was watching poltergeist. NOTHING phased the two year old about poltergeist. He didn’t care about any of the scary scenes. But then the scene with the kid staring at the clown showed up and he started howling. He wasn’t afraid of ghosts or demons,or portals to hell, but the damn clown scared the crap out of him. I had to turn it off before it even started attacking the boy. So it was just the clown in a spooky light that had him going.

It’s not a matter of liberal or conservative, IMO. It’s a matter of what kids can and can’t handle. And sometimes little kids can tolerate all kinds of harsh things but freak out at something super minor. I

Katniss's avatar

@keobooks That clown scares the bejesus out of me and I’m 42!! lol

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