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Aethelflaed's avatar

Parents: Are there any books you won't let your kid read?

Asked by Aethelflaed (13747points) November 20th, 2011

I know many parents have a list of movies they won’t allow their kids to watch, but what about books? Do you have any books your kids aren’t allowed to read? Or books they aren’t allowed to read without A Talk first about what’s going on in the book?

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32 Answers

blueiiznh's avatar

It varies based on the childs age.
I usually read the book or watch the movie ahead if I am concerned.
There are many books and movies over the years that I have let my daughter watch (age 11 now). She has a pretty good sense in what interest her and what doesn’t and it has not been out of line so far.
I also follow the same line on music.

A book or movies or music is not going to corrupt a child that has a good foundation and communication with their parent anyway.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

My oldest is not allowed to read book that involve sex. She’s only ten and we’ve already had “the talk”, but I’m not ready for her to read lovemaking scenes yet.

faye's avatar

It was ‘age appropriate’ when I raised my kids and I decided that. But I only did that until they were 12 or so. We always did talk about what we were all reading. sually I would just give my opinion and wait for theirs’. You know they will try harder to read ‘forbidden’ books!!

Aethelflaed's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate When you say books that involve sex, do you mean graphic depictions (like Harlequin novels) or even the mention of it (like Pride and Prejudice)?

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@Aethelflaed She’s only 10, so she hasn’t really shown any interest in heavy classic literature that gently mentions it yet. I’m really talking about books that have any sort of detail. But she knows why, and she doesn’t push me on it.

King_Pariah's avatar

My Parents did their best to stop me from reading Into the Wild and Steppenwolf. They failed.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Not as of yet. They can even read the Bible, for all I care.

SuperMouse's avatar

My most voracious reader is the oldest who is 13. So far I haven’t stopped him from reading anything. He is mostly interested in young adult books (he just finished The Maze Runner Trilogy), but he is also interested in adult books. He read Lonesome Dove and right now he is reading This Boy’s Life by Tobias Wolf. My first experience with wondering if it was appropriate was when I brought home a copy of The Good War by Studs Turkel. I left it on the coffee table, he picked it up, read most of it, and stopped when it got to be too much for him.

CWOTUS's avatar

My parents never stopped me from reading anything I wanted as a child (they didn’t particularly like that I also started reading Playboy… but they didn’t really stop me from that, either). I don’t think I’ve turned out particularly badly.

I encouraged my kids to read everything. They didn’t always take me up on that offer, but maybe enough…

Linda_Owl's avatar

If a kid really wants to read a book, they will find a way to do it…... sex & all. I know that I read everything (even the book “Peyton Place” & “The Tight White Collar”, which were both considered to be too sexually explicit for kids when they were written). Now, these books seem tame compared to books that are available now. A parent can try to censor a child’s reading material, but it does not always work. However, if you have good communication with your child, both you & your child should do just fine.


Any book that has sex or a lot of gratuitous violence in it, in other words, not child-appropriate. Almost all children’s books are okay with me. My kids are smart——they know what’s appropriate and what’s not, and usually I don’t have to tell them what’s good or bad for them.

zenvelo's avatar

I have books I’d rather they don’t read until older, mostly because of violent sex. But my son is now at an age I can’t block him, so it’s now just my daughter I tell to wait a couple years.

SuperMouse's avatar

@MRSHINEYSHOES how old are your children? Do you plan to trust them throughout their teen years to be able to tell what is good and bad for them? Does this apply solely to reading material or in all aspects of life?

Aethelflaed's avatar

@zenvelo What books? I’d love to know the specific books.

@all Are there specific books that are generally seen as “teen” books you wouldn’t want your kid reading, like Catcher in the Rye or Twilight?

fundevogel's avatar

As a non parent I’m quite content to joke that my mislaid copy of The Story of O has almost certainly fallen into the hands of a young impressionable child.


@SuperMouse I trust my children because they are smart, and part of that smartness is that they are committed to their parents because they are very conscientious and abiding, yes, even and such a young age. They are very close to us, so much so that I know how we raised them will continue to see them through their teen years and even into adulthood. As a matter of fact, their wisdom and conscientious will only grow stronger as our bond grows in kind. I think it’s different in close-knit Asian families, as opposed to your average white American family. That’s one reason why Asian kids generally outrank their white counterparts all throughout school and form a large segment of the population in prestigious universities like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Stanford. Asian parents instill from an early age in their kids not only the importance of academic success, but a strong sense of familial responsibility and conscientiousness, and this often translates to the individual taking his own moral responsibility within the greater society. For us, that’s what defines good and responsible parenting.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@fundevogel Which do you think would be more potentially damaging to some youngster: Story of O, or Claiming of Sleeping Beauty?

fundevogel's avatar

@Aethelflaed I can’t say as I haven’t read the latter. But the goings on in the Story of O makes American Psycho seem like Anne of Green Gables.

Edit: Oh, it’s by Anne Rice? There’s no way it’s even remotely as fucked up as The Story of O. Make no mistake. The Story of O is only technically erotica. It is about the systematic brainwashing, torture and debasement of a young woman. They don’t turn her into a sex object, they teach her to long to be nothing more than an object.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@fundevogel I’m only a few chapters into Story of O, and haven’t read American Psycho, but going off of the Wikipedia entry (torture, rape, mutilation, cannibalism, and necrophilia…??), I’m a little bit scared about what’s going to happen in O.

fundevogel's avatar

If you laundry list it American Psycho seems worse. But American Psycho is clinical and ridiculous and satirical. Fucked up shit happens. But it happens in between essays on the relative artistic merits of Genesis and Huey Lewis and News.

With the Story of O it’s just completely warped and since it’s presented through the eyes of it’s brainwashed victim there is absolutely no foothold for sanity. I mislaid the book when I was about halfway though, I unexpectedly had to see family and I did not want to bring that book along. Frankly, it’s been a nice reprise, though I do hope I find it. Awful as it is it is well written and I would like to finish it.

SuperMouse's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES are you trying tell me your kids are better than mine because they are being raised by Asian parents? Not only is that incredibly wrong headed, it smacks of racism. For the record white, Hispanic, African American, teach ”strong sense of familial responsibility and conscientiousness, and this often translates to the individual taking his own moral responsibility within the greater society” and children of every single one of those backgrounds get into Ivy League universities. I would put my kids (nieces, nephews, and probably the kids of almost every other jelly) up against yours in anyone of those areas, as well as intelligence any day. Our children do have one advantage yours might be missing – open mindedness.

I hope you are as wonderful a parent as you seem to think you are, otherwise you might be in for a rude awakening.

augustlan's avatar

When they were younger, I didn’t want them reading anything too scary or too sexy. Once they hit 12 or 13, though, I’d let them read anything on my bookshelf. Not the Story of O, though… I keep that one hidden away. ;) We do talk about books, a lot, and about what constitutes good writing versus good story. They can read Twilight, but I want them to recognize that it’s not good writing, you know?

JilltheTooth's avatar

Like so many others here, I didn’t need to ban certain books, but I did make her wait on a few that included detailed, gratuitous sex. That didn’t seem to be a hardship for her, after all, “So many books, so little time”. I have been disappointed at times because her literary tastes are so different from mine, so we can’t talk about a lot of books, but conversely I’m delighted that she has developed her own tastes.

@SuperMouse : GA, GA, GA!

@MRSHINYSHOES : You’d be surprised at how many of us ”...average white American” parents are really good parents. I guess I mean that literally, obviously you would be very surprised. And how very sad that is.

MissAusten's avatar

My 12 year old daughter reads so much, so quickly, there’s no way I can monitor her reading material. Sometimes she’ll ask to read something I’m reading, and I have said no from time to time mainly because of explicit sexual content or violence. One day she brought home a book from the school library that I asked her to return. It was Son of a Witch, the sequel to Wicked. I told her she first needed to read Wicked, which she’d understand and appreciate more in a few years.

Most of what she reads is intended for young teens. I know some of her favorite books have references to sex, but aren’t explicit. Sometimes there’s a certain level of violence (like Hunger Games). One day she picked up a book of mine that starts with a graphic murder and was very upset by it. That’s what tells me she’d be better off waiting a bit before attempting that kind of reading material. I remember being about her age and trying to read my first Stephen King novel. I didn’t make it very far, but by high school I was reading all of his books!

Seaofclouds's avatar

The only books I keep my son from reading right now are the ones that are above his reading level. I don’t stop him from reading a book that may be a bit of a challenge, but I don’t want him to try to read something that’s way above his level and then get discouraged and not want to read anything anymore. We haven’t had any issues with books being too graphic yet, so we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@Seaofclouds : Nimmy should be ready for Pat the Bunny soon! ;-)

zenvelo's avatar

@Aethelflaed After seeing an episode on TV of Game of Thrones (which I haven’t read), I told my daughter she could wait a few years. I have concerns about her and her brother reading anything with rape or forced sex in it. Same with Lovely Bones.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Wow… shocked and slightly perplexed by the comment about how “super intelligent and special” Asian kids are, just because they’re Asian and raised by Asian parents. I guess my poor, white children are doomed to average intelligence and will be forced to attend a “normal” university.

<bangs head on desk and laughs like a loon>

Seek's avatar

I can’t think of anything I would ban.

However, I would want to discuss his readings with him.

For example, when I found out my niece was getting into Twilight, I read all the books (gag me with a spoon) and had a good long talk with her about whether sneaking into a girl’s room while she’s sleeping and riffling through her stuff is “romantic” or “creepy and unacceptable”.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr And sadly, that’s some of the tamer messages in the book…

TexasDude's avatar

I can’t think of a book I own that I would forbid my kids (assuming I ever breed) from reading.

Oh wait, I do have quite a few books about lowbrow and underground art that I would probably prefer them to read when they were older, but that’s just because they have illustrations of Jack and Dinos Chapman’s works and a few photos of people painting with their asses and such. Other than that, I can’t think of anything I’d restrict. I’d probably just do what @Seek_Kolinahr said and discuss certain things with them, like why some people paint with their asses and why George Harvey is a creep and such.

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