Dear Annie: I'm livid. My 14-year-old daughter and her friends want to see a certain PG-13 movie on Saturday. But after I read the reviews, I will not allow her to go. Why does the film industry produce movies with words and scenes that are such filth?
We want movies for our children that have decent content and tell stories that have values and drama without us parents always having to worry that what will be said or shown is contrary to what we want our children exposed to. Can't some great producer or film school graduate figure that out? They would be surprised to know how many parents no longer allow their kids to go to the movies, and that means no money in their pockets.
Please, let's protect their innocence as long as possible before they have to see the world's ugliness passed off as entertainment. — Mom
Dear Mom: If all kids truly stayed away from PG-13 movies that contained too much violence, sex and foul language, change would come. Unfortunately, that's not what happens. Your daughter and her friends might stay home, but most kids don't.
We, too, wish Hollywood would stop pandering to our most base instincts, but as long as the money keeps coming in, that's what is going to be out there. The only movies guaranteed not to have such material are those rated G and PG. Beyond that, parents have to read reviews and use their best judgment.
Dear Annie: My parents, who were both from West Virginia, met in college and settled in New York. We spent our childhood summers on our grandparents' farms, and I couldn't wait to go back. I work now as a special education teacher and live in a small village in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Every summer, my sisters and I get together in New York. Last summer, we met at the home of one sister who married into wealth. Although I have been ignoring her occasional criticisms about my hair, makeup, clothes and shoes for decades, this summer was particularly difficult. Late in the evening, she began a long satirical monologue about how cheap and ugly my shoes were. A few of the others chimed in, but I don't hold it against them. They were doing it to avoid being her next target. After all, they live near her and have to endure her ostentatious behavior often. I couldn't wait to leave.
I value family, especially now that we are older and two of my siblings have passed away. But I'm beginning to wonder. By the time I leave these gatherings, I feel disrespected and diminished. I have close friends in West Virginia who love and value me. I'm wondering whether I should bow out of these summer reunions and limit my exposure to Christmas only. — Thank God I'm a Country Girl
Dear Country Girl: You certainly don't have to subject yourself to such poor treatment frequently, but have you told your sister how her belittling comments make you feel? She may not realize how much she is hurting you and that her nastiness destroys the family closeness you crave. She may claim that she was "only joking," but still, give her the opportunity to clean up her act before you take drastic action.
Dear Annie: "Tired of Living the Lie" states that her children are hurt because they feel their happy childhood was a lie. It WAS a lie. I am sick of hearing how people put up with a lousy marriage for "the sake of their children." You do your children a far greater disservice by raising them in a dysfunctional, loveless facade of a marriage than you would raising them as a single parent.
You need to cherish, love and honor yourself before you even think of finding another man. Don't quit counseling. — I Moved On
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.