Reality is hard for a toddler

By Wendy Byerly Wood

September 18, 2013

G, PG, PG-13, R, what is really in a rating?

Just as an assumption one would think most things rated G should be suitable for a little toddler to watch, or that was the case prior to this past weekend.

Personally, guns are not my thing. I prefer to stay away from them, period. I have target shot once or twice at tin cans in the backyard, but that was 10 or more years ago, and it’s the only time I’ve been near anything more than a water gun or Nerf gun.

Yes, there is the saying, guns don’t kill people, people kill people. But in my defense, I was just a preteen when a gun in the hands of my grandfather took my grandmother’s life and his life, so I just don’t feel comfortable around them for any reason.

So when I hear my almost 3-year-old going bang, bang and pretending to “shoot bears,” as he says he’s doing, it really bothers me. Number one, I don’t want him shooting or killing anything because I’m an animal and tree lover (hugger, if you may), and number two, I don’t want him learning that it’s OK to do that and then get suspended from school for playing cowboys and Indians like he sees on TV on the Western channel.

But then playing “shooting bears” and actually realizing something has died is a whole other thing.

One of my favorite moves is Disney’s “The Fox and the Hound.” Two cute little creatures who typically would be enemies learn to play together as mere toddlers, and then grow up to realize they weren’t supposed to be friends at all, but in the end, friendship rules out.

As a 3-year-old, a young one can’t understand the concept of when something dies, it’s gone for good. And Little Man looked like he was near tears when Copper (the Hound) left to learn to be a hunting dog and Todd (the Fox) was left behind with no friend, because he kept asking where the fox’s mother was. His mother died at the beginning of the movie, leaving him orphaned, kind of like in “Bambi.”

It was then that I realized that not every G rated movie is OK for little eyes. He is small enough, while he knows pretend hunting, he hasn’t figured out that creatures really do die. And yes, it is sad when they are killed. I cry at road kill, I’m just a softy.

No more “The Fox and the Hound” at our house for a few more years, and monitoring of other programming being watched will need to take place too as Little Man begins to get a grasp on the reality of life and death — and other hard topics to breach with a little one.

Sheltering a child is not the answer, but bringing up the topics as they are age appropriate might be a better take.

Wendy Byerly Wood is the associate editor of The Mount Airy News. She can be reached at or at 719-1923.