The parents of children at the Dark Night Rises premier are getting a lot of heat right now.
“Why did you take a 3 month old to a midnight showing? That’s practically child abuse.”
“You took a 9 year old to a midnight movie? You wouldn’t be home until at least 2:30!”
“What were you thinking putting your child in danger like that?”
You know what I want to say to all of that?
Shut. The. Heck. Up.
First off, not a single one of those parents who took their children to that showing knew they were putting their child in any sort of danger. None of them knew that some sort of crazy gunman would be going into the theatre, setting off tear gas and shooting the place up like it was nobody’s business.
Secondly, who cares when someone takes their child to the movies? I took my son to see the Hunger Games when he was just over 6 months old. Mind you, it wasn’t a midnight showing. It was a matinee. But that shouldn’t matter. Perhaps they had a child who is regularly up at that time anyway, so they knew the baby wouldn’t be kept up by the movie specifically. Maybe they knew their child was a sound sleeper and would sleep through the whole thing, so why pay the money for a babysitter to sit there and watch a sleeping baby you could have with you?
Thirdly, it was summer. There’s no reason a 6 year old or 9 year old can’t go to a late-night movie in the summer. My family goes to the Drive In all the time, and has for years, meaning occasionally during the summer, my brother (11 now, but many times much younger) wouldn’t get home until 2am after the drive in movies. The point is, sometimes there are special occasions that kids stay out late. No big deal. Is it a movie I would have taken my 6 year old to? Probably not. But that’s not my place to decide what movies they’ll show their children!
Parents judging other parents is, of course, nothing new. Parents judge other parents for many reasons, from the way they choose to feed their children from birth (bottle vs. breast), to the clothes they put on their backs, to whether they cloth diaper or use Pampers, whether they spank or use time out or none of the above, and a million other things.
All of this judgement only serves to make us less compassionate. These parents who took their children to the movies don’t need you to say “Why on earth would you do that?” They need you to say “I am so sorry this happened.”
By giving them a slap on the wrist for having their child out so late at night, putting them in what everyone believed was a non-dangerous situation, you’re truly focusing on the wrong person. The shooter is the only person who we can place blame on for the Dark Knight Massacre. It was his twisted thoughts and ideas that made the theatre an unsafe place for children, not their parents taking them to a movie.
I don’t see how it changes anything in your life if some other parents chose to take their children to a theatre. As long as they were doing the right thing and stepping outside the theatre with a crying child during a film, and as long as theatre policy doesn’t prohibit it, there’s no reason they couldn’t take their kids.
I truly feel that if anyone thought their children would be in a life-threatening situation, they never would have brought their children.
Go easy on them. They’ve just been involved with what is easily the most traumatic event someone could go through.
Trust me, they don’t need your judgement. They are already putting themselves through so much emotional trauma for taking their kids, that you’re not helping by adding to that.