Cars, Cars and more Cars.
Mater and Lightning McQueen are kings in my household.
We have watched Cars 1 and Cars 2 enough that I can recite the script, character by character verbatim. My sons are smitten.
This propensity to obsess and repeatedly watch the same movies over and over and over again is, sadly, not atypical of my boys. I went through this with my girls as well. The movies and books may have been different but the result was the same: repetition and obsession of one or a few particular films or books beyond what any adult person would consider “normal.”
Parents everywhere know the scoop: your kid fixates on a character or film and it’s another year or more of all-consuming passion that you must live through in the name of being a good mom or dad. Galling as it may be, you grin and bear it because you love your child. Yet you often wonder: “Is this normal?” Whether it’s due to the comfort factor, the characters or the hype behind a particular book or movie, parents are in for countless hours of repetition. And in the midst of it all, we ask ourselves “why?”
Why do kids hone in on a particular film or book and insist on watching or reading it more times than any adult person would consider? Many parents have asked themselves this question without a satisfying answer.
My personal opinion is that there must be some sort of comfort in seeing the same characters over and over again, repeating the same phrases and dialogue verbatim and anticipating a favorite character’s next move, correctly. While kids may indeed insist on watching the same movies repeatedly for other reasons, such as stimulation, excitement and yes – learning – I do think that the driving force behind this phenomenon is comfort. The familiarity that comes with watching or reading about a character for the 40th time just can’t be beat.
That being said, it doesn’t help us poor parents who are sitting on the sidelines, slowly going batty after then umpteenth screening of Cars, Toy Story, [insert your child's favorite flick here]. More than one mom or dad has bemoaned the fact that they are reciting lines from their child’s object of obsession flick with the film of the month – or year, for that matter. What’s a beleaguered parent to do?
Here are some suggestions:
1) Something New – Open your child up to other books and movies if they’re fixating on one in particular. Their object of affection might shift or it may just be enough to get them off of their obsession of the month (or year). You may even regain your sanity in the process.
2) Distractions – When your child asks for the thousandth time to watch their favorite movie again, or read the same book that you’ve read every night for the past year, don’t divulge, distract! Offer another option in the form of something completely different. For example, if they want to watch the dreaded movie, offer to play a game with them instead. If they’re insisting on reading the same book for the umpteenth time, suggest an activity, craft or otherwise to get their mind into a different place. It’s easier than you think
3) Take a Break – It’s perfectly fine to tell your child that you’d like to take a break from watching that movie yet again, or reading the same story countless times. Children need to learn that their actions affect others and giving them some perspective on how you’re feeling isn’t a bad thing. If anything, it might make them think and learn about how their actions affect others.
4) Earplugs – If all else fails, insert earplugs and zone out while the movie is playing. If it’s a book that your child is obsessing about – you may be out of luck!
Does your child obsess about particular movies or books? How do you deal with the constant repetition of reading or watching the same thing over and over again?
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