Parents: ParaNorman Introduces Children to Homosexuality

Spoiler Alert

When we lived in Philadelphia, one of my daughter’s acquaintances was being raised by two women in a lesbian relationship. My friend explained the girl had two mothers and – essentially – two fathers, due to the circumstances surrounding the insemination. It was a bit much for my kindergartner to properly process, so I didn’t address the issue with my daughter. After all, I wasn’t going to tell her that “all families are the same” which was the message the public schools in Philadelphia were pushing. Instead my family’s Christian faith informs how we view sex, marriage, and parenthood, so I figured I’d answer questions only as they came up. At the time, I wasn’t ready to talk to her about heterosexual romance and definitely wasn’t ready to explain our position on homosexual relationships.  

When we moved from Center City to Tennessee, we didn’t encounter similar family situations at Zion Christian Academy, a private Christian school near our house. This allowed us to discuss our beliefs about sex and marriage with the children when the kids were mature enough to understand it. We currently have three children – a teenager, a pre-teen, and a 4 year old. We’ve had “the talk” with the older two, but the pre-schooler is still asking probing questions about the etiquette of spitting and hair pulling at school. (Our family is anti-spitting and anti-hair pulling, we keep reminding her.)

However, parents who take children to the new movie ParaNorman might have to answer unwanted questions about sex.

ParaNorman centers around an 11-year-old outcast Norman who sees ghosts everywhere and must stop the dead from rising. (This is related to a witch’s curse put on his hometown hundreds of years ago, making him the only person to save his town.) Zombies, ghosts, witches… how can a parent go wrong?

There are reportedly two scenes parents need to know about. In one scene, the dad asks his son what he’s watching. Norman responds, “sex and violence.” These irritating one-line remarks frequently pop up in kids’ animated movies, a wink-wink from the producers to the invariably bored parents. Normally, kids don’t notice them and parents get a chuckle.

However, the second scene involves one of the subplots. Norman’s sister has a crush on a kid she tries desperately to impress throughout the movie. After she fails to turn his head, she finally asks him out.

“Sure,” he responds. “You’re gonna love my boyfriend. He’s like a total chick-flick nut.”

My friend saw the film in a “red state” and she reported that “you could hear the gasps in the theatre from parents” at the unexpected line. “I should have known something was up when the theatre manager made a huge disclaimer and offered refunds if we did not like the movie,” she wrote.

This line might not raise parental eyebrows in larger cities, but I thought I’d let parents know about this sexual orientation “reveal” at the end in case you want to avoid these types of conversations in the car on the way home.

ParaNorman is rated PG for “scary action and images, thematic elements, some rude humor and language.”

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About Nancy French

Nancy French is a three time New York Times Best Selling Author.


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