"Mom, I'm going to whatshername's house to watch a movie. Is it okay if we watch thatonemovie, even though it's PG-13? Whatshername said it's only PG-13 because there's some blood. It's really a good movie."
My answer: "Want some brownies?"
A smile, an eye roll, and that was the end of that.
First off, let me explain. Awhile back we decided as a family not to watch PG-13 movies. All of us. Even Allen and I, because can we expect our kids to live up to something that we do not? Anyway, we kicked off our non-PG-13-watching with a little story that many of you may have heard. It's one of my favorites. For your reading pleasure I bring, "Special Brownies".
A family had a rule that they could not attend PG-13 or R rated movies, but two of the teenagers wanted to see a particular movie that was playing at local theaters. It was rated PG-13. The teens interviewed friends and even some members of their family's church to find out what was offensive in the movie. They made a list of pros and cons about the movie to use in convincing their dad that they should be allowed to see it.
The cons were that it contained only 3 swear words, the only violence was a building exploding ('and you see that on TV all the time', they said) and you actually did not see the couple in the movie having sex - it was just implied sex, off camera.
The pros were that it was a popular movie - a blockbuster. Everyone was seeing it. If the teens saw the movie then they would not feel left out when their friends discussed it. The movie contained a good story and plot. It had some great adventure and suspense in it. There were some fantastic special effects in this movie. Many of the members of their church had even seen the movie and said it was really good. Therefore, since there were more pros than cons the teens said they were asking their father to reconsider his position on just this ONE movie and let them have permission to go see it.
The father looked at the list and thought for a few minutes. He said he could tell his children had spent some time and thought on this request. He asked if he could have a day to think about it before making his decision. The teens were thrilled. They thought, "Our argument is too good! Dad can't turn us down!" So, they happily agreed to let him have a day to think about their request.
The next evening the father called his teenagers in to the living room. There on the coffee table he had a plate of brownies. The father told his children he had thought about their request and had decided that if they would eat a brownie then he would let them go to the movie. But just like the movie, the brownies had pros and cons.
The pros were that they were made with the finest chocolate and other good ingredients. They had the added special effect of yummy walnuts in them. The brownies were moist and fresh with wonderful chocolate frosting on top. He had made them using an award-winning recipe. But...
The brownies only had one con. He had included a little bit of a special ingredient. The brownies also contained just a little bit of dog poop. But he had mixed the dough well - they probably would not even be able to taste the dog poop and he had baked it at 350 degrees so any bacteria or germs from the dog poop had probably been destroyed.
Of course, none of the teens would eat the brownies. Now when his kids ask permission to watch something he is opposed to the father just asks, "Would you like me to whip up a batch of my special brownies?"
Works for me, too.