Glee for 11 Year Old?

Updated on April 02, 2013
A.W. asks from Binghamton, NY
18 answers

I hate all of the raunchy television programming on prime time. Even Glee seems to be overly sexual at times. We've been DVR-ing it and I had initially intended to watch episodes first to determine which ones were ok and delete the rest. Truth be told, this parenting thing is new to me and I'm struggling just to get meals on the table and homework done most nights. I just don't have time for previewing television programs, too. (Particularly ones I'd not care to watch on my own.)

B has recently been placed with us after living with her mom for the first 11 years of her life. She lacks knowledge, guidance, and training as to what's appropriate and why...we're working on all that. (Baby steps.) I don't want her to be totally ignorant about sex forever and I'm willing to watch it with her and to discuss with her the more adult topics, when they arise. At the same time, I'd like her to retain what small amount of innocence she has for as long as possible. She's been exposed to way too much in her young life, in my opinion. What do you think...? To Glee...or not to Glee.

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So What Happened?

Thank you all for the responses. B already watches American Idol and, at times, I take issue with comments made by the judges, but would generally be ok with the content of the show. I thought I was more aware of the content of Glee than I actually was and you've all made good points regarding teenage pregnancy and promiscuity. These are definitely things I'd like to shield her from, at least for a little while longer. I do agree with some of the more positive messages portrayed on Glee, but because I don't have the time to preview the episodes, I've decided to have a discussion with her about waiting until she's a little older to watch the show. Your comments are all very much appreciated! :-)

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answers from San Francisco on

I watch the show with my kids. Mostly they love the music and dancing, and I have found that some of the more "adult" topics either go right over their heads, or they take it in stride. My girls are 10 and almost 8.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

At 11 yrs old, she knows a lot more than you think she does regarding sex.

My suggestion is to have some wide open lines of communication so she can come to you with questions vs relying on the info she gets at school and the media outlets.

As for Glee, my daughter (18) and I used to watch it all the time. If you do, use the subject matter to educate her, not ignore it and act like it isn't there. She needs guidance right now....

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Green Bay on

My husband and I enjoyed Glee during it's first season. There definitely were episodes where we saw what was happening on TV, looked at each other and said, "What age is this geared towards?! There are KIDS watching this?!"

I think it is simply just like you said, that you watch it with her and talk to her about what is going on. Ask her what SHE thinks of what is happening and encourage her to ask questions if she has any. Remind her that things are not always displayed accurately on TV. When I was young, I thought high school was going to happen like Saved by the Bell - HA HA! :-) If she enjoys it, watch it with her and laugh at the inaccuracies. Marvel at the talents. Take the show with a grain of salt. :-)

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I think that if you cut off everything that is normal to her then you risk setting yourself up for being the fall guy. She will blame you for everything and take her anger and aggression out on you.

So, if it's not big deal to you, so much that you are't even sure....well, I'd probably watch it with her and make it a buddy kind of thing. Something you do each week so you can bond over it. This way she'll get to do something she's used to and you can be goofy about the stuff that's not age appropriate.

I think if it doesn't really matter to you then go with it. If you find it totally reprehensible then just find something to do where you always seem to be doing something else when it's on.

I think she's giving up a lot and making a lot of changes. So the less change you can force on her that's about you and your choices the better your relationship will likely be.

So if you like the show and are sort of okay with it then go ahead and watch it IF she's a fan. I would not introduce her to it if she's not watched it before.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

If she is 11 she probably knows what sex is. Knowing what it is and watching a sexually charged TV show are 2 different things. I so would not let my 11 year old watch glee. I am not even sure if I would want my 15 year old watching it.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I would not want a child watching Glee. I don't think the sex is done in a very appropriate manner and, if you want to teach her about adult topics, there are definitely better ways to do it. The sex is way too casual. Do you really want your daughter watching a bunch of high school girls have sex, sleep around (one girl's pride is that she slept with every boy in her class) and getting pregnant? There are not the messages you should be conveying to her.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

My 7 year old loves Glee - but that is definitely a show you need to preview first. Some episodes are completely fine - G rated - stuff. Just funny and good songs. Other episodes are much more mature relating to sex, eating disorders, gender confusion, etc. My 7 year old only gets to see about 1/3 of the episodes.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I love Glee. Watch it with her, and if there is anything inappropriate it will be a good way for you to discuss the issue with her.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

From what I had seen in the first two seasons of Glee, no, I would not say it was appropriate for an 11 year old. ( I kind of lost interest after that-- became too soap-opera-ish). There is a lot of rather frank discussion of sex, choices about sex, and it seems that few of the characters can be happy with themselves outside of their (sometimes unhealthy) relationships.

But I checked Common Sense Media. They suggest that 13 is a decent age. I will say this-- overall, the content may be more than an eleven year old really knows what to do with. I personally find the 'dating X the one day, dating Y the next' somewhat troubling. Furthermore, there has been at least one episode in which the characters find virginity troubling and just want to lose it already.

I think, for a kid who is already confused about appropriate propriety, this show could be more confusing than not. One concerning observation: the adults in the show act very immature and horny at times too. There are some good messages in the show, to be sure, especially regarding LGBTQ inclusion and tolerance of all peoples in general (They did a great push to raise the awareness about slurs like "retarded" --when used as a derogatory term-- and do try to tread empathetically on the characters and their situations). However, for a child who is having a hard time drawing clear boundaries, I would be wary of this show for right now.

BTW-- I should add-- I'm not a prude about sex. My son is nearly six and we've had 'the talk'. There's just a huge difference between knowing 'how' babies are made and differentiating between what the models of relationships are in the media vs. real life.

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answers from Austin on

Glee is based in a High school an so the subjects seem to be about high school and the adults that tach there

I think it all depends on the child.

My niece has loved that show since she was in 5th grade.. She always watched it with an adult. She is now a freshman in High school and I think since last year, she has been watching it alone, with her older brother or girlfriends.
Remember her brother and all of his friends are 3 years older than her, so she is pretty savvy about things.. She hears them talking..

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Charleston on

If she wants to watch it, maybe just find the "singing" parts on youtube and let her watch those. The content of the show is much too mature for her in my opinion. The way they do mashups of songs is very fun and entertaining though and she probably would like that. Kudos to you for being proactive!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I think that as long as you have open and honest communication Glee, and a lot of other things, should be just fine.
You just have to make sure she understands what is appropriate for her and what is meant for older people in loving relationships.

In our house we all watch Glee and our daughter is 7, turning 8 in October.
She doesn't really pay attention to most of it, really just likes to dance or sing along to the music.
But we have been having "the talk" with her for years now.
Progressing with more and more information each time SHE brings up the subject.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I want to say: Good for you! You're not just caving in and saying "It's only a TV show." You are NOT alone in previewing shows for your girl; we do the same thing with the one TV show my daughter (just turned 12) likes (which is not "Glee" but a British show of "Robin Hood" and the previewing is mostly to check on the level of violence). Keep doing it. You are the adult and you are right to preview, even if you don't like the show much yourself. I put on the show I need to preview while I'm doing housework, so I can listen and sort of watch while getting something else done.

I would add: You mention that you don't want her to be ignorant about sex forever, and you'd be willing to watch alongside her and discuss topics. But remember -- once images and words go into her head, you can't change them. If any show, not just this one, introduces something you are just not ready to discuss yet -- you can't undo her seeing or hearing it and have it on your plate then and there, ready or not. I also would caution that a TV show, designed for entertainment and drama, isn't a good platform for lessons about realistic images of sex., I wouldn't let her watch and then figure on discussing whatever comes up. And don't assume you can discuss things "when she has a question" because many kids at her age don't ask questions even if they have them in their minds--they hold back for many reasons, even if they have a good relationship with the adult. And if she has already been "exposed to way too much" -- why not find her some other outlets for entertainment? If she likes "Glee" for the musical numbers, there are plenty of other more age-appropriate musicals out there (and yes, you'll have to rent them or stream them and preview them), or better yet, get her involved in singing for real, for herself, with participation in a choir or glee club at school or church or in the community.( I would NOT present it as "Instead of watching 'Glee,' learn to sing," or that will utterly turn her off and make her want to rebel and watch it at friends' houses; I would just offer the idea and not tie it to this show in any way.If she doesn't care about singing herself, then find another pursuit for that time she would be watching TV.)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

The very first season of Glee is based around the pregnancy of the popular cheerleader and president of the virginity club. If you can't either preview the episodes or watch them with her, she shouldn't be watching it. That is responsible parenting.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I've not watched Glee. I have a suggestion based only on Hazel's description of it and Manda W. explanation for her daughter. I suggest that whether or not you let her watch it depends on her level of sexual understanding and experience. If she was exposed to sex in her mom's home, she probably shouldn't watch it.

At 8, a child is mostly unaware and uninterested in sex and so they ignore sexual inuendos. At 11 most girls are becoming interested in sex and so the program may be modeling behavior you don't want her to accept. If she's already seen such behavior this program is apt to reinforce the behavior you want her to avoid.

Since you weren't able to teach her gradually as she was maturing, you don't know what she knows and expects. I would probably not let her watch it until you're more aware of what she understands about sexual values and you can be comfortable that she won't take these actors' behavior as acceptable. And if you're with her so that you can talk about issues that arise.

It is time to talk with her about sex and your values. There are some really good books to read together. The Care and Keeping of You, an American Girl book is one.

My daughter has followed the age guidelines for movies and TV with her daughter who is now 12, nearly 13 and it's worked for them. My granddaughter has accepted the rule without complaint. Apparently her friends have the same rule.

I adopted my daughter. She came to live with me when she was 7. I would not have let her watch Glee, at 11,and screened her viewing. My daughter seemed relieved. She rebelled about lots of things but not about TV and movies.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

from your title i would have said a strong NO.

but hearing the background i too worry that cutting her off from it would be worse than the bad messages the show sends. there is too much sexuality in it for me to want to show it to my soon to be 11 yo.

What i would suggest is to see if there is a compromise show. Maybe American Idol would be a better subsitute if it's the music she likes.

if it's the characters and the drama, maybe you can find old seasons of a differtent show. how bad was dawsons' creek or Seventh heaven or what ever??? i never watched those, but i can't think of anything half way ok on tv now either.



answers from Rochester on

I like Glee. But, yes, it's more for high school kids and older. 11 years old should not watch things you feel are not appropriate. You need to go with your gut feeling. She will learn, as she gets older, about sex. As long as you are the one teaching her about it, not from what she learns in school and tv. It's always best to learn the truth and not the 'glamm' of things in general.
Also, I think Glee is rater pg-13. Oh, and, if you are not sure about a show or the rating, sit with her during the show, so you can explain things to her if needed. And, if in doubt, turn the t.v. off, or watch an appropriate movie.
Anyways, the shows in the evening are mostly pg-13 and older (just keep that in mind...except for a few like american idol, the x-factor--the talent shows are usually family friendly)

oh, also, we are all going through first time whatever with our kids--not like we've been programmed with how to care for kids. We have the parental insticts that we follow, which is installed into us when we have our babies. Go with instict. Can't go wrong with that!


answers from Chicago on

I say NO WAY! I have an almost 11 yr old and she has never seen it, nor even asked to.

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