The Twilight series is a page-turner among millions of young people. Romance, vampires, and werewolves – this combination makes for a naturally interesting read, especially when woven together by a fine novelist like Stephenie Meyer. The books target the youth market, but are they suitable for young kids and adolescents?
The Twilight books are suitable for children, but only for those over 13. This is because the message may wrongly influence younger kids. Despite being marketed to those nine years and above, the age range doesn’t necessarily reflect the suitability of the content. Instead, it indicates readability.
If you’re reading this, I assume that you’re among the many parents wondering whether the Twilight series is suitable for their kids. The rest of this quick post will provide clarifying answers, so keep reading.
The original Twilight books are about 17-year-old Isabella “Bella” Swan, who falls dangerously in love with Edward Cullen, a vampire eternally frozen in a 17-year-old body. It’s a young adult, supernatural romance with all the themes of young (and forbidden) love, teenage angst, and a love triangle.
The teenage protagonists had to wait until after marriage to have sex, even though Bella isn’t a girl you’ll describe as religious.
Things get more interesting when Jacob Black, a werewolf, falls in love with Bella and tries desperately to impress her.
Edward fights his inner demons and warns Bella that he’s dangerous. But she’s more drawn to him because of his protective nature, and of course, striking good looks. Eventually, the lovebirds tie the knot, and Bella becomes pregnant on their honeymoon. Their daughter, Renesmee, is born healthy, but only after the mom almost dies during childbirth.
The romantic story is very descriptive and will leave the imagination running wild, even for many adults!
Now the big question: Should your elementary or middle school-age kids read these kinds of books?
All children are different, so parents need to view them individually. Also, parenting styles aren’t the same for all families.
But it’s crucial to carefully scrutinize the content of these books before letting your kids read them. Here’s a quick rundown of what I think are the pluses and minuses of the Twilight books:
- Stephanie Meyer didn’t include any explicit or overt sex scenes in the books, a deviation from many teen novels these days. This decision is primarily because of her religious views.
- Edward resists his natural vampire tendencies. This shows teens that they can rise above even the most challenging situations if they set their minds to it.
- The supernatural content may trigger concerns for some religious parents. While vampires and werewolves are mere fantasies, you wouldn’t want younger kids to start believing they’re real.
- Some kids can become obsessed with books. And this may affect their normal behavior, at least temporarily.
- Edward paints a very appealing picture but isn’t a good role model as far as a romantic partner goes. You may not want your children seeking out similarly unhealthy attachments.
Okay, here’s where things get very inappropriate for kids by all standards, I dare say!
The message tends to glorify certain things that are potentially harmful to kids, especially young girls. These are:
- The romantic relationship portrayed in the series sets the stage for emotional abuse. Girls may learn to choose the pain of an abusive relationship rather than being without the abuser.
- Bella depends on Edward to rescue her – a classic case of woman-in-peril ideology potentially harmful to girls.
- There is violent and sexually suggestive content.
The Twilight series consists of five books with different age-appropriateness. The saga includes:
- Twilight (2005)
- New Moon (2006)
- Eclipse (2007)
- Breaking Dawn (2008)
- Midnight Sun (2020)
Generally, the first two books are suitable for kids 11 and up; they can quickly grasp the content of the books. Eclipse is okay for 13-year-olds. The rest of the series is more appropriate for children aged 14 and above.
Here’s the thing, though.
Age doesn’t ultimately determine a child’s psychological maturity.
Some ten-year-olds can behave more maturely in certain situations for kids in their age group. Yet, another child of the same age will act very poorly given the same situation. In other words, your child’s maturity is what’s most important when it comes to deciding on appropriate novels.
Based on 161 reviews left by parents on the Common Sense Media website, book one in the Twilight series is suitable for kids age 13 and up.
But children have a completely different opinion.
More than 670 kids on the same site think the book is appropriate for 11-year-olds.
Bottom line: You determine what’s suitable for your child’s level of maturity.
Let’s end this quick article by clarifying who a child is.
According to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, a child is anyone below 18 years old.
While this is a generally accepted definition, things can be different in some parts of the world.
Here’s an example.
You can’t get everyone to agree on what’s appropriate for children, regardless of age. In any case, you can figure out whether the Twilight books are good for your child by first reading them.
Don’t have the time to read through each book?
Go through this post again, and pay closer attention to The Good, The Bad, and the Downright Ugly sections.
With those, you can figure out what’s best for your child in keeping with your beliefs and parenting style.
The Twilight Saga makes for fascinating reading, especially for anyone intrigued by vampire stories. Unfortunately, these books aren’t suitable for all children.
Keep in mind that nearly everyone has their opinion about the age-appropriateness of Stephenie Meyer’s vampire-themed romantic saga. And while I’ve tried to provide honest answers in this post, this is another opinion.
The most important thing is to think about the age and maturity of your child before letting them
consume the content of the Twilight books.