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Carey Bryson

Are Moms the Stricter Sex When It Comes to Movies?

By June 29, 2011

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My husband and I couldn't help but overhear the conversation of a father-son duo we followed out of the theater the night we saw Transformers: Dark of the Moon. After raving with his 4, maybe 5, year old son about how awesome the movie was, Dad leans over and says to his little boy, "Now remember, we're not going to tell Mommy about this. It's our little secret, right?" To which the adorable kid wearing a tiny Transformers backpack nodded vehemently. It was apparent this was not the same young child we heard burst into sobs during a more intense part of the film.

The question of whether or not the kid should have seen this movie in the first place is an obvious takeaway from this story. But ultimately, it's up to parents to decide for themselves what's okay for their own kid to watch and when. So, although that would make for a grand debate, I wanted to bring out a point on a lighter note. This guy's little secret with his son reminded me that not only do different families have different views on what kids should watch, but also, dads' ideas about what is okay for kids can vary quite a bit from their wives.

It's not scientific research to be sure, but anecdotal and fun to question none-the-less. In my personal experience, in almost every value discrepancy that's come up on the subject, the moms are the ones putting their foot down, and the dads are the ones who might let the preschooler watch SpongeBob while mom's at the store, or innocently popping in Lord of the Rings for a family film adventure. In fact, it's a common complaint I hear from my friends. I would say it's at least once a month that I hear a mom tell some story about what her husband let the kids watch. And yes, it's happened in my own house. Dad's the one who introduced my oldest daughter to Star Wars, and he was the first to allow her to watch a Harry Potter film.

So, I've never really thought much about it before. But hearing that dad say "It's our little secret, right?" in that moment -- well, it was one of those things that make you go, hmmm... I wonder if this phenomenon is as widespread as it seems. And if it is, what does it mean? Why are moms stricter about what kids watch?

To be clear, I'm not throwing dads under the bus here. I know that they do care about what their kids watch, and I think most parents have a united front on the subject, with minor differences here and there. I appreciate my own husband and his ability to make judgement calls on the subject, which is why I just laughed when I saw him watching Star Wars with the kids. After all, if it wasn't for him, the poor things would probably be watching Dora for the rest of their pre-adult lives. But as a parent with an avid interest in psychology, human nature, and parenting techniques, I just have to ponder the subject.

What about your family? Is mom stricter about what the kids watch?

And, if you are wondering whether or not TF3 is okay for your kid or not, check out our review for parents of Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

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(Photo Paramount Pictures. All rights reserved. )

June 30, 2011 at 6:38 am
(1) K.C. says:

It’s kinda funny: in our household, my husband is actually the stricter one about what the girls view! Part of it is the fact that he didn’t really have TV while growing up. We tend to discuss what the girls watch, together. Incidentally, we plan on introducing the girls to “Star Wars” one of these days!

June 30, 2011 at 10:06 am
(2) Dave says:

Fun article! I’m definitely the weaker one – I take my 10 yr old son with me to a few PG-13 movies now. It’s never a secret, but my wife does check the kids-in-mind.com ratings first before she decides how much of a guilt trip to lay on me :)

January 22, 2012 at 12:01 pm
(3) theonore says:

well when i was growing up my mom was always the one that was more strict but to me it is more of the point of should the child be watching the tv program or movie in the first place then it is the parent being strict because having seen transformers for myself i personaly do not beleve the child should have been there at all and i am not saying all moms are strict just that mine kind of was

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