Yay, Nay, or Maybe: Bringing Kids to an R-Rated Movie

by | Aug 29th, 2011 | 9:37AM | Filed under: In My Humble Opinion, Quizzes, Contests & Polls

We’ve covered movie-theater etiquette in the past here on redblog, and it’s always a touchy, controversial subject. Whether we’re discussing texting during a film or buying smelly concession food, people have strong opinions. So I’m bracing myself for the inevitable flood of negative reactions I’ll get to this statement: The worst movie-going offense someone could make is bringing his or her young child to an R-rated movie.

There, I said it. To me, observing a little kid watching a movie that is clearly inappropriate for them is almost unbearable, and it totally ruins my own experience.

Here’s why:

  • A great majority of the time, said child is running all over the theater and/or jumping in and out of his seat and/or talking loudly, which is beyond distracting. Sometimes the parents will follow after them or try to keep them settled down… but usually the kids in question are ignored. It’s like the parents think the theater is their own personal daycare. But guess what? Everyone else who came without kids paid just as much for their tickets, and they deserve to be able to actually hear and watch their chosen film in peace.
  • It’s even worse if the child is actually watching the movie intently! I’ll never forget the terrified look I saw on a kid’s face (he couldn’t have been over four years old) during a particularly gruesome scene in Law Abiding Citizen last year (think body parts being chopped off). I don’t care if it’s violence, sex, swearing, or the overall subject of the R-rated film, it’s rated R for a reason and parents who think their children are mature enough or “can handle it” are fooling themselves. Or they’re just plain lazy. Or they would rather subject their offspring to god-knows-what on the screen just to save on the cost and hassle of getting a babysitter for a few hours, which—despite the high prices of movie tickets these days, is still going to be more expensive than hauling the crew out to the cineplex.

It’s not just me who fears for the psyche of these youngsters whose parents subject them to all sorts of for-adults-only imagery and dialogue. Studies have been done on this very issue, and researchers in this field conclude: “A clear picture has emerged that exposure to violent media increases the likelihood of aggressive thoughts, emotions, and behavior.” Lovely.

For anyone who might argue that parents have no way of knowing whether or not a particular film is going to be too much for their kids, I would respond by pointing them to an independent site (meaning not sponsored by any studios) like Kids in Mind, which—since late 2008—has been thoroughly detailing out everything that might be questionable for children in theatrical and DVD releases (If you want a good laugh, read the over 3,200-word breakdown of the recently released Conan the Barbarian remake).

It’s clear where I stand on this issue. No young kids in R-rated movies—ever. But what do YOU think? Voice your opinion in our poll below!
And by all means, please expand upon your vote in the comments section—I can’t wait to read your responses to this one!



Is it OK to bring young kids to an R-rated movie?

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270 Responses to “Yay, Nay, or Maybe: Bringing Kids to an R-Rated Movie”

  1. moviegoer123
    Posted on August 31, 2011 at 11:22 am

    Also, sometimes — the child doesn’t win. They can’t get their way every time.

    I meant, instead of me try anything to see the movie Moneyball, the child may try anything to see the movie they want to see.

  2. Alyssa
    Posted on August 31, 2011 at 11:57 am

    I’ve noticed a lot of people saying that those of us who say parents with unruly children should be escorted out don’t have children or don’t remember what it was like while our children were growing up. You’re right. I’m 22 and don’t have any children. However, I respect the people around me until they disrespect me. And by allowing your children to scream, cry, talk, etc. through out a movie, you are disrespect me, and doing a great disservice to your children.

    I don’t have children, as I just said, however, I do remember BEING one. My parents would NEVER let me act like that in a movie theater. They had control of my behavior and I obeyed them. If I didn’t, then they took me out and game me a spanking. To avoid spankings, I behaved. I never screamed or talked in the theaters. I never ran around in the theaters. It was a TREAT for me and my family to go out and the last thing I wanted was for my mom and dad to take me out and punish me because I was misbehaving. My parents had respect for themselves and the people around them who also paid their hard earned money to go see the movie.

    One person said that we are not guaranteed the comforts of home, which is true for both me and you. While I do not get to lay out with my boyfriend holding me, you do not get to let your kids disrupt the movie. It is ignorant and disrespectful to say that you should be allowed the comforts of home at MY expense.

    That is what is wrong. Parents don’t want to take responsibility for their children’s actions and people don’t care about or show respect towards one another. I don’t care how much I paid to take my children out, it is a reward/treat for them. If they don’t appreciate that and behave, then we’re leaving and they lose out. They’ll think twice before doing it again the next time we are out.

  3. debrahubbard
    Posted on August 31, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    I love seeing movies at home because I’m hearing-impared,and can use closed captioning. I think this is also a good choice for parents who maybe can’t get a baby-sitter.
    However, people can be selfish, thoughtless, and lazy. So even through we should not see young children at R-rated movies, we will!

  4. mary
    Posted on August 31, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    what makes me upset more then the x rated movies is people bringing there cell phones to the movies especially adults they know better. put you are right kids don*t belong in movies where sex and viloents is on the screen, but parents rent the movies at home and the kids watch any way. one way or another kids will end up seeing the r rated movie so why not bring kids to see what they will end up in the long run seeing.

  5. Jessica
    Posted on August 31, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    I have been reading these comments and was appalled at the way some of these parents react- 1ST – Ratings are put there for a reason- common sense tells us if a professional Group of strangers rates it to be inappropriate for our children then why would we not consider that? 2ND – For all of those who say it is not my business- one- what happen to “love thy neighbor” we should all care about the welfare of children weather they are ours or not. If I was not in a position to teach my children right from wrong, I would pray to God that someone would have the decency to care enough to help me. That is the problem with todays world – people don’t care anymore. And two- usually if you let your small children see rated R movies u probably let them do other things they are not supposed to do which means they are (not always but most generally spoiled and used to getting their way)which (sometimes) makes them bratts. My kids have to put up with kids like that all the time and it really makes me mad when parents don’t have the common sense to raise their kids right. Therefore when your “little Johnny” is bullying my my “little Timmy” due to the crap that he gets away with at home it makes it my business!!!! I agree that it has a lot of factors like how old the kid is and what the movie is – I have four boys and I’m sure that they have seen a rated R movie b4 and it did not kill them but I do not condone it nor do I encourage it. I admit they are going to have to experience things like that in this world but why expose them if they don’t have to be – as that being said – I do occasionally give my oldest child the independence to make decisions even against my better judgment sometimes because that is the only way he is going to learn for himself. However I always know what it is and always have part control in the situation – I feel if you give your kids a little bit of independence they will not have to sneak around and do things behind your back for it. However my child earns everything he get- such as independence and privileges- if he is not mature enough to handle them he does not get them. He is 11 and knows how to do laundry, dishes (without a dish washer),mow and weed-eat the yard, cook, help out with the little ones,and pretty much makes strait A’s so I feel he is responsible enough to have independence occasionally. I read a comment about how it is ok to tell your kid “NO”- I firmly agree – my kids tell me they don’t like me, ect. and I tell them “I am not here to be your friend; I am here to be your parent” I also explain to them that I am their friend too and that they can always come to me with their problems or whatever but it is my #1 duty as a parent to be a parent 1st and as a parent to teach them right from wrong even if it means I have to be mean. They understand in the long run and the older they get the more they understand and will respect you. No one said being a parent was easy but when a person decides to have children they have to grow up and be a parent first before anything else. I am 27years old and have raised 4 kids( 1 biological and 3 step) for the past 7 years and realized why the mother of the oldest 3 does not have her kids; Because of parenting decisions like this- I am not saying all parents are bad for letting their kids see rated R movies but lets face it those ratings are there for a reason- and like I said if the child is getting away with that than what else is the child getting away with and how is it effecting that child (and those around that child)? People use common sense -quit screwing up your kids – I assure you when they get to be teenagers they will do that without your help. You’re the parent- act like one. There are enough kids out there without parents and in the system b/c the parents could/would not take care of them.

  6. paule6toes
    Posted on August 31, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    So to the parents who bring thier kid’s to an R rated movie why not bring your kids to a nudist colony or let’s say the county morgue when they do an autopsy or a nieghborhood where there is open prosituition and drug dealing…So it’s ok for you to beat your kid to an inch of thier life? that is child abuse bringing a child under age of the rating of the movie is also child abuse ..if you don’t understand the connection then don’t be surprised when you walk out of the theater and the cop’s and CPSare waiting for you as you don’t have a clue….

  7. Alan
    Posted on August 31, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    People who think that they have the right to tell me how to raise my children need to get a reality check. all of the experts say that the most damaging thing that you can do to a child is hide the world from them and to shelter them. Most of our problems in our society are that children have been to shelter. If i would like to take my child to a good R rated movie, it is my right. I am not raising any pussies.

  8. Bee4
    Posted on September 1, 2011 at 2:42 am

    I vote maybe, not because I am not sure on the issue but the option for certain Rated R are way too much for little children. 1. I don’t agree with a few of the comments, like the children running around in the movie theater. That comes down to parenting and taking your children out more often and correcting them when they misbehave. 2. Your Job is to be a parent. The biggest influence in your child life is you. Some movies are rated R just because of nudity. If you are scared to take your child to see a movie that has Nudity because you don’t want to have the talk about the birds and the bees there is a problem forming and soon you may have to buy diapers and some bottles to go with it. Here a tip you have to explain to your children what is real and what is not. Help them understand why something is wrong. Many people don’t take time to do that with their children and maybe that where these Studies came from. Lol I guess you can see I hate statistics. Many of them are unclear, most are not done on a wide enough range of subjects (different background, Ages groups and tax brackets, but they include everyone. Some are not properly controlled or do not take in account for other issues that my surface I.E. how many of the children in the studied had ADD, disabled or had behavior issues before they did the study. You can not take it for granted that the people doing the studied actually did their home work. The easies person to feed B…S… to is someone how does not know. Statistics are great for a guessing and what ifing but not something I would want to use entirely as a base for children. Let’s look at it from another angle. In different countries/cultures they have less strict rating, lol looser laws and ideas. Take Germany, This off the subject but Sexually maturity and children have baby, there is a reason other countries youth/premarital pregnancy are not as big of a problem like we have here. LOL in the States everything is Taboo, how can a child learn what not what to do if parent feel to uncomforted to talk about it. Movies and TV H… The media as a whole blocks outs all of the pain and sacrifice people have to go though. I beat many teens think that having a child is fun and there is not much pain at birth. We need to start showing the worse cases as a preventive measure. Here is an idea, you want your Teens to protect themselves right. During the condom commercial they should show the worse case of Harpies or Gonorrheal to date then the Surgery that was needed to correct the issue 3. I really hate when someone who does not have children make judgments about people who have them. Honestly until you have one your vote on subject involving children really does not hold any weight. True we all have some idea of what is right or wrong but you dont have the experance to mentor anyone. I do agree that “some” R movie are way to much.

  9. Melissa
    Posted on September 1, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    I worked at a Multiplex for years!! The over whelming number of kids in rated R movies is realy shocking. Even when warned that the movie contained full frontal nudity of men, mothers still took daughters in to the theater. Then there are the tweens and early teens that would try to buy tickets to rated R’s or just sneek in. The biggest problem we had was parents useing our theater as a baby sister. Parents please if you drop your child off at a theater note a few things, what movie they are going to see, what time it starts and what time it ends. Do not relay on your child to tell you check it out your self. Thanks to the frustration of many of our guests our County passed a law that requiers an parent to be present during the movie at all times for a minor to whatch a rater R movie. If kids are cought in a R movie with out the parents a hefty fine will fallow. Ya!! But realy parents movie theaters are not baby sitters, from some one who has seen it first hand there is a lot more sexualty going on in rated R movies among the tweens and teens then what is on the screen. FYI

  10. RANDY
    Posted on September 1, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    Really- People that have to think about this one didn’t think before thay had kids. I enjoy going to the movies to see a movie, not to see parents who could not figure out how to us birth control and then expect the rest of the world to deal with it.

  11. Todd
    Posted on September 2, 2011 at 11:35 am

    I always like the comments about how people shouldn’t/can’t “tell me how to raise my kids.” The thing is, if you’re taking your kid to an R rated movie, you obviously need someone to.

  12. Matthew the Movie Geek
    Posted on September 4, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    Wow, there is a lot to read…and I want to post my piece, but I want to pour through the plethora of comments first.

  13. Deborah
    Posted on September 6, 2011 at 7:43 am

    I never understand why people bring their very young children to the movies , regardless of the rating or cost. The children are usually too distracted and active to enjoy the movie and there is a ripple effect throughout the whole theater. What makes the most sense is to invest in a machine to watch at home. Then the “pause” button can be used for any potty breaks, snack time, or any other interruptions. The money spent going to a movie you can’t even enjoy is wasted. Hire a sitter or work out a deal with another couple with children to take theirs so they can have a date night. As far as R-rated movies go, children DO NOT BELONG!!! They cannot usually comprehend “only make-believe” and perceive almost everything as “real” events and “normal” behavior. Maybe the only way for parents to appreciate that their children can’t handle R-rated movies is to have to get up to nightmare-induced screams several nights in a row. Is it really such a bad thing to protect our children from the negatives in the world???

  14. VRink
    Posted on September 6, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    I too cringe every time I see a young child (under 10) in a movie that is clearly inappropriate for them.

  15. ron123
    Posted on December 29, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    Brain dead parents who take little ones to r rated movies wonder why their kids are too!

  16. Angela Mohrfeld
    Posted on March 17, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    Wondering what you all think of the movie (I think it’s called ‘Bully’) coming out. It has a R rating because of language but seems to have an important message in this day and age. Not everything is black and white…we need to look out for our kids best interests-agreed. But, perhaps in this case an ‘R’ rating could prevent some important conversations you never knew that you needed to have with your child.

    • Currently 4/5 Stars
    Posted on March 30, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    Definitely not. I know some people who are exemplary parents, in my judgement. I have a masters degree in educational psychology so I know a little bit more about child development than the average person. These
    parents simply do not take their children to R-rated movies for any reason. If they want to see a movie and they cannot hire a baby sitter, they simply stay home and maybe rent a movie.

  17. Suzanne Morovic
    Posted on April 1, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    I think by taking an underage child to an R rated movie a parent is pushing them to deal with adult situations and experiences and intense emotions before they are mature enough to handle and process them. All my friends children enjoyed certain movies at different ages. Some children can watch The Wizard of Oz when they are 5 years old, while another child at 7 is terrified by the wicked witch and flying monkeys. One friend’s child refused to watch Monsters Inc. at the age of 6, because she would start crying whenever the little girl Boo screamed. I remember when Jaws came out, I was 13 and my sister was 10 and because all our friends went to see it we begged our father to take us. After the first killing scene my sister went to the bathroom and didn’t come back, then I got more and more terrified as the next night scene approached, so I too when to the bathroom. When we finally came out, our father was waiting for us and just took us home. We thought we were ready to see it, but the terror that the movie instilled in us was just too much for us to handle. Parents should be smart enough to know whether or not their child can handle certain movies even if it is for their age range and they should make that decision for them. Unfortunately the parents that take their underage children to R-rated movies are just lazy and ignorant. They were probably the types of parents that plopped their toddlers in front of the TV for hours every day, because they couldn’t make the time to interact and spend time with them. Those kids have grown up staring at the TV and whatever their parents were watching. Unfortunately they have not learned about the real world and slowly cultivated their own feelings and emotions. Eventually they will become immune and indifferent to all sorts of violence and bad language, and that is not the kind of adults we want in this world.

  18. Aubrey Petrides
    Posted on October 17, 2012 at 8:07 pm

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  19. playing games on the computer
    Posted on October 18, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    A couple of minutes associated with my personal time inatallation.