Do You Preview the Movies Your Children Watch?

James and I strongly believe in preserving our children’s purity and protecting their childhood.  As parents it is our job to guard their hearts.  This means that our kids don’t watch TV, read books we haven’t read first, play violent or sensual video games and they never, EVER see a movie that we haven’t previewed.

This summer there are several movie releases that our children have expressed an interest in seeing.  It doesn’t matter how sweet the movie looks, it must have been viewed by Mom (or sometimes Dad) before any of them can watch it.  They almost always pay for their own movie tickets, so it’s just a matter of me being able to preview it.

It takes time and money to make this happen.  I have to pay for myself to go see it once, then pay for myself again if the movie gets my stamp of approval.  I have to find a free afternoon or evening to get away alone, which isn’t always easy.  Sometimes we just don’t have the time or money for me to see it twice, so we simply don’t see the movie.  It’s just a movie.  We wait for it to come out on Netflix which still means I have to find the time to watch it first, which I often do late at night after everyone has gone to bed.  Then I watch it again with the children, at least the first time they see it.

I’ve already previewed 4 movies this summer and there are several more on the horizon.  A couple of them we will let the kids see, most of them we won’t.  Our children understand completely and I know if you asked them they would tell you they appreciate being protected.  Sometimes, when asked if she minds being so sheltered, Grace will reply, “Why would I?  My parents just want what’s best for me and that movie/book/show will still be there when I am ready to see it.”

It can be a pain…using my precious alone time to see movies that I have no interest in watching.  I don’t mind.  Motherhood is filled with doing things that aren’t my first choice of how I want to spend my time.  I am happy for my children to be able to see a movie every once in a while, but not at the expense of exposing their hearts and minds to things we would normally shelter them from.

It is never worth potentially damaging your character for the sake of entertainment.  Never.


  1. Can you mention the titles of some of the previewed movies that pass the test?

  2. We do this too. When you see something it’s forever in your mind. I don’t want them to have to deal with more trash then they already see that I can’t do anything about. (Grocery line magazines, billboards, etc.)

  3. Laryssa, thanks for making that point. That’s how we see it. Those images are there forever. The grocery store aisles are awful!

    Laurie, are you asking about general movies or just recent ones?


  4. I was wondering about recent movies, but would also be interested in other movies in general.

  5. I didn’t tell what movies we allow because everyone’s standards are so different. We don’t mind a little magic as long as it isn’t portrayed as evil. But I know a lot of people don’t let their kids see that kind of thing. Also, you have to know your own kids and what they can handle.

    We let them see “Kung Fu Panda 2.” I thought it was cute and it reinforces that he loves and respects his father. The panda learns some valuable lessons and there was nothing in it that we objected to letting our kids see. I even took Levi.

    We are going to let them see “Cars 2” but I thought it was dumb. Not offensive, just pointless and has no redeeming value. We will see it once but not buy it once it comes out on DVD.

    I will not let them see “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” as it was inappropriate in many ways.

    We let the older kids (17 & up) see the latest pirate movie. That’s another one we only see once and not over and over. But we wouldn’t allow our younger children to see such violence and we even marked a couple of spots where we encouraged Jacob (19) to look away until his sisters told him it was safe to look again. That was because of the way the women were dressed.

    There you go…..

  6. Lisa~ WOW! I am so impressed. And might I add, that I wish I would have been more selective with my older kiddos, and have learned much with my younger kiddos! My oldest at home is going to be 17 in a few weeks and is very rarely allowed to see PG-13 movies. Much to his chagrin. We have many friends, church friends and otherwise, along with family that feel like that is crazy. He and I did go see the latest Pirate’s movie together, and it was too racy in my opinion. I also have been getting rid of old Disney movies left and right. Ones that seemed innocent enough, but now, ones that I have just decided that upon reflection….the message was all wrong. We don’t have cable and we pretty much are down to just PBS broadcasting. It’s exhausting… But, you are so right. It’s our job.
    Thanks for the reminder and the exhortation.

    Love, Kristin

  7. We always do this as well. And sometimes if we haven’t seen something in a long time and can’t remember whether it was good or not, we watch it again. We don’t have TV either, just one for watching DVDs and videos.

    I don’t believe people understand how vital this is, thanks for the encouraging post!

  8. I appreciate this post and what Laine said “I don’t believe people understand how vital this is, thanks for the encouraging post!”

    I am dumbfounded by the stuff that people will let their children watch – truly dumbfounded.

    We are careful to make sure we’ve previewed any new stuff that we let them watch and we don’t let them watch any ‘live’ television except for AFV and we watch it with them and make sure they know what is inappropriate and/or dangerous.

  9. Have you ever checked out this website?
    It has very detailed content, most times giving exact numbers of curse words used. It may not totally make the decision for you, but it may offer info so you can know before you waste time that a movie will be inappropriate. My husband and I use this all the time for movies we consider watching. Better to know what trash may pop up and not even start it for us. Just another resource you may be interested in:
    Here’s the review of Cars 2:
    Mr Popper’s Penguins:

  10. I do preview books – and have found it to be a very good thing I do! I often check movies – though our older girls have seen a few with friends that with hindsight we thought better of! So we are more careful now – even though it means they don’t get to go with their friends.

    It is so important to help them make good decisions about media. Great post!

  11. We like to preview as many movies as we can, though I haven’t gone to the cinema by myself to watch them, I like to look at Dove and always ask people I trust if they have already seen it.
    Some movies the kids know we will never approve and haven’t even bothered to ask if they can watch it. We have also FF or muted stuff on movies that would otherwise be suitable except for one small bit- obviously you can’t do that in a cinema though!

  12. Amen! Just a note from one with grown kids (and now grandchildren): we were very careful about these types of things as well, My adult children were discussing one night how strict we had been about television and movies, and the conclusion that they came to was that they were going to do the same with their children. Praise God! Parents these days don’t understand that their job is to protect their children, not to keep them “happy.” Hang in there!

  13. I love you guys! You are such a wonderful role model for us. We almost never watch movies but when we do it’s highly researched…although this isn’t the best way I realize. We went and watched Cars 2 with the kids. It wasn’t offensive to us but I know to some the drinking scenes could make them cringe.

    Have you found that different children naturally react differently than others? For example, Haley is ultra-sensitive to immodesty or worldly behavior. She won’t watch previews before movies and backs away if she senses inappropriate talk somewhere. However, Haven is glued to anything and everything (which is why we don’t watch TV or movies except the rare occassion). I’m sure it’s a combo of gender and birth order.

  14. Oh, yes we previewed videos (back then) and we never once regretted it.

    Great post!

  15. I absolutely preview the movies I let my kids watch. I have been going to I read about the movies first, then if I find nothing I object with I preview it, and then and I may let the kids watch it. I love netflix and let most moves go to disk because movies are so expensive. Even though I have moved to a town with a privately run quiant theater that is decorated to the hilt. I like how plugged in breaks down the content. Due to some of the reveiws I have let some movies wait until disk or just gave it an instant no which has saved me some money.

  16. Yes, always astounded at what people let their kids watch and then wonder why they are mouthy or sassy!!!

    Late to this party but wanted to share a site that I love …
    Its is great for movies in the last few years – but not for movies in the 80’s – so be warned there. it gives you a blow by blow which will save you watching the whole movie and save money.
    Also, there is a machine you can purchase much like a video recorder called Clearplay that you set for language, violence … sometimes there is a great movie with a good message for the kids but ruined by a vouple of bad words that really didn’t need to be there … Clearplay just takes them out. We love it.
    We are not tv watchers, but we love family movie night at home!