What if you disagree about movies allowed?

txnursingqtMarch 31, 2010

So my DH asked me for my opinion and I wanted to see what others think. What do you do if the BM and BF disagree on what movies their child is allowed to see?

For example my SS is allowed at his BM house to play any video game he wants, you know the Grand Theft Autos, and etc. He is now 10 almost 11. He has watched quite a few movies I don't necessarily agree with and is also allowed to watch Family Guy.

Well one weekend he wanted to take home our dvd of Constantine and my DH told him that he would have to ask the BM first. She said no that he is not allowed to see the movie. When I dropped him home later that day the step-father commented to me that they are not demon loving, devil worshipers and that SS is not allowed to see the movie. I guess implying that DH and I are, lol.

So my DH was asking me if I thought he should allow him to watch it at our house. My SS has watched way worse and personally I don't think it would be that bad. I know he plays video games that I would never allow my child to play but that is between his BM and him. I say that because I just think he already sees stuff and plays games that worse than Constantine.

My SS is very curious and likes to talk about deep philosophical topics. One of his favorite movie series is the Matrix, just like my DH, so I know he takes after him. Anyway Constantine has some religious themes and I am sure he would like to discuss them with his dad.

So do you have rules at your house that are different from rules at their other home? If DH allows his son to watch the movie at our house and son goes home telling his BM is it appropriate for DH to tell BM well we allow him to watch it our house?

Some of you may know we are new to this situation and I am looking to your opinions and how you handle disagreements like these. Even if you don't agree with my DH about letting him see the movie, I would still be curious how you work out what a child is allowed to do if the parents disagree?

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Wow. Fantastic question. I guess, in this case, because you asked BM and she said no... I'd go with "no".

In the future, don't ask if you think she'll say no and you think the no is unfounded. I'd work more on being unified in that kind of thing though. Not a big enough hill to die on, so to speak. Your DH should use his "but I'm the parent too" cards for the really important battles. Luckily my DD is not of an age that she's asking to see anything remotely risque, so it's not an issue.

I guess, if I thought her dad had a big enough objection... whatever... it's just a movie, and there's plenty of them out there that aren't objectional, and there's lots of (better) ways to get philosophy/religion education than watching Hollywood's view on it.

I saw that movie. It was kind of scary, for me, as an adult. And it's rated R. So I'd say he may be a little young for it. Let him have his childhood, he has the rest of his life to watch R movies.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 11:59PM
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Thanks for the quick response.

DH said the reason he did ask BM is because son wanted to take the dvd home and he wanted to see if they allowed it in their home.

But I totally agree with you on R rated movies. If he was my child and I had a say then he would not be watching R movies at all or playing many of the games he does but I just go with what I am told, it is not up to me. DH was just wondering if most families have the same rules or not.


    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 12:17AM
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For us it's simple. We decide for ourselves what skids are allowed to see at our place and BM decides for herself at her place.

We don't agree with what BM let's the kids see, when they were as young as only 10 they already saw 'The Ring'. I nearly lost it when I heard, but we cannot change what BM does, so I sucked it up. We did say that it's not appropriate for their age and that those movies are not allowed at our place.

You make your own rules at your place, and BM can do the same at hers. Keep it simple.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 12:49AM
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But, if you ask.....
And she says "no"...
And you do it anyway...

You're setting yourself up for failure in the long run.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 1:00PM
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well first of all Constantine is a ridiculous movie to show to a 10-year-old. It is not even a good quality or a deep meaningful movie let alone to show it to a kid.

second of all his mom is a custodial parent not you or dad. Custodial parents decide on educational and medical issues.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 1:09PM
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"Custodial parents decide on educational and medical issues."

In a perfect world, yes. In reality, GOOD LUCK!

We are custodial parents to SD. Her BM has a totally different set of rules... I like to call them "If your dad says no, then my answer is YES!" They are not really based on any parenting style, other than "I'm gonna do it just to spite you" and it's not really in the child's best interests.

Our house... no junk food. Her house... eat whatever and however much you want, just leave me alone. Can I get back to my nap/internet/alone time?

Our house... no shows with violence, sexual content, adult language, or rated beyond PG13. Her house... I don't care what you watch, I'm going to bed. Fall asleep wherever you like and don't bother me.

I've found it's much easier to agree to disagree. What happens in the other house is their business, what happens in ours is our business. (and now that I've adopted that philosophy, it is also much easier to ignore BM when she makes ridiculous accusations about what happens in our house) Both parents can decide on THEIR time... unless the court has said the custodial parent gets to make such decisions.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 1:42PM
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Agree with FineDreams on this one. BM says no, then no. I'm a SM and my SS was a teen when I met DH and what he and BM said went. It's not worth it and plus, using Constantine as an example, it's an inappropriate movie for an 11 year old to begin with. Whether BM lets him play Grand Theft Auto etc. is really separate from this although I can see why you think "well, he's doing that at her house so what's the big deal?"

This is one of those "do as I say, not as I do" situations. BTW, if you think SS11 shouldn't be watching R rated movies or playing Teen or Mature rated video games , then don't allow it at your house. Your line is your front door! Be cool but be consistent. Your DH needs to deal with the inappropriate stuff happening at BM's. If she's inconsistent, well, then she's inconsistent, but I do think this one is her call and she's right.

I would let DH focus on SS playing Grand Theft Auto and the like. Don't fuel the fire if you don't have to.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 1:58PM
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Ima, but because SD's BM does crazy things you don't suggest OP does the same, do you? As SD's BM should not be making educational and such decisions, OP shouldn't either.

If dad and SM insist on completely inappropriate entertainment for a young child, then they only hurt SS and themselves in the long run.

Frankly if on Sunday SM says she hates SS and never wants him around then why is it important for her that he watches particular movie on Wednesday? very strange.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 2:08PM
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It's not. DH asked for her opinion.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 2:19PM
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Did I suggest OP do the same as SD's BM? No, what I am saying is that it is sometimes pointless to get into fights or arguments over what is done in each other's homes... when there are different rules or values. It is not up to BM (in this OP) to decide what her son can watch at dad's house, but dad should not just allow it because he's watched worse at BM's. Dad should do what he feels is best for his son, both parents should. But, ultimately neither can control what the other does.

We can tell BM until we are blue in the face that it's not good for SD to gain 20+ lbs every summer at her house. It is not healthy, it lowers her self esteem/self image, and as she gets older, it gets harder for her to lose it. But, it is not within our control and to fight about it would get us nowhere.

If OP's BM does not want him watching the movie at her house (even if she does let him watch worse or play age inappropriate games at her house) then that is her choice. She does not have to let that movie into her house. If OP's DH does not agree with BM allowing their son to do those things at her house, why would he then think it's okay to let him watch the movie at his? However, if he has watched the movie and thinks it is okay for his son to see, then he should not be precluded from watching it.. just because BM said so. It's dad's call but it should not be because "he's seen worse at mom's"... it should be because dad thinks it is okay for his son and has nothing to do with what mom does in her house.

I agree if dad or mom (stepparents included) insist on inappropriate things for kids, the kids will suffer. But, you cannot control what the other does in their home... even with a court order, you would have to prove it and the only remedy would be to limit contact or make it supervised.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 2:50PM
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If BM says no, then I think you guys should also say no...

My SS-11 is allowed to watch shows and play games at BM's house that he is not allowed to at our house.
Family Guy is a good example. Family Guy has some very adult humour that SS doesn't understand. It is often off-colour and even sexist or racist. SS knows that a line is supposed to be a joke , but doesn't understand the joke, so he repeats it in inappropriate ways. Because he's allowed to watch it at BM's and he (thinks he) likes it, we tried to talk about appropriate humour, etc. It didn't work, so we tried again and again. After repeated problems with the show, we decided to be a Family Guy-free household.
SS is pretty ticked about it, but we feel good about this decision.

On the other side...
We take SS to hockey games quite often. The arena is large, but never busy and he knows his way around it. We let him go to the washroom and concession by himself. He is also allowed to go play mini-stick hockey with other kids during intermission, and he knows he has to be back before the puck drops for the next period. The ONLY guff we ever get from him at hockey games is when he "tells instead of asks" to do something.
BM, on the other hand, has had big problems with him every time she's taken him to a hockey game. So she doesn't let him go off on his own and was shocked to hear that he is VERY well-behaved when we take him.

So while continuity between houses is very very very important, there are times when you set the rules for what is appropriate in your household.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 5:20PM
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I agree that if both parents are involved they both make decisions.

But if mom is the only one with custody and dad only recently started seeing his kid plus he decided not to have him overnight or maybe even never if he chooses his wife over a kid, then I don't see how could he make important decisions here? does he know what's good for this kid?

As about how I manage similar situation. We never asked each other what DD should be watching in respective houses because we have similar tastes in literature and entertainment. I think if he would have a tendency showing her tasteless or inappropriate stuff like R rated poorly done horror movie, I would object. Of course if ex would not ask i would not know what she watched at dads house. Now of course when they become teenagers they make choices to do whatever. But 10 is way too young to decide themselves, that's what parents for.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 6:22PM
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My ex lets our son watch R rated movies and play M rated video games. It bothers me, but I can not control what he does at his house. At our house I restrict those things and just tell ds that I do not agree with a child his age watching those things. There are bigger issues to disagree with, so I save my battles for those.

But I do think if the bm allows Family Guy and Grand Theft Auto then you are pretty free in the future to choose movies and games for your home. She does not have much room to complain. But since you asked and got a no in this instance I say leave it alone. Not worth the fight.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 10:36PM
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"However, if he has watched the movie and thinks it is okay for his son to see, then he should not be precluded from watching it.."

I am honestly questioning if dad has child's best interests at heart. he currently decided to not keep SS overnight because SM hates him and is considering to stop seeing his son all together because, as SM puts it, marriage comes first.

Under these circumstances i don't think dad knows what is appropriate for his kid. This is not just a regular stepfamily situation.

If what mom does at her house is inappropriate, dad could file for more visitations or joined or even full custody but he would not want that, so he does not get to decide.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 11:35PM
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Just to recall that DH stopped seeing his son when he was 2 and only recently resumed seeing him last October that is what 6 months ago? And a kid will be 11? And now he gets to decide what movies he will watch? This is clearly not the same as two parents taking care of a child. This man is a stranger to his son, mom and stepdad raised him all these years, dad should be happy he got unsupervised visitations.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 11:45PM
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