Saying No to StarTrek - How Bad?

Filed under: Opinions

"Okay so YOU can see 101 Dalmations, but not YOU. You're too sensitive." Photo from

Hanging out with several other moms-of-boys, the conversation of course turned to the movie "Star Trek," and some moms were saying they weren't going to let their sons see it (most of our sons are 8).

As we were all nodding (we thought) wisely, a Dad chimed in. "Not letting your kid see the movie everyone is seeing is cruel," he said. "It's in the national conversation and you're making him feel left out on purpose."

Really? Because I thought we were protecting them, but maybe we were all relying too much on ratings and not enough on our own common mama-sense. How bad was it to keep our kids from seeing the movie that "everyone" was seeing?

To find out I called Linda Perlstein, author of the national bestseller about tweens Not Much Just Chillin. She said...

"While I don't think that there's any problem with being the mean mom who doesn't let your kid watch something because you personally have seen it and don't feel comfortable, I wouldn't use just the rating as the guide," says Perlstein, while I'm thinking about whether I want to consider myself a mean mother.

"There are websites that can tell you about the movie, and you can talk to people who have seen it, or see the movie yourself." Here are Perlstein's other recommendations when you're deciding Yes or No on a movie:

Don't rely only on the ratings. "I don't think a parent should necessarily take ratings as gospel. There are some PG-13 movies I'd be perfectly comfortable letting a 12 year old watch and some that I wouldn't send a 16 year old to watch."

Keep in mind your child's sensitivities. "You may have one child who wouldn't be phased by violence and another who might be really scared."

Watch how the characters treat each other and discuss. "They don't rate movies on whether characters respect each other. Maybe the boys don't treat the girls in a way that you think is okay, that's something that would be great to follow up on with a conversation."

Trust your own judgment. "'My friends all got to do it' isn't a reason your child has to be able to do it," Perlstein says, and of course she's right. What was it my own Mama always used to say... something about the Brooklyn Bridge? "But you owe it to your child to consider his request seriously and then to make a rational judgment based on facts."

Have you made a parenting judgment call and you're wondering, How Bad? Send your question to and it could get answered here.

Sabrina Weill is the editor in chief of

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.