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Mum and Dad

Can't stomach scary movies these days? Blame your kids


Sara McGinnis

posted in Parenting

Creepy children, aliens, the possessed, and evil clowns will always keep me far away from a movie theater. But, although I’ve never been a big horror fan, I wasn’t super sensitive to all creepy things until I became a parent.

Back in the day I enjoyed The Sixth Sense, The Blair Witch Project, Signs, and the like. I was white-knuckling it while watching them, but I made it through.

Then I became a parent.

These days I don’t even pretend I’m up to watch a scary movie, or any sort of police drama that centers on “crime scenes investigations” or “special victim units.” Real-life headlines of horrors happening to families and children are enough to make my stomach churn — I don’t need a dramatized retelling.

scary forest

Turns out I’m not alone in becoming more of a wuss after having kids.

“Is it normal to stop liking scary movies after you have children?” Redditor medicalprofessional1 recently asked.

They elaborated: “I used to absolutely love all things scary. Haunted houses, scary movies, Halloween! But since my daughter (now 10) was born I’ve not been able to stomach anything remotely scary. It’s so different from the things I use to enjoy. With the new It coming out I want to see it because of how much I loved the old one. But I’ve not watched a scary movie in ten years. Is this normal?”

Comments from those commiserating came pouring in…

mariahmce: “Yep. We stopped watching Walking Dead after having kids. I also never noticed until I had kids how many shows use child death as a plot device. The list of TV shows or movies I won’t watch because of it is strikingly long.”

smitcal: “Gladiator was a big shock for me. Used to be favourite movie but that bit when he comes home and sees his kid hung and on fire is horrendous. Only saw it once in 6 years and that bit scarred me.”

Reveen: “Same. Any movies/shows/documentaries where kids are hurt, being treated unfairly, sad, etc… I just can’t handle it anymore. 34-year-old man getting sad when actor kids are pretending to be upset. Having a child dramatically changed my brain’s empathy and compassion sensitivity.”

woman in dark

defmeta: “This. So much so that I’m starting to question if I had empathy before my kids were born.”

jamjamman3: “I don’t know if you’ve seen the first Kingsman movie but there is a scene where a baby is locked in a bathroom (for her safety) and screaming.

– Made me bawl for the situation

– Made me bawl because an actual real baby had to be crying so they could film it.

Husband didn’t understand but I was very pregnant.”

Super13: “I still love them. Any movie with kids in distress, losing parents etc screws me though. I choked up seeing baby Harry Potter crying in his crib for God’s sake.”

Some are even more sensitive, though. For these parents it doesn’t even have to be over-the-top horror…

ChonchoStryker: I cried the entire time the mom in Brave was turned into a bear. The entire time. The fact that she couldn’t touch her babies because she would hurt them broke my heart.

Secritacc: “I had to turn off Pete’s Dragon 5 minutes in because of the beginning. Scary/horror doesn’t do it, but more realistic dramas have been over for 9 yrs.”

These days you’ll catch me not only avoiding horror-type movies, but even blubbering tears out over positive events. The last few years Survivor has gotten me every time they do the loved ones visit. I just can’t handle all those tears and raw emotions!

Has your tolerance for scary movies changed? What’s the last film or show that had you crying?

Images via UnSplash/Hailey Keen, Jack Cain, Thomas Roberts

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