So God Made a Mother is Here! 🎉

It was Friday night our weekly family movie night. We were eager to watch The Secret Life of Pets. We by-passed seeing it in the theater because we have three kids and one of them is a three-year-old. When it was finally available to rent on Amazon, we were all on the edge of our couches in high hopes of being fully entertained by this behind-the-scenes movie of what goes on in the heads and hearts of pets. 

I was ready for my heart to swell and tears to fall. I truly thought that this movie was going to be brilliant, but instead it was brutal – literally brutal. Partying, lying, yelling, manipulating, intimidating, screaming, fighting, hating, and name-calling. It was disturbing! Never before had I seen so much bullying packed into one kids’ movie in my life.

I was livid. Why didn’t I just turn it off? Trust me. I wanted to. I was shocked at what I was watching, but I was holding on to the fact that surely the movie-makers wouldn’t put us through all of this garbage and not have a very powerful message of love and kindness or respecting each other’s differences, right? Surely it would be like Gru who changed his heart or the Boovs who realized how unkind they had been to Oh and decide to be his friend, right? WRONG! 

There was no deep, meaningful lesson. Everything was half-hearted, lukewarm, and forced with a side of sarcasm and narcissism. This movie was just downright disturbing—gang-fighting, violence, murder…yes, murder! The most jaw-dropping-I-can’t-believe-they-are-saying-this scene was when pets were asked to share all the gory details about how they murdered their owners before they got branded into their gang! What? Really? This is what we want our kids to think that our pets are doing when we’re not at home – plotting our murders? And this is the kind of movie that we were supposed to sit and enjoy with our kids as a family? I don’t think so!

I can certainly respect a good conflict or plot twist and the whole good guy/bad guy thing, but in this movie the line between good guy and bad guy were so blurred that everyone was just beating up everyone! 

And we wonder why bullying is such a problem in our country. Well, I’ll tell you. This. This movie is the problem. It’s movies like this that are creating a culture where bullying is not only happening and kids are witnessing it, but it’s also labeling bullying as entertaining, funny and as something we’re supposed to laugh at and enjoy. I was not laughing at all. I was sick to my stomach!

Bullying is not funny. Bullying is not entertaining and our kids’ movie makers are crossing the line. Slowly, they have been adding more and more cruelty and inappropriate conduct into their movies. Slowly, they have quit making G movies altogether and started pushing the boundaries on the PG ones. And the problem is that we keep paying to watch them. I’m guilty of it too! I’ve justified that my “that wasn’t very kind” or “that wasn’t a very loving choice” during those scenes where bullying takes place somehow makes it OK. And the fact that my kids have kindness and love modeled to them all day long makes it OK. But what about the kids who don’t have kindness and love at home? What about the kids who get bullied at school? What about the kids who choose to bully? They see movies like this and see everyone laughing and think that bullying is OK behavior! Kids imitate what they see!

So to those who made The Secret Life of Pets and other kids’ movies, I have some questions for you?

  • Do you think it’s OK for kids to intimidate, manipulate, and over-power other kids?
  • Do you think it’s OK for kids to call each other “stupid” or “idiot” or “moron”?
  • Do you think it’s OK for kids to pound someone’s face in and scream at them while friends stand around watching…doing nothing?

No? Then don’t have a fuzzy bunny or a cute little fluffy dog do these things either. Mean is mean. Bullying is bullying. It doesn’t matter if it’s a cuddly cartoon character or not! Stop being a part of the problem and calling it entertainment. 

Your movies are glorifying bullying. They are making it acceptable and I fear that the kids in our country are becoming more and more numb to it. And so are we as parents. The proof of that? I just found out that a grade school was going to show “The Secret Life of Pets” as their “feel good” movie before Christmas break. They were warned again and again about the excessive bullying and they are showing it anyway. 

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Christine Leeb

Christine Leeb--Speaker and Christian Family Coach specializing in Parenting and Child Discipline.  Founder of Real Life Families--a non-profit organization building better families through free classes and resources.  Mother to three awesome (and exhausting) children from whom she shamefully hides brownies.  Wife to one patient (and polar-opposite) husband with whom she constantly quotes "Friends". 

Look beyond the Labels for What You Don’t See

In: Kids, Motherhood
Three kids sitting on parents' laps smiling

I’ve always said that labeling someone with high- or low-functioning autism, or any disability for that matter, isn’t ever truly accurate. You may see an extremely smart girl who seems “normal” but you don’t see everything. You don’t see how the noises hurt her ears. You don’t see how the bright lights hurt her eyes. You don’t see how hard she struggles to fit in. You don’t see how she struggles to understand the social cues. You don’t see how seriously she takes what you say even if you’re joking. You don’t see the struggles when she’s having an overwhelming...

Keep Reading

When You Look Back on These Pictures, I Hope You Feel My Love

In: Kids, Motherhood
Four kids playing in snow, color photo

I document your life in pictures. I do it for you. I do it for me. I do it because I want you to know I lived every memory. And loved every moment. When you go back through the thousands of moments, I hope it sparks something deep inside of you. Something that perhaps your heart and mind had forgotten until that moment. And I hope that it makes you smile.  I hope the memories flood and you remember how much each moment was cherished.  I hope each giggle and secret that was shared with your sisters at that moment sparks...

Keep Reading

For the Parents of the Kids Who Don’t Fit the Mold

In: Kids, Motherhood
mom hugging her daughter

This one is for the parents of the kids who don’t fit the mold. I see you holding your kid together with nothing but love and a prayer as they cry or feel defeated and you wish the world would see your kid like you do. I see you wiping away their tears after they were yet again passed over for all the awards and accolades. There is no award for showing up for school despite crippling anxiety or remembering to write down assignments for the first year ever. So they had to sit clapping again for friends whose accomplishments...

Keep Reading

Let Your Kids See You Try and Fail

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter sitting on floor knitting together

Let your kids see you try and fail at something. That’s what I did today!  My daughter wanted to take a knitting class together. I said sure, naively thinking the skill would come pretty naturally. I’m usually good at things like this.  Guess what? It didn’t. Although she picked it up easily and was basically a knitting pro within five minutes, the teacher kept correcting me, saying, “No, UNDER! You need to go UNDER, not OVER.” She was kind enough, but it just wasn’t clicking. I started to get frustrated with myself. I normally take things like this in stride...

Keep Reading

My Kids Don’t Like to Read, but They Do Love to Learn

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two children reading with each other, color photo

I fell in love with books during a war while my kids lost interest in reading during COVID. Between 1975 and 1990 during the Civil War in Lebanon, my mom, an avid reader, was determined to make me one despite many odds. Once every few weeks, starting when I was about 10, she and I would make the half-hour trek by foot from our apartment in Beirut to a place we called the “book cave.” It was a nondescript space—about 15 by 20 square feet—tucked in the basement of a dilapidated building. Inside, it housed hundreds of books in various...

Keep Reading

Dear Teachers, Thank You Will Never Be Enough

In: Kids, Living
Kids hugging teacher

Growing up a teacher’s daughter has given me a lifetime of appreciation for educators. Of course, it’s true; I may be biased. I’ve been fortunate to have learned and been guided by many outstanding teachers, including my mother and grandmother, who passed those legacy skills onto my daughter, who strongly feels teaching is her calling. But if you’ve had your eyes and ears open in recent years, you, too, probably feel deep gratitude for the angels among us who work in the school system. So, as the school year ends, and on behalf of parents, grandparents, and anyone who loves...

Keep Reading

Before You, Boy, I Never Knew

In: Kids, Motherhood
Three boys playing in creek, color photo

Before you, boy, I never knew that little boys could get so dirty. Play so rough. Climb so high. Assess your risks. Make me hold my breath. Messes everywhere.   Before you, boy, I never knew how much my lap will make room for you. My arms will stretch to swallow you up in endless hugs and just hold you close. And love you to the moon and back. And back again. Snuggling and snuggling.  RELATED: I Met a Boy and He Changed Everything Before you, boy, I never knew that there would be so much wrestling. And superheroes, and far-off...

Keep Reading

It Hurts Seeing My Kid as a B-List Friend

In: Friendship, Kids, Teen
Teen girl sitting alone on a dock

Kids everywhere are celebrating, or will be celebrating soon. They will be playing outside, enjoying warm summer days, bike rides with friends, and maybe even sleepovers. It’s summer—it’s fun, right? Sure, it is. And sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes it isn’t fun for the kids you least expect it from. We have that issue, and I knew it was building for the past few weeks with our teenage daughter. She was moody (moodier than normal). Short tempered. Obviously frustrated, but not ready to talk about it. But it was when she came home on the last day of school, in tears,...

Keep Reading

5 Money Tips to Set Your Kids Up for a Strong Financial Future

In: Grown Children, Kids, Motherhood, Teen
Father putting quarters in child's hand

As parents, we want to see our children become independent, but the transition to financial independence has unique challenges. I get it. I have three children of my own, and each of them deals with money differently. The transition can be especially difficult if you are a family that doesn’t talk openly about money. Regardless of whether money has been an open topic in the past, as your high school graduate moves on to the next chapter in their life, it’s important to help them start thinking about their financial future. College tuition, rent, and other expenses can be overwhelming...

Keep Reading

Dear Hunter’s Mom, What I Really Want to Say

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding toddler boy, color photo

Hi, I’m Krystal. I’ve wanted to say that every Tuesday and Thursday when I see you in the preschool hallway. I don’t know why I never say it. It might be because I’m afraid to. Maybe you just want to get the drop-off over with and get out of there. I get it. Hunter is crying . . . hard. People are looking . . . they always look. Your face is flushed, your jacket twisted. You are caught between trying to do what you are supposed to do and what you want to do. I can tell. I know...

Keep Reading