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Will sad movies make my kid depressed?

How kids react to sad stuff can be very individual. But it also depends on their age, their temperament, and what's going on in their lives. In general, it's wise to be cautious with sad stuff for kids under 8. Until around age 8, kids can't distinguish between fact and fantasy, so they may process a made-up situation the way they would a "real" one. Your own reactions to sad stuff in movies will also affect your kids. If you start to feel emotional, tell your kid that the scene made you feel sad (it helps them learn to identify emotions). If your kids -- or you -- experience a strong emotional reaction, take it seriously. It may be "only a movie," but the feelings are real. Take a break, fast-forward through the sad stuff (our reviews usually alert you to red-flag moments), or come back to it later. Here are some more tips:

Limit exposure to emotional intensity. Young kids are still learning how to identify and manage their feelings. Sad stuff should be fairly minor and brief -- a character loses a favorite toy, for example -- and kids should see the resolution quickly. If they're overwhelmed with sad emotions, they could miss any positive messages in the movie. (Check out "5 Tips for Your Kid's First Trip to the Movies.")

Avoid specific triggers. Anything involving the death of parents, pets, or beloved characters is probably too sad for kids under 7. Likewise, depictions of sensitive issues actually going on in a kid's life -- divorce, bullying, missing someone -- may hit too close to home. Kids have such a strong emotional attachment -- especially to their parents but even to movie characters -- that the idea of separation can be disturbing. Get tips on picking movies for sensitive kids

Steer clear of psychological trauma. Depression, heartache, despair -- these psychological states are probably too abstract for young kids to grapple with. Movies that graphically depict emotional trauma -- for example, anguished, distorted faces -- should be avoided.

Watch with them. Observe how your kid reacts to emotional scenes. Feel free to fast-forward or mute anything you think could be too sad. Check our movie reviews for a heads-up on scenes of emotional intensity.

Use media to help talk about emotions. Movies such as Inside Out, WALL-E, Up, and Ruby's Studio: The Feelings Show offer an opportunity to discuss feelings. Ask questions such as, what do you think your own emotions might look and talk like? What about those of your friends and family members? Ask kids to draw what they think might be going on inside their own heads.

The Child Mind Institute contributed to this article. Learn more at

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Teen, 16 years old written by 890908w

I think the problem a lot of parents have is the fear of making their child depressed or corrupt. Showing your child sad content wont make them depressed. Every child is different. When I was younger I grew up with the Animals of Farthing Wood, and Watership Down, and The Plague Dogs. Which parents nowadays freak out about because those movies are "too sad". Parents, as long as you remind your kid, yes the world can be tough but if you stay determined and have hope, the world can be a wonderful place. However, if you show your kids these sad films and say, yeah life sucks. This can have a negative effect on them. Any film or movie you find depressing watch it yourself first and takes notes on some scenes. Are they too violent? Are they too sexual? Maybe there's nothing too bad about the movie. Maybe its 100% safe. Maybe its not safe. It's good to think and ask the child questions on what they can and cannot handle. Obviously if your kid is afraid of spiders and you show them a movie about spiders, they'll be upset. But if you hide a movie about death from them and your child can 100% handle it. You wouldnt know because you didn't sit down and decide what they can and cannot handle. Some parents think children below the age of 18 dont need to learn about death or other serious topics. In my opinion this couldn't be more wrong. Childhood is the best learning stage. Finding the right age and the right movie can really help your child become more mature and more educated about the world around them. But if you continue to shield the reality of the world from them, they won't know how to handle serious situations when they get older. If you as their guardian let them experience the reality that yes, life is tough but it's also beautiful and wonderful then it will make life happier for you and your child.