The Berenstain Bears

TV review by
Betsy Wallace, Common Sense Media
The Berenstain Bears TV Poster Image
Popular with kids
Kids are welcome in bear country.

Parents say

age 5+
Based on 15 reviews

Kids say

age 3+
Based on 20 reviews

We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Educational Value

No specifically educational content, but lots of clear social lessons about sharing, manners, rules, etc.

Positive Messages

Stories always have a recognizable theme with strong values, reflecting family ties, friendship, helpfulness, generosity, manners, and so on. Traditional gender roles are on display within the Bear family home (Mama tends to the house while Papa works, etc.), but some stories make a point to cross those, as when Mama started a quilting business or Papa took over the chores while Mama was sick. Gratitude is a major theme.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Mama and Papa are always ready to help kids make thoughtful decisions that reflect the family's values. They encourage their kids to work hard, obey the rules, and engage in healthy activities and friendships. Brother and Sister don't always get things right on the first try, but they recognize their mistakes and do what they can to make things right.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that while Brother and Sister Bear are 10 and 8, respectively, and The Berenstain Bears revolves around their school-age experiences, the series' tone and pace may only appeal to much younger kids. Whatever their ages, if your kids enjoy the show, by all means introduce them to the books, which are easy to find at libraries and bookstores.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 3 and 4-year-old Written byNature cat 1998 May 10, 2019

Ok but Mama is a whiner

My kids easily picked up "You complain too much" and "You have enough stuff" from the whiny character Mama. We don't watch this show an... Continue reading
Adult Written byDonna Malls May 11, 2019

Furball Is Not A Bad Word and Mama Bear Is A Whiner

I recently watched the episode on bad words, and it was horrible! Furball is not a bad word! Yes, I know it's for preschoolers, but they could of done blee... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bykatcar12 March 14, 2012


AMAZING SHOW!!! It is very educational and has great messages. How does it only have 3 stars? It teaches kids about stranger danger, and counting their blessing... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008

very good

this a good show but its annoying the way mama always wear a night gown and the worst part is that papa is a fool who learns from the cubs witch is just not rig... Continue reading

What's the story?

THE BERENSTAIN BEARS, based on the best-selling children's book series by Jan and Stan Berenstain, is geared around learning experiences and straightforward, literal lessons. Mama, Papa, Sister, and Brother live in a tree house, but otherwise live and act like humans.

Is it any good?

The TV show succeeds in capturing the books' fun-loving spirit. Delightful character and scene animation makes bear country a charming place to hang out, even if the books' subtle wit doesn't quite come through on the screen. At first glance, The Berenstain Bears seems to take "traditional family values" to the extreme. Mama wears a housecoat, gardens, and quilts, while Papa wears overalls, fishes, and eats too much of Ma's great country cooking.

Some viewers, even kids, might get annoyed at these unimaginative portrayals, but now and again the show branches out. Ma turned her quilting skills into a business, and one episode featured Sister going out for baseball and doing better than her big brother. Brother had to learn to accept the fact that Sister was just as talented as he was. The series doesn't ignore sibling rivalry, but for the most part paints the siblings as loving and supportive of one another.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the lessons learned in each episode of The Berenstain Bears. How do Brother and Sister Bear learn from their mistakes?

  • How is your family like the Bear family? How is it different?

  • How do the characters in The Berenstain Bears demonstrate gratitude? Why is that an important character strength?

TV details

Character Strengths

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Themes & Topics

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