actually brilliant

A Woman Shares Her Family’s Rule About Reading & The Internet Thinks It’s Brilliant

“I have no idea if this is applicable in this day and age or even a good parenting idea...”

A mom turned to her TikTok account followers to ask if her own mom’s rule growing up was brilliant o...
Caroline Lefebvre / TikTok

A woman on TikTok is going viral after explaining an interesting but brilliant parenting rule that her own mom had when she was a kid. She turned to her TikTok account to ask her followers if her mom’s rule growing up was totally smart or actually impossible to implement in this day and age.

Caroline Lefebvre shared that whenever she wanted to watch a movie or TV show that may have been a little too “adult,” her mom would tell her that she couldn’t watch it.

However, if there was a book version of the movie or show, she was more than welcome to read it.

“When we were like 11, 12, 13, we started to really push the buttons on what we wanted to be able to see, like consume on film or TV. My mom was very strict about film ratings when I was a tween. She really put the PG in PG-13. And certainly no R, forget about it. But her one rule was, you can't watch anything that's for adults, but you can read whatever you want,” she explained.

If kids at school were talking about the movie The Shining, and she wanted to watch it. Her mom would offer a compromise. She could get the book and read the story instead.

“You see a book in the house? It's a novel for adults, maybe even a romance novel. By all means, take a crack at it. This world is your oyster,” she said.

Lefebvre goes on to explain that reading mature material will only let a tween’s imagination go so far. The same cannot be said for TV and movies.

“When you're being shown adult content in a film, especially sexual content, there could be violence, whatever it is, you have no choice when you're that age on how it's being shown to you,” she explained.

“And you're being shown things that you have never been able to compute before and potentially before you're ready to see it. So if you're watching a sexual scene, like you're now seeing people having sex and you're seeing body parts that you've never seen before, but in this book where it's being described, like it's almost like a dream. Like it's kind of hazy, like you understand the concept of it.”

Lefebvre said she never felt the need to go behind her mom’s back and try to view material that she wasn’t allowed to watch anyway because, with her mom’s book rule, she felt like she still got some control over what she was exposed to.

“And I never felt the need to go behind her back I really betrayed her in that way because I was kind of given access to be able to take a crack at whatever reading material I wanted,” she said.

“Like, let your kids imagination do what it is capable of doing at the age that they're at as opposed to having them see something that they have never yet imagined before.”

TikTok users loved the tween rule with some commenting that their moms had similar ways of compromising with what their kids were exposed to at a young age.

“Yep. We had the same rule. Because they can always stop if it’s too much for them,” one user wrote.

Another said, “my moms rule was ‘if you want to watch it, you have to read it FIRST’ which i really liked bc it motivated me to read when movies came out”

“Reading is like walking, while watching a movie is like being strapped into a roller coaster. You can stop waking and take breaks, or even stop and go home. But on a roller coaster, you are at the mercy of whatever is being shown to you. You can close your eyes, but you can’t actually stop it,” another pointed out.

Others weren’t so sure about the “read it” rule, noting that books can be just as traumatizing or explicit.

“No- I was pretty messed up over some books. I try to keep inappropriate concepts out of both. Seeing small scenes of violence is one thing- reading 400 pages is a lot more intense. Same with romance novels. Most films are so so tame compared to romance novels. For me, it’s easier to sit & watch a movie that might be borderline to help contextualize what they are seeing as oppposed to reading alone,” one user commented.

The OP replied, “Agreed! Honestly, if I tried to read anything that was consistently intense when I was younger, I probably would have stopped reading anyway. I read 98% age appropriate stuff, I just wasn’t stopped from trying out something else if I was interested. Most adult novels were hard to get though when you’re 13, so mom was also just calling our bluff too haha. I appreciate the rule as an adult now :)”