As the Moral and Social Compass, Am I Going Too Far?

Updated on April 13, 2011
J.G. asks from Minneapolis, MN
33 answers

My husband will occasionally let my son watch cartoons that I disapprove of in the mornings if I sleep in, so I try not to sleep in because no matter what I say, he will still let our son watch them and laugh it off when I tell him it's not ok. They are old cartoons that involve slapstick kind of things and my 2 year old son will copy that behavior and I have to answer for it when we are out in public or at a playdate.

This evening we were playing with playdoh and he kept saying how the playdoh looked like poop--over and over and over. I asked him politely to stop because I don't want my son to repeat that in mixed company.

He's really outraged, saying I'm being annoying and ridiculous for these things. I told him that it's embarrassing for me when our son engages in behavior that is socially unacceptable because of the things my husband thinks are funny but are not appropriate for his age.

What do you think?

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So What Happened?

Thank you all for your opinions.

To clarify the poop issue and the cartoons are separate. I'm not worried about poop in cartoons. The issue is that he will watch a cartoon like "Hong Kong Phooey" and go around karate chopping people and things. Or he will watch a cartoon where someone goes and whacks someone on the head with a bat--and guess what he does with a bat, or a toy hammer? WHACK! and for days he will emulate this behavior. My husband isn't around to see it and so hardly thinks it's a real issue.

Honestly, I'm not going to always be this uptight about this kind of stuff but I feel like it's socially putting him at a disadvantage to expose him to things that are age inappropriate. At two, he is too young to understand context and he is going to get into trouble for things that Daddy taught him and I don't think that's fair.

And yes, because I have higher social standards of behavior than my husband, he grew up getting into trouble and acting up a great deal...getting into fights, etc. I do consider myself the social and moral compass of the family, and frankly, so does my husband. That doesn't mean he always likes it but it does mean that when he runs into a situation at work or with a friend that he isn't equipped to handle he trusts *me*. And because I am around my son 75% more than my husband I am charged with instilling these social and moral values in my son, it irks me to no end when that is undermined.

My husband is a good man but he takes for granted how many "lucky breaks" he had in his life. His delinquent youth wasn't typical in my opinion, and I thought he understood that. These aren't issues that existed prior to having a child, though, so they are all new territory for me. I'm just trying to be fair to him while still being true to myself as a mom.

Also, I apologized to my husband for being too uptight about the poop thing but asked him to consider in the future that what he says comes out my sons mouth later. I didn't have to be snippy about it, regardless of my feelings.

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answers from Houston on

He's a boy, so get used to it. (In my opinion.) You married a man with this kind of humor, so I'm not seeing why you would have a problem with it? Now, if it was The Family Guy or the Simpson's, then I'd understand. But, the older cartoons, they're just funny, and pretty harmless for a kid to see. Especially considering what is put on TV's today!

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I let my twins watch cartoons, Disney and Nick ones. When they were about 2 they were placed into Speech Therapy because they would do "twin talk" yes there is such a thing, there is a youtube video with twin boys doing it. Well in order to keep with services this year (they are in Kindergarten) they had to go through extensive testing and low and behold they are now considered "gifted". There are some things that my husband will let them watch and after they go to bed I will tell him why I think that they shouldn't watch it and we will discuss it and come to an agreement.

They also have grown up with a special needs brother who doesn't understand what he is doing, and they would copy him no matter what I would say of how it isn't nice to do it or it was not appropriate (hitting and screaming) they just didn't get it once they were in preschool or around other kids their age then they saw that their peers didn't do it so they shouldn't do it (I have been a SAHM since they were a year old).

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Ummm...I think you better buckle your seat belt! It's going to be a bumpy (boy) ride.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

Wow, honestly, from just this little bit, it sounds like there are some weird issues in your marriage. I think you and your husband need to sit down and get on the same page with your parenting. Because he is undermining your rules, and you clearly feel you can't trust him to teach your son your values. You don't sleep in so you can make sure your son doesn't watch cartoons you don't approve of? That's not cool.

However, calling yourself "the moral and social compass" seems a bit much to me. I'm not saying that I wouldn't be mad about the cartoons or the Play-doh poop, but if you're positioning yourself as the "moral compass" over your family, I could see how that could be irritating to your husband. You're not always right, and he's not always wrong. If something is really important to you, he should listen, but you should also try to pick your battles.

Good luck.

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answers from Albany on

Your household, your marriage, and your parenting conflicts you list here sound completely normal, typical, healthy to me.

(I have some benefit of hindsight. My boys (now 18 and nearly 17) could've used a little Dumb Guy exposure, Guy Bonding is an essential part of a boy's life, I think. My boys didn't really have it with their father, your boy is lucky to share that BOY side of himself with his father. Don't worry, it doesn't mean he will grow up to be a repulsive, socially defunked human being. It means he'll grow up knowing how to bond with other guys. Furthermore, I think its healthy and important for you to scoff at it like you do. That will show him the differences in relationships between boys and boys and boys and girls. So yeah, keep doin' exactly what you're doin', least that's my $.02)


7 moms found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

Honey you sound like a snob and it won't matter what anyone says here unless they agree with you. The poop thing--is a 2 yr old thing, don't worry about it. The cartoons I grew up on Looney Tunes, we knew we couldn't hit or jump off a cliff. Simply teach your son not to hit.

Seriously you sound like you hang out at an exclusive Country Club and have only rarely ventured into the real world.

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answers from Glens Falls on

If you're looking for opinions, I think it's perfectly okay to be silly with a 2 year old joking that playdoh looks like poop and to occasionally let them watch cartoons. It wouldn't bother me at all unless maybe if we were talking about poop at the dinner table. However, it's your choice as a parent where you want to draw the line so I think you and your husband need to make some compromises. But if you've asked your husband to stop, he should stop and then discuss his opinion when your child isn't there. And I also think you should be open to his opinions...just because you are the stay at home parent, shouldn't mean that he doesn't have input.

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answers from Washington DC on

I think part of the issue is social appropriateness. It is okay for a 2 year old to be goofy, even in public. The quesiton is whether he will obey and chill out if you ask him too. That is, "Bobby, please don't say poop at the grocery store, we can't be silly right now."

As far as cartoons go, I don't want my kids watching topics that are too mature for them. I have strong feelings about violence and death and war in animated series. Slapstick? Who cares? As long as the actions aren't dangerous, who cares? Poking eyes, probably not okay fro a 2 year old. Making silly noises, so what?

Honestly, it sounds like you are easily embarrassed. And we all have been there, where our kids act up in some way that makes us unhappy to be the center of attention. But I guarantee it bothers you far more than anyone else. Relax a little, and pick your battles.

You and your husband need to come to an agreement. He needs to respect your wishes, but I am guessing he feels like you are inflexible. So loosen up, and tell him where you are willing to make concessions and then have him do the same. Then follow up. The fact is you are BOTH the social/mopral compass and you BOTH need to respect each other, or you have bigger problems than slapstick cartoons.

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answers from Las Vegas on

About 2 or 3 is when kids start talking about poop a lot and find the whole thing very hilarious. It doesn't matter if they have been exposed to inappropriate cartoons or not, they are going to inundate you with all of their awful potty humor. It's just how it is. So I don't think your husband is really at fault for the playdough incident. It was bound to happen regardless of whether or not your husband and son watched Tom & Jerry or the Roadrunner earlier that day.

By the way, I don't think I have ever seen an older cartoon that's storyline revolves around poop so I'm really not getting how you are connecting the dots here.

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answers from San Francisco on

I think you are a little uptight, and since you have him 75% of the time, let your husband do it his way when he has them.

The kids will model themselves after you in time, don't worry, even if they see some dumb cartoons or talk about poop for a while. I doubt your husband's problems stemmed from some stupid cartoons or talk of poop.

They kids will be fine with some silliness, but your marriage could suffer a little if your husband feels micromanaged.

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answers from Rochester on

I can be fairly strict with what my children watch, but I'm afraid I "think" I am siding with your husband on this one, depending on what cartoons you disapprove of. If you are talking about REALLY old cartoons, like Looney Tunes (which are full of slapstick)...these are really the only cartoons I have ever ENCOURAGED my children to watch, because I think they are funny, clean, and so much better than all the junk out there today.

I don't think our parents, who probably grew up watching Looney Tunes, were a violent generation as children. I think that has SO MUCH more to do with how you discipline your children, and right from wrong. Dropping an anvil on a coyotes head is not the same as hitting the child next to you, and I don't think children are violent because of slapstick animal cartoons.

Now, if we are talking some sort of anime martial art cartoon, I would agree with you.

And play-doh can look like poop and how brilliant of your two year old to make that inference. Next time, just say "yes, it sure does! But let's not talk about poop with other people."

So, I'm totally curious...what cartoons are these?

Oh, and I agree with someone else...never in a mil. years would I let my children watch simpsons, family guy, american dad, etc.

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answers from Minneapolis on

I haven't read all of the comments but here's my 2 cents: It sounds to me like your hubby is enjoying a bit of "bonding" without the follow-through of "teaching" - try offering him a compromise. If he wants to watch these shows with your son (which are similar to what I grew up watching on Saturday mornings with my dad - and I treasure those memories) then he needs to do a bit of teaching too - he needs to explain to his child that that behavior is "cartoon-behavior" not "real-life" behavior and little boys get in big trouble for doing "cartoon-behavior." My husband is a SAHD and he lets the kids use him as a jungle gym/wrestling buddy - and they get very rough! I don't like it and I don't tolerate it when they try to do that same behavior with anyone else - so hubby had to draw the line and be the one to explain to them that that was special "daddy-play" and that they couldn't play like that with anyone else. Personally, I think kids need to play rough like that once in a while - sometimes just to let off steam and energy but also to teach them how there body works and how some things hurt and if, someday (hopefully never), they ever did get in a fight- they'd have some idea of how to take care of themselves and not get beat up.

I guess my point is the cartoons are ok, as long as the lesson comes with them.

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answers from Honolulu on

Boys... have potty humor.
I have a boy and girl.
Their humor, is very different.
No matter what they watch.

My son likes to make jokes about poop and butts.
Sure, he knows not to act like that outside the house. He is not like that at preschool. He knows.

You simply teach your child about manners.
It takes time. Like a rock collecting moss.
At 2 years old, they do not have fully functioning fully articulate comprehension nor discernment... about, abstractness and social innuendos.

Kids, at this age, also do not YET have fully developed "impulse-control" or social awareness. That is developed and per their age and cognitive development and maturity.
At this age, what they see as 'funny'... may not be to adults.
They don't even have fully developed 'emotions' yet, either.

BUT YES... you teach your child manners and concepts of what is appropriate or not.

Your Husband, seems... rough around the edges.
Or maybe he is doing it just to irk you.

I grew up on those slap stick humor cartoons.
I grew up fine and with manners.
My kids like Tom and Jerry too.
They know it is a 'cartoon' and not real. Even my son will say to me "Mommy, that is just pretend. It's not real. Just a cartoon MOMMY."
My son is 4.

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answers from Sacramento on

I dunno... I am not a fan of letting kids watch too much t.v especially at this young age. There's so much garbage that kids really have no need to see. The cartoon thing would bug me in general, but particularly because you've expressed how you feel about it and he does it anyway.

The poop and playdough thing though... if your mixed company is offended by that, they better spend more time with two year olds. Poop is FUNNY and so very interesting to little ones. I remember my daughter potty training and having to tell me every time about what the poop looked like... " look Mommy, this poop looks like snakes.... look Mommy, this poop has corn in it... look Mommy this poop looks like a big potato." I also remember serving refried beans at lunch to my daycare kids and one child telling me he wasn't going to eat poop. That was a funny day.

I'd say you're going to have to come a little farther back to the middle and realize that sometimes no matter what moral and social standards you try to instill in your kids, potty humor is going to win out.

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answers from Boston on

I think the next time your son says or does something inappropriate in public, you let your husband deal with it. My husband used to swear in front of the kids until my son started using the F-word in front of friends. When my husband had to discipline him, my husband's behavior got much better quickly.

Honestly, I'd be annoyed at my husband if he kept insisting that play-doh looked like poop, not because the kids would repeat it, but because, what is he, three?

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answers from Washington DC on

From the sound of your post, your putting a lot of pressure on your 2 year old. He is a boy, he will be a smart well rounded boy but, will become defiant if you continue with these pressures. I may be over analyzing your post, I don't want to be offensive just trying to give my 2 cents. You don't want to micromanage the house and leave everyone with resentment. You can have your morals and values set high but not be so high on the mountain. No one is going to look at a 2 year old like "How dare he compare his doh to poo, how innapropriate". Where are you when your feeling these social pressures? The more you draw attention to the things you don't like, I bet you will meet more and more resistance from your son and husband. Just love them for who they are and teach your son right from wrong. Your life can change with the blink of an eye, do you really want to make this an issue? Enjoy the silly times!

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answers from Rochester on

LOL the differance bewteen you and your husband is not social standards it's that he is a boy and your a girl! Plus social standards is just another way of saying you care what people think. Why? Live like to the fulest and do what you want to do, not what make you look good in the light! Let you little boy be a little boy! He is getting good guy time with your husband by watching those cartoons. I know my hubby takes my two boys out for a guys day every once in a while and they watch guy movies with lots of hitting and stuff and they come home with the biggest smiles on there face! Good luck!

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answers from Las Vegas on

Put your husband in a situation where him, yalls son, and friends are together and when the son says it be like oh honey he is repeating what you taught him the other day. Let your husband feel the embarrassment. Let your husband explain that it is not appropriate to your son. I mean seriously, is your husband 3 or what?

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answers from Kansas City on

Okay, I'm kind of square about these types of things too (bathroom humor, etc.) but I have to say I really think it's a male thing. I get why you're annoyed, but maybe you could just encourage your husband to talk about poop, farting, and other such things when you're not around. Put it on him to teach your son that although these things are hilarious, to some that is ;), they are not appropriate to talk about around mommy or out in public or's just 'boy-time' talk. You'll be hard pressed to have it disappear but maybe just curb it to meet your needs a little bit. Good luck!

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answers from Salt Lake City on

Your son is two at any given moment he is going to be socially unacceptable.
If you are honestly asking for opinions yes you are going to far. Kids are going to do and say things that you don't want them too letting him watch cartoons is not going to change that. I don't mean to offend but you might want to lighten up a bit on your "standards" before you wind yourself up so tight you explode.

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answers from Kansas City on

Well, I guess I'm thankful you're not a fly on the wall in our house. We have and always have had, an open discussion policy in our house.
Of course when the kids were younger we tried to keep the inappropriate conversations to a minimum, but our feeling was that we want our kids to be able to talk to us about anything which means they have to be comfortable enough to talk about things.
And trust me, when your son hits his teen years you WANT to know about the houses that have the unsupervised parties, etc. But to get there, they have to know they can talk about anything even if it is playdoh that looks like poop.
Good luck!

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answers from Hartford on

I think you married the same model husband that I did. He doesn't think it's funny when the girls start to mimic the language and behaviors they see in those programs and even the violent video games he plays, yet he doesn't see the correlation. It's my parenting, not what he allows them to watch. ::rolls eyes::

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answers from Kansas City on

I don't think I have ever seen a cartoon that talks about poop and neither has our son. However, For some reason he is fixated on the word poop and butt and now wants to know how to spell butt (I'll let him figure that one out!).

My point is, boys will be boys. If you get upset about it, it's only going to make them use those words more. Sometimes you just have to laugh things off. I've seen that with our son, he will talk about it at home but sometimes enough is enough, and he knows not to talk like that out in public.

Your husband saying playdoh looks like poop is going too far though.

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answers from Minneapolis on

Several children have killed their younger siblings b/c they were acting out things they saw on TV - the Three Stooges is one show that comes to mind as the one the child was parodying. Perhaps you could google the subject and show him the information on it?

Also, you could set the parental settings on the cable/direct TV to only allow channels that you think are age appropriate for your child... from the sounds of your hubby I don't think he's be able to figure it out!!!

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answers from Columbus on

My husband was the same way until recently. He would let our son drink some of his pop, or let him watch tv pretty much all day. I started to point out the difference in our son's behavior when he didn't do those things. On days where my husband was at work, and my son didn't have any sugar, and only watched a little bit of tv, he was so much more pleasant! But on weekends when my husband left NickJr on literally ALL day, and let him snack on gummy bears and juice and animal crackers until he wouldn't eat his dinner - he was a little terror! Finally after I pointed out this pattern a few times, my husband started to agree. He still lets him have the occasional sip of Mt. Dew, but he'll say "we're gonna pay for this later!" As for copying behavior & language, the very first time my son dropped something and muttered "dimmet" my husband's face turned gray and he vowed to never say anything worse that "rats" in front of him again. Some guys think it's funny to teach young kids to swear, but I personally think it's trashy.

Even if your husband doesn't agree with you on every little point, if you can explain to him 1 or 2 things that are non-negotiable, he needs to help you out. If you are the primary caretaker while he is at work, then it's very unfair for your husband to contribute to bad behavior and leave you to deal with the fallout. If there are other areas where you can be more lenient, make a bargain with him over those. Maybe get him to take your son outside, and they can roughhouse or throw a ball around. That way he gets to be goofy and have something just between them.

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answers from Lincoln on

I haven't read the other responses, but I think the first one you have valid reasoning. Those cartoons are pretty bad and not for kids. The second one, I would let it go. Even if your son does say something like that in public it's not a big deal. No one will care. They will think it's cute given his age. If they don't think it's cute so what. He's two. They get away with A LOT at that age however. I'm sure as he grows older his filter will come out. Pick and choose your battles, because when you have a really good one with a valid point it may not be heard because there are too many that are being thrown at your hubby.

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answers from Chicago on

Someone has to have a strong moral compass these days...because society in general has none...Good for you and keep it up!

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answers from Rapid City on

My husband's friend thought it was funny teaching our son who was about 3 at the time to "swing" the girls like on Waynes world. My husband just laughed at it until he got embarrassed by our son swinging the waitress then asking his dad "think she is pretty, huh dad? Do you?" right in front of the waitress. It wasn't so funny when he was the one embarrassed. I have a feeling that hubby is going to have an embarrassing moment coming up that will help him understand your prospective. I would make a deal with him. You don't complain about the cartoons if he stops teaching inapproprate behavior. If nothing else, wait until he is around all his friends then you say something they have, doesn't matter what, looks like poop! See if it is as funny coming from you in front of his friends.

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answers from Omaha on

I don't see how the child saying poop over and over again is funny. I'm a fairly liberal person. I don't know if I'd say I'm a liberal mom because crude cartoons that I see no value in I feel is a waste of their time. Anyways, if my child went around saying poop I'd be annoyed as all out and say over and over again that it wasn't appropriate. I would be embarrassed as all out if they said that too.

Sounds like family guy and such sort of humor which is made for ADULTS if that is what your husband is letting him watch. I'd kick him in the butt. If it's just child programs that are crude I'd still say no to and I'd get up to. I guess he'll get the point only when he has to go pick the child up from school for saying something. Oh and I'd make him pick the child up regardless if I was a stay at home mom or not. hehe

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answers from Nashville on

What the heck is wrong with your husband and how old is he??? I have never heard of a parent who could care less what or how their child acts! It is wrong, you are right! Is this guy normally a jerk and stubborn?? you sit him down and tell him that until he can act like a parent and not a sibling of this child, maybe he needs to sit back and let you parent! It is not good that you and your husband disagree in front of the child either, at this age it might not be too bad but in a year or so your husband will be teaching your child not to respect what you say or your rules. You have got to get a hold of this now. Tell him that some things might be funny but when he is teaching your child to do and say things that are not appropriate in public, he will end up getting in trouble at school, etc Tell your husband to grow up!

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answers from Davenport on

I don't know, didn't all of us and our friends and siblings grow up watching Tom and Jerry, Wile E. Coyote, Bugs Bunny???....the majority of us didn't go around dropping anvils on each other, or using TNT on each other, and that is because we had a good mom or dad or both who did correct us when we DID do those things, early on.

That said, I agree with you, that if he didn't see these cartoons, he would be less likely to copy them, but my kids don't watch that stuff and they still whack each other with bats or toys or tools, when they get mad, that is how toddlers react, they are little little happens, you are just getting more opportunities to correct the behavior, earlier on.

Yes, your husband needs to realize that at this age, everything they see and hear gets regurgitated in their own speech and behavior. Maybe if you look up a few articles by "experts" on toddler behavior and show him that violent cartoons are not good for little kids and that parents' verbal habits are what their kids pick up on...maybe it will make more impact on him coming from the "experts" than just from you. I bet he is thinking it is "bonding time" and "guy time" for them watching the same cartoons her watched as a kid and talking about bodily functions, like poop and farting and burping.....I swear guys think these are manly rights or something. Maybe suggest some other shows or channels or DVDs your son and hubby would both like, or some other activity that is GUY-ish for them to bond over - planting a garden ( 2 year olds LOVE digging in the dirt), "fixing something" like the car, something around the house, going on a nature walk, stuff like that???

Good Luck, I know husbands can be stubborn about stuff, but they are parents too, and we have to let them do it their way sometimes, or they just feel like we don't trust them with their own kids.

Another thing you could do is video tape or record on your camera your son saying/doing the things to show your husband you are not imagining things/blowing it out of porportion.



answers from Minneapolis on

You aren't going too far in my opinion. Full disclosure: this is coming from someone whose child watches no TV....

It will be important, however, for you and your hubby to get on the same page, b/c it is going to be confusing for your son if you don't.

Have you made suggestions for what your son can watch instead of these cartoons? Ie, can you set out some age-appropriate DVDs the night before so your hubby can pop those in?


answers from Tampa on

Tell your husband to grow up and to realize he has responsibilities to ensure his child turns out better than himself - he's obviously not wanting the apple to fall far from the tree it sounds.

Thankfully, my husband is more uptight/cautious than I am and we've not had this type of issue on anything yet.

I should mention that body and potty humor is a normal phase that lasts awhile it seems... doesn't mean you should encourage it tho.

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