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12 Children's Movies Where Parents Lived Through A Nightmare While Their Kids Had An Adventure

Updated March 5, 2020 566 votes 84 voters 2.3k views12 items

List RulesVote up the movies where the parents must be worried sick.

Watching movies as a kid, it seems natural for children to be the stars of the show. However, rewatching these films as an adult begs the question of why the parents in these movies weren't present or why they would approve of their children setting out on dangerous missions. In real life, your parents never would've let you get away with these wild adventures!

Some movie parents are irresponsible, while others are completely oblivious to the situation. In some cases, the parents aren't even shown in the film! In a kid's eyes, children really do rule the world and can make their own decisions, which is a bit risky to endorse considering how frantic their parents must be. For many adventurous children's films, the kids get to run off and have an exciting adventure while the parents are left behind with the nightmare of losing their kids. 

  • While Russell made it clear that his dad was always busy, it's still unlikely that he didn't notice his son's disappearance. Russell hadn't meant to wind up on the porch as the house lifted into the air, but he's excited for all the adventures that lie ahead.

    If his dad knew what was going on though, there's no way he'd approve. Not only is Russell exploring an unfamiliar area with a stranger, but he has to face evil dogs constantly chasing him and Carl. All the while, his dad has to be searching high and low for his son once he's realized he's missing.

    • Actors: Christopher Plummer, Ed Asner, Laraine Newman, John Ratzenberger, Delroy Lindo
    • Released: 2009
    • Directed by: Pete Docter
    Parental nightmare?

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  • In this film, a group of kids go on an adventure for the sake of their families, but that doesn't make their parents any less horrified. The young boys are about to lose their homes to an expanding country club, and when they come across a map to a pirate's treasure, they set out in the hopes to find enough money to halt the foreclosures.

    Good intentions or not, they leave home on a quest without their parents' approval. Anytime that happens, it can't be a good feeling for a parent.

    • Actors: Corey Feldman, Josh Brolin, Sean Astin, Joe Pantoliano, Martha Plimpton
    • Released: 1985
    • Directed by: Richard Donner
    Parental nightmare?

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  • Never growing up sounds like the perfect future for a kid. So, flying off to Neverland seems like the obvious choice for Wendy, John, and Michael. But if they hadn't returned before their parents got home from the event, what would have happened?

    There's obvious shock on their mom's face when she sees Wendy isn't asleep in bed, and that would have surely turned to panic if she hadn't quickly seen her yawning by the window. Sure, the whole thing sounds like a ridiculous dream to their dad, but if any kid stayed in Neverland forever, it's guaranteed that their parents would be worried sick!

    • Actors: June Foray, Bobby Driscoll, Heather Angel, Tom Conway, Hans Conried
    • Released: 1953
    • Directed by: Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Clyde Geronimi, Jack Kinney
    Parental nightmare?
  • Just like most tellings of this classic fairy tale, this film shows a boy climbing up a beanstalk to find a magical land at the top. He encounters a princess, an evil witch, and even people who have been turned into mice! However, the young boy doesn't let his adventure stop there.

    While he's at the top of the beanstalk, exploring the the unusual Land of the Clouds, his mother must be calling out to everyone who will listen trying to find her boy. Sure, she got angry at him about the magic beans in the first place, but she never expected her son to vanish.

    • Actors: Masachika Ichimura
    • Released: 1974
    • Directed by: Gisaburō Sugii
    Parental nightmare?

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