It is family movie night! Movies, popcorn, snacks and snuggles on the couch are one of my favorite times with our girls!
This can be so much fun for many families but for some it can be a time of “stress.” What do you watch when you have kids of different age groups who cannot agree on which movie to watch? Some family members might want to watch something animated or silly while others might want to watch something with more drama or scary elements involved. As a parent I do not want my kids watching movies that contain fright or too much drama, but I realize, as they get older, I will no longer have control over the things they watch. So, I must ask myself if I would rather have them watch on their own or when I am there with them to answer questions and give guidance?
We went through a time in our family when we only watched things like Little House on the Prairie during family movie night because it was safe and the only thing everyone could agree on. Even then, we would skip certain episodes because it was “too scary” for one of the girls.
The girls have both become teenagers now and many times we still have a hard time finding a movie we can all agree on. Many of today’s movies are geared towards worldly things that we, as parents, want so much to protect our children from.
Our family recently watched the movie “Breakthrough.” This was a great movie for our teen girls and us. My favorite part was Joyce’s unrelenting faith that God would heal her son and her commitment to not allowing others to speak negatively about her son, only to “speak life” into him. It is not a movie that we could have watched if our girls were younger. When kids are little, they mostly see the things that might scare them. Seeing teenage boys fall through the ice, a mom becoming angry and yelling at others, seeing a young boy lying in a hospital bed while his mom cries over him, these are the things they would remember. These are the things that would have had them sleeping in our room for days!
Now that they are older, they able to connect the whole story and not get stuck on the things that scare them. They can see the importance of a relationship with Jesus Christ. We talked about how difficult it would be for a family to go through something like this without having faith!
We do have control over the things our kids watch when they are little but as they become teenagers, we lose some of that control, especially when they are with friends. The days of parents asking my permission about showing a specific movie to my young child at their home have gone away. These are the days I see so much value in having had open communication with our girls and the things they might see on TV or the movie screen. Often, parents try to protect their kids from all the things this world will throw at them. My husband and I have instead chosen to process things with our girls. We choose to talk with them about why we do not want them being exposed to certain things instead of avoiding the subject.
Casting Crowns said it perfectly in their song “Slow Fade.” So how do we get ourselves and our kids to not give ourselves away and allow the black and white turn to gray? We must have a strong foundation and that starts with the Bible. Knowing God’s word is the best defense for what is right and wrong. It is when we start to think, “it is just a movie” or “it is just this one time” that things start to get gray in our minds.
A good place to start for movie night is a website called “Plugged In.” This website gives you an incredibly detailed explanation on what you can expect to see and hear in the movie. If you are still unsure after reading the review from them then do what we have done at times, watch the movie yourself before watching with your children. After all, you know your children better than anyone and will be able to be the best “movie reviewer” your kids will ever have!