“I know everything there is to know about parenting!” said no parent ever.
Parenting is a rollercoaster ride. You will feel every emotion under the sun while raising your kiddies. Amazed, overwhelmed, proud, happy, miserable, frustrated, ill-prepared, and beaming with joy. All these emotions can be exhausting. Sitting down and watching a movie can be a great way to relax, but what if we told you that some certain movies also hold a wealth of knowledge and parenting advice?
Whether you’re looking for great parenting advice or simply want to find a better way to connect with your child, we’ve got you covered. These 5 movies about parenting will teach you some hard-hitting lessons about raising happy and healthy children and how to set a good example.
1. Parenthood, 1989
Parenting is a rollercoaster ride full of ups and downs. If you’re feeling stressed out and alone in your parenting journey or find yourself saying “This could never happen to anyone else!”, the 1989 film Parenthood is for you.
This comedy follows five generations of the Buckman family and takes on some pretty serious topics, including divorce, drugs, teenage marriage, feeling left out, pregnancies and more.
This movie teaches families how to adapt to life’s ever-changing family situations and stresses the importance of family communication.
2. Stepmom, 1998
Get your tissues ready, because this movie is a real tearjerker. Jackie and Luke are divorced with two children. Luke is now seeing a younger woman, Isabel, and has asked her to be his wife. This movie chronicles the hilarious pitfalls of blended families, as well as touching drama about dealing with serious illness in a family.
The Linacre Journal found confirms what many children of divorced parents already know, which is that divorce can sideline parental attention. “Parents must adjust to their own losses as well as to their new role as a divorced parent. Thus, parents may not have as much emotional strength and time to invest in parenting,” Jane Anderson says in her research.
The movie Stepmom teaches parenting advice about the importance of coming together in times of tragedy, divorce, of cooperation, and of giving those in your family second chances.
3. Finding Nemo, 2003
Finding Nemo is a story of a widower clownfish named Marlin and his young son, Nemo. Marlin is what many today might refer to as a helicopter parent or someone who is overprotective and excessively involved in their child’s life.
One day, Nemo swims to the surface of the ocean, is caught by a diver, and is brought to live in a fish tank, prompting Marlin to go on a wild chase throughout the Great Barrier Reef in search of his son. After meeting a host of new friends, Marlin eventually finds Nemo and all is well in the world.
The parenting advice and lessons learned from this film are endless. First, don’t judge a book by its cover. Marlin encounters many scary characters throughout the film, such as a group of sharks. Marlin is wary of them, but it turns out these sharks have pledged not to eat other fish and turn out to be helpful in Marlin’s search.
Other great lessons for both parents and children highlight the importance of accepting help from others, listening to your parents, treasuring your friendships, and that when life gets you down – just keep swimming!
4. Mrs. Doubtfire, 1993
Daniel Hillard is an actor whose marriage is falling apart. When his wife Miranda files for divorce, he is determined to stay in his three children’s life.
Dressing up like a woman and pretending to be a British nanny, Daniel is able to spend time with his children and befriend his wife (who is now dating someone new).
Divorce can leave children feeling more than just a little confused, as is shown clearly in this film. Research shows that children of divorce are more likely to have ADD, to be held back a grade, and to lose economic security – especially if they are living with their mothers.
While unconventional, Mrs. Doubtfire has plenty of parenting advice for moms and dads going through a divorce.
Unlike other movies about children of divorce, this film does not feature the children trying to get their parents to fall back in love. Rather, the main takeaway from this film is that just because your family isn’t together anymore doesn’t mean they don’t love each other.
5. Freaky Friday, 1976, 2003, or 2018
Freaky Friday is a movie based on a book by Mary Rogers. The film follows a mother and daughter who just can’t seem to get along. Following a fight on Friday the 13th, both mother and daughter wish out loud that they wish they could switch places with each other for one day.
The wish comes true and, unable to switch their bodies back, suddenly the mother is transported back to her teenage years and the daughter has to live life with the responsibilities of a working mom.
In the 2003 adaptation, the teenager daughter Anna Coleman is struggling in school, has a crush on a new guy, and is trying to get some recognition in her rock band. Her mother, Tess, is an author and psychiatrist raising two children and who is about to remarry.
Once mother and daughter switch bodies, they start to learn that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Mother Tess learns that her daughter is being bullied in school by a classmate and a teacher, while Anna begins to understand how hard her mother works to keep their lives together and grows closer to her soon-to-be step-father.
The lesson? Often, when children reach their teenage years, a slight disconnect may start to form between parent and child. The teenager starts to believe that their parent simply can’t relate to the struggles they are going through. Similarly, teenagers often forget that their parents are people with thoughts, feelings, and goals, too.
As Freaky Friday proves, there is much parents and children can learn about each other if they walk a day in each other’s shoes.
Families come in all different shapes and sizes and there is always something new to learn. There are step-families, adopted family, divorced parents and loving parents who are still together. No matter what background you come from, you can learn some amazing lessons from these 5 movies for parents.