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By Kerry Gallagher

Research shows that families who routinely watch movies together are more likely to discuss important and difficult topics like substance abuse, gender equity, death and grieving, and mental health. In fact, research shows that “movies have characters confront moral dilemmas, evaluate risk, establish priorities, adapt to change, learn important lessons, overcome loss and fear, grapple with responsibility, face consequences, solve problems, find redemption, and in doing so, they teach your child how to do those things as well.” With this in mind, here are some tips:

Movies that have characters facing circumstances that are hard to bring up (substance abuse, sexual violence, etc.) provide an opening for tough conversations at a safe distance from the topic.

Families that watch and talk about media together are likely to have connections that are built on common family values.

Adolescents and children rely on adults to help them interpret the choices they see characters making on screen. Without that adult guidance, violent or intense circumstances on screen might be normalized in the adolescent mindset.

During the season when families can watch holiday films together, seize the opportunity to talk with your teens.

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