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Family Movie Night!

by Sue Hubbard, M.D.

Well, the weather here turned cold with a combination of rain, sleet and snow and bulletins of more to come, so we are all homebound and what better time to have a family movie night!  We started the tradition of Friday night family movie night when our boys were young.  We watched  “Homeward Bound”, “Land Before Time”, “ET”, “Mary Poppins”, “The Lion King”, the list goes on and on!

It was a Friday night treat to come home from work and  order a pizza (which I think we must have done every Friday for at least 10 years, using one of those mailer coupons ). The kids would gather their favorite blankets and pillows and all cuddle up for the Friday night movie. If on occasion a friend was asked to spend the night we would explain movie night to their parents, to ensure that their family also okayed the movie choice.

Movie choices in the early years were fairly easy, the issues surrounding picking age appropriate movies became a little more “tricky” as the oldest son became 13 and resisted watching G movies. He insisted that he watch a PG-13 movie once of age, even though he really still enjoyed the old family favorites.  This is when we began to have negotiations and pre-parental movie watching to screen movies.

I found that not all PG-13 movies had what I would deem inappropriate subject matter for a 10 or 11 year old.  The rating system in and of itself, was not always as good a predictor of content as I expected.  I do remember that there were several PG-13 movies that seemed to have a better message than a G movie.  Nothing is 100%, right?  There were also times that mid way through a movie we would decide to “turn it off for whatever reason,” which led to many a discussion as to language and innuendo etc.

As our sons grew older the family movie night continued although we would often grab a quick dinner and head to a movie theater rather than have pizza.  There were lengthy discussions over movie reviews, “guy vs. girl” movies and we all took turns in making suggestions. If someone picked dinner, then another person got to pick the movie.

We did see some” bad” movies together, but the important part was that we were all together!!!  Even now, when we have the privilege of having everyone home for a holiday, we enjoy going to movies as a family.   We talk about our memories of where we saw “Home Alone” or “Finding Nemo”.  The guys still insist on having Milk Duds or Sour Patch Kids for movie watching, and now that they are older they don’t even have to “share their drink”.  As so many things change over time, the movie theater experience remains pretty much the same, just more expensive.

Movie night is a great way to stay connected as a family. Pick a night once a week or once a month and commit to enjoy a movie with your children. It is a great way to launch discussion and interaction and make memories while doing it.

Try it and let me know how it goes!

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