Showing animated movies to a group of your tween girl’s friends doesn’t always work. Most of the popular movies don’t meet you standards. What is a mom to do? First, acknowledge that your girl and her friends are getting older. They hear swear words at school or even at church, they know girls who are obsessed with boys, and they see girls dressing immodestly around them. So, moms, that means all movies with a few swear words or inappropriate outfits are no longer taboo. Because movies mimic real life to some degree, talk about the issues in movies you see. Don’t lecture. Ask questions. Did you notice the swear words? Why do you think people swear? What would you have done differently if a boy spoke to you like that? It is more important than ever for you to watch the movies with your girl. If the movie is for a slumber party and your presence in the room will be “weird,” watch the movie beforehand. If you have cultivated a relationship with your daughter’s friends (and I hope you have) you can even ask the whole group questions after the movie. Just be careful to listen and not lecture.
While your girls are torpedoing toward adulthood, they are still part kid. They love to laugh. They love to be silly. And they still love an engaging story. They will enjoy movies that aren’t about kids who are like them. And they will love movies where an admirable character overcomes odds and inspires.
When my girls were young, my mom was a bit baffled at how to find movies for my girls that met our high standards. She discovered a company called Feature Films for Families. You can buy the films directly from them or browse their suggested titles and purchase elsewhere (though I like to support this company that seeks out great films). They even have movies organized into virtues like kindness, courage, imagination, and service. And while I wish this were a sponsored post, really it is just me sharing a company that has been a blessing for us.
Here are some of our favorite family friendly movies we’ve discovered from Feature Films for Families. Most of these films are classic stories, told in a family friendly way.
- Akeelah and the Bee : Akeelah tries to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee. All odds are stacked against her as she deals with opposition from her family, friends, and even her coach.
- Alan and Naomi: Honestly, not the fastest moving film, but the most memorable of the bunch. This story of a boy helping a girl with a mental illness because his mother requires him to is powerful, unforgettable, and unlike any movie we’ve seen.
- Keeping the Promise : A classic survival tale about a 13-year-old boy who had to live alone on his family’s wilderness claim for 7 weeks until the rest can come. Fear, loneliness, a dishonest trapper, fear of Indians and winter are challenges to be overcome.
- No More Baths :A boy takes his parent’s lessons to help others seriously. He refuses to give up when a needy neighbor’s land is threatened by a developer. A great story about the power of working together.
- 16 Wishes : A sort of It’s a Wonderful Life for a sixteen-year-old who thinks popularity and clothing are necessary for happiness
- Greening of Whitney Brown : A young girl thinks she has lost everything when her dad loses his affluent job and the family moves to a different part of town. You can guess the rest of the story but it is still powerful to watch.
What’s your favorite family movie? Movie to watch with your tween? My girls’s current favorite is actually Cool Runnings about the Jamican bobsled team. So funny!