The Difference Between Parental Guidance in Movies and Real Life

The way parental guidance is portrayed in movies can be drastically different from the actual job of being a parent in real life. While it may be entertaining to watch characters on the silver screen provide guidance and show unwavering support for their children, relying on these insights and techniques from movie scenes is not necessarily beneficial when it comes to real-world parenting.

What Are Some Common Parenting Mistakes Seen in Movies?

Here are some common parenting mistakes often shown in movies:

• Neglecting to set boundaries and expectations

• Failing to listen to the child’s perspective

• Being too harsh with discipline

• Not providing enough emotional support

• Not setting a good example for the child

• Putting too much pressure on kids to perform academically or athletically

While these mistakes make for great plot points, pushing drama and anticipation as the child either spirals into danger or attaches themselves to a new mentor, in real life, these actions can seriously harm a child’s development.

Many movies depict an authoritarian parenting style. For example, After Earth’s father figure, Cypher, starts off as cold and distant. His son, Kiatai, struggles to live up to his father’s legacy while enduring estrangement from his father. It’s a great plot point, but this type of distance coupled with pressure is not effective for children’s long-term social and emotional development.

Another troupe is the fun-loving party mom or dad. The child is often depicted as wise beyond their years and takes on the parental role while the adults get to be playfully irresponsible. This dynamic seldom creates responsible teens. It typically results in teens that do not understand proper boundaries or self-care.

Parenting is far More Complex Than What is Shown Onscreen

Parenting is a complex job that requires parents to be available, present, understanding, nurturing, and supportive of their children’s needs. What works for one family may not necessarily work for another. Parental guidance seen in movies usually comes with a happy ending or resolution to the storyline, so viewers come away feeling satisfied with the outcome. However, this does not necessarily reflect everyday reality.

Instead of relying on movie tropes as an example of how to guide children, parents should look towards other reliable sources such as books written by experts, online resources from governmental organizations, or activities that they can do as a family to further foster relationships between parents and children.

Setting Examples as Parent is Key

In addition to providing proper guidance to their kids, parents need to also set examples for healthy habits both mentally and physically. Children learn behavior through observation as well as through verbal instruction. Consequently, it is important that parents take steps in demonstrating responsible decision making when it comes to both personal decisions and how they treat others around them. This will provide an environment where kids feel safe and secure yet are also encouraged to explore new skills so they can reach their full potential.

Positive Reinforcement, Not Dramatics (as Often Seen as Plot Points)

Although there may be times when discipline must be enforced within the home or at school, parents should always strive for positive reinforcement regardless of any mistakes that have been made by their kids.

It is important that children understand the consequences of their behaviors but at the same time, recognize the love and support from their guardians. Physical punishment should never be used nor should punishments cause harm or humiliation within a child’s social circle.

10 Strategies for Addressing Unwanted Behaviors

Rather than relying on movie moms and dads, rely on time-honored, professional advice from the experts. This advice includes, but is not limited to:

  1. Establish clear and consistent expectations. Through rules and a well-defined routine, children can know what is expected of them and how to behave.
  2. Model appropriate behavior. Parents should demonstrate the desired behaviors they want their children to exhibit.
  3. Use positive reinforcement when possible. Positive reinforcement is an effective way to encourage desired behaviors in young children.
  4. Stay calm when addressing misbehavior or disobedience. Remaining composed helps parents maintain control of the situation without escalating it into a dramatic confrontation or tantrum-fueling situation.
  5. Choose your battles wisely; not all issues require disciplinary action.
  6. Reward good behavior with extra attention and quality time with your child, not material items.
  7. Identify triggers that may lead to unwanted behavior.
  8. Start a reward system where desired behaviors are rewarded with small treats or privileges when it comes to things like learning chores. Keep the rewards small so you don’t encourage materialism. Such rewards can include stickers or extra time on the weekend before bedtime.
  9. Engage in activities that promote self-control and problem solving skills such as yoga, art therapy, or interactive games.
  10. Seek professional help when needed.

When to Seek Professional Help for Parenting

That last point above is very important. As hard as parents try, there are times when they must involve a professional.

Parents should consider seeking professional help for their children if the child is exhibiting signs of severe distress such as constant outbursts of anger, depression, or displaying other troubling behaviors (stealing, lying, drug use).

Professional help may be necessary to provide insight and potential solutions to the underlying issues a child may be facing. It is important to bear in mind that each individual is unique and what works for one person may not necessarily work for another, so it is essential to explore your options together with the child’s doctor before making any decisions.

Parenting is Not Easy, but it is Rewarding

The movies make it look so easy! The child and parent usually reconcile in the end, lessons are learned, and everything is great! Or the “bad” parent is duly punished with the child withdrawing affection and attaching themselves to some random, wiser mentor.

This is not real life. Parent/child relationships are messy, complicated, ever-changing, and dependent on many things, including socio-economic factors, cultural backgrounds, gender identity, and much more. Parenting simply cannot be summed up in a two-hour movie.

Ultimately, parental guidance takes practice but is possible if done correctly based on a foundation of trust between adult figures and minors within families. It might take more effort at first than simply glancing over a movie scene, but this type of care will create strong bonds between generations while also teaching needed life lessons throughout childhood development stages. Stay the course and reach out for professional help and guidance when needed. Contact us to more details.