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Monday, February 15, 2016

Just Ask Joyce: Can We Keep it Kid-Friendly?

Q: “My husband and older kids want to watch movies during family time that I feel are a bit too adult for our younger ones. We value family night, but it’s becoming more of a battle than a relaxing time together. We didn’t allow our older ones to watch PG-13 movies until they were of age, and I don’t want to give in to something I feel could be detrimental. What should we do?”

Joyce: A big mistake many parents make is growing weary of enforcing the same rules upon the younger children as they did for the first ones on their watch. When we consider how fast the world is pushing our kids to grow up and absorb adult material, it should give us all pause. Stick to your standards, Mom!

In addition, teach your older kids the responsibility of protecting younger siblings is theirs, as well. If everyone can’t agree on a movie, consider age-appropriate board games, or share home movies and memories. Do a scavenger hunt. Play putt-putt or glow golf. Have a nighttime picnic in the backyard. There are many fun, creative ways to enjoy family time.

Having said that, it begs the question: Is watching a movie really family time? It avoids the obvious: time to talk. Connection involves much more than having something or someone else entertain you. Occasional movie time is great, but make sure you discuss the life lessons from the movies to keep conversation alive within the family. The more struggles I see among our families the more I’m convinced we are losing the art of dialogue in our relationships. So look to the future. Keeping standards and family rules in place for every child from start to finish creates a true winning atmosphere in any family.

Write Joyce Oglesby, Family-Life FIX-IT Pro, at


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