Having difficult conversations with your children about mental health, grief, and growing up can be challenging. However, your kids should develop healthy habits, such as intellectual skills, self-confidence, and empathy toward others, at a young age.
Children are still learning and growing, so using children’s movies that start a conversation on mental health gives good examples that your kids can comprehend.
3 Children’s Movies That Start a Conversation on Mental Health
- Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
- Albert Brooks, Wille Dafoe, Ellen DeGeneres (Actors)
Finding Nemo (Anxiety)
In the movie Finding Nemo, viewers experience Marlin’s anxiety with his over-protective parenting. Marlin constantly worries about leaving Nemo alone and projects his fear of the ocean onto his son.
Throughout the movie, viewers watch as Marlin overcomes his anxiety and even makes some new friends along the way. This is a great starting point for bringing up anxiety with your child.
You can explain why he may have the anxiety and the instances where he transforms his fear into constructive actions to help his son. When he swims across the ocean for Nemo, you see how exposure therapy can aid your fears and anxiety and help defeat those emotions.
To continue this unit study, check out the Finding Nemo Movie Study.
Inside Out (Various Emotions/Depression)
The whole premise of Inside Out is to show the various emotions the main character, Riley, feels. You watch as she learns how to cope with moving to a new school and all the brand-new emotions that it brings her.
Viewers spend most of their time in the child’s head to better understand what she is going through. This segues into what your child may feel about certain situations.
It teaches essential lessons on how to handle stress, changes, and complex emotions. After watching this movie, you can ask your child how it made them feel and talk about the emotions they could be feeling themselves.
Up is a beautiful movie all about grief and its stages that shows an older gentleman, Carl, learning to live life without his wife. With a crazy twist of events, he flies off in his house attached to balloons with an unbeknown little boy along for the ride.
Viewers watch the two develop a relationship that heals a small part of Carl that left him when his wife died. This movie paints a lovely picture that grief is not linear, and it’s a journey you’ll find yourself on throughout life.
Talk with your children after this movie about how there is no right or wrong way to handle grief and the uncomfortable feelings when a loved one passes.
This movie shows children the tangible effects grief can have on someone and how it affects the individuals around them. Starting a conversation on mental health with children’s movies is vital to help your children grow their emotions and perceptions of the world.
Once your child is old enough to understand some of these complex emotions, it’s wise to help guide them along the right path. Watching movies creates a tremendous bond and an easy way to bring up difficult conversations.
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