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Tips for Military Families with Teens – #41

Music and Movies – Tip #41

I won’t try to pretend that I am a movie or music critic nor that I have exceptional taste in either.  My best friend’s husband usually refuses to come to the movies if he knows I chose them!  As for music, I love nothing more than getting down (in the mini-van) with some top 40 radio station.  I believe, however, that this is partly why I am able to connect with the teens I work with.  I take the time to not just talk to them about their likes and dislikes, I actually listen and watch what they do (when I can stomach it).  This makes conversations so much easier as I am able to ask questions that go beyond “Why do you like them?”.  I am able to ask them about what they like in different characters or scenarios.   I can challenge their thinking about particular artists or lyrics.  Whether or not you work with teens or live with them, I HIGHLY recommend that you are able to do the same.  Their minds are being molded by the internet, music, movies and social networking – I think it is important that you know more than surface level things about their primary interests so that you can challenge their thinking in an informed and genuine way.  They are going to be faced with difficult decisions and your teens feel as though you understand even a little about their lives, thoughts, interests or feelings they may reach out when there are the ‘forks in the road’.


* Have the password and access information for their ITunes player on the computer so that you can listen to everything that they have downloaded

* For each thing that you criticize also point out one thing that you like about it (dig really deep if you have to!)

* Check the ringtone on their phone – many of them are actually tunes that come from offensive lyrics

* Make a playlist with all of the songs that you listened to and liked (that they downloaded) and put it in the car

* Look at the ratings of the songs and movies and specifically why they have been rated that way

* Check out sites like: www.kids-in-mind.com that give you a brief outline of what the movie is about and rate it according to sexual content, profanity, violence and gore – it is an easy to navigate site that isn’t too judgemental

This may seem like another task (in an endless list) but you will be rewarded and the benefits will go well beyond the immediate future.  Your kids will get a little bit of a sense that you understand them and they will in turn ask you more questions rather than going to unreliable sources!

For more information about our tips, resources or books go to: http://www.whileyouwereaway.org

To submit a tip of your own, write to: Megan@whileyouwereaway.org


Top Ten Movies for Military Families

Movie Recommendations for a Family Movie Night

These are movies that I believe have a good message or will be uplifting to your family when you are experiencing an absence, deployement or just dealing with the daily stress of military life with kids.  Everyone needs a break from reality and sometimes a movie can give your children the message better than you can.

1. Shrek – all of them!  They are great movies about accepting people just the way they are.

2. Charlotte’s Web – A movie about an unusual friendship and the things you can accomplish with determination and when someone believes in you.

3.  Freaky Friday – A great movie to demonstrate that the grass is not greener and that everyone has challenges, they are just different.

4. Never Been Kissed (teens) – It is about a girl who has unhappy high school memories and gets an opportunity to go back.

5. Rudy (pre-teen, teen)  – The story of a boy that doesn’t have the typical physic of a football player but wants to play anyway

6. Miracle  (pre-teen, teen) – A movie about working as a team, loss and triumph

7. Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (pre-teen, teen) – The books are also great!  A story about 4 friends, their differences and how friendship doesn’t have to mean you all like and do the same things

8. Bend it Like Beckham (teen) – The story of a girl that struggles to distinguish between what her parents beliefs and dreams are for her and what her own are for herself

9. Tuck Everlasting – A movie about choices and the consequences of those choices.  It asks the question – “What if you could live forever?”

10. Thirteen (teens) – This is a movie that all parents should watch with their teens as it shows how quickly your child can be pressured by peers and the consequences that come with caving to the desire to be accepted and fit in.  Just a warning that you will not be uplifted by this movie but you will get a reality check.

For more information about our books, blog or resources go to: http://www.whileyouwereaway.org

To submit a tip write to: Megan@whileyouwereaway.org