Movie Wisdom On Parenting Children

How To Be A Better Parent According To 14 Family Movies

Image by TheOtherKev from Pixabay

Any new parent likely receives a ton of advice on raising a child. It’s all well-intentioned and meant to be helpful. It’s really an act of kindness and an offer of assistance. In that spirit, here are a few more recommendations for anyone out there who is open to suggestions: the Life Lessons gleamed from films that touch on the parent-child relationship. For the most part, these movies were created by parents, and the messages about how to interact with children, we can reasonably assume, were hard won and based on their own experiences.

One example of this is the story of the creation of the 2003 Pixar animated movie “Finding Nemo.” The core message of this film reflects writer/director Andrew Stanton’s attempt to teach himself how to be a better parent. Stanton noticed a negative tendency in himself that he believed probably did more harm than good, and searched for a way to change it. Specifically, “Finding Nemo” is a movie about the struggle against fear and overprotection that may result in limiting—rather than expanding—the world for children.

Here is an excerpt from the article “'Finding Nemo' Turns 10: 25 Things You Didn't Know About Pixar's Classic Fish Tale,” posted on May 30, 2013 by Gary Susman on

Writer/director Andrew Stanton's inspirations for "Finding Nemo" were a childhood memory of a fish tank in a dentist's office and a visit to the Six Flags Marine World park with his five-year-old son. As the "Toy Story" and "Monsters, Inc." creator recalled in an interview at the time of "Nemo"'s release:

"When my son was five, I remember taking him to the park. I had been working long hours and felt guilty about not spending enough time with him. As we were walking, I was experiencing all this pent up emotion and thinking 'I-miss-you, I-miss-you,' but I spent the whole walk going, 'Don't touch that. Don't do that. You're gonna fall in there.' And there was this third-party voice in my head saying 'You're completely wasting the entire moment that you've got with your son right now.' I became obsessed with this premise that fear can deny a good father from being one. With that revelation, all the pieces fell into place and we ended up with our story.

Fear, anxiety, catastrophizing—imagining the worst possible outcome and cowering or hiding—are all terrible emotions to feel, and this is also a poignantly tragic way to go through life. But worse still may be instilling this kind of worry and apprehension in children. This is just one lesson from one movie. 

Here are a few other Life Lessons that may help parents, or even those who need to find a way to parent themselves (be their own parent) because they did not get, or are not getting, the parental attention they need. These movies all feature meaningful interactions between parents and their children and/or powerful lessons learned by the parents or the children:

Movies are a fountain of knowledge replete with teachable moments if we are receptive to learning from others. Even in an area as personal and individual as raising children, movies can provide some guidance in both what to do and what not to do. They are no substitute for a loving parent, of course. But hopefully this movie list will make life's journey a little bit easier for the children who benefit from the above movie wisdom.


Visit the moviewise catalogue—a searchable database of one sentence movie summaries, movie quotes, and movie wisdom—for movie recommendations.

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