Advice & Resources

Parenting isn’t always easy. In fact, most of the time it is the down right hardest job on the planet.

The decisions that parents are faced with on a daily basis don’t always have a right or wrong, cookie-cutter answer. For example, what might be ok or even beneficial for one child, might be harmful or inappropriate for another.

This can leads parents to a place of frustration and even just plain wanting to give up and give in on certain issues because it can be exhausting!

Making decisions about movies, tv shows, books and other media is one such topic that isn’t cookie-cutter for every family or every child, at least not in my opinion. 

After I wrote this post about why my husband and I cannot recommend a certain movie, I was asked by many people for suggestions on how to make those hard decisions. At first I was a bit overwhelmed by the idea of writing this post, because what might be right, profitable and good for us might not be a conviction your family has. And that is ok!

For example, some families may feel the strong conviction just to eliminate movies all together. While that isn’t our families conviction, I don’t blame them, and in some ways I am envious because it sure would eliminate a whole lot of work (research etc…). The point here is that on disputable matters like this, there is no reason for division among the church. Instead we need to support one another with the convictions that the Holy Spirit has laid on each of our hearts, be willing to be challenged by one another, but all without tempting one another to sin against our consciences or beliefs. (Romans 14 & 15)

That is a good brother, a good friend. Amen?!

So I am just going to share with you what resources, standards, and questions my husband and I have talked about over the years.

Ideas to Help Christian Parents Evaluate Movies, Games, and Apps

1. Do Your Research

One of the lessons I have learned over the years is that when I don’t take time to do my research I almost always regret it.

Here are some great resources to help you discern if a movie or game is worthy of your time and money:

2. Thought Provoking Questions to Ask

The Bible teaches us that many things are permitted, but not all things are beneficial. (1 Cor. 10:23)

  • Is this movie permissible by God?
  • Is it beneficial?
    These questions are going to be answered differently among individuals based upon personal conviction, understanding of scripture, biblical worldview, and our own personal consciences.For example, my husband and I hold the opinion that having fun together as a family can happen through many avenues including watching a fun, clean movie together. It can be a tool to building stronger relationships, whether through laughing hard together until your belly hurts or having a great topic of discussion at the next dinner table or car ride! So for us some movies would be decided as beneficial if it was to build up our relationships somehow.

The Bible also exhorts us to be wise stewards of our talents which include our money and time as well.

  • Is this movie or game a wise use of money or time? Time is one of our greatest commodities in life. As I have become more and more busy with simple duties of caring for a growing family, my time has gotten limited and I have become more protection of it. Evaluating if a movie is worth the time is crucial. For example, I was tired tonight and wanted to relax and watch show with my husband, but because I also wanted to write this post, I chose that my time was better spent doing this, even at the sacrifice of the show. So I simply choose to hold off.

God’s word also encourages us to think on, meditate on things that are edifying, pure, praiseworthy, and to seek being in Him that we might shine the fruit of His Spirit to the World. (Phil. 4:8, Galations 5:22-23) “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

  • Is this edifying? Does it educate, challenge me, or cause me to grow and produce more good fruit?

Our Lord has left us instructions in Romans 14 & 15 as well as 1 Corinthians 8:9-13 that explain to us the importance of listening to our conscience, keeping it in alignment with the Holy Spirit, and understanding that not all people have the same conscience about issues. He teaches that on disputable issues, we are to be careful not to cause a brother {or sister} to stumble or sin. “Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.”

  • Does this movie or game cause my brother or sister to stumble/sin? An example might be, “Is this movie going to tempt my husband, son, daughter, friend, or myself to lust?”

Movies for Entertainment

We shouldn’t be so strict that we aren’t allowed to watch simply for entertainment as well, right! Let’s just face it, there are days when you just want to watch a movie or when you are sick and you want something to distract you? I have been there, believe me! What about then? I don’t want you to get the impression that we are against watching good movie for the sake of entertainment, because that’s just not true!

Sure I might prefer a ladies night out with friends talking and having a dinner that I didn’t prepare, but when five of my dear sisters and I set out to go see Mom’s Night Out we had a blast just relaxing and laughing until our bellies hurt!

Entertainment can build relationships too! Another example is that my family owns a Wii. We honestly don’t use it much. Maybe 12 times a year. But when we do, it’s usually raining outside and we put one of those fun sports games on and laugh while the kids watch mom and dad make complete fools of ourselves trying to play tennis or waterski. It’s just clean fun!

I like to think that just as we chuckle with delight at watching our children play and enjoy fellowship with one another, that our Father in Heaven also delights in seeing us have fun together!

There are a lot of questions one could ask in evaluating movies, games, or apps.

Deciding on Movies with Different Aged Children & Different Maturity Levels

Some of these questions beat out others for us when evaluating a movie. It just depends on which child we are evaluating it for and for what purpose. Obviously the standards will have some crossover, even with different ages, but there are more allowances and exceptions for the older child who is learning to evaluate and discern on her own as well.

It isn’t our eldest age that determines her ability to discern, it is our evaluation of her maturity.

It is important to know each child well, to have developed a keen awareness of what is on their heart, what their struggles are, and where they are tempted to sin as well. All of this plays into making wise judgments regarding what is permissible within ones home and for each individual.

Do you have a Child with a Sensitive Spirit?

We do. And we have learned that what might be permissible for one child, is definitely not for the one with the sensitive spirit. 

This can be challenging for families especially when it comes to choosing a family movie. Admittedly, we haven’t always handled this correctly. But what we have learned and come to realize is that some children just have more sensitive spirits than others. Our society tries to push children into growing up and associates being scared with being little, but that is a Simpletons perspective. Not all people can handle watching certain movies, and they shouldn’t be pushed to change or conform to the rest of society either.

The Holy Spirit convicted my husband and I about ten years ago that we weren’t going to be able to parent, discipline, or educate all of our children exactly the same. Just as children are individuals with unique learning styles, so it is with parenting choices, like what movies they watch.

We realized that God’s word concerning gifts of the Holy Spirit also applies to children in the Body. 1 Corinthians 12, speaks to God dispersing His gifts among the Body for the edification of the whole.

What we saw in one of our children was a growing gift of spiritual discernment.  Since then, we have been intentional about encouraging that gift in her and teaching her what it was meant to be used for. Part of this training and encouragement included finding ways for her not to despise the gift God had given her.

We set out to verbally encourage her not to see it as a limitation, but instead to be thankful for it. It has been equally important training for her brothers and sisters to encourage it in her as well through showing patience, grace, and understanding when something the family would want to do, can’t be done because it makes her feel uncomfortable or scared. This grows them in a spiritual maturity of allowing one another to be different and valuing their gifts.

1 Tip:

One thing Isaac and I have done with her is to let her watch a big kid movie that is permissible and not harmful for her with one of us, while the other kids can watch the other movie.

This is definitely more work. I am not going to omit that. It is trying on my patience as well at times. But, I have a deep conviction that we as parents need to nurture all those gifts and talents in our children including protecting and teaching those with a sensitive spirit to protect their purity of heart, mind and soul.

I hope you are encouraged in this necessary aspect of parenting which can cause division among friends and families, but also can be an avenue for growth, when people are open to it.

I pray that you can find your peace with God and His calling for your family. And would love to hear from you what resources you use and what standards your family has chosen with regard to choosing movies.


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