Popular films, particularly films that are geared at teenagers can have a major impact on emerging value systems and a teen's sense of what's proper and what's not. Unfortunately, movies like Twilight promote abusive relationships and even make them look glamorous. This is not only confusing to minors, but can actually encourage them to seek out relationships in an effort to model these behaviors.

Though girls and women suffer the brunt of domestic abuse and the consequences of using characters like Bella as role models, boys and men don't fare so well either. Males who engage in abusive behaviors have a hard time experiencing closeness in relationships and often suffer perpetually with feelings of insecurity (though they rarely admit to it). As harmless as a movie like Twilight seems to parents, teens look to books and movies to help them shape attitudes about what's considered right and wrong in relationships.

In reality, most people rarely get to glimpse the reality of very many intimate relationships outside of their own. Children, of course, get to observe their parents interacting, but sometimes what they see is staged or only the “tip of the iceberg” of what's really going on in the parental relationship. Most teens are curious about how intimate relationships work and, having observed few real intimate relationships, they turn to tv, books, and movies to fill in the gaps of what they don't completely understand. Allowing adolescents to watch a captivating movie like Twilight with beautiful characters and the glamor and intrigue of vampiric lore simply sets the stage for confusion.

There are a variety of movies that depict male/female intimate relationships realistically. For example, Little Miss Sunshine, and even Pulp Fiction assess the balance between men and women in relationships as equal, but different. Studies have shown that the amount of violence that a male child sees before he turns 18 can be predictive of how aggressive he'll be as an adult. But what about girls? If they're exposed to domestic violence and the victimization of females as a noble and glamorous situation over and over again in their youth, will they develop a predisposition toward a low self-esteem and the tendency to find fixer-upper males to date and to marry? It's worth considering and quite frankly, until the votes are in and studies have been done, it seems worthy to avoid sending both boys and girls off to the movie theater to watch anything Beauty and the Beast-like.

If you want to give your teen children those rare and precious glimpses into healthy and balanced domestic relationships, you'll need to do your homework before you send them off to the movies. Don't underestimate the role that these movies play in your teen's psyche, particularly if the movie is popular with friends. At the very least, make sure that you spend some time discussing the movie with your son or daughter. Ask your teen for their thoughts on scenes depicting abuse in the movie (yes, that's right...you'll have to watch the movie if you want to have a critical discussion with your child about it). It's likely your teen didn't give those scenes a second thought, but when you bring it up and ask questions about how Bella or Edward could have behaved differently, it might get them thinking. Teens need help to make important connections, but they aren't stupid. If you talk to your kids and give them guidance, they may decide on their own that they didn't like the movie as much as they first thought. And they may decide voluntarily that abusive relationships aren't all that glamorous after all.

If you're concerned that your teenage son or daughter is involved in an abusive relationship, consider contacting someone who can discuss the problem with you. There are online relationship counsellors and experts who are available to talk with you or your teen 24 hours a day at www.ianchat.com. Domestic violence is a serious issue in our culture and it's important to do what you can to help your teen develop healthy relationships that will be a source of support rather than a source of perpetual destruction.

Author's Bio: 

Instant Advice Network combines innovations to offer the latest communication technology for online counselling and consulting or by telephone. By creating a safe and secure communication platform, people can now get trusting online advice with confidence and convenience. Try it Free today at www.ianchat.com or call 877-242-8811.