Disclosure: I am a Netflix Canada Stream Team Ambassador. All opinions are those of my own.

Before I had children, I always had it all planned out in my head how I would parent my kids should I one day have them. Seriously life was so much easier when I had the ability to parent my non-existing children hypothetically.

The reality is… there is no way to truly plan the journey that parenthood will take you on. Parenthood while rewarding can come with many challenges.

Nowadays a lot of parents can agree that a common challenge is finding ways to connect with their child, and maintain an open line of communication.

As a teenager I can remember being faced with so many different, difficult situations. Some that were harder to swallow than others. From bullying, sexual assault and dating – I had a lot that I was faced with, and in that time of my life I felt very alone. Sure I had my girlfriends, but otherwise I felt like I had no allies. I never liked talking to my parents about stuff because well let’s face it – they never got along. I knew they had their problems and I didn’t want them to be faced with my own. They had enough on their plate. Or so I thought.

Fast forward 15 years…

I am now a mother of 4 young children. Children I worry about quite often. The world while beautiful has also turned into quite the scary place. My only hope as I watch them grow is that they will feel that they can turn to me at anytime to talk about anything.

We often talk about feelings and core values, and how nowadays children are exposed to a number of different media sources including TV, movies, apps, games and more. It is our job as their parents to ensure that these are positive influences which help to reinforce good values is an important part of parenthood. From who your kids hang out with, to what they watch, parents want to make sure that nature and nurture are working together to teach important life skills that help shape who kids grow up to be.

According to Common Sense Media, entertainment can be a strong tool for teaching empathy as it showcases strong, supportive bonds between characters of diverse backgrounds and perspectives, for example.

My 8 year old daughter turns has taken a lot away from the shows she watches on Netflix..

Fuller House has taught her about compromise.

Glitter Force has shown her that with a little determination, bravery and fearlessness you can do anything.

Project Mc2 had provided her a great example of what it’s like to work as a team.

Luna Petunia is a prime example of how to be mindful.

I love how after she watches these shows, she is able to come together over the content she just watched. We will often have discussions about how she felt, what she took away from the episodes, how she would feel if she was placed in a similar situation. It truly is amazing how parents can connect with their kids using entertainment.

Another great show on Netflix right now is 13 Reasons Why. There has been a lot of controversy about this show in the media, but quite honestly I think this show is a great way for parents and teenagers to open up a means for communication to discuss some very hard issues.

This show offers an opportunity for parents to put themselves in their child’s shoes. Being a teenager isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is hard! A time when teenagers have trouble understanding and processing all their feelings. This is a show that a parent and child can connect over. It may be emotionally hard to watch, but it is a means to start some hard conversations and grow a stronger bond all the while at it.

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