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There are many ways in which films could have affected you during childhood. Here are ways that films could've left a mark or unknowingly caused trauma.

Childhood Films Can Have An impact on Your Mental Health

The films you watch during childhood can significantly impact your mental health. There are some movies you have fond memories of, while others may have caused traumatic impressions. Maybe you struggled to find movies that had characters who you related to in them. Over the years, the film industry has become more diverse in the populations it represents, including those of various races and religions and those with disabilities. However, during your childhood, you may not have known that there were multiple films with characters with whom you could connect, which could have made you feel isolated. There are many ways in which films could have affected you during childhood. Here are some ways that films could leave a mark on you that continue into adulthood.

Fond memories

Childhood is a unique time where you are developing your sense of self. If you’d like to get a more comprehensive understanding of this developmental period, it helps to learn about it. You can read more about what it’s like to be a child and how children relate to the world in these articles on BetterHelp. One of the topics you’ll learn about is developing positive memories as a child. Part of those fond recollections is the movies and TV shows we watch. Take a moment and think about your favorite films as a child. You probably can recall specific scenes that made an impact on you. Maybe a character made you laugh or taught you an important life lesson. Perhaps you enjoyed an animated film or a comedy. Maybe you were more drawn to dramatic features. Regardless of the genre, powerful feelings will likely come up when you think about your favorite movie.

Traumatic memories 

Children are learning about the world. As a child, you don’t have a frame of reference to know what is scary and safe. There could be memories from your childhood of movies you’d rather forget. Perhaps you were exposed to a horror movie at a young age. It scared you, and you have developed fears because of it. Films can leave a traumatic impact on us. For example, maybe you watched the nightmare on Elm Street series, and (as a child) you were scared of Freddy Krueger. That fear has stayed with you into adulthood. You could still be afraid to have those dreams.

The reason is these traumatic memories stayed with you. Even if you have upsetting recollections from your childhood associated with a film, you can work through them. Just because a movie scared you in the past doesn’t mean it necessarily will scare you right now. Sometimes, you have a distorted memory of a film. Your little kid brain interprets it as frightening, but when you rewatch it as an adult, you’re not traumatized. In some cases, facing your fear of a movie that left a traumatic impact on you could benefit your mental health. It’s crucial to check in with yourself and see if you’re ready to rewatch that film, as you don’t want to upset yourself further.

Films that helped you grow as a child

Watching films can be a learning experience. There are probably movies that helped you as a child. You could have drawn information from media, including cinema when you’re learning about the world. Perhaps you learned about falling in love from watching romantic movies. Different genres include romance, including romantic comedies or dramas. Or, maybe you picked up on what it’s like to feel like an outsider from indie films. There are plenty of instances where characters in movies feel alone. Maybe you learned about the importance of friendship.

In the movie Stand By Me, we see the connection between four childhood friends. These boys go out on a mission to find a dead body, but they learn about the connections between them and strengthen their emotional bonds. If you were a child watching this movie, you might have gathered information about the importance of interpersonal relationships. That is an important lesson that you can take into adulthood. Take a moment and think about the films that help you learn about yourself and the world.

What films have stayed with you and why?

Certain films make a significant impact on us. Take a moment to reflect upon the movies that impacted you as a child. Which ones do you want to hold dear in your memory? Sometimes a specific film will remind you of someone important to you in your life. It could be an opportunity to reach out and talk to that person. When you think about a childhood film that gives you a happy memory, it could be time to rewatch that movie and savor that memory. Childhood is such a critical time in your life, and what films you watch have a powerful impact on who you become as an adult.

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