"Brave" won the 2013 Academy Award for best animated feature...

"Brave" won the 2013 Academy Award for best animated feature film. Credit: AP

Everyone is buzzing about the winners and losers from last night's Academy Awards ceremony on ABC. While some of the Oscar nominated movies weren't meant for the little ones, there are a few you may want to watch together with older children, especially if you have difficult family topics to discuss.

Families in the Touro University Worldwide Marriage & Family Therapy Department in California reviewed some of this year's Oscar nominees and found many family lessons can be learned from their plots. Choosing to include movies that deal with challenging topics may be a good way to help your kids understand them. Here, Touro University offers four difficult family topics addressed in Oscar nominated movies.

1. Parent/child conflicts. "Brave," which won the award for best  animated film, addresses the conflicts that arise between parents and children. "The strong-willed Merida defies her mother as she hopes to change the future her parents have planned for her," according to the report. "Ultimately, both mother and daughter learn that parenting is about compromise, which is a lesson that both children and adults can take to heart."

2. Mental illness. Many families consider mental illness a taboo subject and often prefer avoidance over acceptance. Movies such as "Silver Linings Playbook" have brought the realities of depression and mental illness into the spotlight. The movie helps families understand that it's OK to ask for help and encourages parents to be more open about mental illness.

3. Societal struggles. "Les Misérables" allows parents to talk to children about poverty and racism, which are difficult topics to discuss. "Using historical movies can teach children lessons about the importance of service to society, intellectual pursuit and giving back to the underserved," said the university.

4. Learning about loss. The movie "Amour" won the Oscar for best foreign language Film" which focuses on elderly loss, something we can all relate to. Talking about loss is a difficult subject to broach at any age, according to the University, which is why it's important to watch movies that highlight the pain of loss and show family members how to deal it.


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