We all need a little help from our friends, especially parents. There’s no shame in asking mom how to deal with a fussy preschooler. Or confiding in a neighbor that your 12-year-old occasionally wets the bed. Or reading a best seller on raising a responsible teen. Parenthood confounds the best and the brightest.

Next time you're at your wit's end, turn to the silver screen. Hollywood offers some real insights into kids, relationships and all that matters in the world of families. Hook up the DVD player and pass the popcorn, please. You’ll laugh, cry, and recognize scenes from your own life. Four are oldies, one is a newbie; all are timeless in the messages they convey.
  • Parenthood (1989) – Arguably, the granddaddy of all parenting films. Gil & Karen Buckman believe that being “perfect” parents equals having “perfect” kids. Life on the wild side teaches them that perfect parenthood means accepting your kids just the way they are. A feast of four generations on screen defines what it means to be a family.
  • The Breakfast Club (1985) –Five teens come together for a day of detention – the jock, the brain, the princess, the delinquent and the class kook. High school social barriers clash until the students realize they have more in common than they ever imagined. Sure it's a little dated, but it's truly an eye-opener for parents, teachers and school administrators.
  • Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) – A poignant comedy showcasing how cagey kids can be. More than a Ferrari ride through the streets of Chicago, Ferris Bueller is a journey through the joys of young love, troublesome family relationships and what it means to be a friend.
  • Cheaper by the Dozen (2003)-  When  mom leaves on a book tour, dad (played by Steve Martin) is put in charge of all 12 kids. In addition to being totally hilarious, and a good anecdote to a tough day, this movie will make your own parenting woes pale in comparison. Even if you've got 4 or 5 kids under your roof, we doubt you have 12! Sure, this movie stands our hair on end, as we watch dad cope with more stress than most of us will in a lifetime, but it also reminds us why we do it and what parenthood is all about.
  • Akeelah and the Bee (2006) – Highly inspirational film about a little girl with big dreams of winning a spelling bee. Despite the discouragement of her single mother and the encouragement of an English professor, Akeelah learns that doing the right thing involves a lot more than winning. A thought-provoking peek into the mind of a child.