I took my three-year-old (Jelly Bean) to a movie for the very first time and we watched Disney’s FROZEN.
(What do you think? Is three years old still too young to go to the theater? She couldn’t stay in her seat the whole time and it was fun watching her eat a few nibbles of popcorn before turning it back over to me. Still, she loved the film and is obsessed with the soundtrack.)
We went to see it at the beginning of this month (February), so I’m a bit late jumping on the bandwagon. I was waiting it out, like I do with all children’s movies, just to see what the general reaction would be.
Well, it received amazing reviews, particularly due to the voices of Kristen Bell (of Veronica Mars fame) and Idina Menzel (who played the original Wicked Witch of the West in Broadway’s WICKED). The songs are funny and original. The screenplay is tight and the animation very realistic. The details are breathtaking. If you haven’t seen it yet, you should! It’s a really wonderful film.
Instead of taking up space summarizing the plot, HERE’S A LINK TO THE FROZEN SYNOPSIS ON WIKIPEDIA where you can read it for yourself.
Without further ado, here are
THREE PARENTING LESSONS ON FEAR:
Lesson #1 – “Conceal It; Don’t Feel It; Don’t Let It Show.” (King)
From a very young age, Elsa is taught to cover up and hide her powers. This is due to an unfortunate accident Anna and Elsa had while playing together where Elsa injures Anna. To avoid hurting Anna in the future and to keep Anna from discovering her powers, Elsa keeps to herself. Her father, the King, gives her gloves to wear to prevent her from freezing things unintentionally.
In spite of Grandpa Troll’s warning: “Fear will be your enemy,” FEAR is exactly what is allowed to grow in Elsa’s heart day by day. But that fear only came as a result of her parents’ reaction to her powers.
Your kids WILL pick up and mirror your own feelings! What a horrifying revelation! I saw this as a teacher. If a parent did not like a subject, like Math, the child did not either. Whatever weakness the parent had and vocalized, the child echoed.
As I watched the film, I couldn’t help but think of children with “special powers” who are taught to fear them, cover them up and withdraw into themselves. Perhaps it is not the power to control snow and ice. Perhaps it is
- an Eating Disorder,
- or maybe it’s even Homosexuality.
And I get it – as parents we want to shield our children from getting hurt. Other children will tease them and adults may pity them. In the end, however, training our children to fear that which they cannot control will only put them in a mental prison. When they finally break out of it, (if ever), they will resent us. The proper response is to get over OUR OWN FEARS. If you want to get help, see a physician or therapist, read books and make changes, that is fine. But, for the love of chocolate, don’t make your child hide in fear! Confront the issue and be your child’s strongest ally.
Lesson #2 – “Who Marries a Man She Just Met?” (Kristoff)
To be fair, the parents are already gone by the time Anna meets and falls in love with Prince Hans. The issue here, though, is that she would not have been so desperate to fall in love if she weren’t so darn lonely! If Anna had had Elsa’s friendship, her companionship, her sister as a soundboard and a secret-keeper, this would not have happened. As Prince Hans himself commented mockingly, “You were so desperate for love, you were willing to marry me, just like that!”
I hold the parents completely responsible for tearing their little girls’ friendship apart. Don’t get me wrong, Elsa and Anna are clearly loved. That is not the issue. The issue is that the parents allowed fear to come between their daughters and did nothing to mend that rift. How could they abide by Elsa always hiding in her room? How could they keep the castle doors closed and never take Anna out to play? How could they live day after day, month after month, year after year seeing their daughters waste away from lack of companionship, not to mention ennui. It was all out of fear, of course. Fear that Elsa would lose control. Fear that Anna would get hurt again. Fear controlled their decision not to intervene.
Parents, please – teach your children to be friends! If you send them to school, they are with other kids their own age for 6-8 hours out of the day. They are taught to segregate each other by age. Older kids shun younger ones, while the younger ones pretend to be older. Siblings become less important than friends. And what’s worse is that when they are at home, they may be subjected to being compared to their sibling! How many times have you (or your spouse, grandparents or in-laws) said, “Sigh! Why can’t you sit still like your sister is? See how good she’s behaving?” Make no mistake about it – pitting siblings against each other will cause resentment.
May I suggest a book called “Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends”? I sat in a workshop with the authors – two sisters and a brother – while they talked about growing up, learning to communicate with each other and become content with their place in the sibling lineage. They were inspirational. This book is meant to be read with the kids, so check it out!
Do your best to encourage a healthy relationship between your kids and don’t let fear drive a wedge between them!
Lesson #3 – “No Right, No Wrong, No Rules for Me” (Elsa)
As parents we have the tendency to lean towards extremes. We can either be very lenient or very strict.
It is difficult to find the perfect balance between those two and we err. The very lenient side indulges their children and the very strict side withholds from their children. We do this, (we believe), out of love and concern for our children. Usually the very lenient side wants their children to be happy, while the very strict side wants their children to be civilized.
May I submit to you that BOTH OF THESE EXTREMES ARE RESPONSES ROOTED IN FEAR?
If you are too lenient, you may fear that your child may resent you, hate you or believe they are not loved if you withhold anything from them. In your mind: No rules = much love.
If you are too strict, you may fear that your child may grow wild, not focus on the more important things in life and waste time and energy doing things that won’t advance their status in society. In your mind: Many Rules = Much love
The end result of both of these extremes is Elsa’s declaration that there are no rules for her, no right nor wrong and that she is free. Of course, this is an illusion. True freedom can only be found within loving boundaries.
Because Elsa was so repressed, you can see that the transformation she undergoes is completely drastic. The two moments that made my jaw drop were when she sings, “The cold never bothered me anyway!” (WHAT?!) and when she does her magical wardrobe change. Whoa! Can you say, “WICKED”?! (That dress was a bit too sexy for my three-year-old. #SMH)
Parents, let us move past our own fears and watch for ways we inadvertently pass them onto our children.
No one goes to school to become a parent; it is a complete on-the-job training experience. Let’s improve ourselves. Let’s read good parenting books. Let’s attend seminars. Let’s talk to one another. Posting comments is a great way to get a discussion going! ::nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more!:: (reference)
BONUS: 15 PARENTING BOOKS YOU NEED IN YOUR LIBRARY
- Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman
- Boundaries with Kids: When to Say Yes, How to Say No by Cloud and Townsend
- Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends by the Mally siblings
- Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know by Meg Meeker, M.D.
- Strong Mothers, Strong Sons: Lessons Mothers Need to Raise Extraordinary Men by Meg Meeker, M.D.
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families by Stephen Covey
- 52 Things Kids Need From a Mom: What Mothers Can Do to Make a Lifelong Difference by Angela Thomas
- 52 Things Kids Need From a Dad: What Fathers Can Do to Make a Lifelong Difference by Jay Payleitner
- 365 Ways to Say ‘I LOVE YOU’ To Your Kids by Jay Payleitner
- If I have to Tell You One More Time… The Revolutionary Program That Gets Your Kids To Listen Without Nagging, Reminding, or Yelling by Amy McCready
- Peaceful Parents, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connection by Dr. Laura Markham
- The Power of Positive Parenting: A Wonderful Way to Raise Children by Glenn Latham
- Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child: The Heart of Parenting by John Gottman, Joan Declaire, & Daniel Goleman
- How To Talk So Kids Will Listen… And Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish
- The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind by Daniel Siegel & Tina Bryson
Which of the above lessons resonates with you the most? I would love to hear some of your responses!
This post is linked to:
- A Wise Woman Builds Her Home
- Faith-Filled Friday
- Fellowship Fridays
- Graced Simplicity
- Homemaking Blog Hop Wednesdays
- Sharing His Beauty
- Thrive at Home Thursday
- Time-Warp Wife
- Titus 2 Tuesday
- Toddler & Preschool Moms
- Weekly Wrap-up
- Womanhood With Purpose Friday’s Link-up
- Works For Me Wednesday