I just removed “The Little Mermaid” from our DVD player to put in “Cinderella.” My oldest is dressed up in her “Sleeping Beauty” play clothes and we are reading a “Beauty and the Beast” pop-up book. Yes, it’s safe to say that we are a princess family.
Sure, it’s a multi-million dollar industry that stamps their name on everything from toothpaste and underwear to dolls and shirts but is there really any harm in it? I don’t mind spending money on Disney items. They are some of my daughter’s favorite characters. Heck, they are still some of MY favorite characters. I was born in the 80s. “The Little Mermaid” was the first movie I ever saw in theater. To say that the princesses impacted my childhood would be putting it lightly.
My fellow blogger Rachael talked about the issues of princesses in a post here last week and I have to respectfully disagree with what she said about the adverse effects princess culture have on our kids.
Of course I’m just one person but at no point in my childhood or adolescence did I feel insecure or not as pretty as the Disney Princesses. They are cartoons. I never hated my life because my Prince Charming didn’t appear. I never questioned the monetary security of my family because I didn’t live in a castle. And just to clarify, I never felt like a maid fighting against step-sisters to finally get my chance at the world.
Are the Princesses now parenting our children? My girls watch “Tangled” and “Snow White” so now I don’t have to teach them anything about beauty, kindness, morals, respect? No, sorry folks. That’s not how it works. As a parent, it is your choice what to do about the Princesses, Dora, Strawberry Shortcake, Barbie and the likes of every other interest for our girls (not to mention the super heroes and bulky monsters for our boys) but it is NOT your choice to let these characters rule what happens in your house.
My three year old loves to act out scenes from “Tangled” especially when it comes to Mother Gothel and her bossiness. We’ve discussed the reality of the situation though. We’ve talked about acting and playing pretend versus how she behaves in real life. And sure enough, it’s not an issue. She learns more bad habits from the kids at preschool than her movies or favorite characters have ever taught her.
Of course the Princess Wars is just another thing for moms to bash each other about so I’ll end with my normal disclosure, my parenting choices may not be best for you and vice versa. What is shaping our childrens’ lives though is not TV characters, it’s us, the parents. We need to be the example. We need to teach them right from wrong, use their interests to further their education and help guide them through the most difficult times in their lives. Fighting with each other is not going to do any of that.
You can contact Heather by emailing her at email@example.com.
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