I still remember it clearly. My mom was incredulous as I told her what they were and were not allowed to watch while she babysat some 20 years ago. Our family usually watched select Sci Fi shows and movies, as well as shows like Mythbusters, or biographies. We didn’t watch most of the “kids” shows. We were weirdos in this regard.
My mom thought this was ridiculous.
“Really? Your kids can watch Sci-Fi channel and Star Trek and Stargate and all of the rest but you won’t let them watch a Disney Movie?”
What could be more wholesome than a Disney Movie or the Disney Channel?
On the surface maybe she had a point. Is this stupid? Are we making too much out of something insignificant?
It’s All About the Role Models
I didn’t make some blanket determination out of some sort of misplaced legalism. The facts were simple. Any show that had main characters that were kids that were whiny, annoying, bratty or possessing other negative character traits was not allowed.
This really started with one of my kids watching Aladdin. It’s a cute movie, and I do love the book version of 1001 Arabian Nights.
What I didn’t love was my kid repeating and singing ad nauseum a song justifying theft.
I also didn’t want to raise a whiny little brat like Ariel (or, worse yet, Caillou).
Then there was the shows aimed at the pre-teen set full of all sorts of pointless whiny teeny-bopper relationship drama. Really?
I let my kids watch some Sci-Fi programs because of the role models, particularly female role models, are better. Take one look at shows like the ones my mom mentioned (Star Trek, Stargate, Eureka, Warehouse 13, Dr. Who, Sherlock, and The Librarians were all family favorites over here and still are).
Then think of the twaddle available on the Disney Channel or any other “teen” programming entity.
Now think of your kid as an adult.
Who do you want them to be like?
Heeding Disney’s Relationship Advice
I was reflecting on this recently when I was talking to a young woman who is “in love” with a boy who is so many different kinds of wrong for her, and distracting her from pursuing her dreams. As a 47-year-old adult, I can see the trainwreck that is this relationship from a mile away. She sees it as a romantic story whose ending was already written in dozens of movies parents let their kids watch. She’s going to be the hero who saves him with her love, and changes him into prince charming.
At one point she said, “I guess it’s like I’m Belle and he’s the beast. He needs me….”
I started thinking about this deeper. I mean we can wonder what message movies like “50 Shades of Grey” are sending to young women, but what kind of message is Beauty and the Beast?
True love fixes guys with major issues?
Isn’t that called Co-dependency?
True Love doesn’t fix someone who isn’t already working hard at recovery.
Judging from how many of my friends have had failed marriages to crazy narcissists, sociopaths, abusers and addicts apparently we prefer the idea that Belle can save her beast with just love. The reality is something else.
There’s only one person’s love that can change someone. That is Jesus Christ. Newsflash, girls: You’re not Him.
However, when a human decides that entering a romantic relationship with a “beast” is the best way to change them, they wind up with a life of regret.
Seriously, parents. Be careful about what repeating theme is in all of the entertainment you enjoy.
I’m thankful my daughters, now all adults, are not boy crazy, in need of a romantic relationship, desperate for marriage, and deluded into thinking they can fix people. It took a lifetime for me to get that crap out of my own head. I’m thankful they are free to pursue whatever it is that they feel called to do, instead of desperate for a guy, however messed up, to “complete” them. If you’re not a whole person to start with, you’re not going to complete someone else, nor are you going to be completed by someone else. Period.
May I recommend Hidden Figures or some other movie that shows women being real heroes? Inspire your daughters with good things.