Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Frozen Effect

With my princess-loving three year-old daughter, our house has fallen captive to the Frozen craze. Every day is a new opportunity to dress up as Princess Anna or Queen Elsa, to knock on a door and ask, "Do you wanna build a snowman?", and get excited about "coronation day." While I have read many articles and blogs about the phenomenon that is Frozen, including the positives and drawbacks of the two princesses, I overall think this is a great, entertaining movie. For all of its shortcomings, it does send a message of confidence and that sibling love is true love, too.

Yet, Frozen has blown a chill wind into our house as well. Recently I observed to a friend that, in the past few weeks, our daughter has worried that we are leaving her when we do multiple trips to the car before leaving in the morning, she is now complaining about the wind, and most recently, refuses to "be cold." The friend replied, "Oh, all major themes in Frozen."

Some of this, particularly some of the worry of being left behind, is normal three year-old behavior. She is trying to make sense of the world around her, and this is just part of that development. I also know, though, that my friend is right and this is could absolutely be from watching Frozen.

What I realized is that I watch Frozen with my daughter and we talk about some of it, but I have shied away from the scene when the parents go away and don't return. I have focused on the positive themes of sibling love, helping, being trustworthy...and not talked about the scary parts like dying parents or frozen sisters.

Fairy tales and princess stories often have scary parts in them because they respond and address the fears we all feel. How often do we really process them with our children?

This weekend, when it is time for our weekly viewing of a Disney movie (and I know it will be Frozen), I'm going to be pausing the movie at different parts and asking my daughter what she sees and feels. Maybe it will turn out that this is all just three year-old stuff, not anything related to the movie. Regardless, it will be a growing experience for me as a parent, opening up the difficult conversations I'm not sure we need to have. If I don't try, though, I'll never know!

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