Friday, January 20, 2012

Should Your Child Watch Disney?

There are a lot of people who are against Disney and believe the message the establishment portrays is not something we should be teaching our children. It is true that the 'perfect world' where even your enemies end up being your friends (Mickey never falls out with Peter in Mickey Mouse's Clubhouse, despite endless provocation) and everyone gets their dream come true isn't very realistic, but does that mean our children shouldn't learn these teachings?

I watched Disney as a kid, particularly the Disney classic animation films featuring the Disney princesses, such as Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid. When I grew into my teenage years I blamed the teachings of the one true love and the perfect soul mate for my disillusionment with the world. During those awkward years when boys didn't take a second glance at me and yet all I wanted was to be loved, it was a hard realisation that the Disney film lessons were somewhat misleading. However looking back as an adult I believe that blaming one concept for a whole belief doesn't quite seem fair. I think there is a lot to be said for parental input as well as a variance in what a child is shown.
That being said, shouldn't children be left to be children? If they dream of being a film star or an astronaut should we nip those dreams in the bud so as not to cause any upset further down the line? Or should we encourage their childish fantasies and let their imaginations run riot. After all Neil Armstrong and Angelina Jolie reached their lofty ambitions.
My feeling is that kids are not kids for long enough, so why not indulge them as long as possible? In a world where girls are wearing make up and straightening their hair long before they are in high school and bringing home one hour of homework a night at five years old (yes that's the guidelines for schools in England, see the DirectGov website for more information), it is my opinion that if my daughter wants to make believe she is a beautiful princess, where is the harm in that? One day in the not-so-distant future she will be paying a mortgage, juggling household jobs and going out to work, so for the time being my little girl will be just that. Even if that means I have to watch Mickey Mouse on repeat!

With all that said that does not mean I am not open to other opinions or that I feel my opinion is completely decided. There are many sides to every story, so please feel free to share your opinion with me. For an alternative view, please visit Meghan at Meghan Conrad to see why her daughter doesn't watch Disney movies.

3 comments:

Crystal Jigsaw said...

I definitely believe, and quite strongly, that children should be allowed to be children. They grow up much too fast these days and a lot of that is because of the intense competition between parents wanting their child to be best at everything. Children need to develop their imagination early on, and this means having a need to believe in fantasies such as Disney, Santa, tooth fairy etc.

There was a little boy in my daughter Amy's class when she was at first school and he announced that Santa didn't exist. He was 5 years old. His parents are extreeeeeemely religious (bordering on Jehovah's witnesses) and even though I never judge anyone on their beliefs, to allow their child to tell his friends that there's no Santa at such a young age is simply dreadful. They believe that children are being lied to by their parents, suffice to say I don't speak to the parents anymore! We all have different family circumstances and if we wish our children not to believe in fantasy then that's a parent's prerogative, but to push it on someone else's child is disgraceful.

CJ x

Lisa said...

Hi CJ thanks for your comment! It is hard when your kids hear things from other children, how do you explain to your own when this happens?

Michelle said...

Hello Hollybobs. I agree with your opinion that children should be allowed to be children for the little amount of time that they are. And that includes embracing their imaginations with whatever fantasy they choose.
My kids are allowed to watch Disney but not exclusively. My daughter was obsessed with Princesses but at the grand age of 4.5 (!) and since starting Reception she already seems to be growing out of this stage already. So it didn't last long and neither will the next stage.
If, however, I find at 15-years-old she's still staring out of her bedroom window waiting for a Prince on horseback to rescue her then I'll worry!
Michelle

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