Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Thanks, Disney

Okay, so back to my usual blabber . . .

The other night Iris busted out with "I'm never talking to you EVER AGAIN!" I wasn't in the room, Matt was. He was just like, "what?" and asked me if I had heard it. I came in the room and she repeated it, with perfect 15 year old inflection. We spent the rest of the night explaining that those words hurt people's feelings and we don't say them. We have started doing little time-outs with her by having her sit on the couch, in the same room as us, if she does something sassy even after we've asked her not to. If she is still sassy on the couch then she goes to sit in her room for a couple of minutes. I'm not convinced that this is the best thing to do, but it kind of sort of seems okay for now. So, after we asked her to stop saying that, and she kept saying it, she got to sit on the couch. Said it again, went to sit in her room. I don't think she knows what she is saying. She is just repeating it, but I still think she should be able to understand that whatever it is that she is saying makes other people feel sad. Right? Is this a logical thing to expect a toddler to grasp? Who the heck let me be a mother?!?!

I was initially all irate, thinking "what little brat at school taught this to my innocent little angel?!?!" and then it finally dawned on me, she learned it from, of all places, The Little Mermaid. Last week we rented it from the video store (remember those? before Netflix?) and now I am just appalled. There's a scene where Ariel's father blows up all her shit because he is mad at her (good message, right?) and she tells him she's never going to talk to him ever again. Leave it to my daughter to only repeat that phase from the movie. Not that the story is really all that positive (I want to abandon who I really am because I am in love with a prince!) but I never watched these kinds of movies through the eyes of a toddler before. Turns out there are things about Disney movies that aren't so positive. Like, what's up with the lack of mothers? They either don't exist (like in The Little Mermaid or Aladdin) or they die (like in Finding Nemo or Bambi). Seriously, what IS up with that? Does anyone know? Does the head story writer have a beef with his mama? Was he not an AP'd baby? (just kidding!) My mom said there are certain Disney movies that my sister won't let her boys watch. I should ask her what they are. Now I'm going to be the mama with the kid at school with the sassy mouth. Awesome.


  1. Ah yes, the big bad Disney. What bugs me is the omnipresence of the Disney princesses-they are freakin' everywhere! One of my friends, who happens to be black, doesn't do the princesses because there aren't any that look like her daughter. Which I hadn't even thought about until she said it to me. But I did notice the lack of mothers in Disney movies.

    Don't feel bad about the sassiness. Big Daddy let Brute Force watch Robots, so B.F. was walking around going "GET LOST FREAK!" and then laughing hysterically. Nice.

  2. There are several conspiracy theories about Disney, accusing the entertainment giant of everything from child labor to anti-semitism. Like anything else, parents shouldn't assume Disney equals quality or family-friendliness, but I personally think most of this stuff is exaggerated. We just need to watch Disney with our kids closely and be there to answer questions and censor stuff if it doesn't fit with the ideals we want them to be exposed to at their current age.




  3. I completely get your frustration with her "sassiness"! My son will sometimes repeat stuff like that that he's heard on tv or someone say (like his current fave "crap", since I tend to say it a lot :) hey its better than sh*t!) but here's my take on it (for what it's worth!). Kids learn primarily through imitation of what they see in their lives (tv, parents, and otherwise) and they then experiment with those things, especially things that have strong emotion association (like statements made in anger, like Ariel did) or those things that get a big reaction (like 4 letter words or "sassiness" since we as parents tend to overreact to them and try to get our kids to stop saying them ASAP!). I also know it's really easy to resort to things like time-outs to try to curb it, but I believe that just makes it stick around longer since it's getting so much attention (imagine her thinking, "Wow, I don't really know what I'm saying, but Mom and Dad sure do get all worked up over it...it must be something really exciting!") Plus it gives her a sense of being really powerful that she's able to elicit such a reaction from you (not that it's a bad thing for a 2 year old to feel powerful...). In a nutshell, the more you focus on it, the more it will stick around!

    When Jack repeats not so wonderful things (like the time I whispered under my breath "I'm so F-ing mad!"...I know, not my finest parenting moment! But the first thing he said that night when Daddy came home was "Daddy, Mommy's F-ing MAD!" Nice.) Anyways, when he says those things, I've found that the best response is to acknowledge that Mommy should not have said something like that and then to explain very casually why he should not be saying those things either...then asking him if he'll try hard to use nicer words and then I promise that I'll do the same. Usually, he'll try it out a few more times, with no major response from me, and then it's done.

    Sorry to go on so long...not really sure if you wanted my 2 cents :) but thought I'd share what's been working for us in a similar situation!
    Hope all is going well otherwise!

  4. I don't let EJ watch Nemo because the beginning is horrible.

    We have recently stopped watching Calliou because even though it's supposedly a harmless show, Calliou is a whiny, little brat and EJ has started whining and saying bratty things just like him. Now we watch Barney because nobody whines or throws stupid tantums in Barney. Plus, Calliou's parents are awful, they don't discipline him at all. No wonder he's such a brat.

    Long story short - stay away from Calliou.

  5. I probably do make too big of a deal out of it. This summer we had an issue of Iris saying "oh my god" and every time she said I would try to redirect her ("oh my goodness!") and then I always wondered if I was giving it too much attention. It did go away. It probably just lost it's appeal. I'm sure this will, as well.

    I sort of feel like having her take a time-out wasn't so much because of the words, but more because we told her that they hurt people's feelings and that she should stop-- but she didn't. KWIM?

    I think I really do have this fear that she's going to repeat it in public and then everyone will glare at me like they've never heard a child say anything sassy before.

    Oh, and Julia, you're letting EJ watch Barney now? Wow! I'm impressed! LOL

  6. Hey, found your blog on Mothering.com forums.

    My husband and I do not allow disney in our house or any cartoon where there is a conflict between their behavior and the behavior I want in my family. I found the safest route for us is "Kids Songs" or other shows where the kids are supposed to take an active part.

  7. I have never been the type of parent to be overly concerned with TV shows. My daughter doens't really like animation anyway, so up to this point , it hasn't been an issue. She prefers Little House on the Prairie, Shirley Temple, American Girl movies (set in the 1800's) etc... I've been really lucky. I do see your point though with Disney. The only mothers that you do see are "Wicked Step Moms" who try to lock the step daughters in closets, attics or poison them. The writer obviously has issues!!! LOL! My issue is with my son's TV watching. My hubby and I disagree with what he should/should not be allowed to watch. Xander's favorite is Power Rangers...ughhh...now owned by none other than Disney! I worry about him being desensitized to the violence. His behavior seems to be fine, so I'll watch for any changes. Just wait till your daughter starts Kindergarten. Overnight they go from 5 to 15 and have a major attitude!!!

  8. I don't like the bratiness and subtly violent stuff in Disney, but my husband had a large collection of Disney movies long before we had kids. My daughter also mimics stuff, but I don't worry too much. I just tell her how I feel when she says whatever it is, or how I think the characters might feel about it. Sometimes the movies disappear for a while.


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