Thinking back to my childhood it makes me smile when I think about all of the Disney movies that I watched. Believe it or not I remember thinking to myself “I want to be a princess, just like Cinderella”. As a parent one does not realize how a Disney movie can impact their child’s life. All parents think about is that they are allowing their child to share in the “Disney” experience and watch a movie they should really enjoy. The special thing about Disney movies is that “Disney videos promote positive social messages by showing children the importance of honesty, trust, loyalty, fairness and friendship.” Disney movies are shown to children because it will show them that there is both good and bad in life. Children can learn life long lessons that can carry them throughout their lives.
But what parents do not think about is that Disney movies can have an impact on a child’s life as well. Watching movies with the Disney princesses’ children think that this is what I want to be or that is what I want to become. This type of attitude can turn your daughter into a little “princess.” Especially when your “little princess” wants all of the books, dolls, games, dress-up clothes etc. Disney movies may capture your child’s heart, but over commercialism can capture both the child and the parents. Each new movie comes with a whole new set of toys that each child “must have”. With television, printed media, advertising and marketing what chance does a family have to not “buy” into all of the merchandising.
When you look back an each of the Disney movies they all seem to have a common theme. From The Little Mermaid (1989) to Cars (2006) the concept of these movies has not changed over the years. Each movie shows a problem and then a solution. It can teach children that they can get through anything if they just work hard at it. I definitely think that these types of movies can change that way a child sees the world. In addition, all of the Disney movies including the “princess” movies all have a villain and all have a hero. I never understood why these movies had to have villains and neither did my parents. The villain is scary and terrifies the princess. Snow White had The Queen with the Poison Apple, Belle had the Beast, Cinderella had her Stepmother and her stepsisters and Ariel the Mermaid had Ursula. How scary for a young child. The good news is that there is usually a handsome prince that rescues each princess and they fall in love. This message can distort the way a child looks at life and love. Children may grow up thinking that there is always a “Prince Charming” around the corner who will save them and fall in love with them. Just watch the television show “The Bachelor” all of those women are still looking for their “Prince Charming”. Unfortunately, this is not the way life and love works for most of us. There is not always a “happily ever after”.
I loved all the Disney movies and the music, the characters, and ALL the TOYS that went along with each movie. Growing up with Disney movies was wonderful. Disney movies will never get old or go out of style. Disney movies have and always will be able to influence our children and us for a many more lifetimes. Unfortunately, we need to learn the difference between fantasy and the real world. However, it is fun to be a child and believe in the “happily ever after”.