I know, I know, we’re all “Frozened-Out,” but I had to finally share the parenting lessons from Frozen that I’ve been thinking about. I’m a little delayed in putting these Frozen thoughts to paper – um, to blog post – since I’ve been busy writing a parenting book, Naked Parenting: 7 Keys to Raising Kids With Confidence. Details coming soon!
So back to the parenting lessons from Frozen …
How many times have you seen Frozen in your family? Three? Five? Eight? Have you hit a dozen times? How many times have you sung/heard/hummed “Let it Go”? That’s got to be nearing the hundred mark, at least! Hasn’t “Let it go” become the new theme song and theme phrase for everything? Don’t stress – let it go – then your head goes right into the lyrics.
Frozen is one of my favorite movies, not just my favorite Disney movie, but I think I have to add it to my list of all favorite movies. And, having seen it more times than I’d like to admit, I can’t help but see some great parenting lessons from Frozen.
1. Accept your children for who they are – and nurture it.
This one hits you right in the face at the start of Frozen. Poor Elsa wasn’t accepted unconditionally, sure, her parents, the rulers of Arendelle, thought they were doing the right thing, but they squelched her essence. They even made her ashamed and embarrassed by who she was. Her parents didn’t let her be herself, instead, she had to hide her true self.
I cringe to admit it, but there are times we do this as parents, sometimes in small ways that are almost hidden. The key is to recognize it and take a different action course. Do you want your book bug to be more athletic? Do you want your daughter to play field hockey like you did? Do you encourage your art-loving son to join the soccer team? Do you expect A’s from your B student?
Encouraging them to fulfill their potential and offering opportunities for diverse experiences are wonderful but there can be a fine line, can’t there?
In Naked Parenting, Naked Love is the first key – 100% full, generous, crazy-love for our kids, and making sure they know it to their core, without a question. Wholly accepting them for who they are, helping them shine in their strengths and learn from and grow from their weaknesses, that’s our job as parents. I think the Frozen trolls are a wonderful example of unconditional love and acceptance.
2. Family first and love conquers all.
Tagging onto the first lesson, sisterly love and bonds are a main Frozen theme. Didn’t you think for awhile that the “only an act of true love can save her” was a kiss from Kristoff? I let the screenwriters take me right along that line of thinking for most of the film – but then the ultimate lesson was that it was a sister’s love that saved her, not a romantic love.
As parents, we need to nurture, support, and encourage kindness and caring among siblings. Take them to each others’ ball games, concerts, tennis matches, and don’t allow cruelty or meanness. Sure they will be angry with each other at times, but as parents, it’s all about how we coach them in expressing that frustration, how we ask them to talk about it face-to-face, how we create the space for them to really hear the other siblings point of view.
Teach your kiddos to stick up for one another, to respect the space, belongings, and opinions of the others. They’ll still bicker and argue, as siblings do, but they’ll build friendships that are deep. Seeing our kids being wonderful and loving together is one of the greatest rewards as a mom!
3. Be honest and foster open communication.
In Naked Parenting, two of my key principles are Naked Honesty and Naked Communication. KEY to parenting with confidence and raising kids who are resilient and respectful.
If Elsa and Anna’s parents had been open and honest with Anna and had allowed Elsa to be honest about who she was, well, there would be no story, but besides that plot point, they would’ve raised more stable, happy, and well-adjusted kids. By teaching her to hide and be secretive, even within their family, their parents’ actions hurt everyone.
Along with honesty in your speech and actions, families need honesty in their communication. If you have a problem talk about it. Everyone has different ways to cope with the situations in life, every family will guide their children differently, but talk about it. Even young children can understand so much, and setting a family culture of open communication at the outset will serve you well as kids grow older. I’m so proud and grateful that our kids, even as teens, really still talk to us and come to Nick and I with their problems.
4. Help kids accept and embrace differences.
Encourage kids to accept others, no matter how unlike ourselves they are. We are all different, unique individuals and that’s a beautiful thing in life. Anna opens up easily to, well, to both guys she meets, but she was equally as comfortable with Kristoff as she was with Hans, as kind in the uncertain meeting of the trolls as she was with familiar Olaf. We all have strengths and weaknesses and, without being dishonest, we can re-frame things for our children and help them see themselves positively no matter what their excel at or struggle with.
5. Teach personal responsibility.
Naked Responsibility is another key in Naked Parenting and a huge component in raising kids with confidence. It bugs me that Elsa doesn’t take personal responsibility for her actions. She dismisses it and tries to turn her back on the consequences of her rage, “The cold never bothered me anyway,” she sings. How selfish!
I am big on spelling it out for our kids when they’re not taking responsibility for their actions in any situation. From an early age, kids need to understand the connection between their actions and the outcomes.
6. Be able to laugh at yourself.
Kids who learn not to take themselves too seriously, kids who can laugh at themselves will fare well in life. Do you set this example? Can you take a joke or a jab? Olaf represents humor in times of trouble. He represents so much more, too, innocence, childhood joy, youth. All things that are important to remember as adults, all things valuable to see and treasure in our kids. Let them be kids, let them be playful and jolly and silly and join them!
7. People aren’t always who they say they are.
So this is a tough lesson, but kids somehow sense it and can learn it younger than you might imagine. Just this week, our youngest was telling me about the inconsistencies she recognizes with what friends say they believe and how they act.
And as a parenting lesson for teens – well, this one is loaded! Navigating friendships and high school group chats, who’s posturing for the boys (or girls) and who’s being sincere, and PLEASE don’t jump in when you barely know the guy! He could be the bad guy! (I’m also working on a big rewrite of my debut novel, working title, The Fork Book, and Hans is the definition of a fork!)
8. Sometimes the enemy is yourself.
So this one, I blame on the girls’ parents to start. The King and Queen should’ve been accepting of their daughter for who she was (see lesson #1), instead they taught her to close herself off and “conceal, don’t reveal.”
Elsa was her own enemy. She kept herself inside and didn’t trust herself which led her to not trust anyone else. Now this is hard to teach! We see the stubborn toddler digging in his heels and making everything worse for himself, we see the teen talking back and losing privileges or avoiding a chore only to earn extra ones as a result.
New and unpredictable feelings, like in puberty, can be scary and leave adolescents feeling uncertain and confused. Trying to see the driving force behind tween and teens actions, without giving them a pass for rudeness or disrespect, can allow parents to respond with empathy, compassion and in a productive instead of destructive way.
Share with us.
What parenting lessons from Frozen do you see?
© Copyright Leah DeCesare 2014