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did anyone delay Disney princess movies, but allow them when your child was "older"?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
DD is 4.5 and hasn't seen any Disney princess movies. She's aware of the concept of "the princesses" mostly because of other kids at her preschool, but it's vague. She does know some of the fairy tales because we read non-Disney versions.

I'm thinking of letting her see some of the movies eventually, but I'd love to delay for a while -- I feel like it would be downright weird, sort of culturally illiterate, to grow up never having seen some of these famous Disney movies (I saw many of them when I was a kid!). But I'd love to avoid the obsession with the Disney junk that's marketed to kids, and be able to discuss and critique some of the problematic aspects with me.

Did anyone else delay like this but eventually let your child see these movies? How old was your child when you let her/him see them? Do you feel like the decision worked out well?
post #2 of 19

Yes, I held off the whole Disney thing for as long as possible.  I didn't have a problem with the movies per se, but like you wanted to avoid the mania that goes along with them these days.


When she was about 5 or 6, she got a book of Disney Princess stories from secret santa.  Thanks, Santa! not.  Anyway, inspite of our efforts she became obsessed with teh whole thing.  Acting out different story lines.  Wanting the costumes.  Everything had to be pink, etc. etc.  Then all of a sudden, around age 7.5, it stopped and she went totally anti, along with all her friends at school.  Now she avoids pink and thinks the whole princess thing is for babies.


Contrary to some of the paranoia out there, Disney princesses really don't have a hold over your kids.  Also, we're the kind of parents that would just say no to Disney marketed junk.  Except for one doll and one dress up frock she really wasn't allowed much.


It's just not a big deal, is what I learnt.  What I also learnt is that in this culture it's a crapshoot how much you can control it anyway. 

post #3 of 19
I really dislike Disney princess garbage and hear they are phasing out the trend-- this is from someone who works with Disney so I believe it, yet haven't seen any proof.

Finding Nemo is cute and doesn't give little girls' princess complexes, right? Tangled was just on the verge of annoying me but the story was cute.

My DD is only 2.5 and has never seen the typical princess movies. I get weird looks when I tell people this. Because 2yo sit through entire Disney movies or something? Not mine haha! DD prefers her 15 minute segment of Peep and the big wide world! I live near Disneyland but she's never been. We cannot afford the $200 tickets!

I think she's got plenty of time to discover it but I don't see us buying costumes, movies or other stuff and I get rid of the stuff I do get. Mostly because it is usually low quality junk from the 99cent store!
post #4 of 19

My take on the movies: They're not appropriate for preschoolers. Most of them are highly emotional, and kids under about age 6 don't really understand the story arc -- that is, something happens, it builds to a climax (which is usually scary) and then is resolved. Instead, they tend to view the movie less as a whole story and more in individual scenes.


If your child isn't bothered by scary stuff, then it's probably OK to introduce the stuff earlier, knowing that they're not going to get everything out of the story. If your kids are like my kids and highly sensitive to visual stimuli, musical tension and emotional tension, then stay away. Actually, we did very few movies until dd hit about 7 for this reason. At 7, she'd been reading for a good while and so understood story structure. I figured that if she made it all the way through the Harry Potter books by herself, she could probably handle movies!


I didn't deliberately avoid the Disney Princess stuff, I just didn't buy any because I didn't like it. We got a few things as gifts. Dd played with them a bit, but not a lot because she wasn't interested. That's just not a theme that appeals to her. Because of that, there was no interest in the movies. I think dd (who's 8 now) has seen Cinderella or one of the princess movies.


So, I think there are valid reasons for avoiding the movies that are over and above the Disney marketing stuff. Since we just didn't do many movies, my kids didn't notice.

post #5 of 19

As an echo to all said above, the themes of princess movies are not for preschoolers, and the dolls are less appealing without the story.  We so far at 4 have skipped the stories, the movies and the dresses.  We have 2 dolls, both gifts, and the chief appeal is the haircolor that matches our own.  


So instead we have stories that are age appropriate, and make sure to dress up and enact those.  (Beatrix Potter and AA Milne mostly)  So we have a north pole at our house, and "expotition" boots.  We have seen Disney pooh, it is one owned by friends and we specifically watch it there.  IT has become a nice special connection with those friends.


We have been to princess birthday parties, but chose to have a ballet one ourselves.  When princesses come up, we play castle, involving tent-castles, kings, queens and barnyard animals. It is more elaborate and more interesting.  And it enables us to play princess with others who desire it. I have found there is very little content to "princess play" once everyone is dressed and providing some is welcome.  So we both supplant the stories and extend the stories.


Later will we watch the movies? Probably, but only when old enough to read non-Disney versions of the story first, and then ask how well the movie told the story.  The scary factor is huge on screen, but we do read some scarier things, because we can pause and engage it - Is that scary? What part? It's never what I think it will be anyway.  Which is enlightening.  Reading the stories can provide enough connection for conversations with other children who will talk about the stories.


We did turn down a preschool because the teacher called our playdough mermaid "Ariel" right off the bat (it was actually the mermaid that "lives in the fountain" downtown thank you, if only she'd asked!) and because another teacher commented that it was "okay if they didn't know the stories fro the beginning, because by the end of the year they all know them, and they can act out all the parts."  We didn't go there.

post #6 of 19
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

My take on the movies: They're not appropriate for preschoolers. Most of them are highly emotional, and kids under about age 6 don't really understand the story arc -- that is, something happens, it builds to a climax (which is usually scary) and then is resolved. Instead, they tend to view the movie less as a whole story and more in individual scenes.





My 4yo DD has seen Tangled. We watched it after reading the true Rapunzel story, and seeing a Rapunzel play at our local children's theater. I prefer her to experience the true fairy tale stories before the Disneyfied versions. I plan to start reading Hans Christian Anderson fairy tales with her in the next one to two years. She has only seen one other Disney Movie, Finding Nemo.


She is a huge fan of the Sleeping Beauty story, just from reading it, and visiting the castle that inspired the story in France this past spring. Despite her never watching any of the Princess movies other than Tangled, she is still princess obsessed. Go figure. We bought her a cute non-Disney Princess Dress at a chateaux in France and she wears it ALL THE TIME. And if we are browsing early reader books at Barnes & Noble, she almost always picks up one of the Disney ones to read. Thankfully, the library has very few of the movie character themed early reader books (or they are always checked out), so it's rare that a Princess book ever makes it into the house.

post #7 of 19
Just a different opinion....

My daughter and son have seen all of the princess movies. We watch them and discuss them like we would a book - the flaws and strengths of the characters and their actions. I've heard my daughter tell her friends that Ariel wasn't very smart to ruin her family for a boy she barely knows. smile.gif. She's gotten lots of princess paraphernalia (I'm not a fan but everyone wants to gift a little girls tons of molded plastic princess crap!) but at 5, she's not particularly captivated by any of it. She would be excited to get a princess Barbie or costume but she never really played with them and she'd give them away easily during our toy purges. For me, I decided to not make any of it a desirable forbidden thing - its there for them to choose, but they don't because there are buildings and ships to build, and pictures to draw, and much better books to read and movies to watch!

I guess my point is that if she sees them, talk her through it and I think she will see that it's not living up to the hype that Disney wants you taken in by. smile.gif
post #8 of 19

typically i did not delay things only because it would become an even bigger deal if i refused them.


however i was v. lucky. dd didnt get into them till she was almost 5. thankfully for us she never really got into it and when she did her fav. princess was princess Fiona (so i was really happy about that). she got curious abuot the princesses from her best friend at dc who was totally into the princesses. however i will say it was her interest in princesses that got her interested IRL royal families and period stuff. at 5. she saw a few adult movies on that and it is still her passion. 


but on another level she really wanted to watch spiderman at 3 1/2. after delaying for a bit i finally let her watch it. she loved it. i was surprised she wasnt scared by it. but i discovered she was more scared of suspense than actual violence. so she could watch spiderman but not a bugs life. she also loved the ninja turtles. 


sometimes i think kids see far beyond the theme or its a phase. dd's two friends who were totally into princesses now 10 years old have not psychologically taken on the princess psychology we all are concerned about. today they are totally into different things with very high self esteem. looking at one of them you would never think she was so into the princesses when she was 3 years old. 

post #9 of 19
I delayed Disney movie viewing because I don't like the way women are portrayed by Disney. By about six I felt that my dd could spot the stereotypes and form an opinion on them because she did that quite a bit in real life and I was right. She likes mabye four Disney movies so far and they are not princess ones or heavy on the. I never limited princess play or her reading the books to herself, I just made sure we had something better to check out without making the movies appear tantalizing by taking a stand against them. I did read a lot of alternative princess stories and allowed some movies with fairies and princesses that had better themes.
post #10 of 19

Our kids (5,3) are more or less tv-free and those Disney princess movies are way, way down on the list of things they will see. Can I just say how much I adore our preschool's no characters policy? Really reduces the pressure. And I don't buy any licensed products, ever.


DS watches about 1-2 hours of tv a year like a showing of the class Grinch at Christmas. DD is still completely free.


DS has an idea of the famous ones but it isn't a big deal. DD doesn't know what they are.


When we do watch them, it will probably be a screening at a movie theatre.

post #11 of 19

Haven't read the replies, but we started out pretty much tv-free, and now we watch them every once in a while. It has worked out because at least dd (who is now 8) understands the marketing motives and doesn't feel like she has to have the "stuff" that goes along with the movie. Also, she actually gets the stories more now. I have always felt that if the movie can keep an adult captivated and entertained, then parts of the story and humor are obviously not always appropriate for kids. Ds has seem more than dd did at his age and I kind of regret that, but I guess that's how it goes with younger siblings.


eta: Of course the stereotypes of characters are still an issue. Dd can recognize that and I try to talk about it in an age-appropriate way to ds. We've had discussions about things like how Cinderella should have just left and not put up with the abuse from the step family, etc.

post #12 of 19

Similarly we went form tv free to every once in a while, largely in order to learn how to turn them off.  Our first lesson was when a person walks up to you, you stop, and speak and say hello.  We used a laptop to introduce tv, because a laptop can be paused.  It's a respect the person over the machine idea, and not being captivated just out of novelty.  


We had a valuable peek in tv-free life going with tv-free children to a museum.  It was hard to turn their attention from the novelty of colorful videos to the actual dinosaur fossils right next to them.  So we came up with this idea, of learning to turn it off whenever asked.  Admittedly we interrupted on purpose and role played the conversations a lot at first.


It seems we should think about this type of lesson with princesses as well.  You've seen them, and you know what they're about, and they don't live up to they hype, and a real castle is much more interesting.  Maybe something like that?

post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by JudiAU View Post

Can I just say how much I adore our preschool's no characters policy?

Tell me more! What's the policy, exactly? Is it a particularly "crunchy" preschool or community?
post #14 of 19

We didn't all-out introduce disney (and particularly disney princesses) right away mainly because we're not that crazy about those particular movies.  (Believe me, dd1 was watching star trek or whatever we like better, before we went for any disney movies).  We waited until after dd1 had heard tons about them from classmates, I suppose, and was asking to see stuff.  We've gradually picked up book-stories of most disney movies before doing the movie - just to satisfy her interest as spurred on by classmates.  We kinda alternate picking up/watching a princess movie with kid movies that don't have to do with the princesses (so just other kid movies, sometimes disney, sometimes classic stuff. . . things we suspect dd1 will like). 



Personally, I don't dislike the movies - though like any genre of movies there are ones I think are less interesting or better than others.  But I just hate the blatant commercialism and didn't want there to be this - "here's disney princess stuff because you're a girl and you're supposed to like *THEM ALL*".  I like to pick and choose the individual movies, etc that we like because there are topics, or interests, or other details of them that we like (like in princess and the frog - she cooks and has a restaurant like dd1 wants when she grows up or in tangled - she does loads of crafts and art and has the long hair, all other interests for us).  I want us to like things because of what we have in common with them - I don't want to get given or have commercial kid character stuff just for the sake of having it.  And that's mainly what I emphasize with the disney princesses (as I do with any other toy or thing we introduce into our life & home).  



Our earliest Disney movies were actually Bambi (which dd1 loved and watched often for quite some time) and I think we had princess and the frog as the first princessey movie, because it was on netflix, and we bought it later because she really liked it - and that was probably some time when dd1 was 4.5 y/o?  

post #15 of 19

I would say we have gotten much more relaxed as she has gotten older, but she is only 5 now and I don't "allow" the movies.  However, a few have snuck in (thanks Grandma!) and it has not been that big of a deal-or at least, not worth the fight :)  She loves Tangled, got a doll for Christmas that she plays with a few times a week.  She loves to play Rapunzel (although she has also heard the real version of this since way before the movie)  She has a couple of disney princess themed items that were either given to us or left over from older dsd (who was completely obsessed with all things princess from maybe 3-6ish?)  A couple of years ago, I would have tossed these things and made a big fuss about it.  Now, I am happy with where we are in that is not at all obsessed with the Disney characters, but she enjoys a few aspects of it.  We also homeschool, so that may play a part in terms of lack of exposure.  She does love to play with the princess dolls at her friend's house though, but like I said, it is a happy medium and I am okay with it at this point.  If she wants to watch the movies when she is a little older (since I feel like most of them are pretty intense for this age), I would be okay with that in moderation if we talked about them together. 


The Little Mermaid was a pretty big part of my childhood, so I get where the OP is coming from :)

post #16 of 19
Originally Posted by indigosky View Post

Tell me more! What's the policy, exactly? Is it a particularly "crunchy" preschool or community?

We go to a Reggioi preschool in Los Angeleswhich is child-led. Toys are mostly natural and all of the art is really excellent. I suspect it is somewhat a matter of aesthetics but the official policy states that they cause power struggles among the kids which is also true.  Clothes have to be comfortable and play-ready and shoes have to be closed toe. Crocs are banned because of accidents. No toys from home. Pretty simply actually.


So, not nearly as strict as a Waldorf dress policy but really, really nice for the kids. The more traditional Reggio schools in our area have the same policy. The religous Reggio-lite schools don't, but they also have lousy art.

post #17 of 19

Eh.  Both kids were TV-free until about 2.5 and I think DD was about 4 when she first saw a movie.  She's seen several now and isn't particularly obsessed with princesses.  I think that's just her nature, though.  I will say that she WAS just as obsessed with frilly, fluffy dresses from about ages 4-6 as her classmates.  I almost think that's an age thing.  Her favorite movies are actually Star Wars and the Last Unicorn.  She is obsessed with this white cat in a frily purse she spotted in the window of a toy store and begs for it constantly, so it's not like she's not still totally obnoxius about toys she wants me to buy for her!


On the flip side, my son was WELL obsessed with cars before he ever saw a movie or TV show about them.  He discovered "Smiley Car" (lightening mcqueen) a year before we let him see the Cars movie.  I figured since he was already completed obsessed with cars, why not let him watch the movie with his sister?  Again, I think this is just his nature and his age.  My daughter was also completely fascinated with cars when she was about the same age, which is why we own a whole bunch of matchbox-type cars at all.

post #18 of 19

"The Little Mermaid" came out when I was five, my mom took my best friend and I to the theatre to see it.  We were *terrified* during the scene where King Triton and Ursula fight.  My mom bought the movie later and I sobbed every time the ending happened, because it was TOO MUCH for me to handle emotionally.  I was a very emotional kid (still am), it was a bit much.  I desperately wanted to be a mermaid after that movie though, and even tried to change my name to Ariel (in an effort to grow We plan to follow what the above posters have said and keep the Disney princess crap to a minimum.  I'm not particularly girly and neither is DW. 


Has anyone seen these?  They're *awesome*.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uuk-h2ZYNJU

post #19 of 19

My dd is five and has never seen one. I intend to let her watch them when she is older (minimum of eight I'm guessing) if she is interested in seeing them then. IMO, these movies are pretty intense and scary and have a lot of adult content in them. I may be a prude but I don't find them appropriate at all for little girls or little boys for that matter.

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