Almost every little girl sings the songs from Disney movies. Many have worn their princess gowns to Wal-Mart and even taken spoons from the table to create their own dancing silverware to many of the Disney ditties. You were probably one of those little girls doing the exact same thing to your place setting.
Yet today, that same entity, Disney, who has brought much delight to many children, has also chosen to introduce cultural shifts that you may or may not agree with into their story lines. As mothers, we have to acknowledge the changes in our society and educate our children. This is a parent’s responsibility, not an entertainment entity’s.
Unfortunately, Disney has joined those in the entertainment world who think their job is something more than to entertain. In an episode of “Star vs. The Forces of Evil,” a cartoon broadcast on Disney XD, they have introduced a same sex kiss. In the newest version of Beauty and the Beast, Disney has chosen to alter a timeless storyline, and now LeFou, the villain and Gaston’s silly sidekick, is exploring his sexuality.
It leaves a mother wondering: First, why is this necessary within an industry targeted to an audience of children? Next, what do I do? Let me start by apologizing on behalf of the powers that should be apologizing, because this is simply adding a layer to your work as moms (like you need that). But, you’re a strong, determined lady, and I am completely confident you can tackle this challenge as well.
So, let me share a few things you should do:
1. Be informed.
A clueless mom is a dangerous mom. I know most mothers today are greatly concerned with the food their child eats and avoid medication unless it’s absolutely necessary. I would argue that what is consumed by your child’s heart and mind is much more destructive than a McDonald’s happy meal (which I would argue is perfectly ok—just not every day!) So be as tuned in to the input your child is receiving from the entertainment industry, video games, and even from education. Then you be the one who decides what they will consume.
2. Offer alternatives.
There are plenty of great options from the entertainment media that inspire creativity and bring delight to the heart; go to those. But what about books, crafts, sports, bike riding, sidewalk chalk, and nature hikes? The unplugged discovery found in daily life serves to expand their creativity and interests, fine-tune their abilities, and often serves to create family memories much larger than a movie screen.
3. Prepare as well as protect.
Your child is indeed growing up in these times, with the influencers setting their agenda. You cannot protect them from the reality of the world in which they live. But what you can do is prepare them. It is not enough to stand for what you believe is right and in the best interest of your child without being prepared to explain why. It cannot be an emotional discussion, nor can it be had any sooner than your child’s maturity is set to handle the conversation. Do so objectively, with research, facts, honesty, and compassion. But have it you must.
4. Always show grace.
When you disagree with the cultural or moral view of others, it should never be done so with condemnation or anger. Quite the contrary, everything we teach our children should be taught with grace. With mercy, understanding, and the realization that every one of us has been shown grace upon grace. To extend it to those we may not agree with should be the beginning and ending point of every conversation we have with our children.
So, moms, this is just one more job you must take on in order to get your kids where you want them to go. Though I have had many successful careers in my life, working outside of the home the entire time my daughters were growing up, I can tell you this: the most important, rewarding job I ever had was being their mother—even on the hard days. So take the challenge; you can do it! And I can assure you that when your child heads out on their own, you will be so glad you did.
For more encouragement in motherhood, check out:
10 Reasons Why You Should Fight Your Inner Mama Bear
Let Me Entertain You—the Mom Myth
Toddlers, Tantrums & Time Out: How To Deal with Discipline
You Don’t Have to Be Perfect to Be a Great Mom
What Your Kids Get When You Let Them Fail
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