4 Disney parenting fails to make you feel like a better parent

Even the most mindful among us has a bad day every once in a while. Take heart. Even these fairytale parents struggled with intentional parenting on occasion. From power struggles to tantrums to outright defiance, these animated confrontations come pretty close to the real thing. Luckily, parents and children learn a few lessons along the way making these stories educational not only for our children but also for us parents – if we know where to look.

1. The ultimate power struggle: Ariel and King Triton

Sure, we’ve all been there. You tell your daughter for the umpteenth time not to go to the surface, and what does she do? Not only go to said surface, but save a HUMAN?!?!? What’s a reasonable merman supposed to do? Well, King Triton certainly showed Ariel. He destroyed her statue and sent her straight into the waiting tentacles of everyone’s favorite sea villain, Ursula. Sure, it all worked out in the end, but not before Ariel lost her voice, her tail, and her freedom. Next time, count to 10 your majesty. She might not like your directive, but she’s more likely to listen if it isn’t shouted.

 2. A frozen tantrum: Elsa and the King and Queen of Arendelle

We love our children, but that doesn’t mean we have to love their annoying and sometimes dangerous habits – like freezing their sister’s heads. That being said, teaching a toddler to shove down her innermost feelings was probably not the most enlightened approach to take. Is it any wonder, Elsa exploded and froze the entire kingdom? The King and Queen might have done better to provide a safe place for Elsa to create and a little encouragement to use her words.

 3. Mutual respect: Merida and Queen Eleanor

It’s tough being a princess. So many lessons and requirements, and you don’t even get to choose who you want to marry. None of this seems strange to Queen Eleanor who has her daughter’s best intentions at heart, but for Princess Merida it all seems like a life sentence in boredom. Driven to use dark magic to change her fate, Merida turns her mother into a monster – ok, a bear. The lack of communication and respect comes close to permanently damaging the fabric of the family. Luckily, in the end, Queen Eleanor and Merida learn a lesson in mutual respect.

4. Freedom and choices: Nemo and Marlin

As parents, we want to protect our children from everything, but holding on too tightly as the   traumatized Marlin did to Nemo can often lead to unwanted consequences. While your child isn’t likely to be scooped into a fishing net and housed in an aquarium in Sydney, healthy, confident kids thrive when given the freedom to make choices (within reason) and have healthy boundaries.

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