There have been studies over the years on how children are influenced by what they see on television, but truthfully, I never paid too much attention. Sure, I monitor what my kid’s are watching, but I never thought that the seemingly harmless, totally beloved, Disney character’s could be the reasoning behind some sinister playtime in my house lately.
I first observed my five and three year old playing with a princess castle, princesses and dinosaurs, when I heard things taking a turn for the worst.
As I peered into the room, someone had clearly been thrown from the castle and was covered in dinosaurs.
Good grief, it was a feeding frenzy.
Curious, I asked the kids which princess was attacked by dinosaurs, they both said, in unison, “No, it wasn’t a princess….the Mom is dead.”
Taken slightly aback by the Shining-esque tone in their voices, I think I said something like “that’s not nice,” and “why don’t you pretend a world where the dinosaurs and Moms are friends?”
Time went on, one summer day ran into the next, but I couldn’t help but notice that whenever there was pretend play where there was a fight or a battle, the Mom kicked the bucket. It didn’t even matter what the game was or what toys were involved. If someone was going to have to go it was always dear old Mom.
What the hell?
Then, on a rainy weekend morning recently, as we started watching Finding Nemo for the 5767th time, it hit me.
Disney did it.
The Mom in their pretend play isn’t just dead.
Mama is Disney Dead.
My kids weren’t trying to off me, they were mimicking what they’ve seen on their favorite movies time and time again. Just think about it…
Fox & the Hound?
Beauty & the Beast?
(Mom presumed dead)
(Mom presumed dead)
(Mom presumed dead in the first one and in Little Mermaid II, actually kicks the bucket)
You guessed it….Mom Dead.
Here’s a few examples from the last couple weeks:
I guess I feel a little relieved since my Disney revelation. I mean, I suppose now I’m choosing to believe that my three and five year old kids aren’t in the early stages of planning to off me, or that they aren’t happily pretending play in a world without mothers. No, they’re just under the influence…of Disney.
One thing is for sure though; I’ve taken quite a few films out of our regular DVD cycle. We’ll now be watching The Lion King (where for once it’s the Dad who’s pushing daisies) on loop for a while and see if that changes the balance of play and gives Mom a fighting chance in the near future….
(Oh, and for those who asked, my appearance on the Dr. Oz Show is tomorrow! Check local listings for times!
UPDATE – Watch the Dr. Oz Show clip here (I start about a minute in)