Lying in bed last night, I had the following though pop into my head. Are Disney princess stories healthy for children? In Disney stories and in fairytales a common theme recurs. A great example is the movie “Titanic”. The poor man gets the rich girl. They would have lived happily ever after, except for the drowning part. The stories we expose our children to aren’t representative of how relationships actually work. Like attracts like. There is a reason that rich people often find other rich people to become their wives and husbands. Poor people get together with other poor people. Beautiful people find other beautiful people. This stands in stark contrast to the vision we present to our youngsters. We are giving them a false impression of how the world works.
There is nothing inherently wrong with fictional stories with unlikely plotlines or plot elements. If they were 100 % accurate all the time, they would be uninspiring and boring. But we cannot discard the fact that there often is and has been a teachable moral factoid at the core of stories for children. We push values such as equality, generosity, the benefit of being truthful, getting along with others and so on. In this same vein, we are setting children up for failure later in life by presenting them with completely unrealistic tales of relationships. There are very few princesses in the world, princesses aren’t healthy ideals. Others have writter about the “princess syndrome” in some Western women. They expect everything in life to be handed to them on a platter. They are in for a rude awakening when they find themselves unable to maintain a healthy, mutually enjoyable relationship.
In knowing that like attracts like we can find great strenght and comfort. I assume that the vast majority of the populace desires a great partner in life. We are thus compelled to strive for greatness in order to be worthy of a great partner. I know this to be true, because I’m one of them. My recent weight loss and improvement physically didn’t come out of nowhere. It wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t desire a great partner and feel a sense of desperation. I live in the real world, I know that beautiful women with attractive moral qualities don’t go for fat dudes. Nor should they. I don’t want to settle for a fat woman, that has shown a lack of desire for taking care of herself. My accurate picture of how relationships work thus inspired me into action and into improving my life through good decisions.
Unrealistic stories thus harm the ability of our children to have healthy and happy relationships later in life. I’m a firm believer in parents giving their children the best possible starting point for happiness in life once they reach adulthood. Parents thus have a great responsibility in being picky about what stories and fictional material to expose their children to. Doing the right thing now and modelling a healthy romantic relationship between husband and wife is the same as investing in the future of our children. We owe them nothing less.