And now that I have finally seen it I get what all the hype is about. I get why Let It Go has become such a phenomenon. It is a movie that is a perfect Disney classic filled with wonderfully catchy songs, a strong story and witty characters. And I love how it flips the whole traditional Disney princess story around. I mean seriously when Kristof says, “You were going to marry someone you just met”, I couldn’t help but laugh.
Which is why it may come as a surprise that my son has not seen Frozen and it’s unlikely that he will see it anytime soon.
I had thought about taking him to see it and when I asked friends if there was anything scary in the movie I got mixed answers from it being mildly scary to not scary at all. But the one answer that sealed the deal on not going to see it was that there was a snow monster in the movie. Jack doesn’t like snow monsters, not the one in Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer or in other winter themed movies, not even the friendly seeming ones.
And I’ve explained this time and time again when asked why he hasn’t seen it, and I’ve gotten some pretty strong reactions. From people telling me it’s not that scary, to “just cover his eyes at that part” to “it’s a minor part of the movie it may not bother him” or “see how he does with it”. People seemed shocked that I would rob my son of this wonderful movie.
And now that I’ve seen the movie I’m certain he won’t be watching it any time soon and not just for the snow monster which is fairly scary and in 2 scenes in the movie. But there are several scary aspects of Frozen. The parents dying, the fight scene involving bows and arrows, when Ana gets hurt as a child, and Elsa’s powers come off as a bit scary. All of these scenes are things that would scare him. Things that I wouldn’t be able to explain to him and I don’t necessarily want to explain to him.
And yes, these scary / dark elements are a hallmark of Disney movies. In fact the death of a parent happens or is implied in a majority of Disney movies. And while as an adult and fairy tale fan I appreciate these elements. I enjoy that there is a level of depth in these stories that date back to their origins.
I know that my 3 year old doesn’t get it but is smart enough to ask “what happened to Ana’s parents” or” why did Elsa hurt Ana”. And i know that my 3 year old won’t understand my answers and I know he will be upset by it and that for him that’s not entertaining. In the same way that I get asked to fast forward through the opening scene of Monsters Inc. Or the same way that when i mention Despicable Me 2 my son replies, “I hate that movie, it’s scary. I’m never watching it again”.
And I don’t want to fast forward, I don’t want to scare him, I don’t want to ruin what is a great movie that he will certainly enjoy when he is older. And I don’t think there is anything wrong with holding off till he’s older. I don’t feel the need to rush an experience. I don’t feel the need to drag him into the Frozen frenzy just to hear him say, “I don’t like that Frozen”. I want to preserve these experiences for when he’s ready.
This is my decision to make as his parent. Frozen is rated PG which means parents can use their guidance and I’m using mine on this one. Just as other parents have decided that their kids will love Frozen, I’ve decided that at this time it’s not right for mine. And that’s OK with me. There will be a time and a place for Frozen.
I’m done with exposing him to things he is clearly too young for, because nothing zaps the fun out of something like being forced to sit through something that scares you, that makes you uncomfortable. It’s not fun for me and it’s not fun for him.
And I think as parents we have the right to judge what we expose our kids to and what we hold off on. It is our job to know our kids well enough to know what will scare them. So I’m doing my job, even if that means I’m not watching Frozen 24/7 or saying “Do you want to build a snowman” or singing Let it Go all the time, and I’m OK with that.