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Easing our Toddler's Transition Home Through Therapy
In November 2013, Disney released a new animated film, called Frozen. Perhaps unsur¬prisingly, it became a hit for preteens and teens, especially girls. Just ask any 8 year old girl if she’s seen Frozen, and you are likely to hear a squeal followed by a rendition of “Let it Go.” Here are five reasons this fascination remains, and might actually be good for your adopted child.
1. The story is like real life. Anna wants to play with Elsa, but Elsa won’t play with her. Frozen is full of scenarios that many kids identify with and face every day. Maybe your daughter isn’t making it snow in her bedroom, but there are parts of every preteen that cause feelings of shame or holding back. Seeing characters that struggle with and succeed over issues that are common for most kids is very empowering.
2. There is no evil witch. Frozen has no step mothers or witches to contend with. Instead, Elsa, the character who would normally be the evil villain, unintentionally causes problems while coming to terms with her own powers and personality. Disney doesn’t ask its viewers to automatically side with a particular char¬acter, and shows different kinds of strength in Anna and Elsa. Anna has the determined spirit, the fight, and the drive that usually saves the day. Elsa, on the other hand, struggles both internally and externally with her power, blos¬soming and succeeding in the end.
3. The main characters are orphans. As is the norm in Disney films, the story begins with Anna and Elsa being orphaned. With two heroines in the story, we see the ways this im-pacts both girls. Anna, who was left feeling the love and support of her parents, seems almost unfazed. Elsa, on the other hand, felt stifled and somewhat rejected by her parents. Her history with her parents leads her through overwhelming perfectionism, which spirals out of control.
4. It provides permission to be imperfect. Many adoptees feel the pressure to be better or to be perfect, perhaps out of a subconscious fear of being abandoned again or the need to make up for a perceived deficit that allowed their parents to abandon them in the first place. Elsa seems to feel this same strain. The song “Let it Go” is a pinnacle point for the film, in which Elsa lets go of her need to be perfect. There is still work to be done to learn to be im¬perfect but also still in control and relationship with others, but she eventually figures it out.
5. It has a bit of parent push-back. It is developmentally normal for preteens and teens to find ways to separate from their par¬ents and identify their own abilities. While there isn’t much rebellion in this film, it does strike a chord as Elsa proves her parents were wrong with the much enjoyed line “the cold never bothered me anyway.” Parents aren’t always perfect either.
Use Frozen Obsession to Your Benefit!
• Ask your child about their favorite parts of the movie and why they like them.
• Find out in what way your child would like to let go, and why.
• Point out the ways your child is already successful on their own, and no lon¬ger need parental help.
• Empower your child by sharing you have com¬plete faith in them.
• Ask your child what power they would have if they were the Elsa character in the movie. Have them draw it out if they are ar¬tistic.
• Talk about what it’s like to make bad choices, and how to repair things and relationships after the fact.
• Just take an afternoon to watch Frozen for the 162nd time, belt out the songs, and generally spend some quality time bonding with your child, and enjoying the things they enjoy!
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