Ever find the content of many Disney tales scary? Filled with sudden deaths and desires to kill. I don’t remember really being aware of these glaring details as a child but as a parent I don’t like the idea of my kids knowing that the Evil Queen wished that her stepdaughter Snow White was dead. A little heavy. So instead of fast forwarding through parts of these otherwise beloved films you can choose to read the stories instead. One of the great things about reading to a child who can not yet read is you can adjust the storyline how you would see fit. You see Gaston about to fall to his death, just say he fell down. Leave it at that. Or instead of altering the story you can take these moments to discuss why things are happening the way they are. Like why does the Evil Queen want Snow White dead? Because she is jealous of her beauty. Jealousy is a bad thing. We should be thankful for who we are and not compare ourselves to other, and so on and so forth. When you introduce your children to the tales through books you can control their exposure. Once you decide they’re ready to see the feature film they already have a great foundation for how these stories go.
We’ve also had an issue with the film being scary, not in material, but in the general sense of the term. For example, our daughter was fearful of the Cave of Wonders. So much so we didn’t make it through Aladdin the first time we tried to watch it with her. We do a weekly movie night, and we choose the films in the order they were released. So now, if there’s a film I know will be a little scary, like Brave, I’ll start reading the books ahead of time to create familiarity. Knowledge of what will come next helps with the fear. It’s hard to know what the kids will be scared of. Sometimes they’re scared of the smallest and oddest things. Like the wolves in Beauty and the Beast. By reading the books ahead of time you should be able to reassure them with the parts of the story that follow. In the example of the wolves in Beauty and the Beast, the Beast comes in and saves Belle who then returns to the castle and nurses him back to health. Having a conversation together eases the fear by taking the focus off of what is happening right now and looking forward to what is coming next.
Disney films are for the whole family, so the good and evil elements are necessary. Sharing these tales through books and soundtracks makes the details common knowledge and creates reassurance in those parts that can make littles fret. Have fun keeping the magic of Disney alive in the heart of your family.