My social media feed continues to stream content regarding Disney’s latest release #BeautyandTheBeast. The response is a variety of reactions based on each friend’s cultural approach and personal as well as religious values.
While much is being written for parents of children who will want to see this movie, we have a couple of choices and possibly an opportunity to begin or continue an important yet possibly #UncomfortableConversation with our children.
1) We can refuse to allow our school aged children to view the movie and possibly isolate them from the controversy and potential exposure to same sex romantic innuendos.
2) We can take them hoping most of the more mature content (which is often the case) goes straight over their heads and save necessary discussions for another day.
The biggest challenge to both of these is the same sex content in the movie is not only being discussed on various media outlets but conversations about Disney’s approach can be overheard not only by adults but also most likely by your child’s same aged peers in a variety of settings.
As a professional counselor who speaks often to parents in the school and church community, I want to encourage parents of elementary and middle school children to choose an additional option.
3) We can have a brief conversation about same sex relationships that occur in our society and share our personal values about them with our children. We can also allow our children an opportunity to share what they already know. Finally, we can offer an invitation for them to approach us in the future to discuss topics related to sex further and depending on the age of the child, also extend the assurance that viewpoints that disagree with the family values shared will be treated with kindness and respect.
We can further add that as a family, we are committed to treat others in our community who have a different approach to same sex relationships with kindness and respect. WARNING: Your child will believe not what you’ve just said but what you demonstrate with your words and actions. (They are watching us and listening even when they have a screen in front of their face.)
These awkward discussions need to become a regular part of everyday conversations with our children so that we prepare them for the world in which they live and set ourselves up as both a sounding board and a moral as well as spiritual compass as they grow and develop.
With regular occurrences (and maybe a little practice on our parts), we as parents whom research still supports as the number one influencers over our children’s lives, can establish a pattern of regular frequency of conversations that go much deeper than “What did you do at school today?” and “How was practice?”
1) If you aren’t comfortable with topics regarding sex, it’s a good idea to practice discussions with your spouse or another parent until your own possible anxious state disappears. If you aren’t comfortable, you child will quickly disengage and assure you there is no need for discussion.
2) If you have strong beliefs about any value based matter, you need to come to conversation equipped to either explain your thinking when questioned or answer honestly you are unsure and will think more about it and get back to them.
3) If you approach life from a faith based perspective, you need to be ready with scriptures to share what they say, your interpretation of them and how they apply to the topic at hand.
Helpful Resources. If we don’t preview a movie our kids are going to see, I often do some content research so I know if they might be scared or if there is something they might see I need to prepare them for in advance. Below are some links regarding a summary of Beauty and the Beast:
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below! How old is your child and will you take them to see this movie? What type of conversation do you plan to have with them and how did it go when you did? Please be respectful as you share of those who values and opinions on this matter differ from your own. If you happen to write a blog that pertains to parenting, you are welcome to share it in the comments along with your name. I love sharing with CounselorThoughts blog readers other great sources of parenting info on the web. (For my readers, any links shared are not an endorsement of content of course but an opportunity to continue learning from others.)
#CounselorThoughts #Parenting #ChristianParenting #TweenParenting #Sexuality #BeautyandtheBeast #UncomfortableConversations