Get Psyched Friday: Lessons Continue Long After "Frozen" Release
Friday, March 27, 2015
Recently, WTOP asked me why “Frozen” is such a phenomenon among kids, even a year and a half after the initial release. This topic is familiar to me since my 3- and 6-year-old girls are as obsessed as the rest of the world. In fact, both of my daughters dressed up as Elsa for Halloween this year.
This year, my older daughter had a number of health concerns and, as a result, had to have surgery and stay in the hospital. Her “Baby Elsa” doll is her beloved companion and has been through it all with her. When my daughter woke up from surgery, she found that the medical team had prepped her Elsa doll for surgery so that she and Elsa could go through it together. Having someone, with whom my daughter identified, to do this with her was a lifesaver.
Lessons we can learn from "Frozen"
So, what is it that makes the movie so special for kids – boys and girls – and what especially makes Elsa so beloved? I see some of the answers lying in my daughter’s response to the movie, which has helped her through a tough time this year.
It’s cool to have a sibling.
“Frozen” shows kids that family will be there for you no matter what, and it is in fact cool to have a sister. My oldest daughter was not convinced of this fact prior to seeing the movie. The movie emphasizes that when you are having a difficult time, love from those who love you most can get you through. This is a very powerful message for kids, that what you really need is something you already have.
Being different isn’t bad
The second key message is that there is something different about Elsa, which makes her scared and alone. There are some good and some bad things about that difference. My daughter has been different from her classmates this year because of her health. She connects with Elsa whose difference, when she embraces it and learns to manage it, is something special that can be used for good. For any child who feels different, this is a wonderful message that what makes you scared can set you free and makes you unique.
How to Use “Frozen” for Teachable Moments
If your child loves "Frozen," use the movie as an opportunity to talk about some of the movie’s key messages or use examples from the movie to help your child through difficult times. For example, if your child has difficulty learning in school, you can talk about how his or her brain works differently, and like Elsa, it is okay to be different. Sometimes being different is scary, but if kids learn how to get help from their family, find other things they do especially well, and embrace their differences, they may feel better about their unique difference.
About the Expert
Eleanor Mackey, PhD, is a child psychologist and works primarily with the Obesity Institute and Children’s Research Institute. Dr. Mackey is also a mother of two young girls. She has been at Children’s National since 2006 and has been a regular contributor to our “Get Psyched Friday” features since 2012.