Everything I Needed To Know About Parenting, I Learned From Disney

These six Disney movie quotes contain important lessons about parenting.

Ellen Haws October 05, 2016

To say I am a Disney nerd would be an understatement. I remain undefeated at the Disney Music Trivia board game. Take that, little brother! And it has been with great joy that I have been introducing my two boys to Walt Disney and all of his magic. But the experience has changed for me; I find myself laughing and learning from the parents in Disney movies in much the same way that I was once enamored with Aladdin, Belle, and Cinderella in my youth.

Here are six quotes from Disney movies that have taught me a lot about parenting.

“The greatest gift and honor is having you as a daughter.”
1. “The greatest gift and honor is having you as a daughter.”

Upon being presented the sword of the Huns and the crest of China, Fa Zhou drops them both to the ground and tells his daughter Mulan, “The greatest gift and honor is having you as a daughter.”

It is so very important for us to tell our children regularly how much we value and love them. At dinner tonight my fortune cookie said, “You will surround yourself with warmth and riches.” My husband pointed out it was a hundred degrees outside and then said, “So where are the riches?” I shrugged my shoulders and he laughed.

Then, without missing a beat, he pointed at our boys and said, “These are our riches.”

“Woah, kill the motor, dude. Let us see what Little Man does flying solo.”
2. “Woah, kill the motor, dude. Let us see what Little Man does flying solo.”

This is Crush's advise to high-strung helicopter parent Marlin in "Finding Nemo." Crush’s son Squirt has just been bumped out of the sea current and instead of rushing immediately to his aid, Crush waits and watches. And guess what? Little Man works it out! He survives, and in that moment he also learns that he is capable and that his Dad trusts him. I personally tend to be a bit of a Marlin, but I am not ashamed to admit I learned a good lesson about parenting from an animated sea turtle.

 “Of course it’s okay to have dreams. Just as long as you don’t believe too much in them.”
3. “Of course it’s okay to have dreams. Just as long as you don’t believe too much in them.”

Bonnie Hopps says, “Of course it’s okay to have dreams.” Her husband Stu adds, “Just as long as you don’t believe too much in them.”

Can I get a woot-woot for Disney’s first mediocre parents? I mean, they aren’t damaging your trove of treasures, but they also aren’t lighting thousands of lanterns in your memory. They are so . . . normal. And I kind of love them for that.

Would I ever say this to either of my boys? I sure hope not. But it does make me stop and think about my level of honesty with my kids. How does a parent find the right level of honesty without becoming a dream crusher?

"Have fun kids! I’ll just be here listening to my tunes.”
4. "Have fun kids! I’ll just be here listening to my tunes.”

Monsters University is slowly becoming one of my favorites. The Momster of the Oozma Kappa boys drops them off at a party and then says to them, “Have fun kids! I’ll just be here listening to my tunes.” Then she rolls the window up and we hear muffled heavy metal screaming. It makes me laugh every time, without fail. But I also love the message here: Keep being you Don’t lose yourself completely to parenting, keep parts of your personality alive. Your children will love you for it, and you will be happier in the long run.

“Never forget who you are.”
5. “Never forget who you are.”

I think one of the most important parenting lessons and personal lessons I have learned from Disney comes from the Lion King. Simba has lost his way in life and he is reminded in a vision of his father to “Never forget who you are.” Five very powerful words. It is important to remind our children, and ourselves, who we are and where we came from. We are more than this moment, than this mistake or that win. If we can remember who we are and always try to improve, we will find happiness.

“Children have got to be free to lead their own lives.”
6. “Children have got to be free to lead their own lives.”

Every time I write an article about Disney and parenting, I always think of this quote. In “The Little Mermaid,” Sebastian says, “Children have got to be free to lead their own lives.” Yes, I know Sebastian isn’t Ariel’s parent, but I picked him on purpose. Sebastian is the key to Ariel’s success, and every time I think about him I am reminded of the impact I can have on all the children in my life.

Before we adopted, I put all of my mother energy into being the world’s greatest aunt. I am not sure I succeeded, but I love each and every one of those kids. I love their individual personalities. I am grateful that in those waiting years I got to watch my siblings allow their kids to choose their own paths. They helped them to find their joy, they allowed them to be free to lead their own lives.

Like Uncle Sebastian reminds us, our goal should be to support our children and love them for the incredible people they are and are working to become.

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Ellen Haws

Ellen Haws is a writer and stay-at-home momster to two boys. She is an advocate for special needs individuals and special needs adoption. She created and is administrator of a thriving Facebook group that promotes and hosts events for special needs individuals and their families in Arizona. Once her hausfrau duties are finished, Ellen can be found creating sarcastic cross stitch art for her loved ones.


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