This site logs the experiences of one parent and my quest to reclaim my daughter's imagination after it was hijacked by Disney Princesses.
Why The Concern
I'm a psychotherapist with training in play therapy. I spent my first years out of graduate school working with sexually abused kids, observing their play, and guiding them toward recovery. As the child healed, their play reflected more typical themes of play of a child their age, whether 2 or 12. When younger children are in therapy, play is used to as the mode of communication because it reflects the child's world, their understanding of the universe. Watch a child play for 20 minutes and you will learn more about him or her than through 20 minutes of asking them questions.
I noticed some things in my daughter's play that were red flags to me, such as:
1. Rigidity in Role: Putting on a Disney Princess Dress, my often running/jumping child became stiff and kept her hands at her side stating, "Princesses don't run or jump."
2. Helpless Heroine: With her hands at her face, she would look around in dismay then go sit on our step stating, "Princesses have to wait for the Prince."
3. Rapunzel Syndrome: I regularly cut my daughter's hair, until around the time I was observing this play. When we talked about trimming her locks, she burst into tears, "Princesses don't have short hair!"
4. Dress Drama: Refusing to wear anything but dresses because "princesses don't wear pants." Also? "Princesses don't wear hiking boots." Thankfully, there's a book for the last one.
None of these scenarios were in What to Expect. Or Happiest Toddlers on the Block.
How It Happened
Do you live in the United States? It happened because we leave our house. It happened because we shop at a grocery store. It happened because my daughter plays with other kids. It happened because someone gave us a Disney Princess dress. It happened because children love stories, and sometimes the ones we want them to carry get canceled out by the power of mass produced and prettily packaged crack. It happened because I forgot to move to Berkley after she was born. I've never been, but I imagine Disney Princesses are pretty much outlawed there.
What Am I Doing
I'll be documenting the journey of 90 days to total recovery. If it takes longer, I have time. And a good stash of dark chocolate to get through the dark days.