Five Lessons All Parents Can Learn from Frozen

In the case of most kids’ movies, parents end up hating the stories because, well, there just isn’t much to them.  Yet sometimes a story comes along that speaks so readily to our children that we have to take a second look to understand why.  Enter Frozen and the crazy hoopla that still exists nearly two years after its initial release.  What is it about this movie that resonates so well with kids?  More importantly, is there anything we as adults can glean from it to help us handle our children?  With that in mind, I rewatched it with my daughter (who loves it) and came up with five lessons to share that all parents should keep in mind when dealing with their children.

Lesson #1: Isolation is no good for anyone, especially our children

With the death of Anna and Elsa’s parents and the closing of the gates years before, Anna was essentially isolated from the world.  Yes, she had contact, but not meaningful contact, which is what our children crave.  What happens when our children do not get the amount and quality contact they need for development?  At the most benign, they become like Anna, ready to jump into anyone’s arms willing to offer that attention.  At worse, they are the ideal children to be groomed for abuse (you can read more on this here).  Making sure our children do not feel isolated, especially from us as parents, is critical to keeping them safe and happy.

Lesson #2: Not expressing emotions is dangerous

More often than we care to admit, we parents are a lot like Elsa’s.  With good intentions, we stifle our children’s emotional expressions, trying to get them to hide those pesky negative emotions like sadness, fear, and especially anger.  By doing this, however, we stunt our children for these emotions will find a way out and often not how we want them to, just like Elsa finally couldn’t control it anymore and set all of Arendelle into a forever winter.

Lesson #3: A lack of control does not equal intent to hurt

Elsa, despite her best efforts, loses her cool and ends up hurting those around her.  Is she being cruel?  Is she a brat?  No, none of these things hold true for her and our kids see in her another person who tries so very hard not to lose control, but manages to completely lose it anyway.  Our children don’t set out to make us angry with meltdowns, they often have tried to keep it together for a long time (for them) and simply can’t do it anymore.  When us adults treat these behaviours as intentional, we become like the Duke of Weselton who cannot see beyond the outburst, going so far as to call Elsa a “monster”.  Sound like familiar wordage for a child?  Luckily Elsa has Anna who sees the lack of control and the lack of harmful intent.  Our kids need us to be Annas, not Dukes.

Lesson #4: Love heals (It really does!)

Before we hit the end of the movie, Elsa has put her town into an everlasting winter, has set a large snow monster on her sister and Kristoff, and has managed to freeze her sister’s heart.  We see people wanting to punish her – so much so that we see Hans ready to kill Elsa at the end.  Just as we tend to think the only way to deal with our misbehaving children is with punishment.  And why not?  After all, returning to Lesson 3, if you view the behaviours as intentional and evil, isn’t punishment the right way?  It’s not though because our children aren’t evil.  What they need is just what Elsa needed: Love.  Given enough love, she learns to control her emotions and her magic, and amazingly enough, giving enough love is what heals Anna’s frozen heart.  For us parents, we need to remember not only that our children need love, but that we need to love as well.  Only then will we have the type of relationships with our kids that we want.

Lesson #5: It’s important to be free to become who you are

Both Elsa and Anna struggle with the freedom to be who they are.  With Elsa, it’s obvious as she isn’t allowed to express her magic and struggles mightily for it.  With Anna, being cooped up inside, she’s not given the opportunity to even find out who she is, resulting in her rushing to the arms of someone who later leaves her for dead.  Not great on either account.  Our children need a safe environment to find out who they are and what they are interested in and that is something us parents need to provide for them.  Sometimes we get too caught up in wanting our kids to be like us, sometimes we’re too caught up in what might go wrong that we forget to give them the freedom they need to find out who they are, but whatever the reason, our kids need space and encouragement to discover who they are and live up to their potential.


There you have it, five lessons I hope all parents can take from Frozen.  Who would have thought Disney could actually make a movie that is so valuable?  I didn’t, but I’m certainly glad they did.

By Tracy Cassels

August 03, 2015