How Elsa Taught My Kids to Control Their Tantrums (and Do Chores)

I recently realized that I’ve been misinterpreting Elsa’s big “Let It Go” number from Frozen for the past few years when it came to my kids and helping them deal (or not deal) with their strong emotions. It finally dawned on me that the song wasn’t about how great it is to express my emotions, but that I can still use Elsa to help my kids better control their emotions, avoid epic tantrums, and atone for past wrongdoings.

Leading up to this epiphany, my children had a difficult week. My son may or may not have had to take a day off from kindergarten last week due to… a storm of emotions (and some of the violent actions he may have taken as a result). Just a few days later, my daughter was caught in the rain in the park and started screaming like another famous character, Idina Menzel (the evil witch of the west, Elphaba the Wicked), and melting when she was doused with water. When I told her that she wasn’t going to melt, she bit me.

Managing these little people and their big feelings was tiring and a little embarrassing. I found it difficult to continue and was desperate for a creative solution. When we were running from a downpour in the car, the song “Let It Go” appeared on my children’s playlist, and I saw this song in a new light. This is not a triumph and freedom of expression; it’s an ecological disaster. Elsa ruined a summer festival, broke several trade agreements, possibly ruined her country’s crops, and could have killed people who froze to death in a sudden storm or crashed their buggies on icy roads.

A little cold refreshment

If you haven’t watched the movie on repeat for the past few years (you’re in luck), here’s a quick recap: The movie opens with a magical Elsa with an icy power that seems to get stronger with her emotions. After she injures her non-magical younger sister Anna, Elsa’s parents tell Elsa to “hide, not feel” her emotions and not let her powers or feelings come out. For years, Elsa held back her emotions – good and bad – until one day she exploded, releasing all her feelings, freezing the kingdom of Arendelle despite it being summer, and locking herself in an ice palace away from the world. .

Anna begs Elsa to unfreeze Arendelle, but Elsa doesn’t know how. Anna nearly dies trying to save the kingdom and her sister until Elsa realizes that her sister loves her and believes in her. Elsa’s kingdom didn’t abandon her and decide she was a monster because of her powers. Tethered securely, Elsa melts the snow with the power of love. She is able to control her powers.

What Elsa can teach our children to manage their emotions

I seated the children at the kitchen table. The big feelings didn’t subside all weekend and now I was ready with a new plan.

“Guys, you had a lot of strong feelings,” I said, “and people got hurt. I don’t want you to be like Elsa at the beginning of the movie and hide that you don’t feel your feelings. But all this “letting go” leads to a big mess. Summer is ruined for all of Arendelle.

I know not all kids “understand” metaphors, but mine nodded.

We told the end of the movie. My daughter talked about Elsa using her “soothing skills” to control her powers, and my son talked about Elsa realizing that people love her and how that knowledge gave her the power to unfreeze her kingdom.

“I love you guys endlessly, even when you have bad days,” I told them. “I’m not saying this to shame you or say you’re bad. You are not bad. You are very good. But you did some damage. We must help melt Arendelle. I came up with something we’re going to do to help each other and your community.”

I brought a board with a schedule for the next two days: instead of “media time”, there was time for housework and time that my daughter read to her son (along with the usual snacks, family reading). and sleep mode).

My children resigned themselves to their fate, and although they continued to have great feelings in the following days, they did not allow the storm to rage as much as before.

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