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This is a guest post by Ken Myers.

Over the years I have been a huge fan of Disney movies and so when our children were born I was excited about sharing all of my favorites with them. Not only did I want to share the old favorites with my kids but I was excited about all the new movies that were coming out as well.

My very first time exposing our first born to a Disney movie was many years ago. It was The Little Mermaid and our girl was four. She was a very mature four years old and I believed she was ready to enjoy a movie on the big screen. Since it was a new release of course I had never seen it either. The commercials looked so appealing and even though they had a little excerpt including the sea witch Ursula it did not show her in all her glory. I had no way of anticipating the outcome. Just as many parents who exposed their children to the original Wizard of Oz thinking it was a wonderful children’s movie and had to live through nightmares of flying monkeys!

We watched with awe at all the beautiful colors and singing mermaids and mermen and laughed at Sebastian the crabby big hearted crab. But when Ursula’s henchmen came along and she started making mischief I could see my daughter getting uncomfortable. Then when we got to the part where Ursula rose up in all her terrifying glory my girl was in my lap with her head tucked securely into my neck. And to her defense it was quite horrific. I felt so awful because she was so frightened and I asked her if she wanted to leave. But just like me my girl can not stand not knowing the outcome of a movie when I am half way through it so we stayed.

I kept telling her it was okay to look now and she would peek out the corners of her fingers through the rest of the movie. When I thought Ursula was going to burst forth I had her bury her head. Our girl was really terrified of that octopus. I could not even buy the movie until years later when my son came along. There are seven years between our kids and so it was about ten years later. She told me it was okay to buy it now but told me that I had pretty much scarred her for life by taking her to that movie at four years old!

I suppose many parents have this problem with different movies because even though The Wizard of Oz never bothered me much I can remember that Snow White did! That witch was truly awful and when she told that hunter to bring back her heart!! Oh my goodness I was horrified. And when he showed her the heart of the deer he had killed I was overwhelmed. Let us not even talk about poor little Bambi’s momma. I could cry right now!

So beware of the movies you expose your children to, even if they are Disney! A lot of it depends on your child and their sensitivity to things and what you have previously exposed them to. Our son was a whole different kind of kid and those kinds of things barely fazed him. The octopus was nothing to him but I do believe that even he was saddened by the loss of Bambi’s momma.

Speaking of Disney and our son I have to recount a story that is related. It has been many years now but it is one of my favorite memories of my son’s very young sense of humor. He has kept me laughing and crying simultaneously over the years because of his wonderful personality but excessive energy! I think I should have had him first but God in all his glory knows best so perhaps I needed to be kept on my toes at that time!

One afternoon when he was about four years old we were running some errands. I needed to stop for gas so we stopped at the nearest corner station. The station had a little store attached and it also had one of those coin operated car washes or you could purchase it at the pump.

After we got our gas my son wanted to go through the car wash. He loved driving through car washes, and there again was the big difference between him and our girl. She hated the car wash, it scared her because she thought those brushes were going to come right through the window and the noise was frightening to her! Anyway, I decided that we did need a car wash and told him we would.

When we got over to the car wash and I proceeded to put in my quarters it sounded as if they were hitting the ground. And sure enough when I opened the car door there were my quarters and about thirty or forty more lying on the ground! The quarters were passing right on through the machine to the ground and I wondered why in the world no one else had noticed or picked them up before now.

I sat there and debated what to do because I was in a hurry and did not really want to pick all those quarters up. They did not belong to me and I did not want to take them inside but since my son was sitting there I thought I could use this opportunity as a teaching moment. I got some tissues and started picking up the coins and wrapping them in the tissues. I told my boy we were going to take them in to the attendant and let them know it was broken.

When we got into the small store there was a line of about four or five people ahead of us waiting to pay for gas or groceries. I was holding my son’s hand and was holding the tissue full of coins in the other which was quite heavy. My son tended to take off at a moment’s notice so it was imperative I hold onto him! He was impatient and wanted to go and did not quite understand why we had to wait.

When we finally reached the front of the line and began speaking with the attendant I realized she spoke very little English. She was of Asian decent. I tried to explain to her that the car wash was broken and that the quarters were falling through to the ground. I showed her my quarters. She kept telling me that “Yes!”, “Put quarters in carwash.” I would say “No!” “They are falling out and it is broken.” Well, we went around and around for a few minutes and I noticed the line was five or six people deep by this time and the people were getting impatient.

By now you are probably wondering how Disney movies come to play in this story. Well, my son’s favorite movie at this particular time was Lady and the Tramp but I thought it was just because Tramp would ceremoniously kick dirt back into people’s faces when he was walking away to show his defiance. Something that my son picked up rather quickly I might add and used when it suited him which made me laugh but I could not let him know that! And I did correct him, just so you know.

Let us get back to the attendant and our communication break down. I finally realized we were at an impasse and she was not going to take my/her quarters. So I told my son we were going to go as he impatiently tugged at my hand. I did not have a clue that he even understood what was going on until we walked away. He began to sway back and forth sideways and sing “We are Siamese if you please, we are Siamese if you don’t please!” And all in a perfect oriental accent like the scene out of Lady and the Tramp with the Siamese cats. The entire line of customers broke into laughter as I rushed my son out the door with a red face! And I did not think he understood what was going on!

So, Disney movies can go wrong sometimes if you are not careful. Of course you can not control your child’s sense of humor but you can use it as a teaching tool. We had a long talk about being sensitive to cultural differences after we left even though I do not think he had a clue of what I was talking about.

So I scarred my girl and opened up a career in comedy for my son through Disney. This is just fair warning to those of you just starting out on the parental journey. Be careful when selecting movies for your child and keep their disposition in mind!

Ken Myers is a father of three and passionate about great childcare. He’s always looking for ways to help families find the support they need to live fuller, richer lives. Find out more about expert childcare by checking out @go_nannies on Twitter.