Categorized | Features, Grandparenting

Is your grandchild character obsessed?

By Ellen L. Weingart

Our 5-year-old granddaughter has five Frozen dresses — longish, ice-blue dress-up outfits of the sort worn by Frozen’s breakaway star, Elsa. They include one “official” Toys R Us version given to her by a family friend; the other four versions are not “official,” but they make her happy. Miriam is frequently seen wearing one of the dresses along with a hair piece that resembles Elsa’s snowy white braid.

There are also the Frozen-themed T-shirts she has and the Frozen-inspired jewelry given to her for her recent birthday, including the analog watch from her doting grandparents (from which she learned to tell time almost immediately) and the Frozen-based games and books she has.

IMG_6575She has sung Let It Go, the Academy Award- and Grammy-winning song from Frozen, so often, that her not yet 2-year-old sister frequently sings with her. And although she rarely watches TV, she has seen the Frozen DVD numerous times including once at our house where she explained the action to her grandfather and me and never once slipped in a spoiler.

Miriam is not alone in her passion: The Disney animated film, a particular hit with girls ages 2 to 11, has brought in over $1.25 billion at the box office and sold 14 million copies on DVD and Blue-ray and 3 million copies of its soundtrack. Revenues for the first quarter of Walt Disney Company’s 2015 fiscal year jumped 9 percent as sales of Frozen merchandise dominated the holiday season. The film was also a 2014 industry favorite, winning both an Oscar and Golden Globe for best animated feature film.

For those without a Frozen-fanatic family member, the film tells the story of sisters Queen Elsa and Princess Anna of the kingdom of Arendelle. Elsa was born with the ability to create ice and snow. As a child, her powers almost killed Anna when she accidentally hit her sister in the head with ice. Haunted by that moment, Elsa has isolated herself from Anna who longs to continue their past closeness. The two come in contact at Elsa’s coronation where Anna’s decision to accept the marriage proposal of a handsome but duplicitous cad against her sister’s wishes, enrages the new Queen, causing her to unleash her powers and freeze Arendelle. How, in true Disney fashion, it all works out in the end, is a testament to the power of love. But unlike typical fairy tales, it is not the love of a man that rescues the sisters but the love the sisters have for each other.

Is Miriam too into Frozen? Perhaps, but by their very nature, fads don’t last forever. Less than a year ago, Ariel, star of Disney’s The Little Mermaid, was Miriam’s favorite. Personally, I prefer the Frozen sisters. Ariel gives up her entire life for a man, who has no thought of changing his life to join her in the sea, not the best message for impressionable little children. Frozen includes plenty of “fairy tale” magic, but it is the “everyday magic” of Elsa trying to improve herself by controlling the anger that triggers her icy powers and especially the magic of love of family. It is, after all, sisterly love, not romantic love, that saves the day. I think Frozen provides the better model for growing up in the world and for two real life sisters who truly adore each other.

If you have a grandchild who is focused on a particular character in a book, in a movie or on TV, how do you feel about it? Do you indulge his or her interest? Do you think the character is a good role model? Are you more tolerant of your grandchild’s interest than you were to your own child’s? Let us know at

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