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Surviving Christmas TV with a child who joined the family by adoption

143 replies

Italiangreyhound · 14/12/2014 17:31

Oh look, Kung Fu Panda (adopted by a stork), on Sat 29th, Cinderella (lost her birth mum and dad married a bitch) in 22nd, The Rugrats movie (returning a new born baby to the hospital) in 23, Puss in Boots (and Humpty Dumpty was in the orphanage) on Christmas Day! Plus on that day we have Nanny Mchee (the children who have lost their mum), the child catcher on Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and later Kung Fu Panda 2. All we need is Tanged and Elf and we might be part way to a full set!

We started watching Elf last week on DVD but once they started talking about Will Ferrel going to find his 'real dad' I felt we should probably stop!

So there are a lot of programmes on TV this Christmas that some of our kids might find worrying.

OP posts:
Buster510 · 16/12/2014 06:47

DS really enjoyed Paddington, when we've watched adoption related films, I let him take the lead if he feels he wants to talk about it. So take Paddington, is that paddingtond mum? No it was his aunt, then explain that. "Oh I'm glad Paddington got to stay with his new family" then well chat about that.
Matilda, Mrs honey is a nice mummy for Matilda..why is she left alone in the house to cook etc..
Despicable me, aside from just laughing at most of it, now the children have a mummy & daddy.

My point is even if those films don't seem to trigger some sort of "trauma" for our children, it is clearly on their minds whilst watching. Luckily DS has never (yet) got upset or has shown any sort of anxiety around those films, for us they are quite a useful tool at times to explore his thoughts. I definitely however think I need to start pre vetting these films more before we watch!

Buster510 · 16/12/2014 06:49

Mrs doubtfire was a little touch & go with us, although he found bits funny, DS "but you & daddy won't split up, why is the dad leaving" etc. so I suppose it depends on your home setup maybe?

Buster510 · 16/12/2014 06:57

Oh & Buddy the elf, the 1st scene, "look that baby is in foster care"...queue a discussion.

mummytime · 16/12/2014 07:05

Oh I think I might have one - The Snowman? Maybe thats why its so popular. (Although my DC found it boring.)

ninetynineonehundred · 16/12/2014 07:11

Thank you for this thread. I don't have adopted children but my children have friends who are little and advice adopted who come over sometimes.
I'm aware of some of their triggers but had never considered thinking through which dvds to put on.
They are between 3 and 6. Any ideas for safe dvds to watch when their parents aren't there?

FamiliesShareGerms · 16/12/2014 07:23

Toy Story, Cars and Smurfs all seem safe bets

Jameme · 16/12/2014 08:13

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Buster510 · 16/12/2014 08:59

Toy storys are good for us too, DS loves them. Smurfs was okay, but she left a wicked dad to move to a home with the smurfs or something, if I remember rightly! (it's been a while!). Wow there are a lot of films out there aren't there! Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc, Polar Express (DSs FAV!) are good ones in our house at the mo, although he did/does question why he's on the train without his parents, apart from that though he loves it. Some of the old school Disneys too.

Threesocksnohairbrush · 16/12/2014 09:05

Yes it's TS 3 - our two were okay with it but the emotional impact on me was another matter! There's also the whole plot line that the evil bear became twisted when his owner abandoned and replaced him. Actually that's one of the pervasive themes that makes me wince most - when there's a simplistic equation of not loved by parents = evil villain who comes to a bad end.

Trying to think of safe ones! Frozen, Madagascar, Arthur Christmas, Wallace and Gromit, pirates and adventure with Scientists ...

Maybe ask their mum and dad? DD is fine with explicit adoption story lines but cannot take anything where a baby or child is apparently abandoned or without its parents. The Lion King was not a good move :(

ArcheryAnnie · 16/12/2014 09:06

Isn't Kung Fu Panda one of the good ones to watch, where there clearly isn't a visible genetic link between Panda and his dad, but there's a lot of love and undeniable family connection? (I say this as coming from a family where half were adopted, and half not, and where I do not look like my siblings, but they are undeniably my siblings.)

Jameme · 16/12/2014 11:18

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excitedmamma · 16/12/2014 12:46

Gutted that our LO 3yo screamed and screamed at the trailer for Paddington... shame... took me back to my childhood... ahhh

Jungle Book.... ahhh... 3am this morning we had her walking around singing 'ooo bi do... I wanna be like you who who'....

Luckily at Bambi she just says poor Bambi... who will love him now? and probably wonders why me and daddy are sobbing

Not easy is it? Grin

Jameme · 16/12/2014 13:06

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AdventuringAbout · 16/12/2014 13:27

Another vote here for "Pirates adventures with scientists" and Wallace and Gromit (but not the wrong trousers, as LO doesn't like it all when Gromit gets kicked out of his bedroom for a newcomer. Big is good - how wrong can you go with a giant floor piano?

Threesocksnohairbrush · 16/12/2014 13:35

Well yes, the whole Jungle Book has a fairly huge adoption theme - Mowgli is lost in the jungle, raised by the wolf pack, goes back to the human village, gets chucked out of human village, ends up as a native tracker living with his wife and kids in the jungle alongside his wolf brothers.

On the other hand there is a great bit when Mother Wolf scares off the tiger Shere Khan from baby Mowgli ... I identify with that a bit :)

How much of that made it into the Disney film I don't know! DS again loved a stage adaptation of the JB so you never can tell.

kmarie100 · 16/12/2014 13:56

We've got Netflix the kids usually search on there for movies. Got caught out by a film called "The Christmas Bunny" the other day. It's a very emotive film about a girl in foster care. Killed all the festive spirit in our house!

ArcheryAnnie · 16/12/2014 14:24

Adventuring I used to love "Big" but am now horribly squeamish about a film where a 12 year old has sex with an adult woman! I don't think I cold watch it now, especially not the scene where she watches Tom Hanks change back into a little boy.

AdventuringAbout · 16/12/2014 14:30

OK, you might have just killed that one for me. You're right. Ick.
I am going to stick to the toy shop section Grin

ArcheryAnnie · 16/12/2014 14:45

Argle, sorry, Adventuring!

EhricJinglingHisBallsOnHigh · 16/12/2014 18:44

Amazing that people really think that you deal with issues raised by being adopted by...pretending the child isn't adopted? Not sure what wilkommen was getting at really. And as for Gavlarr, just mind blown.
I never realised how many kids films have the theme of adoption in. I suppose it's good for children who aren't adopted to get a concept of how other families are made but I can imagine it could be very triggering for adopted kids.

ArcheryAnnie · 16/12/2014 19:15

So, I asked upthread but it got lost: what's the verdict of other people here on Kung Fu Panda? I'd argue that it's a very positive and loving portrayal of adoption.

Kewcumber · 16/12/2014 20:55

I liked Kung Fu Panda so did DS. Not our favorite film but the adoption thing is handled quite normally, the only thing i didn't agree with was that KFP didn't know about his own adoption which isn't really realistic but its a minor point.

Arthur Christmas is excellent (IMO), Paddington definitely not for a 3 year old - at least 5 and I would say mostly 7+

DS isn't generally unsettled by the obvious scary stuff so we have a high tolerance for scary films here.

DS like threes isn't bothered usually by straight adoption theme - its so normal to him that he barely notices it! But yes to abandonment themes being tricky and illness - he has a bit of a phobia about illness.

WillkommenBienvenue · 16/12/2014 21:17

As I was reading this thread i was just thinking that I had absolutely no idea about the issues that so many films raise.

But that's kind of the whole point of stories and film narratives. From Grimm to Spielberg, they raise issues, children process it and learn something positive.

But if you all feel strongly that the subject matter of adoption alone can be triggering and cause problems for your children as seems evident from the comments on this thread you ought to bring this up with the BBFC, I'm sure they would listen if you have a valid argument.

A film shouldn't traumatise a child and the certificates are designed to ensure this - perhaps the certificates need amending so there is a warning about the subject matter.

It's possibly something that the BBFC have simply never considered.

Kewcumber · 16/12/2014 23:37

You can't apply the specific traumas of a small group of children to the whole population - that's nuts. AS as you can see reading the thread - our children all react to different stimuli.

I'd love to see the BBFC warning - cert 12 because of "people wearing masks" which is one of the things which terrifies DS (though I don;t think thats anything to do with his adoption.

We don't want anyone else's experiences to be censored. We just want to be able to discuss it without anyone telling us we're being ridiculous. What might be appropriate for the the man on the Clapham Omnibus might not be appropriate for our children.

You might consider "the Accused" to be an appropriate film to stimulate discussion about rape and victim blaming etc for perhaps a group of university students but you wouldn't deliberately show it to a rape survivor just so you can have a lovely chat about how she can process events.

Devora · 17/12/2014 00:30

I never, ever wanted to be a precious parent. Never got accused of being one with my bc. With dd2, however, it happens a lot. I don't blame them - I think I also woefully underestimated the impact of trauma on young children, till I saw it for myself. But it is wearing being constantly confronted with this kind of pursed-lipped bemusement.

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