Let me start by saying I absolutely despise the Disney Channel. Apart From Phineus and Ferb, I don’t really think think there are any redeeming values on its programming. (and that show is only because Bowling for Soup are OK with their song being used for the theme)
In fact, when Abbi was just a little older than the boys, she started acting crazy, totally unlike herself. She started talking back, even yelling that she needed privacy, rolling her eyes when I told her to do something.
I quickly realized she was mimicking the behavior of the shows she watched on that channel. If you don’t have the joy of seeing these shows, they all have a common theme: parents are stupid, they come up with bad ideas, the teenage kids are smart, and in the end it is only that Disneyfied pre teen or uppity kid that comes up with a plan to save the day and the parents gush in stupefied pride over the fact their kid is smarter than they are.
Abbi used this mentality yelling, nay, screaming for privacy. She got angry with her sister Hannah. She slammed doors to make her point, an action she was warned would have dire consequences. One particular day she got in a Eisner-esque argument with her mother about wanting to be alone in her room and that she hated her sister and everyone needed to stay out of her room. She slammed her door with such force that her sister’s trophy shelf on the adjoining wall flew off the wall anchors holding it in place. Hannah’s soccer trophies, a tribute to the “everybody wins” mentality in my opinion, flew to the ground. Hannah was beside herself. Didn’t matter what I thought, Hannah thought she was the greatest soccer player ever, and she had trophies to prove it.
My answer? I blocked all Disney channels from all TV’s. I also took Abbi’s door off the hinges, leaning the door against the wall facing her bed so that she had to see it no matter where she sat in the room, a reminder of her misbehavior. Suddenly Dad didn’t seem. So stupid, he was a force to be reckoned with and the plot of her shows was nowhere close to reality.
Her attitude was fixed in just about a week.
So imagine my surprise when Disney helped us today.
Noah has had a rough couple weeks. He got in fights. He had to apologize to his mother, taking a letter and placing the envelope on her grave so the consequences hit home. Now that he has NO wiggle room he knows he has to work twice as hard to just stay away from trouble.
So for the second time in as many weeks, this girl who loves to push
His buttons comes up to him and says in the most mean way possible: “my life is better than yours. I have both parents and your Mom is DEAD!”
Here is where Disney came to play. The boys wanted to watch “Lilo and Stitch” this weekend. Toward the end, the nasty, chaotic little alien looks at everyone and says “this is my family. I found it all on my own. It is little, and…it is broken, but it is still good. Yes, it is good.”
So when Noah’s sister brings up that this girl was trying to get Noah to react again today, to get him to push back and get in trouble, he didn’t. At the dinner table he says, “oh, yeah, she said it again.”
“Are you okay, little moo? What did you do?”
“I didn’t do anything,” he says, rather dull and matter of fact, taking a bite out of his hamburger.
“You know if she really had it so great she wouldn’t have to say anything about how much better her life is, right? I mean, we aren’t perfect, but we are OK. I know it would be perfect if Mommy were here, but since she’s not, it’s not horrible, is it?”
He just looked at me and in unison, nearly all the kids said, “it is like the movie! This is our family!It is little, and it is broken . . . But it is still good. Yeah, it is good.” Bear in mind, they’re my kids, so the statement came with the obligatory voice mimicry.
Damn you, Eisner! Just when I was enjoying hating your world-dominating ways you have to help my family.
Next thing I’ll have a bumper sticker that reads “Ohana means Family!”
But, hey, we aren’t perfect. I would argue, though, that we have bent, not broken. The fact is we are starting to stand back up. It really is dysfunction of the highest order, but in the end, we are still good.