Have you ever felt that your emotions are overflowing and that you don’t know what to do with them? Both children and adults go through situations where they are about to explode. Mei Lee turns into a red panda when her feelings overwhelm her; it reminds you of those times when you wanted to transform yourself. Red left us with great lessons, from emotional intelligence to the value of friendship.
This Disney film addresses the passage to adolescence and other taboos such as menstruation, but it also has many lessons that you can apply in your relationship with your children; it is also an option to have an enjoyable time with your naughty ones.
Red tells the story of Mei Lee, a thirteen-year-old girl who goes through many changes, physical and emotional, and comes from a very traditional family, so in her transition to adolescence, she faces all the family rules to fight for her ideals.
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Emotional intelligence in children
Whenever Mei Lee feels strong emotions, such as anger or embarrassment, she transforms into a red panda. She must learn that managing feelings from childhood is very important. Emotional intelligence helps to face the challenges of life positively and thus avoid the sense of frustration.
“Promote the knowledge of your children’s emotions by helping them express them effectively and thus find solutions,” explains the Federation for the Defense of Private Schools (FEDEP).
Daniela Barzallo, a specialist in child neuropsychology, comments, “Children do not have the tools to manage their emotions, so adults have to be their guide and emotional management.” She advises parents to allow children to express their feelings and help them identify what they feel (anger, sadness, fear, etc.). She also asks to show understanding and lead by example with her attitude.
Most of the conflicts that Mei Lee goes through in Red are due to not managing her emotions well. These lessons that Red left us will make you reflect, in addition to the fact that you will indeed identify yourself with the parts of the film.
Express what you feel
Sometimes you don’t express what you feel for fear of having problems or disagreements with others; it is very damaging because when you keep everything that bothers you, you become a time bomb. Mei Lee didn’t tell her mom what bothered her, so she accumulated it until she became a red panda.
Overprotecting is not good
Mei Lee’s mom took care of her every step she took; she worried she could be at risk. Although her intentions were good, as she only wanted to protect her, she put her in awkward situations more than once, which caused her daughter more stress. As a parent, you worry too much about your little ones and are terrified of the idea that something will happen to them, which is why sometimes you go too far. You must let go and trust that you have brought them up well to face difficulties.
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Follow your instincts
If Mei Lee’s mom was so overprotective, it was partly because her mom was too demanding of her, and she questioned the decisions she made in raising her. The experience of family and previous generations is very valuable. Still, you should also trust your abilities as a mom or dad and do what you think is best for your family.
Mei Lee goes from one extreme to the other: either she keeps everything she feels to herself, or she lets it out all at once, like when she gets mad at the birthday party of one of her classmates. Knowing how to manage our emotions sounds easy but not; that is why it is super important that, from an early age, you teach your children the importance of managing their feelings and how to express them.
Respect their tastes and decisions
We all have different preferences, not because you like or dislike something; it will be the same with your child. Everyone is unique, so you must respect her tastes, clothes, music, or food without judging. Mei Lee didn’t talk to her mom about her favorite band, 4 Town, because she knew she didn’t like it, so she hid everything related to the band, and it caused her a lot of trouble.
The value of friendship
Mei Lee’s friends support her unconditionally; they accept her as she is, make her see that becoming a panda is not so bad, and encourage her to fight for what she wants and defend her ideals. Friends give you strength when you think that everything is lost; your little ones must know the relevance of friendship.
Although sometimes you would like to stop time so that your children are babies forever and have them close to you, the reality is that they grow faster than you expect. Mei Lee’s mom kept things the same because she believed the changes would push them away. Everything changes in life, but this does not mean it is bad. Relationships are also transformed; even if they are no longer babies, you will always have a special connection with your children.
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Do what makes you happy
In families, some traditions have been followed for generations. In Mei Lee’s, all women must perform a ritual to avoid becoming a red panda; however, this little girl broke with it. Her grandmother and aunts questioned her decision, they even blamed her mother for this choice, but later they accepted it; they realized that the most important thing is to do what gives you happiness since each one is different.
Red is a film that will steal a lot of laughs from you and make you reflect on the lessons it leaves behind.
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Translated by: Ligia M. Oliver Manrique de Lara
Spanish version: here