Lack Of Moms And Dads In Kids Shows And Movies Made Us Pansy Helicopter Parents

Mother putting helmet on son’s (10-11) head wrapped in bubble wrap. Photo: D. Anschutz (Getty)

They say greatness comes from great obstacles, but maybe all the sadness in our favorite children’s movies and TV shows has really just made us soft. Pansy, helicopter-parent soft. Have you ever noticed that countless pieces of childhood nostalgia are lacking in parents or show the mother (or maybe both) being killed in front of the young, impressionable main character? That’s because more than 70 years of animated films have focused on delivering up early deaths of parents to screw with our fragile psyches. No wonder we’re so messed up!

That’s why we believe our childhood classics have wired us into overprotective helicopter parents. Is it because we’re afraid our kids will suffer irrationally similar fates or grow up parentless? Maybe. Or maybe we just don’t want our kid to grow up and be Robin. Have a look at your favorite childhood moments that made you all soft inside.

Watching Your Father Die (And Believing It’s Your Fault)

A study conducted using Snow White (1937) to Frozen (2013) found that parents are three times more likely to be murdered in children’s movies (and in the first 10 minutes). It’s kind of like how Up had that cute opening montage of the couple falling in love and growing old together, then the little lady died and we’re all crying while the opening credits are still rolling. Why is death in animated children’s flicks seemingly the only catalyst for greatness in life? Don’t you think Tarzan would have done just fine had he be given some proper guidance and an allowance for a whole set of clothes?

Watching Your Mother Die

Photo: Disney

The only thing worse than watching your father sustain some internal bleeding from a stampede and your uncle convincing you it’s all your fault is watching your mother get shot in the head. Bambi was clearly too cute so they had to break him a little. No matter how many times they remake this movie, it doesn’t get any less disturbing.

And Bambi wasn’t alone. Jasmine and Aladdin were both motherless, along with Pocahontas, Snow White, Belle, Nemo and Dumbo. But at least with Bambi, they mix it up with the brutally tragic animated death for children to watch repeatedly.

Watching Your Mother Die In The Rain

Ariel may have been a water-locked mermaid who grew up without a mother (depressing enough), but at least she didn’t have to lose her in the rain. Can you imagine losing a parent with wet socks on?

Growing Up Motherless

Full House made growing up motherless look fun. All you need is three dads, constant sing-alongs and endless white people problems that can be fixed with a quick talk! But for everyone else who didn’t have an uncle and a dad who’s best friend had nothing better to do than raise a few strangers, there was Gilmore Girls. We all know how brutal that was.

Raised by Grandma

I love how half of the shows we watched growing up had a grandparent living in the house — usually to the reluctance of the rest of the family — even despite the tragic loss of their spouse. That didn’t stop grandma from pressing those impressionable minds with her antiquated ideas for making great American television.

Orphan Raised By Strange Kids

Peter Pan (Hook), Mowgli (The Jungle Book), Lilo (Lilo & Stitch) and Elsa / Anna (Frozen) all grew up orphans. Clearly, they all turned out to be weirdos. Peter Pan had the biggest dork of a son, who of course quit acting to get a real job (like an idiot!) in real life.

Evil Stepmothers Making Second Marriages Look Evil

Snow White and any other movie dealing with stepparents helped condition second marriages as evil in almost every household. “You can’t replace my mother” and “You’re not my dad!” were popular phrases of the ’90s. Dude, you got twice the Christmas gifts, so stop your bitching.

TV shows like Step by Step show new families constantly at each others’ throats — probably because they grew up watching Snow White and somehow got confused that having a new, hot mom like Suzanne Somers is a bad thing. Most movies and TV give heavy misinterpretations of “love” and fake representation for how marriages should look, which is probably also why divorce is so hip in the first place.

OK, Really Evil

Alright, I guess second marriages are pretty bad ideas.

Orphan Who Watches Both Parents Get Murdered in Front of Him & Believes It’s His Fault His Entire Life?

Bruce Wayne is not only the epitome of everything we’re discussing — he combines all of these terrible things into one poor rich kid’s mind — but is also the most universally loved superhero (which is funny considering he has no super powers). It’s great that every kid grew up thinking this was normal. And what happens to such a tortured little soul, despite having a hefty bank account and hoards of women throwing themselves at him? Well…