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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Happily Ever After

I've been thinking a lot lately about fairy tales and Disney Princesses. The movies and stories that are considered to be classics always end with the Princess and her dream love going on to live "happily ever after". It occurs to me that this might be more than a bit misleading when it comes to the realities of relationships. After all, "happily ever after" takes a lot of work (and isn't always happy).

It's important to discuss with your children what it takes to maintain a relationship. These stories leave children - especially girls - to believe that loving someone is plenty good enough to last a lifetime.

When your kids are reaching the age where they can understand the level of work that goes into a relationship, you should begin to talk to them about the types of things you do to maintain your own relationships. If you're married or have a significant other, then let your child be a witness to some of the discussions that take place within that relationship. (No, don't have all out fights in front of your children.) When you are sitting at the table discussing the budget or just the plans for the holidays, let your child see how you each listen to the other and find ways to compromise.

If your children grow up without realizing that the fantasies and fairy tales are just that, then they will likely have a hard time adjusting to the realities of love and relationships. As we all know, it takes a lot of work and compromise - and plain ole stubbornness at times - to make a relationship last a lifetime. Be sure your children understand, so that they will be prepared to put in those long hours of frustration and sometimes being unhappy in order to maintain their relationships.