How to Train Your Dragon

Last week I took Caleb to see How to Train Your Dragon. He enjoyed it immensely.

How to Train Your Dragon is about a young Viking named Hiccup. He doesn't really fit in with his peers, because unlike all the other Vikings, he is small and bookish instead of large and boorish. He is brushed aside by his father for being different. Hiccup eventually forges a friendship with a dragon, from whom he learns about all dragons. He discovers that the dragons are misunderstood, and if treated differently, become gentle instead of the fearsome creatures the Vikings perceive them to be.

As I watched the movie, I got to thinking. It has kind of become a common plot characteristic for the parents of the main character to be either deadbeats, or just plain ignorant. Movies such as How to Train Your Dragon, The Little Mermaid, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and Chicken Little all portray story lines where the parents are ignorant and overprotective, or ignorant and indifferent, and need to be taught a lesson.

While I'm sure it's true that there are a lot of ignorant parents out there, and maybe even deadbeats, I'm wondering if there are, or have been, negative repercussions from this depiction of the parent/child relationship? I mean, should be repeatedly showing our kids how great it turns out when they completely ignore us and do what they want? And reaffirming in their minds that we really don't know what's best for them?

Maybe I'm making too much of this, but being a parent, I wonder.

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