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Positive Messages Kids Can Learn From Turning Red

Turning Red has quickly become a favorite Pixar film in many homes. This girl-power centric film has many audiences and critics praising its ability to normalize and talk about puberty and basically growing up. However, Turning Red also has some parents angry for some themes in the film, but similar themes are found in other Disney and Pixar films. The positive outweighs the negative. Here are some positive messages kinds can learn from Turning Red

Turning Red Parents Guide

Positive Messages Kids Can Learn From Turning Red

During the Turning Red press junket with some of the actors, directors, and producers, it was obvious to see how proud and personal this film is to those involved. It was awesome to see all females for two different interviews from Director Domee Shi, Producer Lindsey Collins, and Writer Julia Cho, to the five main voice actresses for these characters. 

Supportive Female Friendships

This girl gang is squad goals. No pettiness, just supportive female friendships depicted in Turning Red. Sandra Oh (voice of Ming) said one of the things she loves about this film is the friendships, because “it’s that precious time when
you’re starting to figure out who you are.” The characters are 13-years-old. Typically 7th and 8th graders.

Ava Morse (voice of Miriam) shared that she’s in high school and “everybody is just growing and changing
together. And it can be very stressful and dark at times, because everyone is going through a lot, and not everyone knows how to handle that.” This is where these friendships are important. Female friendships do not have to be catty.

Some may argue that they were supportive in Mei lying to her parents to go to a concert. And it’s true. Because sometimes you know a friend just needs you to support them, not judge them. If she had been contemplating doing drugs, I have no doubt Mei’s friends would tell her what a dumb idea that was.

Mei Makes Mistakes

Speaking of lying to her parents…Mei makes mistakes. We all make mistakes and our children are certainly going to make them. This image of constant perfectionism is also harmful to kids, causing stress and anxiety and a lack of self-worth. But not only does Mei make mistakes, so does her mother, Ming. And her overprotectiveness and behavior with embarrassing Mei is not portrayed as ideal. However, you do gain empathy for her character when you understand she does it out of love, but can’t communicate that appropriately. 

And they both apologize and forgive. Although they made mistakes, they can forgive.

Nerds are Cool

Mei is an overachiever. Rosalie Chiang (voice of Mei) said that one thing she admired about her character is puts all her time and energy to make sure she gets her point across, or whatever goal she has.

Also the four friends have nerdy tendencies, but they’re also cool. They are confident, and you admire them. Morse said nerd can be a degrading term, but that the film doesn’t romanticize the nerdiness, it just makes it seem cool. 

Healthy Father Figure

Mei has two loving parents that show their love in different ways. Some may relate to one or the other more, but I adore Mei’s father, Jin. He is always advocating for his daughter, cooking to show love, and helping Ming to trust their daughter. It’s so refreshing to see an involved father who is present. Sometimes dads are portrayed as the bumbling fool where only mothers are capable. Jin is no fool.

I personally loved Turning Red. Yes, there are some behaviors that are not ideal, but for 13-year-olds, totally age appropriate. Currently 13-year-olds are having sex, vaping, taking edibles, and looking to TikTok for life advice. Not all of them, and honestly I don’t think it’s a majority, but there’s a lot. 

Now’s the time to talk to our kids about difficult topics in the safety of our homes. 

Domee Shi and writer Julia Cho said Turning Red is kind of a love letter to moms and all of the craziness. I can testify motherhood is crazy. Solidarity, moms.