Disney Movies Can Help Children Understand Death - The M Word

Disney Movies Can Help Children Understand Death

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Talking to your child about death is not an easy thing to do.

According to a new study, Disney animated films can play a role in helping children understand the concept of death.

We can all remember when Bambi finds out his mother was shot by hunters in the forest. Or watching Mufasa die in the stampede of wildebeests in The Lion King.

The study published in the Omega Journal of Death and Dying found that Disney and Pixar animated films can help to start conversations with children about death.

Researchers at the University of Buffalo examined end-of-life (EOL) depictions and messages of death within 57 films.

They found that there were 71 character deaths within the 57 movies.

The authors Kelly Tenzek and Bonnie Nickels said the films could be used to help children process the concept of mortality.

They found that the movie deaths provided themes that adults could discuss with their kids. These were causes of death, whether the death was depicted or implied or if the character was good or bad.

Interestingly, Tenzek and Nickels also found that death is shown twice as much in ‘kids’ movies than in adult ones.

Speaking to Business Insider, Tenzek said:

‘We believe that Disney and Pixar films are popular and accessible for children and adults so that a difficult conversation can begin in a less threatening way earlier in life.’