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Therapists are singing praises for Turning Red and here's why parents should take note

The new Disney+ film Turning Red is starting conversations about women's health and sexaulity

The vast majority of people walking the earth today remember what it was like to be a 13-year-old child. Wrestling with the idea that you’re growing up, hormones are all over the place, and suddenly you want to be more than friends with some of your classmates. It’s a weird and complicated age, but Disney’s Turning Red takes on the challenge with a strong 13 year old female lead who grapples with cultural norms, coming of age and finding her voice. The themes of this movie don’t fall too far from the Disney tradition of displaying coming of age stories in anything from the Little Mermaid to Finding Nemo.

Mei is a 2nd generation Chinese Canadian girl who struggles with regulating her emotions, which is something we can all relate to when it comes to navigating becoming a teenager. The cultural piece is something that really resonated with 2nd generation Chinese Canadian therapists. I took the time to speak with a few therapists to get their thoughts on Disney’s Turning Red.


Jocelyn Lam, who is a licensed marriage and family therapist who specializes working with this population said “I loved Turning Red because of the nuanced approach to the mother-daughter relationships across generations in the Lee Family. Mei-Lin grapples with saving face and being a ‘loyal’ daughter to her family, versus embracing a more messy side to her personality and broader range of emotions, which is a common struggle that 2nd generation Chinese teens experience.” Lam went on to express how much she “loved that the story spotlighted how interdependence within Chinese families can result in strength and vulnerability.”

With Turning Red, Disney has sparked an important cultural conversation

It’s clear that Disney struck an important chord by capturing how culture and mental health intertwine. Lisa Ibekwe, a licensed clinical social worker and first generation American viewed the movie and said “Turning Red was a phenomenal depiction of the thin line between culture and intergenerational trauma. It represents how culture heavily influences what we pass down to our children. Many children in general struggle to express their wants and desires to adults, and it’s even harder when there is a cultural gap between their desires and the expectations.”

While the cultural stuff stood out to many who rarely see their culture played out on the big screen, that wasn’t the only reason therapists have been singing the praises of the movie. There are some therapeutic things in there that parents might have missed, but kids could truly learn from. Jocelyn pointed out “the movie showed active coping tools and redirection of thought, open discussion of menstruation, accepting that different emotions can co-exist, a holistic view of psychological happiness and addressing intergenerational trauma.”

Turning Red helps show the importance of talking about sex education with kids 

Jenny Moore Greunke, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker expressed that Turning Red was “such a great example of not feeling the need to change yourself to make others comfortable. Showing that being who you are without shame is healing, even when there may be generations before you who haven’t evolved to your level of emotional intelligence yet. Radical Self love!” Kathleen Hearne, Licensed Professional Counselor said “through openly talking about the traumas and it’s affects can help individuals and generations grow and thrive from those experiences verses it causing continued trauma within the family through hurtful behavior patterns.” Hearne went further to say that “it’s helpful in normalizing that we all have experiences in life that have shaped us and that we can use them to thrive and grow towards our authentic self by being open and compassionate with ourselves and others.”

The themes that Turning Red touches on are so deep and important that it is amazing to see how seamlessly Disney pulled this movie off. Preteens and teens can see themselves in Mei-Lin and learn to embrace their “messy side” while also learning how to regulate their strong emotions through the coping mechanisms so carefully placed within this movie. Hats off to Disney for not shying away from the hard stuff while also giving us tools and healing to move forward when we relate to the film.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

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Memories of childhood get lodged in the brain, emerging when you least expect.

There are certain pleasurable sights, smells, sounds and tastes that fade into the rear-view mirror as we grow from being children to adults. But on a rare occasion, we’ll come across them again and it's like a portion of our brain that’s been hidden for years expresses itself, creating a huge jolt of joy.

It’s wonderful to experience this type of nostalgia but it often leaves a bittersweet feeling because we know there are countless more sensations that may never come into our consciousness again.

Nostalgia is fleeting and that's a good thing because it’s best not to live in the past. But it does remind us that the wonderful feeling of freedom, creativity and fun from our childhood can still be experienced as we age.

A Reddit user by the name of agentMICHAELscarnTLM posed a question to the online forum that dredged up countless memories and experiences that many had long forgotten. He asked a simple question, “What’s something you can bring up right now to unlock some childhood nostalgia for the rest of us?”

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