Creativity Punch! Presents: How Modern Animations Use Parental Issues to tell the Message to Both Parties

Find Out how Today’s Kiddie Movies Strain, Cut and Reconnect Bonds Between Parents and Children

by Amanda Mamalio

Disney and Dreamworks’ Take in Parental Problems

rental problems as reflected by Pixar and Dreamworks tell the one message kids desperately want to tell their parents: “See me as me!” Parents raise kids. Kids grow up. Parents must soon come into terms that their kids are persons of their own.

In the movies, the kid is crying out: “Listen to me!” At one point in any of those movies, the kid will rebel to be heard or to prove something.

But what they all have in common in conflict, they also have in common with the solution. The kid must prove him or herself with a certain degree of maturity and the parent must realize that they are their person.

Pixar and Dreamworks are not so different in presenting disagreements between the child and parent, different though their realities and settings.

Dreamworks’ “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” vs. Pixar’s “Finding Nemo”

Both Marlin and Mr. Peabody as parents are protective to the point of fault to compensate what they see as their son’s limitations.

In Mr. Peabody and Sherman


  • The Parent: Mr. Peabody is a highly intelligent beagle who does everything with no error.
  • The Kid: Sherman is clumsy and naïve. He’s smart but seems to lack practical sense causing him to mess up situations that always end up in disaster.

In Finding Nemo

  • The Parent: Marlin is an overprotective and anxious father who lost his wife and unhatched children (except Nemo) to a barracuda.
  • The Kid: Nemo is a lively young clownfish with a stunted fin.

Sooner or later in the movie, the kid suffocates from the parent’s control. In the parent’s pursuit to achieve the best for them, they forget to know the best in them.

Throughout the movie; Mr. Peabody always comes into rescue from whatever trouble Sherman causes. This leads to Peabody doing almost everything with little room for Sherman to fix his own messes. At one point, Sherman argues with Peabody that he didn’t tell him about the custodial problems because he thinks Sherman can’t handle it.

The famous line “You think you can do it, but you just can’t, Nemo!” tells the whole relationship problem in “Finding Nemo”. Humiliated by his father’s over protectiveness, Nemo gets recklessly in a dangerous situation.

In both movies, the kid resorts to rebellion.

(Above) Peabody forbidding Sherman from fighting the Trojan war. (Below) Nemo venturing out of the reef to prove he can do it.

(Above) Peabody forbidding Sherman from fighting the Trojan war. (Below) Nemo venturing out of the reef just to prove that he can

The conflict was only resolved in a two-way street communication. Peabody explained to Sherman he only wants Sherman to obey him to keep him safe. However, Peabody needs to trust something he cannot control: Sherman and his abilities.

Nemo understood Marlin’s protectiveness but finds it constricting. Marlin has to place his faith on Nemo being able to take care of himself out of his reach despite Nemo’s disability.

Dreamworks’ “How to Train Your Dragon” (HTTYD) vs. Pixar’s “Brave”

In both movies, the parent has no to little in common with their kid.


  • The Parent: Stoick the Vast is everything a Viking should be –tremendously strong, fierce and fearless in combat.
  • The Kid: Hiccup is his smart but awkward teenage son who describes himself as a “talking fishbone”.

In Brave (2012)

  • The Parent: Queen Elinor in “Brave”, is refined, diplomatic who sees tradition as a way of life.
  • The Kid: Merida is a free-spirited, rebellious and adventurous princess who dreams of living her own life.

Because of their contrasting abilities and beliefs, each family don’t see eye-to-eye with each other. Both parents don’t expect the best in them; they expect what they thought they should be. This results to Stoick pushing Hiccup into dragon training without paying attention to his son’s protests. The same can be seen in Queen Elinor’s efforts to turn Merida into a proper lady and be married off for the price of peace among clans.

Note the similar frustration in attempting to be heard

Note the similar frustration in attempting to be heard

Stoick and Hiccup were finally able to settle their differences when Stoick realizes Hiccup is an able and resourceful warrior in his own.

Queen Elinor and Merida gain a deeper understanding in each other. But not before Merida was able to convince the clans to let go the tradition of betrothal and resolve the conflict among them –convincing her mother in the end that tradition is not the only solution for peace.

Dreamworks and Pixar Movies’ Conclusion

The four movies represented what are needed for the parent and child to get along with a deeper and renewed bond.

“Finding Nemo” shows trusting the kid in his abilities.

HTYYD shows proving oneself through actions.

“Mr. Peabody and Sherman” shows communication when Peabody finally levels with Sherman.

“Brave” shows humbling oneself for reconciliation.

However, this is only an interpreted conclusion based from someone who has only been a daughter. As a son, daughter, parent or both, what do you think are the issues in the first place?

Parent-child conflict resolution


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