3 Parenting Lessons From Willy Wonka

There was a cute article about all the parenting lessons that can be learned from Han SoIo and I thought I bet there are a lot of things to be learned from a lot our favorite movies. But since I’ve never seen Star Wars (Don’t judge), I thought I would pick a movie I know a little bit about. What did I pick? Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, of course. No offense to Johnny Depp, but the ORIGINAL is the only one I actually care to see.

As I was re-watching this classic, I was struck by all the wonderful themes the film presents. I am one of those counselors who believes in things like film study and bibliotherapy. I think it is much easier for people to see things and have them make sense. I use a variety of audio and visual techniques to gain insights and connections with my clients. And to be perfectly honest, I sometimes use the same techniques on my kids. I have been known to make the jump from a sitcom scene to a conversation about bullying or telling the truth.

But as many times as I have watched this movie, I can’t say that I have ever thought of it as a teaching tool before, but low and behold as I am working on my blog and preparing for upcoming conferences, I am looking in more places for material that will be enjoyable and useful as counseling tools.

And so I present to you the 3 parenting lessons that I gained from watching Willy Wonka, I hope you enjoy. If you think of any other themes, drop me a line in the comments, I’d love to hear what you think.

1. Overindulging children will make parents, and children, miserable: I don’t know what’s worse, having a kid who is a “bad egg” or knowing that you made them that way. And clearly no one wants to have to “squeeze” the bad out of a blueberry shaped kid either. But the reality is, though we usually don’t have the comical visualization to show us, overindulging kids will almost always make you miserable and usually them too. Worried about saying no to your kids, just think about the alternative and what that might look like.

2. Childhood is full of chances to learn…from mistakes: Good old Charlie, bumping into the ceiling with Grandpa Jo, and all he had to do was belch his way down. Sure we can think about the fear he must have felt and how it nearly cost him the chance of a lifetime, but think about all he learned. Childhood can be messy and unpredictable, but the best lessons often come from living through and cleaning up the mess.

3. A little bit of nonsense never hurt anyone, really: Okay, I know you’re not bursting through the ceiling of your very own glass ceiling in a magical flying elevator, but childhood is all about dreaming. Parenting is hard work. There’s all those bills and hard work, and people who think you have all the answers. When was the last time you had a good old fashion laugh with your kids? Make time for fun, joy, laughter…nonsense even and watch your kids eyes light up.

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