‘Go the F–– to Sleep’ Author Says No Media, No Disney, No Princesses for Daughter

‘Go the F–– to Sleep’ Author Says No Media, No Disney, No Princesses for Daughter Picture

Yesterday, Speakeasy caught up with Adam Mansbach, bestselling author of “Go the F–– to Sleep,” and asked him to give some advice on parenting.

In this interview, Mansbach says that his four-year-old daughter is having a very media-limited childhood. “My daughter has never watched any TV or movies or anything like that. Skype is the only time she’s in front of a screen. I think that really allows the imagination to flourish,” he said. “You see kids who are really glued to a screen all the time. You go to restaurants and you see kids sitting there with earphones looking at a movie on an iPhone or something. I’m not into all of that … My kid knows nothing about any of these media outlets.”


While I agree too many parents use media to “babysit,” I also think complete isolation from it could be equally damaging. In a world so driven by media and electronics, I wouldn’t want my child to face any learning curves when it’s time for her to be in use of, and knowledgeable about, these things. There should be balance in all things.


What really surprised me was how the interview with Mansbach ended. When asked about Disney films, he said, “The last thing I want is for her to have any conception of what a Disney princess is … I’m much more in line with what folks like Peggy Orenstein, who wrote ‘Cinderella Ate My Daughter,’ have to say about it all, which is that it’s an insidious and multi-billion dollar industry bent on turning your kid into an unrecognizable a–hole.”


I think that’s a little strong. My daughter loves the Disney princesses and will occasionally dress like one; I would never describe her princess behavior as being like “an unrecognizable a–hole.” I see these princesses as an element of her childhood; it’s like part of her rite of passage. Can you imagine being an eight-year-old, or a twelve-year-old, and not knowing who Ariel the mermaid is, or Rapunzel? Yes, I realize there are books about them. But to never see them in action? How does this affect his daughter socially? I’d imagine it affects her in some regards, but who knows; each parent is allowed his or her own parenting philosophy. I’ll agree to disagree on this one’s.

Have you read his book? Do you agree with Mansbach; will Disney’s princesses turn your child into an "a–hole"?

What do you think?

‘Go the F–– to Sleep’ Author Says No Media, No Disney, No Princesses for Daughter

Kimberly Shannon is a wife, a mother, an editor, a writer ... She is always working to find the perfect balance¹! After Kimberly received her bachelor’s degree in Journalism, she worked on two master’s degree programs (Creative Writing, and Marriage and Family Therapy). At various times in her life she has signed up to study Naturopathy, only to back out at the last minute, and humored the idea of returning full-time to the world of dance. Kimberly has also started 10 different children ... More

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  1. Profile photo of taylor taylor says:

    That’s great parenting, turn everything into a political argument… way to go

  2. I think Adam is being a tad ridiculous. My son is 21 months and he takes every opportunity possible to go outside with our two dogs and just explore everything! He can spend hours sitting under a tree with the dogs just looking at all the bugs and mulch! But he seriously adores Tom & Jerry and Garfield and all Disney films! On a rainy day, I have no problem with him watching television, even then he isn’t interested in watching it for hours at a time, an episode or two in a day is usually more than enough, as judged by himself! I remember reading Lion King as a child and crying and crying when Mufasa died; Disney teaches kids about life’s happenings in a very understandable and approachable way! And if or when I have a little girl, I should hope she would spend just as much time outside, but still enjoy a classic film! Can’t wait to see Adam’s reactions when his daughter becomes a teenager.

  3. Profile photo of meggy25 meggy25 says:

    I agree with the last post you can’t shelter your children from everything .. disney movies being at the way b ottom of the list to worry about..

  4. Profile photo of Crystal Crystal says:

    I grew up with tv, movies, Disney, even HORROR movies as a child
    and it didn’t ruin me (:
    So I know it won’t ruin my child.
    Those kids are going to be really confused when they enter the real world on their own.

  5. Profile photo of Kimberly Kimberly says:

    Oh for crying out loud. I wouldn’t give my kid an iPod or iPad at a young age or let him tune us out with computer/console gaming, but I don’t think there’s a problem with some educational TV or kid-friendly movies, as long as you’re also getting involved with your child (though mine personally is so active and independent, he won’t EVER let me read a book to him, even when he’s tired. Hopefully as he gets more into preschooler years, that will change).

    As for the Disney princesses…ya gotta be kidding me. I was about as into princesses as you could be–watching the movies daily, themed birthday parties, Halloween costumes, etc.–and I don’t think my mother ever would have described me as an unrecognizable a-hole. Maybe some parents let their daughters take the princess fantasy too far, but it’s the parents’ job to find the balance between imagination and reality. I know my toddler-to-young-girl desire to "be a princess" was because princesses were "big girls" who wore pretty dresses and got to dance at royal balls, not because I wanted to be waited on hand and foot and find a rich husband to provide for me. Get real. As for reading the books about princesses…yes, it flexes the imagination more, but come on people, you really want your kid to imagine people cutting off parts of their feet or getting their eyes pecked out like the original stories had?

  6. Profile photo of Zenobiasmom Zenobiasmom says:

    I seen this book yesterday, Pitiful honestly

  7. Profile photo of Jessica Jessica says:

    Sheltering does no good. A girl I grew up with was completely sheltered from everything…she even has a regulation of how high she was allowed to swing on the swing set. Before she was 18 she was on drugs and knocked up with her second kid by a man who is 3 years older than her and always in prison. I’m not saying that everyone ends up that way, but kids have to know how the world works. No one wants their child glued to the tv but the shows for children are very educational. I agree with a comment on here from Sandy, they ARE called fairytales for a reason, and as a parent it’s your job to make sure that they know the difference. And with everything being "electronic" based now, they have to have that knowledge. If not then they will be playing catch-up the rest of their lives.

  8. Profile photo of Whittney Whittney says:

    I have three children ( 2 girls and 1 boy), and my girls love to dress up like the princesses with their cousins. They also watch the educational shows like Dora, Super Why, Sesame Street. etc. My four year old is starting 4k this year and can already speak some Spanish from what she has learned from Dora. I don’t think that letting them watch some media is bad but I do agree it needs to be in moderation.

  9. Profile photo of ErinF ErinF says:

    I agree that kids are often used to having media fed to them while their imaginations atrophy. I also am wary of the often sexist themes in (especially older) Disney Princess movies–I don’t want my daughter to think that her ultimate aspiration should be the approval and shelter of a man. I think that these things should be indulged for the sake of cultural literacy, but should be accompanied by discussion of what they’ve gotten out of the movie.

  10. Profile photo of Charlie Charlie says:

    Really you are going to take advice from a parent that uses that kind of language in a title. PLEASE WAKE UP AMERICA the modern media and liberal writers are TRASH.

  11. Profile photo of Alex Alex says:

    I have read his book and I think anyone with children can identify with the feelings of being at wits end and just wanting your child to go to sleep. When reading the book I did not feel that the author was trying to be crass. I took it as more of a " If I don’t laugh, I’ll cry!" feeling. While I do not plan on raising my daughter in a bubble, I do plan on limiting her access to things that she is not developmentally ready to handle.

  12. Profile photo of Andreana Andreana says:

    I agree that you shouldn’t use media as a babysitter. I absolutely hate seeing kids plopped down in front of the TV with their jaws hanging down and eyes wide open like a zombie or someone who has been hypnotized/brainwashed. BUT, I do agree that not all media is bad and there is a lot of educational media out there. I believe everything is fine to do as long as its in moderation.

  13. Profile photo of Kimberly Kimberly says:

    My son had a serious reading disability and educational shows gave him what he could not get from books on his own. I read to my children daily and sometimes multiple times through out the day. I think it is about finding the right balance for you children. My children were also required to play outdoors, do chores and help take care of their home. When children are exposed to good books, the outdoors, art, music and sports they usually find a good balance. It’s a parent’s job to expose them to the best of the choices out there and in todays world that means helping them learn to be wise consumers of media.

  14. Profile photo of Lissa Lissa says:

    I agree that the Disney princesses do more harm than good – though the Disney shows meant for older kids tend to be much worse – iCarly, Victorious, and other such shows that my stepkids watch seem to teach kids to show attitude, lie constantly, that mean girls are role models, minor theft is okay, etc. (I actually quiz them on the morality of these themes whenever they watch these shows in my care, in an attempt to combat the influence.) However, shows like the old mainstay Sesame Street, Dora (now that Swiper no longer steals with only slight admonishment), and my favorite, the Wiggles, teach things like manners and basic reading/counting, spacial awareness and such. I feel that while keeping small children watching TV constantly is harmful, having other influences than parents – especially brightly dressed & singing adults, other children, and toy-like puppets reinforce what we try to teach in small doses is a very good thing. After a certain age (last i read from popular psychology, age 5 or so), I feel a more loose hold can be taken on the kinds of things kids watch, but still with guidence. Even a bad example can be a good thing if the kids understand to learn from the mistakes they see.

  15. Profile photo of tiffy tiffy says:

    this is ludacris. their kids. i understand not letting her watch tv all the time because my daughter isnt allowed to be glued to the television but shows like the dora the explorer and super why are educational. i dont want my daughter growing up thinking lifes a fairytail but im not going to smash her dreams while shes a kid.

  16. Profile photo of Sandy Sandy says:

    They’re called Fairytales for a reason…My 4 yr old daughter is into Disney princesses, she is allowed to watch the movies (family movie night usually). I don’t feel it’s had a negative impact on her.

  17. Profile photo of meandmyabbyk meandmyabbyk says:

    I think what the point of no disney princess movies means to him, is teaching his child that life isnt a story book…there are no prince charming happy endings, and if you end up being one of those girls with such a BENT focus on what reality really is, its a mistake. BUt as for "seeing" those characters in action— obviously you don’t have a grasp on what REAL imagination is– I never had to watch those movies as a little girl to see them in my mind the way they are animated…as a matter of fact EVERY BOOK IVE EVER READ SINCE I COULD START READING is BETTER in my imagination, than it ever was on screen. Also, get real. Facebook is ruining the world. Im GLAD he isnt letting his kid turn into an empty a-hole shell. I have a baby, 3 months old now, who I could care less if she even ever KNEW about facebook, etc. She wont. We dont have facebook in my house. I refuse to let it consume my life, the way it has for the other 5 billion people in the world who use it.

  18. Profile photo of Tamara Tamara says:

    I agree. Like everything else in the world balance is the KEY. I am also worried about balance when I start our family. Enough time as mother and child/ father and child/ family time/ work/ homework/dinner/tv/social networks/ all in one day! How am I going to do it?

  19. Profile photo of Katerina Katerina says:

    I have not & will not read his book. I think it’s incredibly crass. So this interview doesn’t really surprise me much 🙁

  20. Profile photo of kelly cannon kelly cannon says:

    Balance is the best way to

  21. Profile photo of meredith meredith says:

    I’ve read his book and I think his quotes here are pretty intense and judgey.

  22. I agree that life is about balance – the trouble is finding the perfect fit for media and books and play time, and not just having the TV babysit your child. This is one of the things I am most afraid of about becoming a parent, finding balance in everything.

  23. Profile photo of KWRAY KWRAY says:

    Can’t the same be said about anything? Romance movies/novels generally promote the idea that some amazing guy will come and take care of us in spite of our flaws when anyone who’s in a healthy relationship knows real life experiences require more work. I have a scripture app on my phone to use while I’m at church so I don’t have to carry my scripture set with my lesson manual, diaper bag, purse, infant carseat, etc but that doesn’t mean I don’t prefer to pull out my books. I think the key is understanding your child and each of their individual personalities. It is the parents responsibility to do the work and to teach the child how to be aware. Whether it’s what they are doing with their time or that princesses are good fun not a way of life.

    I personally loved all the princess stories and, while they might promote a sense of "admire me", almost every single one involves a great moral. Cinderella was a good spririted, giving person who was rewarded for her long suffering. Belle didn’t cave in and marry the most handsome guy in town but stayed true to herself and found love in an unlikely place. Aurora wasn’t raised in a palace and enjoyed nature and being around those who cared for her.

  24. Profile photo of Angela Angela says:

    I read the books and I havent seen a couple of their movies (Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel) and it does not affect me in any way. I have to agree with him in the media. I know my daughter wont be playing with Ipads or cell Phones for a long time. Just like my dad did with me. I think that is the main reason I looove to read because my entertainment were mainly books.

  25. Profile photo of marichinno marichinno says:

    I have never read his book and I with the interview that you had with him I have to disagree with him also. My daughter is into Disney princesses and I think its fine we all dream of a prince charming when were kids. I don’t think that it will define what our daughters will be in the future but it does show them the difference between fairytale and reality.