‘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. I have mixed emotions about this article, I mean I agree that far too many parents rely on media to subdue their children. As a child my mother only allowed us a hour of tv a day the rest of our days were spent playing pretend or playing outside with the neighborhood kids. I mean I’ve seen every Disney movie probably known to man being from Orlando, FL and having Walt Disney World in my backyard, it’s kinda hard to be shelter from Disney mania but that made my summers even now that I live in NYC I go home twice and year and go to Disney World. I think it’s all about what you as a parent teach your child not what a Disney movie does.

  2. Profile photo of Krystal Krystal says:

    i grew up with the disney princesses nd all that nd im fine. pepole can raise their kids how they want but disney is for kids to enjoy nd he needs to stop being so uppityy nd calm downn

  3. Profile photo of Becca Becca says:

    Its based on both parents, Cant isolate children from everyday life. Agree with you Sarah on Limitation of screen time. I will be keeping my fiance and my son very active. Letting him watch and listen to things that are learning and will help him.

  4. Profile photo of Sarah Sarah says:

    I think a healthy limit of screen time is a better idea. While the girls at the daycare I work for don’t spend ALL their time talking about princesses, they sure spend a lot of it dressing up and role playing. I would think as long as he reads her fairy tales she will be fine.

  5. Profile photo of Annaillesa Annaillesa says:

    My daughter’s room is decorated in Disney Princesses. She’s not due to be born until October 5th. I’m sure she’ll learn from me throughout her life to tell guys like this to kiss her rear end.

  6. Profile photo of mamaduke mamaduke says:

    I have an even greater respect for this guy now. While the Disney comment is a bit extreme, there is some truth in that.

    However, my little boy will know about media and technology very early as both of his parents are entrenched in it every day.

  7. Profile photo of Lorelei Lorelei says:

    I think that if you keep things at a good balance, then there shouldn’t be too much of an issue. You certainly can’t let your television baby sit your child, but my question is when exactly is a good time to introduce your child to technology? Now every classroom has a computer and kids are learning how to use these advancements at earlier ages. One thing we certainly should be enforcing though is safety and thinking things through when dealing with the internet!

  8. Profile photo of Ronisha Ronisha says:

    Liberal writers sheesh… What if he were a conservative then would it be ok what he said? Hardly. Foul language is foul language and that happens across the gambit.
    Tsk tsk try not to label.

  9. Profile photo of Ronisha Ronisha says:

    I understand both…. Totally. I don’t want my kid glued to television and I don’t want any of my daughters so caught up in Disney that she believes that these men in these stories actually exist. Actually it sucks that the only realistic prince charming was the lazy bum from Macedonia in the Princess and the Frog. Tiana was the only black princess and she got the dud lol! Ok I digress, but Disney is so not good for female self esteem when it comes to relationships and I don’t want my kid running out there in search of some enchanted romance she will never find. I like the princesses but hey let’s have them focus on something other than a love story. Brave is totally a step in the right direction but they have a long way to go.

  10. Profile photo of emi285 emi285 says:

    I can see limiting your child’s media intake….but WOW! He’s being a little rash in my opinion, but you know what they say about opinions…….

  11. Profile photo of atothedbly atothedbly says:

    I think this guy went a little over board for sure.. I grew up with the Little Mermaid as my favorite movie and still played outside all the time… balance is the key, not total isolation.. I think at some point in her life she will feel a little left out in not having the childhood nostalgia attached to those types of things like everyone else…

  12. Profile photo of taylor taylor says:

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

  13. 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.

  14. 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..

  15. 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.

  16. 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?

  17. Profile photo of Zenobiasmom Zenobiasmom says:

    I seen this book yesterday, Pitiful honestly

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.


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