Once upon a time, you thought of and treated your little girl as a princess. But she took it to heart and now you’re bowing to her every whim and fancy, not to mention swimming in too much pink stuff, tiaras, and ball gowns. Having a little “princess” and dealing with a Princess Complex at home may not be all fun and magic.
Your little girl has become too engrossed in herself: how she looks, the way she dresses, and the way she acts. If she’s focusing on the pretty things, putting herself as the center of the universe, obsessing about her looks and/or living life as a fairy-tale in general, your daughter could be suffering from a Princess Complex, aka Princess Syndrome or Princess Sickness, according to psychologist Jennifer L. Hartstein.
While there’s nothing wrong with the color pink or pretending to be a princess per se, the unrealistic ideals this extreme preoccupation with royal life, as defined and advanced by the media, portrays could damage your daughter in the long run. Psychologists believe as an adult, she may become self-consumed, difficult to please, and dependent on a man to save and complete her. It could also influence her self-esteem, independence, and empowerment.
Fortunately, you can still steer her onto the right course to become the confident, kind, independent, and empowered woman you want her to be. Here are some tips (hint: it starts with you).
Whenever she goes on and on about how she wants to become a princess, take the opportunity to tell her about the real princesses in the real world like Princess Diana and Princess Kate. Explain to her being a princess is not all fun and games. Real princesses have real responsibilities. They’re also not selfish, but kind and loving. They always prioritize the welfare of their constituents and often do a lot of community service. In short, they use their privileged position to do good.
When she acts like a spoiled brat or a diva, tell her how a princess always maintains etiquette and proper decorum. Simply put, she should always show respect and good manners. Most especially, teach her part of being a princess is to accept everyone as they are.
Children are curious. They have so many questions and follow up questions. Use this natural tendency to your advantage. Welcome her questions and make it work to your advantage by teaching her a lesson or two through your answers. Also encourage her to tell you her opinions without fear you will judge her. Allow her to voice out her concerns with assurance you’ll make time to listen and talk to her about it.
It’s cool to be a princess, but it’s not cool to buy princess stuff just because all the other girls at school have them. Teach your daughter she doesn’t need to conform, she’s an individual who can have different likes and dislikes from her schoolmates. Everyone’s different and that’s fine. Teach her to embrace her uniqueness and the uniquness of others, too.
She loves her tiaras and ball gowns and all her pink possessions so there’s no reason to take them away from her. But to curb her Princess Complex, you need to introduce her to new things: new toys, new colors, and new movies she can enjoy. Best-selling author Peggy Orenstein has many tips on how to do this, but here are the best:
Take a break from “Frozen” and “Snow White” by watching the early films of Hiyao Miyazaki: “My Neighbor Totoro” and “Kiki’s Delivery Service.” I guarantee they will become favorites. You might also try his films, “Nausica,” “Castle in the Sky,” “Ponyo” and “The Secret World of Arietty.”
Best Alternative-Princess Disney films: Mulan and Mulan 2, which contains the subversive, catchy, princess-questioning song, “I Want to Be Like Other Girls.” Shrek and its sequels also offer a fairyland world with a distinctly atypical princess.
Sick of pink clothing? Have a dye-in with your daughter: Get a package of cheap, white t-shirts and customize them. Dye them a rainbow of colors.
Perhaps the most important tip of all is to have the right attitude all throughout your little girl’s transition from being princess-obsessed. As much as possible allow your daughter to choose for herself and express a lot of enthusiasm about her choices that excite you.
It’s also important to let her know, although you tell her how pretty she is, what’s really important are the good deeds she does. To reinforce this, remember to praise her whenever she does something good.
Raising your daughter to be a great woman takes a lot of time and effort. But you can start by replacing those unhealthy Princess Complex symptoms with positive traits and values. This process, too, takes time so don’t rush your daughter to leave her princess ways behind immediately. Be patient, loving, and supportive because she will need you through it all. Just remember it’s not too late for your happily ever after after all.
Share the article if you found it useful and tell us what’s the worst Princess Complex behavior your daughter has displayed so far and how you plan to change it?