Family Therapist Ranks PIXAR Parents

Family Therapist Ranks PIXAR Parents

What does healthy parenting look like? How do parents show up without being overbearing or controlling?

Licensed therapist Jonathan Decker and filmmaker Alan Seawright are taking a look at Pixar parents and ranking them by healthy parenting throughout the films. They rank Coco’s Mama Imelda, Inside Out’s Jill and Bill, Luca’s Daniela and Lorenzo, Onward’s Laurel, and Turning Red’s Ming and Jin. Jonathan uses his expertise in family therapy to explain why some Pixar parents miss the mark and why some excel at parenting their children. Some parents react instead of respond, some are overbearing, and others make room for all emotions to be felt. Jonathan and Alan share some of their parenting wins and misses, and they compliment each other’s dadding.

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Written by: Megan Seawright, Jonathan Decker, and Alan Seawright
Produced by: Jonathan Decker, Megan Seawright, Alan Seawright, and Corinne Demyanovich
Edited by: David Sant
Director of Photography: Bradley Olsen
English Transcription by: Anna Preis

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58 Responses

  1. Cinema Therapy says:

    Don’t forget to check out!

    • dracofirex says:

      There aren’t any jobs left 😫

    • Christopher Michael Sayler says:

      Now do Studio Ghibli

    • OrAngeAnArchy says:

      The videos you guys do while very entertaining are so Invaluable.

    • spud says:

      On the off chance you guys see this, thanks for being my weekly therapy. I decided a long time ago that I’d go on a journey of self healing and you guys just popped up on my recommendations. Every video teaches me something new that I didn’t know i needed. Thanks Cinema Dads.

    • 5sib's ROBLOX Channel says:

      Hi, so, idk if you guys thought of this, but in inside out the leader in the mother’s head is sadness – a sign of empathy in this movie – the leader in the father’s head was anger – dads are often depicted as angry, or the bad guy, or something along those lines – and the leader in Riley’s head was joy – children are often seen as happy-go-lucky.

      Idk, just a thought.

  2. babs3241 says:

    One thing about “Coco” that interested me–yes, there was the music ban, but when we see the family functioning at the beginning, Miguel is very securely attached to them. He’s comfortable being a bit rebellious, he cheerfully says, “Love you, Mamá” as he leaves, and, maybe most importantly, when he “discovers” about de la Cruz, he doesn’t hide it. He assumes that they will all accept it. The fact that he’s deeply disappointed when they don’t suggests that his usual experience is different–that, aside from music, they have been supportive.

    • babs3241 says:

      @Susanne Huber It would have been really easy to make them tyrannical and cruel. The way they did it–the way that trauma manifested as what most of them seem to have perceived as not much more than a quirk–made the dynamic of the movie so much more interesting. And that in the end, while Mamá Imelda and Mamá Elena had to change their ways, it wasn’t just a question of Miguel showing them how right he was. He also had to acknowledge that there _were_ things more important than his music dream. Until he was willing to let go of it for something more important, it really would have ended up poisonous, as it did with de la Cruz. But because the course of the movie connected him with something larger, he will now be able to follow that passion without being swallowed by it. Meanwhile, his family will be able to step out from under the trauma of the murder after a lot of years.

      (Also, I like that they didn’t go for trying to explain away Ernesto. He’s just a raging sociopath who trashed their family because he didn’t like being defied. Oh, sure, he stole the songs. But in 1921, honestly, a songwriter wouldn’t have had enough power to fight a movie studio, anyway.)

    • babs3241 says:

      @squarebear619 Yes, he has an arc–it’s subtle, but present. At first, he just says, “If Abuelita says no plaza, then no plaza.” Then he protests when she breaks the guitar. Then he actually stops her in that scene.

    • squarebear619 says:

      ​@ParkityParkPark I also like how he stops his mother, the Matriarch, from stopping Miguel from playing for CoCo.

    • Ruriva says:

      I felt that analysis personally. My parents were always so supportive of me I remember suffering an ontological shock when they didn’t agree with me on something I thought was just a common understanding. Their disagreement really came out of no where in my perspective.

    • ParkityParkPark says:

      I’m also a big fan of the scene at the end when he goes to try to help his great grandma remember and his parents finally break through the door. You only see about the chest down, but the dad’s posture and tone of voice that are initially very assertive and disapproving IMMEDIATELY soften when he sees how upset his son is.

  3. Eugenie De Meyer says:

    As a former 13yo girl, those two scenes in Turning Red are scarier than any horror movie will ever be

    • Josh Loves Movies says:

      That would be a fanart Artist worst nightmare!

    • Enocent1 says:

      My mom found the drawer of all the notes boys wrote to me in elementary school and went on a rampage and then turned around and asked me why I wasn’t trying for this one PARTICULAR boy she actually approved of and never gave me a chance to say I wasn’t going for ANY of them. Never did. XD

      Turns out even as a child I knew I was asexual. XD

    • Some Crusader 1224 says:

      I’m not a girl, but if I saw someone doing that to their kid the only thing that would be Turning Red would be the walls.

    • Dreamer Rose says:

      They are why I can’t actually watch the full movie, and instead just enjoy clips.

    • Local Cryptid says:


  4. Walker Riley says:

    I grew up in a military household. Moving every few years was always the hardest part. That scene in Inside Out with Riley admitting to her parents how she feels about it always hits me hard.

    • Nick the Pick says:

      Same here, pal. We Military family-raised kids gotta stick together.

    • Logan says:

      Military Brat here too!

    • Carolina Vazquez says:

      Same! My dad’s work made us move a lot, this movie came out when i was 12, i’m 20 now and have moved around 3 or 4 times since then and it NEVER fails to make me cry, it’s always a nice thing to watch when i’m down so i can let it all out

    • khaviyah cottrell says:

      I definitely related to inside out as a military child as well.

    • Sunaree Moon says:

      Same thing for me, I’ve been moving since I was a baby (i was 3 months when my dad moved the first time lol) and the time this situation especially hit me was at highschool. I felt like I couldn’t connect with my new friend group (because they had experiences I didn’t participate) and I also couldn’t connect with my old friend group for the same reason. Feels selfish and egocentric, but sometimes, after 4 years, I just can’t understand what they’re talking about, and it makes me sad. 😔

  5. Nothingman says:

    Love seeing a channel with men whom display masculinity through vulnerability. Appreciate you guys and your work as well as sharing your testimonies and experiences

    • MusicalHearts287 says:

      @Chinese Takeout “Your masculinity is defined by who you are at your most vulnerable”. Absolute stellar quote. I’m definitely going to use that.

      You earned a like 👍

    • Maximum Dino says:

      ​​@Tyrique Smith masculinity is whatever you want it to be, I think.

    • queenannsrevenge100 says:

      I really wish more young guys saw these guys as role models instead of various Internet personalities who make money with their douchebaggery, but, hey, it’s been the same model forever, long before the Internet. 🤷

    • William Russell says:

      Truly the real best Pixar dads.

    • Lost Star says:

      ​@Tyrique Smith If you have doubts, you should watch the Aragorn and Rocky videos, where Jon and Alan talk about the great healthy masculinity of the characters.

  6. Trina Q says:

    I find it realistic that Mama Imelda doesn’t forgive Hector right away for supposedly abandoning her and Coco, through no real fault of his own. Notably, the epilogue takes place some time later, so she’s had some time to warm up to him.

    • Zachary Loizides says:

      Her & Laurel Lightfoot

    • squarebear619 says:

      He DID abandon his family but he changed his mind and was going back when he was murdered. She was right to be upset. Her man left her with a baby to follow his dreams of fame. What helped her forgive was for all of them to find out the real story as she would not listen to him even in Death.

    • JaggerG says:

      @NobodyC13 tbh, that’s a general people thing. Maybe not even exclusive to humans.

    • NobodyC13 says:

      Like they said in Encanto, a story of fantasy and magical realism, the most fantastical thing about it that any Latinx person can attest is a grandparent admitting they were wrong.

    • Yesika Narvaez says:

      Being Too Proud is her strongest characteristic

  7. Ruby Silverstar says:

    I LOVE the line that Riley has where she’s talking about ‘you guys want me to be happy’. That must have been heartbreaking for her parents to hear. Realizing that their kid took their words to heart and didn’t realize that she was allowed to have other emotions too. I think what her mom meant by that is dad was questioning if this was the right choice and having the rest of his family being upset and moody about the move would have made it way worse. They didn’t mean to imply that she’s not allowed to be upset about it but it happened anyway. Road to hell is paved with good intentions.

    • JaggerG says:

      @sam Kind of. It’s not cool to go hard and breach a boundary just for the sake of defining them. Occasionally approaching them as an exercise is helpful, but there are several tangential reasons for boundaries to tighten up, and it’s horrible to just tell a person that they need to relax and get over it. It’s a delicate form of therapy, and if you can’t be empathetic, or you try to compare them to others (including yourself), you are not up for the job.

    • Ruby Silverstar says:

      @sam Wanted to clarify a bit about what I was trying to say. I think you’re right about boundaries, but that’s not the point I was trying to make. Apologies for being unclear. What I was trying to say is adults use terms that make sense to them in an attempt to get across a concept that kids sometimes aren’t ready to understand. The kids then take those words as they understand them, which is not how they were meant. I was one of those kids and I’m still relearning things I misunderstood as a child. That’s what I meant by ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions’. Parents mean something good, child takes it wrong, doesn’t go well for either.

    • sam says:

      I kind of think that’s the road to health though, not hell. I mean, i can see you are not trying to blame anybody, I am just a firm believer in that in order for boundaries to be recognised and re-evaluated, they kind of have to be breached, on a sort of continuous basis; nobody can really know where that line lies till they’ve crossed it. That’s why self-awareness and making room for pushback from people around us, mistakes and forgiveness and accountability is so much more important than not making the mistakes in first place.

  8. Sophie Amanda Leiton Toomey says:

    Most people misunderstand Jin’s character as weak because he’s soft spoken. And yet they forget that he is the first to really see his daughter and encourage her that she’s not a monster. That there is a joy to her changing and growing up with the Panda and that she can allow herself to be human rather than just pretending to be happy all the time.

    The line “the point isn’t to push the bad stuff away but make room for it and live with it” is incredibly important to any person because we’re trained to appear one way and not allow ourselves to express in a healthy manner. It’s why Jin is one of the best Pixar parents if not the best honestly.

    • Jordan?😑 says:

      @CJBolan Him being the king was no excuse.

    • CJBolan says:

      ​@sandollor House husband or not, if you have a family you’ll make as much time for them as you need to help sort their shit. Jin could’ve taken just 2 minutes to say “Ming/Mei, we need to talk…”.

    • sandollor says:

      ​@CJBolan What does that mean? Like house husbands don’t have stuff going on?

    • CJBolan says:

      Agreed. Jin took a LOOOOONG time to help his daughter and give her the support she needed. And he really had no excuse. He was home all day. He’s not like King Fergus in “Brave”, who was simply too busy with kingly duties to help his daughter or talk to his wife more.

    • PunkPrincess52594 says:

      Agreed! He’s a great father and it really shows that all it took was one conversation between him and Mei to break through to her. I think because he’s such a good father, it would have been a better move for him to have talked to Mei earlier or at least talked with his wife about the matter. I feel he’s not “underbearing”, he’s just not very proactive, which I find is common in instances where one person is more assertive than the other when it comes to parenting.

  9. Bat America 2003 says:

    I appreciate how Johnathan and Alan don’t dismiss Riley’s parents due to the argument scene. While supportive parents are great, no one is perfect and disagreements are a part of any healthy relationship.

    • Bat America 2003 says:

      @Ribotto Studios Absoultely. I was referring to how despite Riley’s father mishandling Riley’s frustration (something her Mom comments on) he still is demonstrated by Johnathan and Alan as a positive figure.

    • Ribotto Studios says:

      @Brighid McMullen  as someone who’s currently in that space mentally I agree and disagree. I think shutting yourself down emotionally is a defensive mechanism to avoid being hurt further. And it can help give you boundaries needed if necessary. But you are right it does hurt some part of doing this.

    • Ribotto Studios says:

      Disagreement is fine and healthy. But when parents invalidate their children by going “Oh you don’t know any better” or “it wasn’t all that bad you’re being dramatic” and “I don’t even wanna talk about this right now it’s too upsetting” that’s when it’s not okay. And you learn to just keep your mouth shut and resent them for it. Even if it’s subconscious resentment is still there. And will rear it’s head one way or another.
      Speaking from experience.

    • Brighid McMullen says:

      Also it is practically impossible to connect with someone who is having a complete emotional shut down like Riley is. I’ve been in Riley’s shoes and watching my parents try and fail to reach me broke my heart. It wasn’t until I let myself feel again that they could help me.

    • Fentin says:

      I’m so with you there. I’m worried this younger generation doesn’t know conflict is part of life and there are healthy ways to deal with it

  10. Trina Q says:

    It’s worth noting that Bill’s core emotion is Anger, while Jill’s is Sadness. Bill can lose his temper easily, and seems stressed about work, while Jill tries to put on a brave face, though it’s clear that she’s just as sad about the move as Riley is.

    • Muhmuh Monahan says:

      ​@Velo C. Raptoror undecided yet

    • squarebear619 says:

      ​@Velo C. Raptor I never noticed this but I will say that I identify with having duality in thoughts as a straight Ace.

    • Chr0n0s says:

      @Richard Warner Despite them all being on the same level and all being at the console, it seems like the emotion in the center is the one that is deferred to, aka the one the rest listen to. Sadness is the one at Jill’s console that tells one of the others to alert Bill into talking to Riley after school, and Anger is the one that took control during said conversation. So even though they’re all on the same level, one emotion is still more dominant than the others. It doesn’t mean they’re angry/sad all the stime, but it means that those emotions (or secondary emotions to those) are their general state of being and influence them most of the time

    • Mollie.28. says:

      @Velo C. Raptor you can’t say that’s what they mean, because you don’t know that for sure. Nothings been confirmed. You, yourself, can interpret it that way but you can’t tell others that is what it means. Everyone will interpret it differently.

    • don’t at me i’m moody says:

      @Velo C. Raptor no she’s probably not lol, you can have masculine and feminine emotions

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