I am under no illusion. I am sometimes an embarrassing mother.
Watching a Butlins production of Sleeping Beauty, I encouraged my daughters to boo when she falls in love with the prince at the end. 'I hope she scarpers,' I told my crestfallen girls, who of course rejected my shameful plan.
The notion of a princess
sleeping for 100 years then being whisked off into an immediate marriage and domestic 'bliss' wasn't my favourite thing for my daughters to latch on to - why couldn't she conquer the world instead?
I've never been much of a fan of fictional princesses. What do they do exactly?
So if I hear a parent calling their daughter 'Princess
,' I'm likely to raise an eyebrow. I know I'm not the only one.
A straw poll among friends revealed reactions including: 'Ugh, it's so twee,' 'No way, reminds me of Dirty Den and Sharon in EastEnders' to 'I don't like it because it makes them sound like they should get used to being spoiled.'
Clever mums who blog have pointed out it's 'blatant sexism' and sparks images of sitting around all day choosing what dress to wear.
But still parents, teachers, sports coaches and dancing tutors do it when praising or encouraging our daughters.
Mum of a four-year-old, Cath Janes is aghast at her daughter's ambition to not merely be called a princess but to grow up and be one too, inspired by sweet Disney creations as well as our nation's newest favourite royal.
On her Krakenwakes blog
she writes: "What sort of ambition is that for any sentient being? After all the times I've talked about space travel and authoring and construction and athletics she has still decided that she wants to be the equivalent of Kate Middleton.
"I know, I know, she's four and she's going to change her mind a thousand times but what if this is it?
"What if KJ has already decreed that her life is to be one of pouty tuffet-sitting, X-Factor entries and professional vajazzling?
"What if this candy-floss career attempt actually pulls off? I blame those horrific magazines she's seen. No, not Heat or Hello but Princess, that schmaltzy and offensive rag that's stuffed with coy looking Princesses from Disney films.
"On the rare occasion that she's managed to get her sweaty paws on this ambition-smothering nonsense, I've been forced to take things into my own hands, namely by finding pictures of said princesses and drawing mortar boards, books, test tubes and trainers on them. I then go on to explain that only dimwits want to be princesses and why don't we get the chemistry set out now?"
Wendy from Very Bored in Catalunya
doesn't adopt the same hard line approach, admitting to calling her 10-month-old baby girl 'Princess' but cringing as she does so.
"I'm not sure why I do it to be honest," she says.
"I sincerely hope I grow out of it before she gets any bigger. I don't want her to be a princess, far from it. I want her to be an independent young woman who realises that her brain will get her much further in life than her looks.
"That said, I tell both my kids daily how beautiful they are, because, well they are, and how awful would it be to not hear that from your mum?"
Emma is mum to three daughters, a five-year-old and twins aged four months.
She says: "I call my five-year-old 'Princess', but only when she is behaving!
"She has always had an obsession with Disney Princesses and is always dressing up as them.
"This initially spurred us on to call her Princess when she was about two and sporting a Snow White dress," adds Emma who blogs at Crazywithtwins.com.
"The response was a beaming smile. From then on, nicknaming her Princess just kind of stuck."
So there you have it - a right royal stitch-up if you ask me. Turns out our little girls love it.
Where's the harm in that?
More on Parentdish:
Are we raising a generation of 'little princesses' who can't handle failure?
Brave the movie: Why the latest Disney princess is good for girls (and boys)
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It's a classic, fairytale love story, isn't it? Except for the fact that the female lead sells sex for a living and the male lead happily pays for it. Without going into all the nitty gritty, it's hard to explain to your kids exactly why a rich businessman would want to pay a woman for her, erm, 'company'. And Vivian's job inevitably starts to seems like a pretty cushy deal - especially when he takes her shopping on Rodeo Drive. All things considered, this one's a bit of a minefield.</p>
- Ghostbusters (PG)
Even though it's a comedy, Ghostbusters is scarier than you remember. The big dogs with glowing eyes that possess two of the characters are fairly nightmare-inducing, as well as the ghost of an old lady that turns into a terrifying, skeletal ghoul. There's also some supernatural sex: a ghost appears to perform oral sex on Dan Aykroyd's character, and when Sigourney Weaver's character is possessed by a demon she levitates and tells Bill Murray "I want you inside me". You'll have fun explaining that one.</p>
- Watership Down (U)
Yes, it's an animated film about cute, little fluffy bunnies. But it's also about death, violence, betrayal and disease, which is just what you want from a family film, isn't it? The story is all about a group of rabbits that leave their warren to find a new home and female rabbits to mate with. But there's a lot of graphic violence and bloodshed which is guaranteed to upset small children - and most adults.</p>
- Dirty Dancing (12)
It's the 80s classic with the great dance sequences that's been turned into a West End show. And while the dancing doesn't seem particularly 'dirty' these days, the scenes about unwanted pregnancy and illegal abortion might take some explaining - although younger kids will probably just accept that 'the lady isn't feeling very well'. Thinking back, I'm not sure that I really understood that part of the storyline the first time I saw it - and I was 14.</p>
- The Hunger Games (12)
These books are hugely popular with tweens - so it's no surprise that kids have been desperate to see the movie version. But the whole plot centres upon violence - a group of teens are forced into gladiatorial combat and more than 20 die in various ways through the course of the film. One girl is killed by a swarm of giant bees, another boy gets his neck snapped and plenty more are knifed or shot with a bow and arrow. If your kids are under 12, it's definitely not family viewing.</p>
- Star Wars (U)
Watching Star Wars is a rite of passage, especially for boys who are usually desperate to see it by the age of five or six. But those of us who haven't seen it since we were kids might have forgotten that the plot is actually pretty dark. Darth Vader is a menacing character and, although the violence is quite cartoonish, some of it can be disturbing for little ones - especially the scene where Luke's aunt and uncle are murdered and he finds their burnt skeletons. Fortunately, most kids are only interested in the light sabers.</p>
- Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (U)
If you've read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with your kids, then you know roughly what to expect. But the original movie version is surprisingly dark and Willy Wonka is very creepy. He really seems to enjoy punishing all those badly-behaved children and the scene where they take a psychedelic boat trip through the scary tunnel isn't very nice at all, thanks to the images of a flying monster, a huge centipede and a decapitated chicken.</p>
- Little Shop of Horrors (PG)
Yes, it's a fun, campy musical - but kids tend to find this one quite disturbing. That's not really surprising when you consider that there's a scary dentist who tortures his patients, a huge, flesh-eating plant that eats people and some domestic abuse thrown in for good measure. Definitely one to avoid if your child is nervous about going to the dentist - or if your home is full of large houseplants.</p>
- Grease (PG)
I was five years old when I went to see Grease for the first time - and I loved it. Fortunately, the numerous references to sex and teenage pregnancy went right over my head - but that didn't stop me singing, "Look at me I'm Sandra Dee, lousy with virginity" on an endless loop. Fortunately, my six-year-old daughter was equally oblivious. She didn't ask me what 'gang bang' means, didn't question the broken condom scene or ask whey they call their car a 'pussy wagon'. I'd already planned to tell her that they used it to drive the cat to the vets...</p>
- Bambi (U)
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