Are Coraline’s parents neglectful, or simply preoccupied? How harmless is their behavior? Would we find the behavior harmless if it wasn’t portrayed from the receiving end: a child’s perspective?
Although it can be left up to opinion, it can be assumed that Coraline’s parents were simply preoccupied. When I reflected on my childhood, I tried to remember what it was like to be eight years old. I don’t remember my parents ever really being a part of my life. I spent all day outside with my friends. That was my world. My father’s world was work and my mother’s world was taking care of the house. If I complained about boredom, the standard response was “only boring people get bored.” In my childhood, the world of parents and the world of children only crossed for church, vacation, and mealtimes. The biggest difference between Coraline’s childhood and mine is that Coraline has not other children to play with. So the question is this, was Coraline truly neglected, or is it just a child who is simply bored?
Although Coraline felt neglected, her story is a far cry from the picture we think of when we think of child neglect. Children, however, have expectations of their parents. For Coraline, her expectations of her parents are average. Children expect the following things from their parents: (1) Support in times of need (2) Love and attention (3) Respect and (4) Provision of basic needs.
Although children demand these things of their parents, children don’t stop to think about their parents love, dedication, goals, ambition or responsibility for them. They don’t think about the decisions parents make on their behalf and how these decisions, in turn, affect their children.
In Coraline’s case, her parents were working hard to publish a book in order to bring money into the household for their basic needs. Yes, for the time leading up to the publishing of the book, Coraline was ignored by her parents. Instead of spending quality time with Coraline and doing family activities such as games and family meals, they spent their time working. To Coraline, she may have felt like she was being ignored, but the reality was this: In order for there to be food on the table after the big move, Coraline’s parents had to make a crucial decision, spend time with Coraline or work to make money. Coraline may have felt neglected during this period of time, but in the end, when the movie was all said and done, Coraline once again became the center of her parents world and had all their attention.