As a parent, you want to protect your kids. It’s natural. You should. And there are plenty of things and plenty of situations that require you to be vigilant and protective of your kids. In fact, as a parent one of your main jobs is to protect your kids.
On the other hand, I’m learning that you can’t keep your kids away from everything. No matter where you fell on the Halloween spectrum. Whether you decorated with ghosts and ghouls or you strictly attended “fall festivals”. I think it’s important to look at something that most kids see this time of year.
This isn’t at a Halloween store and it’s not at a Party City. It’s at Walmart. That same trip to Walmart I took a picture of a couple other things that were right at eye level for a kid. Right in front of them.
Our culture isn’t shy about gruesome and like it or not your kids are exposed to it, all the time. This doesn’t mean you have to expose them to stuff on purpose. This DOES mean you can’t pretend that there is not scary stuff out there. Your kids can get scared. They will be.
The question is; as a parent are you speaking into that fear?
Do you let your kids get scared or do you so quickly hide the problem they never learn how to regulate?
I think one of the issues the Christian community has had with kids is we taught parents to censor and not counsel.
Recently we went on a trip to Disney World. My wife wanted to ride the Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios. Lizzy our 5-year-old was scared.
Sarah and I had both been on the ride and we knew that while somewhat scary the ride was completely safe and we wanted her to be brave.
So we took her on the ride and… she hated it.
But despite her reaction, I was still glad she rode it.
Because my job isn’t to protect her from everything. Yes I should protect her but I should also prepare her.
To us, going through a low-risk and scary situation with her mother and father by her side was a good way to prepare her for the future.
I’m not saying you should purposefully scare your kids. And, sure there’s nothing wrong with keeping destructive or inappropriate content from your kids. That’s part of your job. Protect your kids. But don’t stop there.
Prepare your kids.
The truth is, in our culture, they will encounter it. It’ll be marketed to them. Put at eye-level. Even held up as a standard to work toward.
If the only strategy is to censor the scary stuff from our kids, we miss the opportunity to invite them to talk about it with us.
It’s okay for your kids to get scared. Just be there with them in it. Be the one who can be honest about it.
Make your priority preparing them not just protecting them.