Monday, April 26, 2010

Mentoring Mondays: Monsters

Post 6 from the amazing Adam Thurston... LOVING this new segment :) And I know the followers are too!! Thanks, Adam, for sharing with my readers and I... even though we're so far away... it will be like we've been there all along... :) p.s. you can find his blog here... follow him :) 

Mentoring Mondays
Teaching you to be a Lady while you teach me to be a Dad


Hi Madeline.  Just 3 months and change until we can be together.  Getting close now!  When I look back at the past blogs I’ve written, I notice that they tend towards the safer sides of things.  They’re full of what I call “warm fuzzies” and are full of general “oh you can come to me for anything” and “you know I’ll always love you.”  While that’s true until the end of my days, there are more serious and darker things that everyone finds out about eventually.  Now you’re not even born yet and this is stuff you don’t and won’t need to know about for some time.  But I know other parents and soon-to-be parents read this blog and I thought I might throw my two cents out there and see what everyone else had to say.

All children have nightmares about monsters in their closets.  They always have and they always will.  Now I could be wrong on this but I don’t think there’s ever been a documented case of a monster in some poor kid’s closet.  Why and where kids obtain this fear, I’m not sure.  But I remember being afraid of them too.  I hid under my covers to the image of Michael Jackson from the video Thriller.  And this was a good decade before any of us knew that kids had every right to be afraid of Michael Jackson!  I always imagined his face menacing me through my bedroom window.  When I rationalized to my five-year-old self that I was on the second floor and it wasn’t possible for him to stand in midair, my mind immediately conjured up Michael Jackson standing on the Wicked Witch of the West’s broom with her sitting on our roof, legs dangled over the side and cackling at the moon.  I don’t feel like getting into the science or the semantics of why kids are afraid of imaginary monsters.  I’m more interested in preparing them in a healthy way for the real monsters they might encounter. 

Fake “monsters” are easy and I will always say that Seseme Street did it best:  most of their puppet characters were monsters.  Genius!  It just takes a lot of the anxiety right out of the situation.

“Daddy!  Daddy!  There’s a monster in my closet!”
“Well was it Cookie Monster or Harry Monster?  It could’ve been Animal lost on his way to band practice!”

Seseme Street did a lot of the hard work for us.  They even tackled death head-on when Mr. Hooper died and the adult cast mates had to explain death to Big Bird.  So how do we, as parents, prep our kids for the real life monsters?  The child molesters, pederasts, abductors, etc.  The list is nearly endless.  I always say “knowledge is power” but I certainly don’t want to overwhelm or petrify my daughter by telling her about these things.  The flip side of the coin is her being in a situation and maybe not be prepared to handle it.  Obviously we, as parents, have a duty to teach our kids about strangers and what not but where do we draw the TMI-line?  For example:

Parent:  “If a grown-up that you don’t know asks you to get in their car, you should say no.”
Child:  “Why?”
Parent:  “Because they’ll invariably take you to a ramshackle cabin in some deserted woods and rape you.”
Child:  “What does ‘invariably’ mean?

Well, you get the idea.  What is the best way to prepare our children for the horrors of the world.  I will try my best to protect my daughter, with my life if necessary, from the monsters she encounters in her life.  But I would be remiss if I didn’t teach her about them.

So speak up, fellow parents and parents-to-be.  How, what, and when is it appropriate to discuss some of the real horrors and monsters in life?  I’d like some insight/discussion on this.

And Maddie, sorry.  The grown-ups had to do some talking.  I love you and will see you in about three months and one week.

I love you very much

-Your Dad

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