Should Kids Get Scared?

This seems like a pretty good topic for Halloween, so good in fact that I’ll do two posts on Saturday.  I subscribe to a couple of movie review YouTube channels and one of them is the Nostalgia Critic.  He’s usually funny, his reviews are entertaining, but you don’t turn to any of these channels for in-depth, inciteful film analysis.  That said though, he put up a video on scaring kids in movies that I thought was quite good and I wanted to aim some people his way and talk about the subject.  I’ll include the video later in the post, but to go take a look at his channel, click here.

Americans, by and large, have really turned our kids into a bunch of pussies. Helicopter parents refuse to allow their children to fail, to face the problems and pains of real life, they want to keep them safe and protected from the world and, to a certain degree, there’s nothing wrong with that.  Every parent wants to keep their kids safe, but there’s a difference between keeping them safe and keeping them ignorant.

Whether they like it or not, sooner or later, and it’s becoming later and later unfortunately, these kids are going to have to face the real world alone, on its own terms, complete with all the horrors and pain that it holds and far too many of them are just not prepared.  That’s why they go running home to mommy and daddy, because they have never been prepared to face reality.

I think this is very true in the movies we let kids see today.  As the Nostalgia Critic points out, older kids films are downright scary.  I think that they should be scary.  I think that children’s entertainment has become far too coddling, due to the increasing intolerance of anything remotely uncomfortable by helicopter parents, and this is not preparing these children for the reality that they’re going to face when they grow up.  Being scared is a good thing.  I’m not saying terrify your children into a paranoid mess, I’m saying that they need to be exposed to the reality around them.  Don’t lie to them.  Let them know the truth, even if the truth is going to make them uncomfortable.  If they cannot deal with the truth, how do you expect them to become self-sufficient and able to raise children of their own?  You are not doing your kids any good in the long run by treating them like china dolls.  They need to learn how to handle the real world because if they don’t figure that out, they are going to break into a million emotional pieces the first time they are faced with any kind of adversity.  Scares in movies and on TV and in books, those help get them ready to accept that things might not always go their way, that things might not always be rosy and that’s a tremendously important lesson to learn for every single person, everywhere.  It’s just a shame that so many will never be taught that lesson by their parents and will spend their lives unable to deal with reality.

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