Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Fragile - Handle With Care

Do we shelter our children too much?

Do you think kids these days are too sheltered? Coddled to the point of being unable to function in real life situations? Fed a steady stream of positivity and cartoons and "nothing bad will ever happen"? 

The other night, hubs and I were watching a movie with the kids. Some stupid movie about bears, I don't even know what it was called. Clearly I was paying attention. But it was a children's movie, live-action, not cartoon, and my hubs loved it as a kid and wanted to share it with the boys. Anyway, there was a part of the movie where the mama bear is killed by falling rocks. And the baby bear is understandably sad and snuggles with her body and doesn't really know what to do. There's another part of the movie where a bear gets hurt and is bleeding. 

The boys were terrified. They couldn't handle it and begged us to turn it off. Dom was in tears, Will was hiding under his blanket. Hubs and I tried to explain that it was just a movie. That the blood wasn't real, the bears in the movie were "actors" and that they were just fine. And what I wanted to say, but didn't, was: "Bears get hurt. They bleed. They starve. They get hunted and killed. This stuff happens in real life." 

I do want to keep my children as innocent as possible. Protect them from some of the harsher truths in the world - like some people are douche-canoes and are going to say or do things to hurt you, or animals (and people) die every day, or... you get the point. I don't want them to be traumatized or to be preoccupied with things to the point that they live in terror. 

But I don't want them to not be able to handle LIFE. Violence happens, as much as we wish it didn't. People and animals bleed and/or die. Some diseases have no cure. Planes sometimes do crash. It sucks and it's heartbreaking sometimes, but you have to be able to live your life. 

I don't remember being upset by things I saw in movies when I was a kid. And I watched all kinds of stuff. Stuff I probably shouldn't have. But it never really bothered me. A healthy dose of fear/reality keeps your wits about you. Too much just debilitates you. How do I walk that line? What's OK to expose them to, and what isn't? And when?   

This parenting stuff is the hardest thing I've ever done. It's a huge responsibility to try and not screw up these kids for life, man. To find and maintain that balance of when to lead the way and when to step back and let them learn for themselves. It's a work in progress, y'all.

 "We have not journeyed all this way because we are made of sugar candy." -Winston S. Churchill

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