About Me

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J is an unpublished author, represented by Carrie Pestritto of Prospect Agency. J's first novel is a YA fantasy horror, regarding a siren who must choose between the haunting life and humanity. J draws on occasion, reads quite often, and is a founding member of the critique group 'Thoughtical Verbosity.'

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Do Parents Make Babies?

Hey internet!

Haha. I bet that title caught your attention.

I had this thought a little while ago about a word I've seen floating around lately: 'Appropriate.' It's so ominous! If you throw a 'Not' in front of that bad boy, you've lost scores of eyes that might have otherwise been devouring whatever it is that's being judged. This is especially true of films and novels. And it is especially especially true of children's films and novels.

My aim is to be a Young Adult novelist, and in all honesty not a very racy one at that. There's murder, theft, betrayal, alcohol, law breaking, racism, sexism, kidnapping and a lot of white lies in my book. But it's all very light-hearted and fun. So I'm not worried about 'Appropriate' being waved over my head.

And let's be honest: teenagers (who will, if I ever get published, probably be my biggest readers) can get hold of stuff their parents don't want them to have. Especially stuff their parents don't want them to have. It's just a fact! And being told a book is 'Not Appropriate' is not going to stop teens from reading it.

So let's just leave that one alone.

What I'm actually interested in is children's movies and books that are deemed 'Not Appropriate.' In particular, media which are deemed too scary for kids.

I will admit, there have been a few times in the past when I've seen the premise of some 'children's' entertainment and just had to stare at it for a while, slowly shaking my head. Kids are naturally afraid of certain things...monsters in their closet. The dark. When I was a wee one, I was concerned that there were monsters that lived literally in the shadows, which were in fact doorways to their shadow realm, and if I took my eyes off the shadows for even a second the monsters would come up, wrap me up in my blankets like a squirmy pig in a gunny sack, and haul me off to roast and eat at some monster kid's birthday party.

I have yet to see cold hard proof that this is not the case. Also, I may turn that into a book some day.

So children do have some scaredy-cat tendencies that don't make complete sense to the adult mind.

My nephew went through a 'closet monster' phase. A few times I tried to help with this by going into the closet with a pillow, shutting the door, and then banging the pillow around and making grunting noises. Then I would come back out and inform him that any monsters around were thoroughly snot-beaten-out-of'ed and he would laugh and, sometimes, go to sleep.

So children also have the ability to understand--or believe--that something is just pretend.

My question, then, is this: is something too scary for kids because kids are babies, or because their parents baby them?

I've seen a lot of parents take their children to the side at a theater or a book store and explain to them that something they wanted to see or read or have read to them was "So scary!" The parents explain that there are monsters, that the child won't be able to handle it, that it is just not possible for someone the kid's age to actually enjoy the spookiness. And what happens?

I know it may seem odd, but perhaps the solution to your children's night terrors is to...y'know...talk rational to them. I have tried talking rational to children before. It doesn't always work. But sometimes it does. And creepy, spooky, eerie stories can be fun! Just ask Coraline Jones. Or Jack Skellington.

After all, is it not the job of parents to prepare their children for the world? That includes teaching them to brush their teeth in the morning AND teaching them how to deal with fear. Showing them how to play well with others AND showing them that life is not all peach flowers and sprinkly charms.

I could go on...but perhaps I won't. Because it is 2 in the morning and I have to work tomorrow/today and I'm not sure I'm getting my point across very well.

So, take care, internet! And enjoy this most spooky of months :)

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