Friday, June 13, 2014

Better parenting through fear- a Friday the 13th post

If you read parenting books or websites, you'll see a wide variety of theories on how we can help our kids avoid making mistakes or do dangerous things. Helicopter Parenting! Free Range Parenting! Religion! No religion! Fear of punishment! Non coercion! the parent is always right! Open debate is encouraged!

We agonize, we make these decisions, in the hopes that our kids will exit their teenage years alive, with all their limbs intact, and hopefully without making us grandparents (unless we are OK with that because we don't want to make value judgments).We want them to stick with the buddy system in the hopes they won;t be mugged or raped or pressured into taking drugs. It can be hard to know what parenting decisions can produce the desired result.

But what if it's not that difficult. What if I told you that I'm pretty sure my kids aren't going to go parking in a cemetery...or the woods...or a cornfield? Or go drinking and having sex with all their friends in a cabin in the woods at spring break? What if I told you I lay all the credit for this at the virtual feet of Netflix?

That's right, I'm a Bad Parent. And by Bad Parent, I mean the type of parent who lets her kids watch the kind of TV shows and movies that both sweet peace loving hippie moms and nice Christian moms (both categories I identify with), do not approve of. Buffy. Angel. Supernatural. Horror movies starting with silent black and white films and going the whole way up to adaptations of Stephen King books. Shows that show that actions have consequences: like splitting up, like allowing yourselves to become isolated, like getting drunk and having your reflexes inhibited. We all know that's when the killer (who is perhaps a beast from mythology) will burst out of the bushes and tear you to shreds.

So a little fear? It's a good thing, maybe. Even if the monsters will probably be all too human. Now, if I could just convince my kids that they'd be happy they worked out if they had to run from a psycho killer...


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