Given the populations I have worked with and my own issues, one could say I am a hyperaware parent. I wouldn’t say I am a helicopter parent, but I am slightly untrusting of the general public and probably have inflicted this upon my children a little too much.
However; I have always worked to make sure that they are critical thinkers who listen to their guts and stay aware of their surroundings. I think it is a good skill set which balances with the hyperarousal I may have passed on 🙂
The Girl Child initiated a conversation with me around Christmas about how it is kind of a mixed message that from birth we tell our children not to talk to strangers, take candy from strangers, etc. but then encourage them to sit on Santa’s lap, take candy from him, tell him secrets and expect him to break into our house and give us gifts. All classic grooming techniques.
I immediately thought of Jon Benet Ramsey, who was murdered around Christmas and was told by “Santa” he would bring her a special gift after Christmas. No one has ever proved Santa did it, but that’s where my money has always been….Don’t worry, I didn’t share that thought pattern with her.
Just this morning, we watched a commercial that had M & M’s dressed as the Easter Bunny, sneaking through someone’s house and leaving candy for children. The Girl Child said, “See? Another creepy thing that we tell kids its ok to let in the house and as long as they bring them candy.”
The next commercial was one of those Febreeze commercials wherein they take people into scary looking places blindfolded and ask them to describe what they smell….
We looked at each other, reading each other’s minds.
These people let strangers with cameras lead them into scary places because they are told what? Who cares. It doesn’t matter what they told them. They have been told their whole lives strangers with cameras, ahem, candy won’t hurt them. Or will they?
We live in a weird damn world of conflicting mores and social rules.
I am surprised there hasn’t been a string of Santa, Halloween, Easter Bunny, Febreeze hostel serial killer situations in the media.
We want to think that the people we need to worry about all look like the people in this video:
But they don’t.
Have we outgrown the safety of our own traditions? Anne Frank said “Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.”
Do you agree?
Do we need to change the mythology we pass onto our children?
“The world has changed. I see it in the water. I feel it in the Earth. I smell it in the air. Much that once was is lost, for none now live who remember it.” ~ Galadriel