SCARING KIDS IS FUN?? IS ABUSIVE!
Ouch! I wince whenever I see children subject to frightening images and their parents ignoring or downplaying the real emotions that come up.
On one visit to the Museum I noticed that bat caves were on exhibit and being featured on posters everywhere. In the Museum’s cafeteria at a table next to me was a small child with his mother. They were having their lunch quietly, when I was attracted by the insistent angry tone of the woman’s voice. “No they’re not, bats are our friends!”
Then I saw what the fuss was about. The child was sitting facing one of the walls that prominently featured one of these bat cave posters. Not too friendly looking: a row of several bats hanging from a branch, side by side, on a dark black background, all with their eyes open, staring out at the onlooker. Evidently the child had commented on how scary they looked. His head was bent and he was evidently affected by the incident, also bowed before this mother’s evident displeasure.
Wow! Not only was the woman displeased, she was angry! I thought to myself,”Well that’s what we do to our kids so often, ignore their real reactions to something scary, and downplay their honest emotions. “Bats are our friends?!!” indeed she was spouting the politically correct thinking instead of listening honestly to what the child was saying. That’s abusive. Exposing the child to something scary then blaming the child for reacting honestly.
M.B. is a retired school teacher, who is working on a book on the effects of low level violence and the scaring of young children. Visit the website FrightFree.com