I am usually pretty strict about what I allow my kids to watch. This comes from my own personal morals, but it also comes with knowing my kids. Every child is different and not every kid is going to think that there are monsters under the bed after watching Michael Keaton and his rotten teeth in Beetlejuice. My niece for example is totally okay after watching spooky kid stuff like the Goosebumps series or even Edward Scissor Hands; however, my daughter’s fear of the night after one of these episodes is a key clue to the new rule against anything having to do with ventriloquist dolls named Slappy, or werewolves that creep in the night. The interesting thing is that we have gone to see a few movies that covered tragic true stories and though we cried together in the theatre, she was okay to go to sleep that night and after. The only problem with that is if you’re going to let your child watch a movie like these, be prepared for questions, and have the decency to answer them. We went to see Selma last year, and I have since then had many of talks with my oldest daughter about prejudice, violence in the media, and the inspiration that Dr. King has left with us.
What you allow your children to watch on TV or in the theatre is definitely a personal choice. I think we can all agree that allowing your child to watch Texas Chainsaw Massacre is out of the question, but where do you draw that thin line? I suffered nightmares most of my life and I still do which is one reason why I refuse to allow horror movies into my home. For one, the covers scare the daylights out of my kids, and for two, I have a wild and active imagination and I don’t need any intruding images to try and suffocate my precious sleep. There is so much horror and gore out these days and it looks so incredibly real; the last thing I want are my kids to have to be in fear of sleeping in the dark for the rest of their lives.
When I was little I had a silly ritual. At night before bed, I’d always need a night light. The second thing was that I had to turn the mirror in my room around and last, I’d always cover my feet. This paranoia of the unknown was directly correlated with imagery I’d been exposed to along with tales that I had been told about Bloody Mary or the Echo Park woman who drowned her babies aka La Llorona. The biggest issue is that no one ever made sure I was secure. I also didn’t feel protected.
Something I do for my girls is comfort them regarding any fear they have and remind them that God is watching over us, and we have nothing to fear in our home because it is a safe place. I also don’t let them watch anything that is questionable in my eyes. Finally, I leave a tiny light on which also helps when one of us gets up in the middle of the night to see where we are going on the way to the restroom.
What is your take on monsters under the bed? Do you have a child that suffers with nightmares? What do you do for them? What evening rituals do you have to help your children feel secure? I can’t wait to hear what you all have to say and please, don’t hold back.