My 9 year-old son doesn’t allow me to give him surface level answers when he cares about getting a real response.
If he wants a pack of gum at the checkout counter, I can get away with “because I said so” when I refuse. If he cares about the answer, he’ll push me for more.
Yesterday was one of those times when he pushed me for more clarity.
Two weeks ago, Lynden decided that he wanted to be a scary clown for Halloween. I told him yesterday that choice had to change based on recent, police related events.
“Dad, why can’t I wear a clown costume again?” My well-rehearsed ‘I said so’ defense did not help.
Instead, I was forced to explain to my third grader that people dressed as crazy clowns are now terrorizing communities, shutting down school and being social discontents that are subject to arrest. Some of these crazy clowns have been accused of luring women and children.
Advice for explaining this to an elementary schooler does not (and should not) exist.
That said, I have no problem trying to provide my kids a version of the news they can understand. After all, they often look for me to help decipher concepts they hear about but don’t get.
All too frequently, lately, I’m in the position of searching for logic in the illogical. Certainly, the crazy clowns stories fit in perfectly to this lunacy.
I’ll make two generalizations about these clown sightings:
- Most everyone can agree that anyone purposely scaring people in a clown outfit has to stop now.
- These senseless attempts for fifteen minutes of fame will, unfortunately, continue.
Access to everything at all times creates fake notoriety that feeds people that have no business having the forum to spread any message (or paranoia). Even worse, the potential celebrity from such craziness increases as it becomes more sensational.
This is the world where my kids will grow up – a world of information, both good and bad.
I could care less about the costume my son wears to gather candy at the end of the month. In fact, when he goes with costume option B, he likely won’t remember today’s discussion when the six-Snicker-bar-sugar-high kicks in.
I do, however, care about continually having to tell my kids about the internet empowering crazy people, stunts and ideas. I’m resisting the urge to run from this pile of garbage.
If I don’t help my kids reason through stories like this, though, I will leave them floundering – potentially choosing to access the internet to find the “truth”, or to figure out what (or whom) is important and worthwhile.
Thinking about that should scare any parent as much as a blood-stained clown.
In typical Good-Bad Dad form, I often want to end a question-and-answer session by responding to tough questions from my kids with “because I said so.”
Brushing kids’ questions off is going to be increasingly difficult and consequential with the amount of information that attacks them daily – no matter the age.
The clown craziness will end but more stunts aimed at glorified insanity will not.
As such, parents, like me, must step up our game.