Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Scaring (or Scarring) Kids

(warning: this posts contains images or links which may be disturbing to some.  consider  yourself warned.)

As a homeschool mom, I have the ability to shield my kids from a lot of information and images.  In addition, we have very limited television in our house, so unless it's Rick Steves Europe or Bill Nye the Science Guy, my kids don't watch much that I haven't previewed and approved.  My older two haven't even seen The Lord of the Rings movies yet, despite having read the books, because of a few scenes with orcs and uruk hai that I think are too disturbing.

a mild example

I will admit that I might have gone further than necessary in hoping to prevent psychological scarring.  Having a Bachelor's degree in psychology means you read too many case studies of people who were emotionally unstable as adults, perhaps due to influences in childhood.  I think I spend more time than necessary worrying about that.

My kids are not without knowledge of evil.  The older two know the facts about the holocaust, and other historical atrocities, because that is important to understand when forming a world view.  We've visited the Holocaust Memorial in Boston and the Oklahoma City Memorial, and talked about the heinousness of the crimes that led to those events in history.

That having been said, I have been very careful to shield them from artificial evil.  Horror movies, cop shows, and fictional books that involve twisted characters or events are not allowed.  Same for books about dying siblings (the 70's were a big decade for dying sibling books.)  Any disturbing images that turn up in my Facebook feed are hidden, to ensure that the kids don't see them.  I am really overly paranoid that my kids will have psychological problems later in life, due to one disturbing image that I allowed to contact their optic nerves prior to adolescence.


Or is it?


Just when I had almost convinced myself that my older kids were sufficiently loved, educated, and emotionally stable to handle the world, I found a website that assures me that something as simple as a Sesame Street short can scar a kid for life.  Nothing is guaranteed innocuous.  Even an anti-smoking PSA can linger in a kid's psyche for decades.  Great.  Do we have to move to a cave?

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