So when my 8-year old daughter just walked in after a short visit to a friend’s house I was surprised to see she was upset. She tried to cover it up with lively chatter about chocolate chip cookies and McDonald’s toys, but I could see the emotions playing over her sunburned face. All I had to do was ask what the problem was and she was in tears. Great big sobbing tears and a muffled, “I saw a scary movie.”
This is where I tell you about how I don’t let my kids visit others without me being present. I can list on one hand the people I’ll let her stay with besides her grandparents. She has been to one sleep over and that was with her Girl Scout leader. I didn’t sleep well that night and she was just three streets away. Yes, I’m a little over protective… and I make no apologies about it. I have seen firsthand the damage adults can do to children and I will do anything in my power to protect my children from that.
That being said, I still try to let them do kid’s stuff; Karate Girl goes to birthday parties…once I’ve scouted the house and the adults who are supervising. If I don’t have a good feeling about it I’ll stay for the party. I.don’t.care! And Karate Girl doesn’t either. She likes me; I like her, works great. But I’m slowly letting go day by day. So today instead of her friend coming over here I let her go over there. And because they know me they called to ask if they could take the girls to McDonald’s for dinner and to play. Thanks for the call… it’s okay. <bites nails>
Scary movie, not okay; I say this from personal experience. I remember being about 5 when my regular babysitter was on a date and she suggested to my parents that her friend watch me. My parents took a chance and I liked the girl. She teased me about my loose tooth and the tooth fairy and let me stay up later than normal and we watched a movie, Salem’s Lot. OMGoodness what was she thinking!?! For weeks, maybe months…heavens it could have been years, I remember getting up in the middle of the night, grabbing an afghan off the back of the couch and sneaking in to my parent’s bedroom to sleep on the floor next to the their bed.
I’ll never forget being able to look under the bad and wondering what was worse, the floor close to my parents or my bedroom all alone. More nights than I can remember I chose the floor. And on those rare occasions when my mom woke she’d let me scoot in next to her and snuggle until early morning when she’d shoo me out before dad woke. It was our secret, but he knew, he just wanted to keep up that tough love façade. ;)
So with that firsthand knowledge I do my best to keep my kids from experiencing the same thing. Not that I shield them, I let them know about the bad in the world, but I don’t see any reason to flash images in front of them. They have eyes and ears. And I especially don’t want to put images of long sharp toothed monsters eating kids up in their line of sight. For heaven’s sake what’s the point?! Why put such evil images into a child’s mind?! And the sad part is it was a ‘kids’ movie. <sigh>
Three hours later and Karate Girl is still upset. She’s snuggled under the covers watching Strawberry Shortcake. I don’t let my kids stay up this late watching DVDs, but tonight is an exception. The husband has band practice and she still hasn’t calmed down. In her own words, “You can’t get that ugliness out of your mind.” Boy did that strike a chord. “No baby girl you are right, ugliness stays in the mind and if we let it it’ll fill your heart too. Best thing to do is pray.” And without prompting she said, “The lord is my helper I will not be afraid.” Hebrews 13:6