Know Your Child

Here is a good example of why you need to know your kid.

I found Wiley and the Hairy Man at the library and snagged it because I liked a telling I’d heard once, and wanted to look at the story.

Melody (2 1/2) got a hold of it, and because I didn’t want it to be too terrible too talk about (she might have already looked at the pictures) I decided reluctantly to read it to my girls.

Melody *latched* on to it. She wanted to hear it again and again.

If you’ve never heard of it, it’s about a boy who avoids getting captured by the Hairy Man (a wicked-looking snatcher) by using his wits and following his mother’s advice.

You may guess already these are themes I like my children to absorb.

In addition, the Hairy Man is twice gotten rid of by the arrival of Wiley’s hound dogs. And Melody and I will nod together that everybody is afraid of something– even scary somebodies.

One evening I had just finished telling someone why I choose to read that story to my kids when my mother, skimming the book said, “That’s a pretty creepy thing in there. That one ought to go back [to the library].”

I don’t think I contradict my mom that much (we agree on so much to begin with), but to this opinion I just said, “No, I have my uses for it,” and felt a sudden thrill at knowing both my own purposes and my daughter well enough to be confident I was making the right decision.

6 thoughts on “Know Your Child

  1. It’s an odd thing when we become grown ups and are old enough and mature enough to form our own choices for our own families, sometimes very different choices from our parents. While still respecting them and their input very much, it’s freeing to realize we can do things our own way that works for our family. (I had that same feeling you describe above when I realized that I answer to my husband, not my dad anymore, when a particular piece of advice my dad had given me was over-ridden by my husband, and that that was a perfectly appropriate thing.)

    RYC a while back…12th Night is my favorite Shakespearean comedy. I’ve seen four quite different productions of it and enjoyed them all.

  2. I don’t think I would shelter my kids from all things scary, either. These tales are a healthy way for them to be introduced to fears in real life and learn how to deal with them — even Walt Disney said so.

  3. Hee hee,

    I’m not sure I’d let WD be my guide in anything ;o)

    With my kids I skip some images in some of his movies– Sleeping Beauty is an example.

    Frightening images in books, at least, the books I approve, come with some kind of explanation. A context.

    Scary images in movies just come with a swirl of emotion and (sometimes) get put into context later.

  4. Returning again to this idea, I think the main issue comes down to how long one is immersed in the negative/scary image/environment.

    In this book the scariest images do not have all the text or action, and it closes on a happy image.

    Not all books are like this.

    I have a friend who enjoys the Harry Potter movies, but “can’t” read the books because they’re too dark for too long.

    She can’t handle the hours she spends in that place to get the story. The shorter time required by the movies is manageable and (apparently) even enjoyable to her.

    And this, I suppose, would be an example of knowing yourself, and your own vulnerabilities.

  5. Pingback: Untangling Tales-- Not for kids?

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