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In Defense of Fear

This list is the latest example of one (of many) ways people are ruining their children “for their own good”.

The idea that we should shield our children from all kinds of fear is close-minded and stupid. Fear, even as a child, is an important emotional response, one that can teach us a lot about ourselves and how we think/feel/work in the world.

I am in no way suggesting you sit your three year old down and show her crime scene photos or allow her to watch Hostel II, but if she wants to watch The Dark Crystal, fucking let her. To imply a movie like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory or Black Hole (seriously?) are inappropriate for children is ridiculous. Did the psychedelic boat ride scene in Willy Wonka freak me out as a child? Yes. But do I look back at that and think “Man, I’d be so much more mentally and emotionally stable if I had never seen that!”? No. No I don’t.

Look at the fairytales written by the Grimm brothers. Ever sit down and read them as adults? I have. In fact, I love doing so, as everytime I do, I discover something new. They get a bit disturbing at times, granted, but people have been telling these stories to children for decades. Your mother and father heard Grimm’s stories when they were kids, and so did your grandparents. In fact, your parents probably read them to you when you were exceptionally small as well, yet none of you turned into homicidal maniacs.

Unless one of your family members did, in which case I apologize, yet I must also argue that having The Valient Little Tailor read to them at the age of seven probably had very little to do with it.

So keep your children away from Jason, Freddy, Leatherface and Michael Meyers, but please don’t shield them from the Skeksis, the Other Mother, Evil, or Willy Wonka. It’s just stupid and wrong and you’re depriving your children of wonderful, exciting stories, merely because they’re dark and scary.

After all, dark and scary stories are often the best kind, and to shield a child from them is more cruel than kind.

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