Scaring Them Senseless

CNN has a timely Parenting article about what scares children and how to handle it. It’s not bad reading, and a lot of it rings true to my own experiences. But what they really need is a little more specific advice for dads.

Some examples:

  • A recycler I visit is right across the street from a cemetery. It probably wasn’t a good idea to tell the Midget to “be on the lookout for zombies while I unload.” (To be fair, I did tell him a shuto strike to the head will put a zombie down.)
  • Letting the Midget watch — at the age of two — the alien queen chase Newt through the floor at the end of Aliens was, in retrospect, not a good idea.
  • When the Midget was terrified of the vacuum, going behind the couch and pretending to get sucked in was not the smartest decision I have ever made. If you try this one, here’s your fair warning: you will indeed think it is the funniest thing in the world. Your wife, on the other hand, most certainly will not.
  • Convincing the Squirt I was hungry and was going to eat his little sister was probably just plain mean.
  • Jumping out of hiding and scaring the children is fun. Jumping out of hiding and scaring the children when they are just out of bed, still half-asleep, and crying because they just had a nightmare, is the opposite of fun. By the time your realize this, it will already be too late.
  • You really can scare the piss out of a child. I don’t advise you to try.
  • A giant, man-eating chicken lurking in the bedroom may be ludicrous to you, but I assure you it is serious business to your child. It is also unwise to convince the child that said chicken is eating you and send him screaming for his mother. You will feel bad afterward, and you will feel even worse when your wife gets her hands on you.
  • Your child has no reason to believe Cthulhu (or any other mythical beast or monster, for that matter) is not real. Save yourself some time and diffuse that shit right now.
  • The flightless eagles at the zoo are not going to leap off their perches and carry the child away. Nor are the snakes and spiders going to break out of their cages and bite people.
  • Jesus is not a zombie.
  • Dracula does not eat children who don’t eat their supper.
  • The Krampus is not real. Don’t bother showing them this painting, either.

Wow. It really is a bitch growing up the child of a horror writer.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

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