Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Parenting Lesson

If you are located anywhere near me, you know. It's Freezing out. You have chapped hands and lips, you're doubling up on socks, and you have to force yourself out from under the covers in the morning. There are a number of ways to warm up when the weather is best described as biting, my favorite being a cup of tea and burying myself in blankets. A good book can help too...unless it's We Need to Talk About Kevin or The Shining.

My most recent reads were decidedly chilling, not warming. It was partially their winter settings, but mostly the creepy and terrifying plots. Don't read them if you scare easily, live alone, want to stay warm, or have a fear of really intelligent children. That being said, both books provide an invaluable lesson for parents hoping to keep their families safe and (spoiler alert) living.

Parents MUST be a team, a united front that communicates with each other always. In social work terms, splitting staff is unacceptable. A lot of grief could have been spared in these two books had the parents followed this rule. A LOT of grief. As soon as parents take sides, the odd parent out starts to resent both parent and child. Same goes for kids--they resent the parent left out. Parents teaming up against kids is just the way of nature, and a great way to get your kids to cooperate with each other (even if they can't stand each other, they'll have a common enemy).

I might be simplifying things a bit here, but for me to notice the same grave mistake in two very different books means something. Even if things would have gone horribly wrong for the families in both books no matter what (haunted hotels and mentally unstable/evil children are hard to overcome), I think all parties would feel better about their situations had they followed my rule.

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