Dear Sue Ellen,
I have 2 sons. They are 9 and 12. They are obsessed with zombies! They play zombie games, they watch zombie TV and now they want to dress up as zombies for Halloween. We have a drop-down latter that goes into the attic and the other day I caught them trying to climb up there to hunt for zombies! If they dress up as zombies and we go to our church trunk and treat, what is everybody going to think? The church encourages kids to dress up as Biblical characters. I really hate zombies. How can I get rid of them?
I am picturing it right now. Like rodents, the zombies are creeping around waiting to pounce at the right moment. They are holding zombie meetings in your attic. Your kids and your husband are already zombies….and you are next! EEEK! Something must be done! I’ve got it….turn off the TV! Whew! They’ve vanished!
When I was a kid we fixated on Popeye and his girlfriend Olive Oyl. It was violent and sexually charged. Popeye would frequently rescue Olive Oyl from the abusive grip of Brutus, his mortal enemy. They would fight, Popeye would win because he ate spinach, and Olive Oyl would give him a kiss that made him swoon. Somehow Popeye’s life seems very bland compared to zombies. If I had watched zombies as a kid I would have needed therapy. Did anybody even get therapy back then?
When the world around us is consumed with zombies and other equally frightening things, how do we filter that for our kids? We can’t control what they hear at school or how they play on the playgrounds. We can’t tell the neighbor’s kids to avoid focusing on bad things like flesh eating dead people with blood dripping out of their mouths. So what can we do? My suggestion to you is redirect your children’s interest to more positive things. What would those things be? Spend time chatting with your boys to find out what some of their other favorite things (beside zombies) are. They are going to resist the encouragement to move away from zombie play but don’t give up until you discover something you can support, like joining the soccer team or boy scouts, or music.
Parents, babysitters and grandparents should all be sensitive to what kids are exposed to on TV, internet, gaming and all other gadgets. It’s not good to over-protect children because they have to be ready to face the world when they are grown, but it is a good parenting choice to monitor and limit their exposure to violent, evil or malicious things on TV and other places.
Now let’s pray. Lord, please help me NOT to have this nightmare: It’s a beautiful fall night and the church has worked hard to provide a wholesome and safe place for kids to play dress up and get treats. Amy and her family have arrived. Like her husband and sons, she has been transformed into a zombie. The church members look at her family curiously and little children begin to cry. Amy walks up to the closest trunk. Pastor Joe hands Amy a small bag of candy and she reaches for it, but grabs his hand instead and bites it completely off! Popeye would have rescued Pastor Joe, but he was in Amy’s attic kissing Olive Oyl. By the time he got to the church party it was too late…both of Pastor Joe’s arms were gone. Amen.
Please email your parenting questions to email@example.com and put “Parent’s Corner” on the subject line.