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I am the mother of a budding teen.
I used to prefer that term over tween, but I’m starting to second guess that decision right now because I just got a horrid visual.
Anyhow, I am the mother of an 11-year-old girl.
The past two years have been this wild trip of watching her physically morph from a little girl into what most would refer to as a young woman. She grew a foot, her face became a canvas for acne, she got hips and a badonka donk, boobs and a period to boot. We’ll go out and I’ll notice boys (boys that are far too old, at that) checking her out, and I die a little inside.
There’s at least a little comfort in the fact that she doesn’t appear to notice them yet.
She has always been my Halloween nut, and as it is the hap-happiest season of all, we share in our love for the holiday. And really, what kid (besides a horribly boring one that I’d probably hate) doesn’t love Halloween. It’s play, it’s creativity and, most importantly, it’s sugar. It is pure and unadulterated fun at it’s finest!
So you can imagine the audible gasp I let out when my daughter informed me, in that “Should I be doing this too?” way, that some of her classmates were too old for trick or treating.
At the ripe old age of 11, these girls had surpassed the appropriate age for fun and delicious treats. Instead of getting silly with glitter eye makeup, blood and fangs, they’d be taking the more sophisticated route of handing out one snack-sized treat in that classic preteen “I hate my life” fashion. Maybe they’d dress up like a sexy candy corn if they were really adventurous. Yep, an 11-year-old sexy candy corn.
Let’s all throw up in our mouths in unison, okay?
Well, my daughter breathed a giant sigh of relief when I declared that, “You, ma’ dear, are not too old for trick-or-treating. There is no age limit on fun, and my suggestion to you is that you go door to door and binge on candy once a year for the entirety of your life.”
I may have added something to the effect of “Screw the haters!” for added emphasis. I may have also encouraged all three children to chant this, but hey, this is how I rally my troops.
Parents, what is our intention when telling our children that they are too old for trick-or-treating?
Are we trying to prepare them for adulthood and all of its joyless wonder? Are we trying to spare them being made fun of by peers whose parents are trying to prepare their children for a joyless adulthood? Or, are we fearful that the candy-givers are going to throw out the ol’ “Aren’t you a little old for this?” line?
What is our expectation of these no-longer-children, not-quite-adults? Should they have a round of golf and discuss the complexities of the stock market? Perhaps a wine tasting followed by a mani-pedi? One thing is for certain, they will do something, and you might be surprised to find that their impression of young adult behavior involves sex—or at the very least raiding your liquor cabinet.
Let’s never ever forget that despite the boobs, body hair, boners and body odor these kids are still children. What they love and what feeds their soul is the same play and creativity that molded them into the bright and amazing (albeit awkward) tween/teen that is standing in front of you.
This creative play that they still love despite their size is still working to mold them into adults with unique skills and perspectives and an ability to look outside of the box. And perhaps most importantly, this helps to raise children with an ability to have a positive and enthusiastic attitude. It works to create an individual who knows that no matter where you are or what you’re doing, if you can do it with a smile and a laugh, it’s infinitely better.
This is molding an adult that knows that they have permission to have fun no matter their age and that laughter is the world’s greatest medicine.
So lighten up a little, and let’s encourage our children to do the same. Life really isn’t that serious, and the world needs a little more fun. Take those big kids costume shopping and brainstorm a creative masterpiece they will be proud of! Throw a party! Buy a pinata! They will roll their eyes and act too cool for school, but deep down, they really want to bat the sh*t out of that thing.
Let’s not forget that the best parents lead by example, so monster yourself up this year (and every year) mom and dad. Show your kids that you’re never too old to pretend.
And when that fateful night of trick or treat falls upon us, release both your smaller and bigger ghouls upon the town. Hell, go with them and join in the fun! When you reach that door where some hateful a** hat gives it the ol’ “Aren’t you a little old for this?” remind them that happiness is not a thing you should grow out of. Remind the haters that trick or treating is far more wholesome of an activity for our youth than getting drunk and pregnant in the downstairs washroom.
And lastly, remind them that parents also like candy.
Author: Steven Depolo
Editor: Erin Lawson
Photo: Flickr/Steven Depolo