Traumatized by Halloween: youth protest and the “coffin on wheels”

What children learn on “horror stories” and why the flamboyant celebration of Halloween is nothing more than adolescent provocation – says family psychologist Peter Dmitrievsky.

Photo: Unsplash/Julia Raasch

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…One girl loved the green. Her mom bought her at the store the green doll and the same plate and said, “No I don’t play with this doll and don’t listen to this record”. But the daughter didn’t listen to mom and turned on the record. And she sang: “run, Run for the wall, green eyes…”

Once there was a girl. One day she was home alone. Suddenly on the radio: “Girl, girl, the Coffin on Wheels were leaving the cemetery, looking for your street. Hide”.

Horror stories about “Red cookies”, “Blue nail” and “Black curtains” remembers the generation that heard the summer camp. They were told after lights out. Frightened them in the evenings in the courtyards, and always was, the culmination of which was a sharp, shrill cry, accompanied by griping the shoulder and saying, “Give me back my hand.”

None of us comes to mind either cancel, or deny these stories or a children’s tale (horror of horrors!) eaten the Bun. However, the Halloween that is filled with symbols of death, no less children’s folklore, becomes a stumbling block.

Sociologists are counting Halloween parties, clubs and museums are throwing a Halloween party and exhibitions, the restaurants offer Halloween menu with pumpkin as a main ingredient, and the Church protests, fearing that children are acquainted with the world of demons, but this only causes resentment among the secular part of the public.

What does “coffin on wheels”

Peter Dmitrievsky. Photo: Facebook

– Have you ever seen children traumatized by Halloween?

– Did not meet never.

– Why children are drawn to scary?

– Children and adolescents is important and interesting to be afraid. Little man is very much afraid of in this world. Games that can be frightening for the child this opportunity to be on the side not the one who is chronically afraid, on the side of who he can scare.

The existence of fairy tales “the wolf and the seven little kids”, “Geese-swans”, in Europe – “Tom thumb,” “puss in boots”, for later ages, horror stories about the “Coffin on Wheels” and other stories about death is a game method to teach the child’s psyche to live fear and find your own ways of coping with it.

And as fairy tales or celebrating Halloween help?

– There are two natural reactions that we inherited from the animal world: an attack on the offender and fled. And do not be afraid of this form of mental training. If adults do not give this experience to children in the form of fairy tales, the children themselves organize it in the form of horror stories at summer camp.

Even horror movies is the ability of an adult to face your fears in a simulated game situation. To meet him in a real situation of violence, earthquake, accident much worse.

Children are drawn to scary, because it is natural. A normal child wants to touch your fear in a safe laboratory environment.

– That is the experiment?

Yes. When you read your child a story, he can say: “Stop. Mom, close the book, to read more today do not want.” If a teenager hears a scary story at camp, he can say: “Guys, great, but I have enough, I go.”

This is a situation where the dosage of fear is in the power of the child. However, even the stories of Puss in boots is the area where the teenager gripped the strategies of behavior in a situation of fear.

– How is it done?

Through the characters of course. Learn from them. Some run away, others find ways to fight back. For example, in the case of Ogre puss in boots used the trick, and usually the characters run away from the threat of death.

To escape, to fight back and call for help – three strategies, which is necessary and important to study. Anyone should be able to withstand the fear, not to fall immediately fainted.

Stories, and participating in Halloween can be compared to a game of tiger cubs which mutuzyat each other in the toy, but in this game learn the real behavior in the hunt, which in the future will depend on their life.

In a playful way the person gets the hang. When the situation occurs in real life, the child who read scary stories and talked about them, is a little more likely to react to the threat in an effective way.

To touch the fear of death – it is important for the psyche of children

– Inefficient method of reaction is what?

– Fading, when we become insensitive caterpillar pretending to be a stick in the hope that the bird will not be interested in it and fly away. Experience shows that the response of fading often is not optimal.

– You have experience with this?

– I’m so in very General terms tell you about the mechanism of formation of post-traumatic stress disorder, at the time when the serious threat people tend to give traumatic reaction fading, instead of having to run away or counterattack.

If children are dosed to allow a touch of fear, whether it’s scary stories or horror movies, this will be an effective prevention response for children in a situation of a real threat…

– In what situation can help the teenager, for example?

– In the situation of school bullying, when a senior scares or threatens the younger one. If a person has the ability to run out of the room, where the episode of harassment, shouting “help” is a more constructive response than to stand still in a daze and wait for the aggressor will sate your bloodthirsty appetite.

In a situation of attack trained people seeking a way out, efforts to rescue, knocking in response to the knocks of rescuers. This all comes in particular from the experience with terrible “in the lab”.

Touch the fear, the fear of death is natural, normal and important for the psyche of children.

Way to scare parents

But Halloween is a holiday. It is unlikely that the children want to participate in it for the sake of touching fear.

– In Russia it is also a protest. Pulling the tiger’s whiskers. Parents were against the Church – against, a lot of people against it. It stirs the interest of teenagers, which is especially nice that they are able to alarm the others. In this teen sees his power.

The theme of power for young people in General is very important. Their logic is: “I am the one who makes adults go out of balance. I have rope, jerking which I cause them to worry, to judge, to shout. Most importantly, I make them distracted from their lives and more interested in mine.”

To be master of adults shower, to have the opportunity to feel important and great is that nice and important to a teenager.

– How to treat this family?

– If this is the only way for a teenager to feel their importance, it is necessary to pay close attention.

– How and what to do?

– Need to provide children with other ways to feel significance, to offer a space for creative and social implementation.

When a teenager has other ways to do something, and in return to zamochennoy, recognition, praise, let him be, and criticism, that is mainly a reaction of indifference, then the celebration of Halloween becomes a provocation that is guaranteed to cause a lot of excitement in the adult world.

Most often this is a way to initiate adults. Here we are teenagers and we think about death. Halloween is about death, about the world of the dead that come to us, but mainly it’s a way to scare all those parents.

Is a way to scare parents and it is typical for Russia?

For Russia specifically. We immediately flashes a discourse of “we-they”, “black–white”, “traditional values – the values of these traitors, sold out to the West”. It is generally a property of our Russian culture – every sneeze to build up to the battle of God with Satan.

But even such chihi, which are not unfounded, soon turned into a real battle, like teenagers. Teenagers generally love bright emotions, it is difficult for them to live in semitones.

– Want to say that Teens have a obvious objective for participating in Halloween?

Yes. This theme can be used to unite against the parent community. To oppose myself and say, “Have we – have you. We do not like”. Teenagers all the time feel which buttons to press, what the pulse of the parent community more exciting.

Return parent excitement stirs their interest. Imagine that Teens are fond of double-sided wrapping tape. If parents would feel it is not a smile, and anger and anxiety, teenagers will immediately start with double force umotala with sellotape. But suffice it to say: “Very extravagant – all in the tape! Okay, go that way.” And then the teenagers will not be so interesting.

Photo: Ariel Lustre / Unsplash

We mock death during Bright Week

– Are there any boundaries that need to stay, so it doesn’t become a problem?

– Parents always have the power to set the rules of the house. They are the main and may resist attempts to infringe on these rules. For example, they may not want to celebrate Halloween, don’t want to see the kitchen was decorated with cobwebs, bats and glowing pumpkins…

The power house should be implemented in a firm but user-friendly form. “Understand, son, that’s what we supported, and it is not.” To what is happening around in the street, in the store, even at school, a parent can and should show his attitude, but not go on the warpath, trying to close and to distract the child from all of this.

– I think, do not stand in the position: “You are my son, you are Orthodox, not letting on Halloween.”

– Authoritarianism, directiveness always involved in their own fear. Great fear, which stands for parental authoritarianism, is the kind of frightening that the psyche is not helpful. To believe that the world is full of dangers and almost came back, then disappeared is naive.

The world is different, has a different worldview and culture, there are temptations and temptations, there are things we do not agree. The task of the parent to force the child not to look and that the child has formed a strong immunity to it.

Teach: at our house so, these guys – commercials, and we co-exist. To the child need to communicate that with their own identity, with their own understanding of what he is or is not appropriate, it can in this world to withstand the difference between myself and others. It is able to withstand the difference, staying true to myself, not being terrified and not faint from the fact that someone thinks differently.

– What Teens say about it? Today we go to the temple, and at school tomorrow Halloween?

– Need to focus on why we do not support that at home. Not worth it to escalate the degree of panic. It should tell you about the people who pulled the tiger’s whiskers and trying to cope with his fear of death, but… should however tell you what our equivalent of Halloween – Easter. That’s when we say: “Death! Where is your sting? Hell! Where is your victory?” We mock death during Bright Week.

How to determine the “degree of frightening”

– I think that horror movies, scary stories and participate in Halloween nothing can psychologically threaten a child? The risks are?

– Of course. But personally I in practice dealt only with hyperarousal as a response to scary stories and movies, but not a celebration of Halloween. It happens that the work facing the child, is not an appropriate age or on the device of the nervous system.

Once with my daughter we watched the Pixar animated film “Corporation of monsters”. In my opinion, it is very cute monsters who first lived by the energy of the child’s cry of horror, and then due to the energy of children’s laughter. Cool and interesting psychotherapeutic story. It turned out that my five year old daughter this story is not funny, not funny, and frightening. That night she was longer asleep, asked to erase the cartoon with the stick.

Empirically it has been shown that the intensity of the stimulus was for her psyche redundant. She’s not “afraid relish” as I expected, didn’t feel myself, “how cool that I was afraid and was so brave”. The signal was exceeding its capabilities. Obviously, this can happen at any age.

Then we are talking about the need for parents to monitor the environment and degree of scaring. Sometimes you need time to remove from the field of view and the life of a child those kinds of works of art (tales, cartoons, holiday), which it is not. For example, about Baba Yaga and about the monsters.

– What are the markers?

– When the child is too scared, when suddenly quits, hides, closes his eyes, presses against parents when before going to sleep to the question, how was your day, suddenly the child selects a book, cartoon, event, which it too scared.

In General, the redundancy of the emotions is a visible thing. Before you rosy-cheeked child, who with a satisfied face and says: “Wow, cool and very scary movie. There is such a monster, wow!”.

4 advice to parents

– Can give parents guidance on how to treat children’s fears and Halloween?

We live in a mixed culture. It seems to us that the outside world is terrible effect on our children and is able to spoil them. But in General, in my experience, parents tend to be afraid for the children more than it should. The child’s psyche is able to cope with the diversity and variety of the external world, and parent psyche – not always.

First. Parent it is important to understand your fears and understand that they are very different from children. Should learn to cope with my anxiety and not to dump it on the baby. Usually parents from investing efforts in teaching the steps without having to pause and sort, unable to separate their own fear and distrust of the world, God, the kid from the objective reality, which demands attention.

Try to believe what has been done up to this point, your parental contribution to child is the basis, is able to ensure his safety. Remember that the child has its own immune system that misses the heart, and some don’t. Do not forget, finally, that there is a God that also looks after your child.

Second. Parent it is important to focus on what “can control” and “can’t control” now. To we can always control what happens at home. Everything that happens on the street, online, in school – not in our government, all making their own powerlessness.

Third. Do not forget about naturalness of children’s interest in the scary and the desire to “be afraid”. Remember to pull the teenager to protest and love to tease the adult world, watch adult world is outraged, excited and condemns. Separate these things and do not succumb to provocation.

Fourth. With attention to General physical and mental condition of the child. Watch him sleep, nutrition. Mark, does the child outward signs of fright. Don’t hesitate to ask, do not scare the child fairy tales, movies, events.

If you find that there is something frightening, offer to discuss it: “I think you’re upset about something, let’s talk, figure out a way to be.” Offer help and remember that when a child is unable to cope with the impressions, the parent needs to become a kind of extra container of the children’s experiences.

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