Pretending to eat your child’s Halloween candy as a “prank.” Harmless fun? Or heartless parenting?
If you have a television or the Internet, you’ve probably heard of the post-Halloween “prank” that Jimmy Kimmel does, called “YouTube Challenge – I Told My Kids I Ate All Their Halloween Candy.”
It’s where parents tell their kids they ate their Halloween candy, film them while they cry about it, and post it on the Internet.
Go ahead and call me sanctimonious, judgmental, all the usual, but I can’t wrap my mind around it.
I don’t understand intentionally making kids cry and thinking it’s funny. I don’t get why parents would take pleasure in witnessing their kids’ pain.
I also see a lot of bad logic when the “prank” is discussed on social media after Halloween.
People say, “You must have no sense of humor! You must never joke with your kids! You take life too seriously!”
Except, in my family we joke all the time. We laugh all day. My 9-year-old has been exuberant about wordplay and puns lately, and it’s hilarious. My husband and I laugh until we can’t breathe on a regular basis.
We just don’t enjoy seeing people suffer. We don’t think it’s funny to make people cry.
Then people say, “Oh you must think you’re a perfect mother!”
The standards for “perfection” are incredibly low if not finding it fun to make kids cry makes me a perfect mom. I am far from a perfect mom. I just don’t get joy from hurting kids.
Then people say, “If your kid is crying over candy, you’ve got problems!”
Except that children cry over stuff we think is unimportant all the time. That’s because they’re kids. I don’t cry when I have to leave my friend’s house, but children sometimes do. My youngest cried because I cut his banana in half. My eldest cried because he fell and bonked his head. Kids cry because it’s one way to communicate.
Kids’ brains are not fully developed. They don’t have impulse control or emotional regulation until later in life, and it’s our job to model that for them. The kids in the videos probably aren’t solely crying about the loss of candy, but also the actions of their parents.
Related: 10 Gentle Tips to Tame a Tantrum
Then people say, “Well I guess you better not make your kid eat broccoli or make them do chores in case they cry about it!”
I would never force my children to eat anything to the point of crying. And they don’t cry about helping out with household chores because I’ve worked really hard to raise them to be cooperative and kind, and to take pride in helping others. Kids cry; that’s inevitable. But making a child cry so you can record it and laugh at it isn’t quite the same thing.
Then people say, “Parents like you are the problem! You’re raising a generation of snowflakes! Toughen up a little!”
But my eldest child knows about bullies, poverty, war, starvation, racism, sexism, capitalist greed. We talk about sensitive issues frequently. He’s not sheltered by any stretch of the imagination. I just don’t take pleasure in making him cry. It’s not funny to me. And I’m pretty sure that the kids who go to school and make others cry so they can laugh at them are a bigger part of the problem.
I imagine that the parents who think this is so funny might not like it if their significant other broke their heart and made them cry in front of a lot of people so everyone could laugh at them.
Why is it so hard to treat kids like human beings?
Originally published at Mothering.com
Image credit: Marco Verch