Can Horror Movies Teach You How to Be a Smarter Parent?
Certain things have to happen to the characters, and these things haven't changed much over the years.
Well, the same holds true with parenting. The same old scenarios keep popping up. Your mother knows them. Your grandmother knows them. Heck, I bet if you could go back and talk to Eve she would tell you about them too!
Here are just a few of those lessons:
1. When Things Get Suddenly Quiet, Something Scary is About to Happen
It is usually means that one of these things is about to happen:
- Bad guy is going to jump out and grab someone
- A dead body is going to come back to life
- A screeching cat will jump from a cupboard of fall from the ceiling
- Something scary will appear in the mirror
- You find out that a good guy is actually the bad guy
In real life you probably won't have those particular issues. You also won't have musical cues when something is about to get rotten. But as a parent, you still know how ominous a sudden silence can be.
No chatter. No toy instruments. No crying, whining or pleading. No laughing, or singing. Not even the sound of little monkeys jumping on the bed.
So what is going on?
You probably do the same thing movie heroines do--jump to your feet and either run or sneak down the hall, where you prepare to meet your own version of a horror film showdown.
Best case scenario: the munchkins are happily playing with toys. But that doesn't mean you should let your guard down. Ever.
Because silence is when everything in the bathroom just got flushed down the toilet.
2. If Something Obviously Isn't Working, Stop Insisting On Using It.
And the hero just keeps talking about how this is definitely the best plan of action, even though it hasn't worked at all and good guys are dropping like flies.
There is a huge lesson to be learned here from moms. If it doesn't work, find something new. You've seen the parents that just keep repeating themselves, or doing the same action over and over.
It's okay to keep trying for awhile. But it's also okay to admit that the plan is a fail, and it's time to think of something new.
3. Interruptions Are Necessary for Plot Tension
Maybe they are having an intimate moment. Maybe they just stepped out for one relaxing cigarette. Maybe they were about to share something really critical to the plot or to their own relationship.
By law, something has to stop them. The villain, another main character, an explosion...Whatever. They cannot be allowed to just finish what they started without penalty.
In parenting life? Yep. Same thing.
If you've just planned an elaborate intimate evening with your partner, or run your first hot bath in three days, or settled down to eat your first real meal in 24 hours...
If you just need to talk about something important for crying out loud...
By law, you have to be interrupted.
4. When You Need It, It Will Be Broken or Missing
These items always break down or disappear mysteriously as soon as they need them for survival.
You tell your child the nightlight will help scare away monsters. So the electricity goes off. You promise on your life to bring a flashlight. The flashlight batteries are suddenly dead, and the ones in the kitchen drawer are all the wrong size.
In horror movies, the characters are resourceful and build or invent what they need. (Seriously, characters that are total idiots suddenly know how to build stuff like wind turbines and yachts.)
In real life, we love 24 hour stores.
5. You Should ALWAYS Get Someone Else to Look First
Like when that strange moment of silence happens and you KNOW you have to peek in the playroom. Get a buddy to go with you, because they might not be as upset at why lies beyond.
If it is terribly bad, you have the option of shoving them in first.
6. But Never Split Up
And never split up when you are facing down small children who might into mischief.
Going in alone to examine the damage just gives the little geniuses time to wear you down individually. Because they know your soft spots.
Go with a partner, protect each other's soft spots.
7. Calling Someone For Help Doesn't Always Work
- Not believe you.
- Laugh at you
- Put you on hold
- Downplay your problem
- Give you really impractical advice
It kinda works that way in real life too. You have a dire emergency, an urgent question, a problem you just can't solve. Or maybe you just want someone to listen to you and believe you. A little sympathy perhaps?
Sometimes, you get through to a person who tries to help. At other times you get...well, the same thing movie characters get.
You have a 50/50 shot here, so do what you want. You might get the answer to your problem, or they might just tell you to lock your bedroom door and lie low.
8. Never Trust the Adults
Parents actually drugged their kids and practically fed them to Freddy Krueger on Elm Street. In many teen slasher films, the actual villain IS an adult.
Lets face it, grown-ups in general (especially authority figures) are either dangerous or unhelpful in dire situations.
If you are going to listen to someone, listen to the kids! They have a much more stable view of things.
For instance, kids will never tell you to go into a dark, scary basement alone (with no flashlight) to investigate a crazy sound.
It takes an adult to be that dumb.
9. You Will Probably Survive
They are the ones that used wits, ingenuity, resources, common sense and logic.
They are highly adaptable, too, which means that when Plan A fails, they don't start screaming in despair and alert the zombies.
They just quietly start plotting their next plan.
Get it? The smart characters that don't panic are the ones who live.
Bonus Survival Tips
- Always have two of everything
- Have more than one plan
- Find your superweapon (spoiler: it's probably caffeine)
- Always know where to find the exits