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If it was up to me, my little cousin who was afraid to sit in the jostly seats at the 4D-movie this weekend would be allowed to follow her instincts and sit in the back where the seats don’t move. It’s okay to let kids make these decisions. For me it isn’t indulgent, inspiring fears that shouldn’t be there. For me, it means respecting a kid, because when it came right down to it, I don’t even think it was about fears. I did not take her literally. Maybe she was spooked because of the talk ahead of time prompted by the signs warning us all about the movie’s special effects, things pregnant women and people with back issues shouldn’t expose themselves to. So by the time we got inside she was telling her father she wanted to sit in the seats in the back that didn’t move, but he wanted nothing to do with her fears and insisted she stop.

If only it was that easy. That you could command your child’s emotions to be what you wanted.

This is a girl who goes to amusement parks and has a great time, but at this movie she saw things differently. I saw it differently too. I saw it as her needing to grab some control of her life. To get to sit where she wanted. To be heard.

To me, if kids insist on something this simple, this innocuous, this easy to grant, there is no reason to deny it. Her father was worried about himself, and what it would be like to have a kid who was afraid. HE was afraid. Fine, encourage bravery. Promise to hold her hand throughout, and promise she can sit on a lap. Promise to help her through the scary thing, but if she insists, despite these best efforts to soothe, I think something else is going on. I think this is her best effort to communicate a need for something else. Respect that!

It is our job as parents to be adult enough to know that children are still kids, still-developing humans who cannot fully articulate their needs, and instead do their best with the tools at their disposal.

Let’s not be so simple as to take kids literally.

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