The world we live in is a far cry from Winnie the Pooh or Care Bears, children as young as 2 have to deal with divorce, fathers going to jail, mothers going to jail, drugs, crime and a whole host of things that they just are not capable of processing emotionally and sometimes physically.
When I first saw the above picture on Facebook my first reaction was a “mother bear hell no” I would never buy that for my kid. I want my child to just focus on being a kid, I want him to have a vibrant imagination, read stories about far away lands, princes and princesses, bears and dinosaurs.
I want to protect him from the negatives of this life now as much as I can so that he can enjoy all aspects of his young life without having to grow up too fast.
But then I read some of the comments under the picture when it was first posted people expressed the fact that sometimes a book like that is necessary for children who have to deal with issues such as a “dad going to jail”.
These types of books help them to emotionally process the scenario and whether we like it or not, can help children to understand what they are going through.
I could not deny the fact that if my child had to deal with something that was considered ‘adult’ or ‘mature’ I would want to have the tools to help him or her get through it.
With that said a book like ‘The Night Dad Went To Jail” is helpful for some families. When we think about the statistics, where 40-50% of marriages end up in divorce in America, and that 1 in 3 black males will go to jail in their lifetime you have to also consider how many children might be dealing with something beyond his or her years.
When an author decides that there is a need to be filled where children’s literacy is concerned we should not be so quick to get offended, but rather just focus on the fact that we are all desperately trying not to have to buy one for our children.
On Sesame street they talk about divorce in the simplest way they can, they talk about the loss of valuables during hurricanes and floods which are all real and relevant issues. They tackle cancer and loss of a parent, which are tough topics but could possibly be a part of a child’s reality.
My approach is to deal with major issues when it is relevant, I do not mind my child knowing about some of the harsh details of life, but everything has a time and a place.
What do you guys think, is the book something that is necessary or is it too much too soon?