Mo: Hi everyone! I’m Mo. I have two girls who are 9 and 5-years-old.
Maggie: Same. Basically. Except my 9-year-old is 8 and my 5-year-old is a boy.
Mo: Last Wednesday, my 9-year-old asked to stay home from school. She told her father and me she was sick, and it seemed like that was the case: she couldn’t even eat breakfast, and she had slept in my bed the night before. Reluctantly, we agreed, even though she would be missing her big drama audition and her chance to sign up for the coding club at school.
While I was at work, I received multiple Facebook notifications for the various parent groups for my daughter’s school regarding the “clowns” and the direct link between the clowns and my daughter’s school.
When I got home that night, my daughter said she still wasn’t feeling better and didn’t want to have dinner. That’s when I looked at her and asked, “Is this about the clowns?” She didn’t say a word, but the tears rolling down her face were all the answer I needed.
Mo: It sure was. I think we all take for granted the fact that we live in an area that isn’t often directly affected by current events. I read articles about people dressed as clowns terrorizing communities in other areas of the US, and to be honest, I never expected that I’d have to have a conversation about it with my own kids. My daughter was so afraid that someone would come into her school and hurt her or someone else that she couldn’t even talk to me about it until I broached the subject.
Maggie: This makes me sad. I actually can’t even believe we are having a national conversation about the threat of clowns. I mean. I actually. Cannot. Believe. It. Do we not have better and much more important things to be concerned about? I will answer that for you. Yes. Yes, we do. But instead, the national coalition of bullies is taking the stage. When my 8-year-old explained that she thinks getting a loft bed was a mistake because if the clowns come they can grab her feet and she won’t be able to sit up and defend herself, I lovingly explained that the clowns are just mean people who think it’s funny to terrify children. I explained that they will not come in our house and that they are just very mean. She looked at me with a glare and said, “I bet they smoke.”
And don’t get me started on how sorry I feel for the REAL clown population. Sorry guys, your livelihood is now ruined for life!
Mo: Exactly. I don’t associate clowns with creepy stalker types who jump out from behind trees and scare young kids as they’re walking home from school. Even Ronald McDonald had to go into hiding!
Maggie: I mean- that’s just crazytown! The “Joeys” and “Bongos” of the world did nothing but try to bring joy to children and now they will bring tears. Did you hear that in the UK someone dressed up as Batman to try to reassure kids that they will be safe? I kind of love that and wish there was a masked avenger here. Hold please, I’m headed to the nearest costume shop.
Mo: And where does it end? Your daughter obviously didn’t buy it when you tried to reassure her that she was safe in her (TOTALLY AWESOME) loft bed. My daughter definitely doesn’t believe me when I tell her that school is one of the most secure places she can be. My job as a mom isn’t to roll my kids in bubble wrap or never let them leave home for fear that some elusive “thing” will get them. My job is to prepare them for the fact that the world isn’t always rainbows and kittens, and teach them how to deal with that. But if the bullies of the world keep taking iconic images of childhood and perverting them for the sole purpose of getting a laugh when someone is scared, then I’m not sure I want my kids out in that kind of world.
Mo: Hang on, I’m sure I packed it in the boxes I’m bringing when we move to Canada…
Maggie: I was just kidding about the gun.
Mo: So was I.
Maggie: But seriously, I’m all for preparing my kids for the “real world” but these clowns should just not be a part of it. Can we bring back those rainbows and kittens now?
Mo: Maybe we can in a bit. I know we aren’t the only parents out there who are feeling this way, and some of them are probably at a loss for how to talk about things that scare their kids. I know the number one thing that has helped us has been to just acknowledge my daughter’s fear as a real, tangible thing that was affecting her life, even if it didn’t really make much sense to us as adults.
Mo and Maggie: We know that talking to your kids about their fears, real or imagined, can be really hard. Here are some resources we have turned to when trying to figure out how to talk “fear” with our kids.
The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams
Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt
The Dark by Lemony Snicket
How do you talk to your kids about scary subjects? Have clowns been a source of fear and anxiety for your little ones?