And somewhere along the way, when you either have kids or think of having kids (do not start bump watching me-I will flick you in the eye), you start to think you should have talked to your parents more. Not that I didn't talk to my parents, I did. But you have a selective memory when you are a kid. At a certain age, you start omitting events-some small, some larger-but it is because you want to be more independent and work through problems yourself, which is not a bad thing.
Yesterday while reviewing Wednesdays in the Tower, I came to realize how much this omission has been bothering me in lately. Here's Celcie trying to raise a griffin, and she needs help, she needs and wants to tell her parents, but the castle is preventing her. Is this a good message to send to kids? Not that anyone will actually get away with trying to raise a pet without their parents knowing, although this is the kind of wacky caper that makes a perfect children's book, but the message is still there-don't tell mom.
And in Wonder, Auggie is being seriously bullied at school, but time and again, he doesn't tell his parents. As an adult, that hurt. I wanted him to talk it out, but I'm not the target audience. His actions were spot on, and young readers will likely relate. Unfortunately, there was precious little that his parents or teachers could do, but with good friends, he overcame it all.
While the adult in me is starting to bristle at the idea of children not running to their parents with every problem, every piece of information, I know that is not reality. I know that children need to work through their own problems, and that the older they get, the more serious the problems become. I can still pretty clearly remember when I was younger and wanted desperately to handle my problems all by myself, just like the characters in these books. It's a good thing. Children's literature is not sending out a bad message, rather books are giving readers a space to safely learn how to handle problems.
Someday, when I have littles (again, someday), I will want them to come to me with every little thing, every little problem because I would chase away all the monsters if I could, but that's not going to happen. Just like book characters, children and teens need to have secrets, even if only for a little while, so they can learn and grow, and the adult in me is just going to have to get over it. But the kid in me will cheer that they can overcome their problems all by themselves.