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Spooked Out Parents – 3 Tips to Lighten Up

With today’s festive all-hallows-eve celebrations, parents of teens need to lighten up.


Of course teens will get themselves into trouble tonight. They have to. They are actually given permission to dress up and test the boundaries on this night.  In order to learn how to control themselves, they test the waters.  The teen brain doesn’t know the difference until it knows.

You just have to be clear that,

  1. Goofing around is innocent, while bullying is not.
  2. Playing is innocent while vandalism is not.
  3. Throwing things is innocent, scaring little kids is not.

And finally no amount of drugs and alcohol is ever ok for the teen brain. We already know this.  So let them run wild, a little extra candy can’t hurt, getting to know neighbors, stretching gender rules, and helping out a sibling are all good ways to bond.  My kids used to run upstairs, the impulsive one eating all her candy, the planner, sorting them by type for later.  Good vibes.

In one article it says that our own worries lead kids to have to take care of parents.  This is unhealthy and should be avoided.  “Parentified children” are unduly burdened according to the article, and they grow up to be traumatized in many ways that have lasting consequences.  They write,

  •          Unpredictable childhood trauma has long-lasting effects on the brain. Studies have shown that people with adverse childhood experiences are more likely to suffer from mental- and physical-health disorders, leading people to experience a chronic state of high stress reactivity. One study found that children exposed to ongoing stress released a hormone that actually shrank the size of their hippocampus, an area of the brain that processes memory, emotion, and stress management. Individuals who have experienced emotional or physical neglect by a parent are also at a greater risk of suffering from chronic illness as adults.

Killer clowns aside, it’s best that we give teens a little latitude in this age of fear.  They need to blow off steam.  They seem to have more pressure than ever before.  Teen anxiety is epidemic.  Teen anxiety leads to young adult anxiety, and on and on.  No wonder the country seems off kilter.  I recently read the book, “Hillbilly Elegy” by JD Vance.  Let me tell you, growing up these days, especially in isolated and poor areas is no picnic.  So let them be for a night.  There’s plenty of time for terror later.


Spooked Out Parents – 3 Tips to Lighten Up

Donna C. Moss

You can learn more about Donna's work at her personal website.

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APA Reference
Moss, D. (2017). Spooked Out Parents – 3 Tips to Lighten Up. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 17, 2018, from


Last updated: 31 Oct 2017
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 31 Oct 2017
Published on All rights reserved.