Thursday, June 05, 2008

Scaring Little Kids

One of the most entertaining things you can possibly do in life is to scare someone. I'm not sure exactly why this is true, but it is. I also think being scared is almost as fun.

Obviously, I'm not talking about this scenario:

"Dude, I heard your brother died. That sucks."
"Ha-ha. Scared you."

That's called being an annoying idiot.

I'm talking about hiding in the back seat of your wife's car early in the morning before she goes to work, then jumping up and grabbing her. I don't recommend doing this, but it's a good example of the kind of scaring that we're talking about here.

Since kids are a bit more vulnerable than adults, and typically give the best reaction while being scared, I've compiled a collection of some of the best videos of kids being scared. Hope you enjoy.

Kid Sings Britney Spears
No scared kid video list would be complete without this one. It's not my favorite, but it is funny. What makes this funny is that the kid really gets into singing Britney Spears and then the way he just passes out or whatever. It's a good warm-up video:

Dad Scares Kids With Where's Waldo
I like this one because the dad set it up. It just makes me smile to see that man laughing his head off, while the child he just scared runs to him for comfort. My kids are seriously screwed.

**Quick Side Note**
Can scaring kids cause permanent damage? What kind of psychological evidence do they have on this stuff? I'm reminded of a personal story that was hilarious, but could have been traumatizing. Can't believe I forgot about this till now: Baby Anni.

These next two videos go hand-in-hand, because they epitomize the two classic responses to being scared.

How to Respond to Being Scared
I love this first video. It shows an older brother setting up his younger brother for a scare. If you have a brother, you'll love this too, cause it captures what having a brother is all about. This little brother handles being scared perfectly. He screams, then his scream smoothly transitions into hysterical laughter. Watch the whole thing to fully enjoy the brotherly love. And this kid has a perfect scream.

How Not to Respond to Being Scared
If only every person being scared could handle it so well. Alas, this next kid shows us the opposite end of the spectrum. I'm annoyed at this little guy and I don't even know him. Watch this one all the way through to witness the shame.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre Scare
This next video is a classic. It's been around for a while, but is still the best scare video out there. Everything is explained in the video, so just enjoy it.

Scare Montage
To round out my list, I'm just going to leave you with the "Scared Silly" montage. It's just a quick snippet of kids, adults, and even animals getting scared. Really, I just want you to see the last clip on this video. I LOL'd.

Bonus Scare Videos
As a bonus for reading this far, here are a couple funny scare-related videos. I saw this first one on America's Funniest Videos, then found it on Youtube. This kid's dad has to dress up and change his voice in order to get the kid to go to bed. Pretty funny. Dad scares his son to sleep:

Then of course, I had to add the hilarious "Never Scare a Black Man" videos. Again, these are self-explanatory.

If you would like to be scared yourself, take a moment to enjoy one of this blog's more popular posts: The Scariest Things on the Internet


Brian said...

In regard to the one where the older brother is trying to scare his younger brother: why does the older brother still get scared even though he knows it's coming? Noob.

Arthur said...

Oh man, I never noticed that. That's hilarious. Nice catch. It's kind of funny watching that one with the sound off.

Dave said...

I used to have a gig at a haunted house in October and one time I got decked by a black dude that I scared... that was a fun job.

Chris said...

**Quick Side Note**
Can scaring kids cause permanent damage? What kind of psychological evidence do they have on this stuff?

Well, while it is important to learn how to deal with being scared, it is just as important to grow up in an environment where you can feel safe and trust those around you.

If you are constantly scaring your children, they will not only learn not to trust you, but you will also not be able to trust them because you will always default to "is this a trick they set up to try and scare me?".

A once in a while scare is probably ok, but you should not develop a habit or pattern of lying to or tricking your child. They could end up being nervous suspicious people, and also they might not like you very much.

The trick (no pun intended) is to know the person you are dealing with. If they enjoy being scared, then that can be a bonding experience. If they don't like being scared, don't do it.

My uneducated guess is that if a child had been scared in the past for a valid reason, they would not enjoy being scared "for fun".

Let's say you were a NAM vet with PTSD, and your "friend" decided to dress like a north vietnamese and jump out from behind a tree with a cap gun screaming and firing wildly at you. This would probably not result in a pile of giggles. More than likely you'd end up back in a hospital ward for a few days.

So when I see the video of the kid crying after being scared, here's how I interpret it:

The kid is no longer scared after the initial scaring, and he is not really crying from fear, he is crying because:

1. It made him sad that his own father would find joy in his discomfort.

2. It made him sad that his dad loves a good laugh more than he loves properly caring for him.

3. It made him sad that he can not trust his dad.

4. It made him sad that he has to live in an environment where he can not simply relax and play a game, but instead must always be on the look out for the next trick someone is going to play on him.

5. It made him sad because he has no safe zone and the people he should feel the safest with and trust the most, he can not.

Note that he would never have been able to express this at the time, but now, as an older person, would probably agree with these statements if presented with them...

I used to constantly scare and trick my sister, and I regret that now. I found out that she spent a lot of her childhood terrified and nervous and could never really be comfortable in her own house. This was from something as simple as me jumping out from around corners and saying "boo". I did it enough that she would spend all of her time walking around the house nervous about whether or not I was behind the next corner. I thought it was hilarious, and she hated it. I suck.

So basically, a scare every now and then is probably ok. A scare for a kid that does not enjoy it is not ok. The important thing is to make sure that trust is not broken and that the experience is enjoyed by both people, and that you stop when either one of the people requests it to end to maintain the trust, and sincerely apologize and change the behavior if the trust is broken. I guess this goes for just about any shared experience. Like tickling. If you don't stop when the person says "uncle" or whatever your safe word is, you have broken the trust and it has turned from a positive into a negative.

So, yeah, you can permanently damage a child by scaring them improperly. Be careful, and always make sure you are doing it for their enjoyment (not yours), which ensures you are doing it out of love.

Oh, and I could be completely wrong about all of that and if anyone has any sort of therapy training and disagrees with me, they are automatically right, cause I'm just a computer programmer...

Arthur said...

I agree with what you said, especially this: "The important thing is to make sure that trust is not broken and that the experience is enjoyed by both people..."

I guess the key is making sure the trust is there and somehow raising your child (or communicating with a sister or whatever) so that they trust you enough to be able to laugh when they get scared. And obviously, if they don't enjoy it, it should stop. There's no way I'd be scaring that kid who ended up crying. I'd feel like crap if he got messed up or whatever. Anyways, thanks for the comment and reminder that it's no fun unless both people enjoy it.

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