We all remember how confusing the teenage years are.
You’re not quite an adult yet and you’re not really a child either. You’re in the grey zone, which makes it hard to know what adults expect from you.
On the one hand, we seem to have an epidemic of helicopter or over-parenting. Parents are overly concerned with protecting teens from the realities of the harsh outside world, so much so that adolescents don’t learn coping skills or even basic life skills like how to cook and do their own laundry.
On the other hand, teens are under increasing pressure. We’re expecting them to excel in school, train as competitive athletes, navigate peer pressure, and make huge life decisions.
I hear a lot of grumbling from adults about teenagers who still trick or treat. Some parents tell me they won’t let their teenagers trick or treat anymore. Not me. I’m actually encouraging my two teenagers to trick or treat.
Halloween is fun.
I love seeing the creative costumes, cute toddlers, and neighborhood kids showing up at my doorstep. I may be going against the tide, but I am all for middle and high schoolers trick or treating. I really don’t see the difference between a six year old and a 16 year old trick or treating. Teenagers aren’t too old. They’re still kids—just in awkward, smelly bodies. Yes, they’re well on their way to adulthood, but they are still children.
Let them enjoy the simple pleasures of dressing up, hanging out with friends, and gorging on candy. Let their playful, energetic selves shine through for one night before they go back to cramming for mid-terms.
Trick or Treat is meant to be fun.
It doesn’t have to be complicated with so many rules (you have to be under 12 years old, you have wear an elaborate costume). If a couple of seventeen-year-olds want to throw on their football jerseys or mom’s bathrobe and slippers, I’m cool with that. Let’s not make them grow up faster than they already do. Perhaps we’d all do well to let our inner child have some fun once in a while!
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Originally published on SharonMartinCounseling.com.