5 Reasons You Should Nurture their Love for Superheroes and a Few Things To Keep in Mind.
If you are an adult -loving fan of superheroes, you know where I am coming from. I grew up on Batman and Robin series, Christopher Reeve's Superman and Eartha Kitt as Catwoman. I know, you are probably asking who in the world is Eartha Kitt?
The amazing actress played Catwoman in the 1966 Batman television series. Comic books like video games have always been ahead of our times. Eartha's portrayal of Catwoman showed me as a young child -- I could be fun, sexy and dedicated to my goals.
#1. THEY ARE ENCOURAGING AND EMPOWERING ROLE MODELS.
My top reason for encouraging your child's love for superheroes is they let your child think outside the box. These fabulous characters let them image a world where race does not define them and their dreams, wishes, goals are possible with hard work. Think of Iron Man and Tony Sparks. He worked hard to build his empire and when he realized his father's company was not for the betterment of humankind, he turned things around. He needed to do good things in the world.
Not all kids will get that impression from watching all the Iron Man movies, but that is where parents come in. We must guide our children in everything they see in hopes they absorb the theme of the movie and the meaning of the character and why his superhero powers were created to do what a normal person cannot do.
This sets your child's life back into reality. When our Star Wars and Superhero loving family got hooked on movie after movie. We would use words like, "Come back to earth," or "We are in reality, not in a dreamworld," these verbal ques helped our kids realize superheroes are not real, but have real men or women qualities that help them power up the superhero in them.
#2. SUPERHEROES ARE CONFIDENCE BUILDERS.
As I stated, Catwoman was everything to me as a kid. I didn't grow up thinking I should be a cat or a cat lover (that happened five decades later), I didn't walk around like a cat or meow or hiss. I just thought it was cool to wear a pointy mask and wear black. This phase didn't last long.
A huge reason is because my mother would often remind me that television characters are not real and therefore can do unrealistic things that people in reality cannot and should not do. She encouraged the Catwoman costume one year and me playing out the role in the living room for her to see, but that is where it ended.
My mother encouraged me to watch television shows with Black characters to frame who I could be when I grew up. The Jeffersons, Good Times, Sanford and Son and movies like Roots and The Wiz, helped shape my life as a writer, content creator and, hopefully, this year, a filmmaker. That could not have been possible had she not varied my entertainment.
Yes, those superheroes instilled confidence in me, but my mother nurtured that confidence. She always reminding me I could be whoever and whatever I wanted to be when I grew up as long as I worked hard. Let them have fun playing dress up, making masks and outfits. Then encourage them to do the good that mirrors their favorite superhero.
#3. THEY TEACH YOUR CHILD WHAT'S GOOD AND WHAT'S BAD.
Now listen, I am not saying you don't teach your child right from wrong, but these superheroes definitely step in and up and validate what you have most likely already told them.
Taking what is not yours is wrong.
Being unkind is wrong.
Fighting or saying hurtful things is wrong.
We could go on and on, but you get what I am saying. There is a impressive scene in The Avengers that sticks with me every time I see it. It is where they have come back together after a fight and Tony Starks rips into everyone about how they failed. How they didn't keep their promise to save everyone they could. It's deep and you can feel and see his pain, along with the disappointment that everyone else feels. It's a great scene to teach your child that sometimes hard work and good intentions does not always work out. Still, they should never give up.
There is usually so much bad in superhero movies that it is hard to overlook. This is where being a present parent comes in handy. If you are not sure how to talk to your kids about their favorite superhero movie, make a game night out of it. Create some quizzes and test their knowledge. Discover if they took the bad to heart and ignored the good or vice versa.
Ask them questions like what would you do if your superhero character was in the movie? What powers would you have and why? What good in the world do you want to see? What bad do you wish your superpowers could take away?
These questions reveal who your child wishes they could be and who they might become when they grow up. This way you can easily get a hold of the bad that they consumed and how to turn it around. Let their minds set in with pictures, a vision board, a blanket, a journal etc. They need reminders of what they can be and how their contribution matters to this world.
Write it down. Repeat. Write. Repeat.
#4. THEY SHOW CHILDREN YOU DON'T ALWAYS HAVE TO GO IT ALONE.
Some of the best representations of superheroes provide them with a team of partners, human or superhuman, who offer their assistance when needed. Think Iron Man and his sidekicks, Jarvis and Pepper. What would he have done without them? How long would it have taken him to become Iron Man without them?
Even Wonder Woman had her fair share of sidekicks and team of fellow fighters. She was born into a family of fighters and supporters. When she was in the real world, she had Steve Trevor by her side, and he knew even with her super powers, they needed a team to win their fight.
No matter what superhero you love to watch on the big or small screen, one thing is certain: they don't carry out their battles alone. Which may seep into your child, teen or us as adults, that two heads are better than one. Check out their latest cartoon. I am willing to bet the main character has a sidekick or two or three.
You get the big picture.
#5. CHILDREN LEARN HOW TO MAKE SACRIFICES
Asking your child to give up a toy, share the television or their snacks is nothing new in your household. They have most likely learned at a young age how important it is to give up something they love for peace, harmony, or the greater good.
I can refer to Iron Man again in this scenario, but I actually think Spiderman, of all the superheroes, suffered the greatest sacrifices. For one, he's just a kid when he comes into his powers and has to grow into an adult quickly. Second, his personal and professional relationships take a beating because he is so new at this that he has no idea how to protect who he loves.
Spiderman was born out of the greatest sacrifice, which is the loss of family. But what is made abundantly clear is he never has to fight his battles alone. Sure, he conquers the bad guys or monsters with solo battles here and there, but his sidekicks (classmates) and team, the Avengers make an appearance now and then when Spiderman needs the help, he can usually find it --- even if the help comes from within.
As adults, we have outgrown the tough stages of our obsessions with our superheroes, but we can still get goofy or silly for loving our favorites or seeing our favorite superhero on the big screen. In children, it is important that we be aware of behavioral traits that can cause their love for superheroes to go downhill.
Check their attitude, "I am better than you are because I have powers," at the door.
Make sure they know jumping off tables, buildings and flying is for those actors who have stunt doubles and cables to bring them safely to the ground.
Some kids may take the movie superhero fake fighting as something they can do in class or at home with little brother or sister, making sure they understand reality and movie magic is the best and first talk parents should have with their child who is embracing the inner-superhero in them.
I am not telling you anything new. But sometimes reminders of what your child is watching can clue you in to why they are acting out or differently. It does not mean their love for superheroes is bad, it means their love for everything powerful needs to be nurtured.
We all know there is nothing wrong with feeling powerful. Empowering ourselves to do great things for ourselves and for other people only makes us better people. WE have a great deal of wonderful people in the world, but like the Avengers, it wouldn't hurt to have a few more on our team.