THE BLOG

Parenting Through Plastic Eyes

24/07/2014 17:06 BST | Updated 23/09/2014 10:59 BST

I've had a few interesting jobs before I started working with clients. One of which gave me more training in human psychology than any other; I was a costume character. I'm sure you have seen these furry characters as they turn on the Christmas lights, open events or bounce along the touchline as football mascots. They are all people sweating in costumes.

Some characters you may recognise from TV and film: Bob the Builder, The Simpsons, Scooby-Doo, to name but a few. I loved it; I got to see the parenting of children through every class and culture in Great Britain.  

I can't say I understood everything I witnessed and not being a parent myself I have no right to judge. But like Father Christmas a costume character's true identity has to be hidden, so you may never have heard before what I am about to reveal! Are you sitting comfortably? Then I shall begin.

Whilst being dressed as Dino, a large dog dinosaur from 'The Flintstones' children would look into my eyes, now that's nothing new, but you couldn't see my eyes!! I looked out from a hidden panel in the dog collar around the dinosaur's neck. No matter how hard I made myself child height so they would look into Dino's big plastic eyes, they would move the costume head out of the way and look right into my own eyes even though you couldn't see them!

Dads who know you're a person in a costume will tell their kids to punch you "punch him, go on hit him", always thinking there was a man inside. What the dad couldn't see was the pain in the child face, and the look of 'sorry' as with a sad face they punched you, turned back to dad and smiled arms triumphant in the air. 

Then there were the girls who hugged you so hard and whispered 'I love you' over and over and wouldn't let go, as Mum held onto a push chair whilst texting. 

Asian boys would scream upon sight where their sisters would come right up close shake your hand and say 'I know you're just a person'.

Then there were the girls and boys who would know you were a person in a costume, but wanted to know if you were a boy or a girl, so would cop a feel of your breasts and shout for everyone to hear 'it's a girl inside'. 

The Mums and Dads who think that over exposure will heal all fears so just keep telling kids they are stupid to be fearful of the massive bear thing. 'Shake his hand, go on shake it!' 

Then there is the jumble sale effect, where because a whole mob of people are meeting an children's icon, their child must be at the front, no matter what the danger to their child. At one point this resulted with barriers being knocked over and Bob the Builders Van being rocked from side to side as angry parents yelled for the release of Bob.

There are of course amazing families. My generation of fathers didn't seem to care as much as this generation does. I witnessed many amazing dads out in their own with their kids. I might be bias to the dads because there isn't much else to do than play 'peek-a-boo' shake hands, give hugs and get 30second crushes on kids dads! 

Then there is the Mum or Dad who will stand away from the crowd as they let their child build the courage to come and say Hi. These kids are often wearing a t-shirt or part of a costume for the character. Star struck at a young age, Mum and Dad wait for the right time and then the child comes up and will not stop talking and telling you everything you have meant to them. "I saw you on the television, I have your truck, I am wearing your t-shirt'.

What I learnt was parents are people trying to create mini me's, doing the best they can with what they know about the world. Some don't even know it's a person in a costume. When I talk to clients now about their childhood, it's easy to hold anger about bad partnering skills, but really, most of the time, parents are just people doing the best they can with what they know. It is up to us as their offspring to teach them about the world they forgot to notice when they were too busy changing our pants after a close encounter with a plastic eyed giant asking for a hug.  

If you have phobias brought about by large bears asking for a hug or any other childhood dramas, I recommend EFT Matrix reimprinting as a way to recover!