How to Talk to Your Children About Spoilers
This spoiler post contains no spoilers.
It dawned after watching Star Wars last night as I was walking out of the theater with my eight-year-old son that very few — if any — of the other kids in his class will have seen the movie, and that today at school could be a minefield. He doesn’t work on the Internet, so he doesn’t get shamed every day of his life about spoilers, so he might not know that it’s not OK to run to school the next morning and tell all his friends about Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
We had a conversation in the car on the drive home that went like this.
Me: We have to have a very important talk, kiddo. This is one of the most important things that I will ever tell you. You must remember it always, and if I die unexpectedly, I want you to remember this above all else.
Kid: Am I in trouble?
Me: Not yet. But when you go to school tomorrow, you’re not allowed to tell anyone about the movie.
Kid: Can I tell them that it was awesome?
Me: Yes. But that’s it. You cannot tell them about anything that happened in the film. You have to wait until they’ve also seen it.
Me: Because it’s mean to reveal spoilers. It’s one of the meanest things you can ever do to a person, because if you reveal spoilers, you take away their joy. You ruin the surprise.
Kid: OK. I don’t want to do that.
Me: And here’s the other thing: If you tell any of the kids what happened in The Force Awakens, they might tell their parents, and if their parents are spoiled because of what their kid heard from you, then those parents are going to hold me accountable.
Do you like going to your school?
Me: Well, if you reveal any spoilers and those details get to the other parents, they may run us out of that school. We may never be allowed to go back again. If you reveal a spoiler, it will bring shame upon our home, on our name. We will be shunned at gatherings. We may even have to move to another town far, far away. Do you want that?
Me: Well, that’s what will happen if you tell them anything about the movie. You see, son, we make an agreement — a pact, if you will — with the universe when we see a movie not to ruin it for other people. It’s OK, of course, to brag that you saw it before the rest of them and rub it in their faces — that’s the American way — but to take away the surprise by revealing spoilers is one of the most despicable, vile things you can do to someone.
You know what Santa hates more than anything in the world?
Me: A kid who spoils movies. So remember that at school in the morning. Santa is watching. He is judging. He does not like a kid who spoils movies. If you spoil one little detail, Santa will take your Christmas list and wipe his ass with it.
Kid: Dad, can I just stay home from school tomorrow?
Me: That might be for the best, son.
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