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Modern Parenthood

Family Guy: Brian dies, world grieves, coping skills fail (+video)

When Fox killed off Family Guy's Brian character, American viewers took to social media to grieve and protest. Were these adult viewers so sheltered as kids that they never developed coping skills?

By Correspondent / November 26, 2013

Family Guy: Brian, the beloved, talking family dog's death on Sunday shocked viewers. As the world grieves for Family Guy's Brian, one blogger wonders, 'what happened to everyone's coping skills?'

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Since cartoons have evolved to become more adult-oriented it’s no surprise that grownups suffering the shock at the loss of "Family Guy" dog Brian, but seeing how badly adults are coping with the imaginary loss, parents may want to reconsider the decision to shelter kids from reality so they can grow up to cope with cartoons.

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Correspondent

Lisa Suhay, who has four sons at home in Norfolk, Va., is a children’s book author and founder of the Norfolk (Va.) Initiative for Chess Excellence (NICE) , a nonprofit organization serving at-risk youth via mentoring and teaching the game of chess for critical thinking and life strategies.

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Many fans are outraged after the beloved 'Family Guy' dog Brian was killed off of the popular television show.

Social media exploded with outrage and grief of adults over the loss of the martini-swilling, snarky canine character Brian Griffin.  Brian is voiced by series creator Seth MacFarlane who decided to kill off the beloved character to “shake things up,” according to the Daily News.

“By mid-day Monday, a petition had popped up on Change.org calling for Brian to be brought back to life. Launched by “Family Guy” fan Aaron Thompson of Tuscaloosa, Ala., it had more than 1,500 signatures,” according to the Daily News.

I wonder what this says about the social and emotional maturity level of our current society and how much helicopter parenting had to do with it.

There seems to be a fairly evident lack of coping skills present in this situation, as evidenced by the following Tweet from Tom Lewis @sonic2457.

Other outraged viewers wanting a death do-over rallied under the Twitter hashtag #BringBrianBack.  

Tori Nelson @VRae593 posted on Twitter: 

Adam Lucidi @adamlucidi posted:

We complain that our kids grow up too fast by watching cartoons but, as evidenced by the response to "Family Guy," that’s not looking like the case.

Seeing how many people are handling the loss of Brian I wonder if we shouldn’t really start mourning the loss of our children’s adulthood.

Is this happening because, as children, these viewers were so helicopter parented that they can’t get off the kid ground as adults?

As parents can we be so bent on protecting our kids from grief and reality that we do too good a job?

The viewers who are beyond consolation never had a pet die because they all went to the imaginary “farm” some parents use as a euphemism for when Sparky got hit by a car.

Kids need to be set to launch from the cartoon strip to the real world.

My mom and her generation were never protected from pet demise and neither was I.

When the bunny ate the plastic flowers in the centerpiece at Easter and died, the facts were never hidden or soft-pedaled.

This was largely because I needed to learn how to keep the next pet alive.

The cat died, the dog died, Old Yeller was put down, and generations grew to maturity to one day watch the news and documentaries instead of being so deeply invested in cartoons.

While the content of cartoons has become more mature, it’s not rubbing off on kids, teens, and young adults in a helpful way.

With all the violence of cartoons the characters pop back to life and kids never get the concept of death in reality. By further sheltering them from death of people and pets we may not be helping them separate fact from fiction and diminishing their coping skills in the process.

Watch cartoons with the kids, watch Family Guy and Adult Swim on your own, but balance the kids’ experiences with enough reality to make the transition from being a child to adulthood an actual change of emotional and social pace.

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