by Estelle Daniels
If you are the parent of a teen who has expressed an interest in magic or Wicca, what do you do? There are many things you can and should do to help your teen and check things out so your teen is getting good reliable honest information.
First, don't panic! As someone who has been into metaphysical interests for decades (and I started with my mother as a pre-teen myself!) I have found the majority of teens who are interested eventually go on to other pursuits. It's a fad. If you don't make a big deal of it, they will either stay with it out of honest interest, or find something else to freak you out.
Second, do some research. If your teen is reading books, read some yourself. Are they silly or superficial? They probably won't do much harm. Are they positive and motivating? That's good. Do they scare you because they clash with your beliefs? Look at the underlying mindsets. If the practices are designed to make a person more self-aware, motivated, thoughtful, helpful, caring, sensitive to others, working to make the world a better place, they may not be as awful as they first seemed. You might be objecting to the way things are done, rather than the mindsets. If the underlying mindset is selfish, winner takes all, dominating, encouraging of slavish devotion, nihilistic, destructive or encouraging of practices which are dangerous to self and others, then there is probably something to worry about. There are bad people everywhere, and Wicca and magic are no exceptions.
If your teen is on the internet, monitor their activities. Ask about the web sites they have visited. Look at them yourself. Lurk in a few chat rooms and monitor what goes on. 99% of the time it's just boasting and bravado.
If they send away for materials or go to classes, look at them yourself. If your teen wants to take a class with a private teacher, check the teacher out. Call them and ask about what will be taught and what goes on in the class. Ask to sit in. Some teachers won't teach minors at all, for many and varied reasons, mostly safety for themself. Some teachers require parents sign a waiver so there is a paper trail. If the teacher won't talk with you or you get bad feelings, err on the side of caution. It's hard to have to tell a teen, you must wait until you are 18, but that's preferable to having a teen get into a bad group and be damaged.
If there is a great deal of money involved, be extremely wary. Most Wiccans for religious reasons cannot charge for teaching the craft, outside of reimbursement for supplies and books. Few people will teach magic for a fee, and if they make promises they can teach you everything quickly, be skeptical. It just doesn't work that way.
If your teen finds a teacher, you should ask what they will be teaching; what books they will use; how long it will take; what the workload and time commitment will be for your teen; what the rules are; what your child will have to commit to; what you as a parent will have to commit to; how long the teacher has been teaching; how many students are in the class; where the class will meet (though rules about secrecy may prevent the teacher from saying exactly); and possibly ask for references. You might not get full or understandable answers to these questions, but use your instincts. The teacher may speak in jargon, but listen to their tone, their attitude. Are they upset that you are checking up on them? Are they resentful, secretive, misleading or obfuscating? Those are not good signs. Are they patient and willing to answer your questions, do they seem knowledgeable, do they have credentials, will they let you sit in? Those are good signs.
Wicca is a religion, and becoming Wiccan means choosing a religious path. That is not something to be taken lightly. If you don't want your teen changing their religion, discuss it with them honestly and in that context. This may be another time when you might have to say, you must wait until you are 18.
If you object to magic, examine your reasons. Is it because you are afraid your teen will blow themself and your house up? Are you afraid they will be possessed by demons? Those things just don't happen with most beginners. And in the very rare instances they do happen it’s usually because someone used gunpowder or something really wrong instead of the proper ingredients. Possession, though extremely rare, is probably the result of improper practices and precautions. The worst that will likely happen if some spell is done incorrectly is that nothing will happen. There will be no result. Not explosions, haunting or possession. Do you object to magic in and of itself? Why? Most magic these days is done for healing or self-help. Prayer is a form of magic. Ask your teen why they want to get into magic. If they want a quick fix or love spells, that isn't the way magic works. It takes time and energy, and the practitioner also has to put their energy into making the desired outcome happen. You can do the best love spell in the world, but it won't work unless you make yourself presentable, cultivate some manners and social graces, and be a person people would like to be around. You have to get out into the world to meet people, not just hide in the basement endlessly surfing the web and playing video games. That’s the reality of magic.
Both Wicca and magic require work, study and commitment to be effective and successful. Many teens when confronted with the work involved are less than enthusiastic. It certainly isn't like it is in the movies and on TV. Harry Potter depicts the amount of work, study and practice fairly realistically, though not the subjects or effects you can get. Some small things may come quickly, but to be effective in a number of areas takes years. Yes years.
If you let your teen explore and read some books, and there is a whole lot of reading involved in magic and Wicca, chances are they will learn something, but will eventually move on. Neither magic nor Wicca has an instant formula for success, money and endless dates. Be patient and open minded. Your tolerance will teach your teen a valuable lesson.
© 2000, 2004 Estelle Daniels, all rights reserved.