First let me warn you again this post will have spoilers so if you want to see the Netflix show Raising Dion without spoilers you’re going to have to check another review.
This review is solely based on my thought and not that of my children. They have not seen the movie and they probably won’t see it for sometime. The villian in the movie is too scary for one of our tender-hearted kids.
Raising Dion is a hero’s origin story about a young boy, his widowed mother, and his awkward an overstepping Godfather. When Dion starts exhibiting miraculous abilities the people in his life respond just as you would imagine. There’s so many feelings: shock, fear, doubt, and of course the desire to immediately protect Dion.
These feelings, coupled with the wild ride that is the discovery of Dion’s supernatural powers cover a glaring issue that you don’t recognize until the very end of the movie, if you recognize it at all. That issue is the sneaky adults.
Jason Ritter plays Pat, Dion’s Godfather in the movie. He is always there, accommodating and lets Dion get away things his mother would not. In the beginning of the movie Nicole (Dion’s mom) tells Pat not to let Dion have soda and ice cream at the pizza parlor because he got in trouble at school. That evening he lets Dion have both. Red flag #1 not obeying moms instructions.
Later on Dion is in a scientific lab where he isn’t supposed to be and Pat advises him not to tell him mom. Red flag #2 Pat aligning himself as an ally to Dion, a child, and not his mom, an adult. This type of behavior plays throughout the movie. Pat has little to no boundaries with Dion which as a viewer you may understand because this child has super powers. Who wants a superpowered tantrum?
Then it is revealed. Pat has powers too and needs Dion to heal him. His placating behavior had nothing to do with Dion being happy and everything to do with Pat exploiting Dion to get what he wants. This is called grooming behavior. Predators use this method to align themselves with a child they are drawn too in order to get the child to comply with their requests.
We see this dynamic play out when Dion’s mom finds him in the process of healing Pat and tells him to stop. Pat knows that Dion healing him will come at the cost of his life, yet he insist on Dion trying. Dion’s mom tell him to move away from Pat, to which he responds, “He needs me.”
Predatory adults will make a child feel as if they have a responsibility to that adult. So here’s a few things I look out for as a parent and things I teach my kids to look out for. Sneaky adults will initiate or even encourage secrets. They will say things like, “It will be our secret.” Instead of, “Its okay I will tell your parent.” Sneaky adults put their needs first even if it can cause the child harm. For example, taking them somewhere inappropriate or allowing them to be exposed to something “by accident” and not telling the parents.
So how can you combat sneaky adults? By asking questions. I ask my kids the following.
1. What was the best part?
2. What was the worst part?
3. Any secrets?
4. Anything weird?
5. Anything else you want to tell me?
I asked these questions no matter what. No matter where they go whether it’s Grandma’s house or to hang out with a new friend. This keeps them from being alerted if I feel like a person maybe a sneaky adults. It also gets them in the habit of answering these questions without feeling like they’re going to get in trouble. Hope this helps you and your kids recognize sneaky adults.
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