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Raising a Crop o' Vampyres
(Or HELP! My Teenager Wants to Eat the Dog!)
By Lady CG
It's probably an unsuspecting parent's worst nightmare. You awaken one day to realize your child might be hiding a desire to drink blood. For a non Vampyre Parent, it HAS to be a nightmare! How does one cope with this terrifying phenomenon? Is your child really a Vampyre? Are they sick? Do they need counseling? Have they fallen in with a dangerous cult? Not only are they all reasonable questions (no matter what your teen might tell you), they are also wise questions that deserve real answers.
We all love our children. We might not LIKE them very much, all the time, but we DO love them. I raised 4 children. Two of my now-grown children are sanguinarian vampyres. Even though I myself am sang, I too had to learn to deal with awakening Vamp teens, which is no simple task. Children do not come with manuals. It's tough enough dealing with the things normal parents put up with. Now all of a sudden it feels like your kid has gone off the deep end! So, let us discuss this with a bit of practicality, as we would any other crisis in the lives of the ones we love and protect.
Symptoms of Sanguinarianism:
Psi draining: Probably the first and most recognizable of the symptoms of awakening. If your Child's presence leaves you emotionally and physically exhausted every time he or she is in the room with you, for more than a few minutes; if he or she has that effect on not just YOU, but everyone else around them, yet seems completely unaware they are having this affect, it's definitely worth taking note of. I can't tell you WHY this happens, but I CAN tell you, it's pretty consistent.
How to deal with it: Not ALL psi-draining youth go on to become sang vamps. Many never do more than suck energy during this rapid physical growth period. That doesn't make it an easy phase to live with. Life with a teen at this stage is full of drama and sudden explosions, or they go the opposite way and try to completely cut you out of their affairs. I found the easiest way to deal with it was to make the child aware of what effect they are having on those around them. Once they are aware of it, the problem sometimes takes care of itself. If you want to be SURE it's properly dealt with, I recommend teaching the child the proper way to feed psionically. This can be as simple as teaching them to psi feed from an elemental source, rather than people, or a single person.
About this time you're likely wondering how to teach your teen a skill you are completely unfamiliar with. It's not nearly as complicated as it sounds. If your teen is siphoning energy from family members, this is not going to stop on it's own. If you can deal with this phase and don't mind being exhausted all the time, then the problem might look after itself in a year or two when the young person learns control naturally or switches from draining family members to siphoning from his or her peer group. If, however, you need it to stop sooner, and talking to your child about what is happening isn't helping, I recommend switching them to another source of energy, such as fire, electrical, or earth energy. It's not nearly as difficult as it sounds.
Your child already knows instinctually how to draw energy. You just need to teach them to focus it. Sit with your child in front of campfire, or outside before a storm. Tell him to try and FEEL the energy around them and coming from the desired feeding source. Next, tell them to relax and try to open every pore in their body to receiving and taking in the energy coming from THAT source. Have them visualize the energy from the fire or storm infusing their whole being. Let them soak up as much as they can, till they start to lose focus on it. If it was successful, you'll send them off to do other things, bouncing off the walls... If it wasn't, let them rest and try again another time, or try another energy source. Concerts and large gatherings of people are also good, harmless sources of energy that do no harm to your offspring or those around them. Trust me. Most catch on at light speed, and those who do not, usually need little time to pick it up. IF your child absolutely cannot get it... chances are you can sigh with a bit of relief. Most vamps pick it up, and if yours can't, they are likely NOT a vampyre at all, and the phase will likely pass. Unless of course, they went straight to the next phase.
Blood Cravings: This one is weird for any North American parent, so if the idea of dinking blood seems weird, taboo, occultish, demonic, unsanitary and taboo, you are definitely NOT alone.
Oddly, blood consumption seems to be a terrifying prospect, mostly, in our puritanical North American culture. The British enjoy their blood puddings. Europeans are proud of their excellent blood sausage. In many parts of Africa, it's not uncommon for people to drink fresh cow's blood for strength, and it is given to children and the weak, to make them strong and healthy.
I live in Canada, and as such, I was raised with a healthy fear of blood-borne disease. Botulism, e. coli, and other contaminants are real fears for those of us raised in North America. I understand the concerns. Add to that the now prevalent fear of AIDS, hepatitis, and other human diseases, and it can be a lot to deal with.
On the other hand I, personally, don't know a single person who has ever gotten sick and died from eating a nice, fresh, blue-rare, inspected, beef steak.
I know... Your child is probably telling you he or she is craving human blood. They are, in fact, most likely trying to tell you that they must have it! It's poppycock. Yes, it's what they are craving. I have no doubt about that, and neither should you. The part that is poppycock is that young vampyres need HUMAN blood. They don't.
I've dealt with vampires for a quarter of a century now. I have never seen a young vampyre who couldn't get by on a combination of bloody steaks and a bit of energy vamping. Not one! A Vampyre's need increases with age, but newly awakening vampyres get by fine as long as they are getting a bit of fresh blood. Don't let them tell you they are going to die. They are NOT. Feed them up with steaks that are cooked on the outside and red and bloody on the inside and the majority of vampyres will do just fine.
The longer you can keep your minor on bloody steaks and away from drinking from other humans, the more peace of mind you will likely have. In my opinion, vampyres under 18 DO NOT NEED to drink human blood. I know it's all very Vampish to want it, but until they are adults, and old enough to make their own decisions, I think it's wisest to keep them on rare steaks or other forms of animal blood such as fresh blood mixed with grape or pomegranate juice.
The donor system: Once your child is out on their own, there is little you can do to either encourage or discourage a young vampyre to avoid getting a donor. I am a firm believer that the donor system of feeding is NOT for those under the age of majority. It's a lot of responsibility! Blood tests are not only encouraged, but are mostly required by most modern vampyres. Both vampyres and their donors should be tested thoroughly and often! If you find you can't keep your child from drinking from other young people, I recommend hauling their ass to your doctor or local clinic for blood tests. Do it every 6 months, if he or she insists on blood play. Yelling and screaming will likely NOT stop them from having a donor, if they find someone willing. All it will do is drive your child underground, so you won't know what they are doing, or with whom. Dragging them in for blood tests shows you care about them, and that you want what is best for their overall health. It also keeps them from saying, "My parents don't understand. They hate me for who I am, and will never accept me or respect me." (I know... I hear this on my message board, from teens, at least once a month.) You know you care. I know you care. Kids only see things from their own perspective. If you can keep vampirism aboveboard and not drive it underground, you'll be amazed how much you can influence your young person to make healthy choices.
Not all blood cravers are Vampyres: YAY! While being labeled a vampyre is romantic to most young people, especially Goths; 25+ years of dealing with blood drinking has convinced me that vampirism is NOT the only thing that causes blood cravings. Like pregnant women, teenagers deal with a lot of fluctuating hormones that can cause some bizarre cravings. I also know that giving a kid a banana when they crave blood will NOT work.
Try the rare steak thing and hope it goes away in a few months. It often does. We see young people come and go in the communities at a phenomenal rate. No one minds seeing a young person decide they are not vampyre, after all.
The vamp communities aim for healthy people. We rejoice when a young person moves on because they don't crave blood and don't need that kind of support anymore. I'm betting that if it's your child, you'll rejoice, too! If it doesn't go away, take your child to see a doctor to rule out all other possible causes for the cravings. Better safe than sorry. If all else fails, read on!
Depression, aggression and apathy: You'll want to keep an eye out for signs of depression and apathy, both of which indicate your young person is likely needing his or her biweekly feed of steak. As long as they seem perky and interested in being active, I wouldn't worry too much. If you notice your young vamp starting to take less interest in friends, crying constantly, sleeping as much as you let them get away with, or getting every virus that comes along, be concerned! Depression and apathy are common and serious issues for sanguinarian vampyres young and old. Most cases of Vampiric depression are resolved via feeding. But, if an extra steak doesn't help, get your child some help, quickly. The solution can be as simple as making sure they get more daylight (in winter) or it can be a serious chemical imbalance. Either way, bring in a professional opinion.
Ditto for signs of serious aggression. In vamps, aggression is most often depression turned outward, instead of inward. Aggressive vamps CAN BE DANGEROUS, to themselves AND to others! Most depressed vamps benefit from simple supplements like feverfew and/or St. John's Wort. If over-the-counter supplements do not cause immediate improvement, get your child to a professional!
A doctor, a counselor, an holistic practitioner, any of these people can likely help, as long as they don't try to tell your child they are crazy for craving blood. Your child will likely reject anyone who tries to tell them they are crazy or misguided on this topic. It's a waste of time and more likely to alienate the kid then to help him or her.
Depression is a vampyre's enemy. Deal with it quickly so your child can get on with his or her life.
Nocturnal Tendencies: Watch for the tendency of your vampire child to become nocturnal. Nocturalism can toss a real wrench into schooling. I think it's important to keep our young vamps in school and doing well. They can't manage that if they are dragging their tired, depressed asses into school and spending the day either disrupting class or sleeping on their desks.
Extra rare meat can help, and if it doesn't, and you honestly believe your child is having issues with being diurnal, a visit to your physician or holistic health practitioner is in order. There are supplements out that can help with day / night problems, such as melatonin.
Another practical and natural method I have used to deal with this issue is to keep a VERY regular schedule. It might be a pain having your young person out of bed and cooking breakfast at 7am on a weekend, but it's better than having a parent/teacher interview because your child can't stay awake in class.
Other tips from one vamp parent to another:
Encourage your offspring to be active. Vampyres do very well in sports, anything that requires hand/eye coordination, and are especially at home with body building equipment.
Encourage your child to AVOID too much sun. While a bit of limited tanning in a controlled tanning bed, can be excellent for your child before the summer gets here, keep in mind that vampyres REALLY ARE extremely sun sensitive! This is a matter of life and death. Vamps dehydrate at light speed. We do NOT adapt well to extremes of temperature of any kind. I realize this creates a challenge in meeting your child's need for Vitamin D, but tossing him or her outside for hours in summer really can be life-threatening. Insist on a hat. Push fluids, even on your older teens. Sunscreen is a must. So are long sleeves in the afternoons, or heavy shade.
I raised two kids to adult vampyres. I understand the challenges. They are too smart, too busy, and some days just too everything! They are also extremely intelligent and need to be challenged, which can be good and bad for a busy parent. These kids can be SO rewarding! It's not all about tearing your hair out. It's about raising kids who have great self-esteem and the ability to function in the modern world. They understand they are different. The reward for you as an understanding parent, is a lifetime bond with a child who adores you because you tried to understand, even when you made mistakes and were a pain in the ass. They can grow up to be your best friends, with a trust that never fails. It's worth it.
Eerie America TV Series
Eerie America could very well be called The Fodors Travel Guidebook for The Addams Family. I read some in-depth information about the show and saw the promo, and from what I can tell, this will be an absolutely AWESOME series if they can get it off the ground. (I'm actually praying they will.) Let others know and see who can help. This is something that should happen! Let's pull together and make it so!
New Orleans Vampire Association
NOVA is a State Recognized Non-Profit Organization geared toward helping the homeless in the New Orleans area and working towards its greater goals, including a homeless shelter in the Greater New Orleans area.
If you would like to donate money, food, or supplies toward the cause, please click here for more info or to donate.
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