During a perfectly pleasant conversation, my daughter abruptly turned serious. “Mom, I need to tell you something.” I can’t tell you all the awful things I imagined to be on the back end of that statement. I was genuinely surprised when she said, “I want a new personality. I want to be goth.” I almost laughed in her face. With relief, of course. What did my little first grader know about being goth?

So I asked. “What do you think that is?”

“Goth kids wear all black, don’t talk to anyone, don’t have any friends, and just read all day.” I saw several practical problems with this limited description — Story doesn’t have much in the way of black clothing; she really can’t stop talking, even when she tries really, really hard; a lot of her talk is about her friends; and she reads for her required minutes every day but not any longer. Satisfied that my child can’t pull off goth, I then began to panic about the fact that she wanted to pull off goth.

What happened to make my happy child so depressed? Why would she want to be alone all the time? Has she become a child of the darkness?Do I need to hide my Edgar Allan Poe? Okay, so I like the reading part, but that didn’t alleviate my worry. Goth: reason 1,438 to have a therapist on speed dial.

My follow-up questions got me nowhere, since she immediately began the silence portion of her new identity. I tried to be supportive and even painted her nails black (leftover from a dragon costume), hoping my awesome-mom demeanor would get her to open up. Nope. She just looked at her nails, shrugged, and said, “Cool,” in a low voice. And then I lost any points I had gained by refusing to let her dye her hair.


Google got me nowhere either. Apparently, “prepubescent goth child” isn’t a hot topic these days. And I found no forums for concerned parents of seven-year-old goth kids. Never has the Internet let me down so utterly.

The next stop on my panic train was Ali. Oh, Ali. Thank goodness for that sassypants She-Ra. She practically laughed in my face. She reminded me that Story was British for a couple of months, a dragon for a week or so, and donned the identities of several other minor characters throughout the years. “She’s method acting,” she said simply. Those three words saved the day.

Who needs Google when you have an Ali.