Don’t Let Your Child’s Monsters Scare YOU!
Life is full of monster-sized problems. The adult-oriented monsters might not be lurking under beds or hiding in closets, but they’re there. Similar to adults, though different in scope and content, children deal with monster-sized fears daily too. In this complex society and often scary world, it’s no wonder that children have monsters under their beds, in their closets, drawers and other monster-hiding places. Yet, many parents might be truly concerned and frightened themselves by their child’s monsters. Caring parents, in an effort to help their child feel better might mistakenly tell their child that there is nothing to be afraid of, but this actually negates their child’s feelings and tells them to ignore their fears. How can children ever trust their feelings if the most important person in their lives is telling them they don’t exist. This is the groundwork for many issues later in life.
Be reassured that fears in general are very common in children of any age but are definitely more pronounced between the ages of three and eight years old. Fears can be triggered by a scary story, movie, or even video games. Fears can also appear when a child’s sense of security is threatened. Perhaps new concrete, situational fears might surface related to a move to a new home, starting a new school, parental stress, divorce, any kind of abuse, illness or death in the family, a mother’s pregnancy, or the birth of a sibling. A child might have imaginary-type fears too and worry about a lot of “what ifs” that parents aren’t even aware of.
It’s so important to acknowledge children’s monsters and the fears they represent. In fact monsters provide the opportunity for children to lay the groundwork for how they will deal with scary things throughout their lives.
Monsters actually become a tangible symbol for everything that is confusing and scary to children. They are very real entities. Combine that with the vivid imaginations that many children have, monstrous fears are totally understandable and demand respect. The fact that your child is afraid of monsters does not mean that he/she will grow up with phobias or anxiety disorders. Most children eventually outgrow these early fears. Monster fears actually indicate that your child is a sensitive and imaginative person. These qualities are very desirable since they are the basis for compassion and creativity. It’s also healthy for children as they grow older to have a clear sense of their own vulnerability without feeling shame.
It is far better to respect your child’s monster fears as being an important milestone of growing up. Help your child by listening closely to every monster-tale and acknowledging these fears. Sometimes a simple clarification can be very helpful to help alleviate secret fears and worries.
When everyday fears start becoming intrusive and affect your child’s sleep and general well-being, then it’s time to become proactive in the quest to keep those monsters at bay. You will also be helping your child to develop important coping skills for adulthood too.
Devise a plan together. Be supportive. The vivid imagination that fueled your child’s monsters can actually be their most valuable asset for monster reduction. Sometimes just utilizing a “monster repelling spray” with parental support and conviction can help. Be patient with your child and don’t be afraid of his/her monsters. Be supportive and listen to your child. Your child’s monsters are actually friendly monsters in disguise that have come to help guide your child through the important process of growing up. Don’t fear them, respect them.