Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Be Afraid, or Not?

When I was a kid, I thought my parents were superheroes. They weren't afraid of monsters, death, or the dark. I could count on them to protect me from everything.

Now that I have my own kids, I'm realizing more and more, that I am now responsible for defending them against these things.

The only trouble is, I have my own fears. I'm still unconvinced about the existence of monsters in the closet, and I like to sleep with the light slightly dimmed.

So...what do I do? Do I pretend I'm not afraid; feign bravery so that my kids feel safe, or should I be honest about the fact that I'm not invisible? It's a tough call.

It's human to be afraid, but children need to feel safe and secure.

What do you think?


  1. I say let them think you're invincible. I remember finding out some of my parents fears and it would totally floor me and make me have horrible nightmares. If it scares my mom it must be really bad, you know? I've also noticed that parents with phobias often have children with that same phobia, because fears can be learned.

  2. I'm with Amanda. My personal approach with my kids is definitely to show no fear of imaginary things like monsters. I try to remind them that the monsters they hear about in movies and stories are make-believe.

    With scary things that are very real, I guess for me, it's a matter of age appropriateness. For my kids, learning about the sad or scary things in life has been a very gradual process. We've had pets and loved ones die, for example, so we do talk about death on occasion -- but in a very matter of fact way, in simple terms that they can understand, and during a point earlier in the day when it hopefully won't be a scary conversation, just a thoughtful one.

    Just my two cents and every family is different. I know you and Ari will find an approach that works for you!

  3. It's always about the context for me. My responses range from "it's okay to be afraid", through "Daddy doens't liek it either", Don't worry, Daddy will protect you", "You're stronger than they are", and "the monsters are just pretend, like in the movies you and Daddy make".

    The responses are so varied, but that's because the situations are, and it seems appropriate to mix it up a bit.

    The stuff that really baffles me is when my daughter is afraid of things like the vacuum cleaner, haircuts, or streams of water in the forest.

    I've encouraged fear of the road before, because I think it's healthy for a kid to be afraid of moving vehicles. So maybe redirection is something I could try. Something like "the vacuum isn't scary, but cars on the road are".

    Not that this will solve her emotional response to automatic fear impulses.

  4. Did you know that monsters are trapped in the TV and there is no way they can get out? Or that bad guys aren't very smart so they don't know how to open windows or unlock doors? Also, at my aunts house they have a guard fairy who leaves "fairy dust" for the kids to use to protect themselves from the monsters. They get a little bit of glitter to sprinkle in a designated area in their room and the monsters stay away because they are allergic to fairy dust. Just some tips for you to try out if you want.
    I would definately say to hide your fears. I am still afraid of the dark too. If I had to sleep alone in bed I would probably still have a night light. I can't walk into any room unless there is a light on. I have to choke back the fear and tell Grace that everything is fine and Momma and Daddy will keep her safe no matter what.


What do you think? Feel free to agree or disagree, but hateful comments will be deleted.