I’ve been afraid of and fascinated by monsters since I can remember. Even today, I wonder if there are real monsters in the world.
My previous post spoke about the concept that using the excuse “it’s not real” may not be good enough to quell a fear. The small chance that it might be real can just shatter your idea about life and truth.
Of the few things in life that I am certain of, I’m secure in my certainty that there are no monsters under the bed. No vampires, demons, werewolves, nasty witches or zombies. (I’ve been watching classic Scooby Doo reruns with my kids. Can you tell?) But when I tell my little ones that monsters “aren’t real”, it does little good.
I haven’t researched literature to find out why this excuse doesn’t work. It’s not that they don’t trust me. Perhaps it’s just that they must make the leap of faith in their own minds to assure themselves that something so dreadful and harmful to them can’t possibly be real. I can’t do it for them.
So, I use a different technique.
It’s obvious that during the day no monster are around. Mommy doesn’t threaten to tell the bogeyman about bad behavior and I don’t go about suggesting that the Wicked Witch of the West was a real person. Mommy’s pretty tough but I’m not a monster either. I don’t spank, I try not to scream. But, I do get angry and I don’t put up with nonsense, from children or monsters, at all.
When the fear of monsters surfaces from the young ‘uns, around 9 PM, sure, you can check under their beds and in the closets if it helps but make sure to tell them this. Mommy (or Daddy) will not tolerate big, ugly, smelly monsters in the house at night or at any other time. And, (this part is important) assure them that Mommy will personally kick their sorry hides clear down the street if they even approach the door. Mommy’s not afraid of those monsters.
Mind you that this technique is predicated on the assumption that you do not tolerate monstrous behavior from the child either. If you can’t control the child, he/she knows you are no match for the monster. But, if they truly believe in you and that you are the boss, they feel pretty secure in the thought that you will stand your ground (and might have a slight tinge of sympathy for the monster’s hide). Plus, laughing eases the fear a bit. The vision of me squishing up the hairy green critter and rolling it down the block like a bowling ball is enough to make us all feel a bit better.