Advice for parents – when the kids are afraid of monsters

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.

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Fluent in science, animals, paranormal culture. Expert in weird news. Doubtfulnews.com SpookyGeology.com

0 thoughts on “Advice for parents – when the kids are afraid of monsters

  1. Brilliant idea which I’m sure will be helpful to parents who read this. I don’t recall my kids being afraid of monsters when they were little but monsters did appear in nightmares. Maybe there was a daytime monster in our house that left no room for the ones hiding under the bed.

  2. Well there are monsters as anyone watching the nightly news can tell. Yes most are human in form and some look like Elmer Fudd. But the best way to build your childs’ confidence is a large faithful dog. My girls got a very protective Irish Wolfhound to sleep in their room and anything that went “Bump in the night” got a visit from a 180 pound beast called Emerald.

    Even a cat can help. Old Ralph my first Siamese was a wonderful babysitter and watched over the kids day and night.

  3. I’m having problems with my daughter at the min not wanting to go upstairs on her own day or night she says there are monsters coming out of my bedroom and a tiger that will chase her down the stair, so we have tried drawing them and ripping it up the drawing and throwing it in the bin but no good so will give it ago what you have said I do understand what my daughter is goin through as I was the same when I was younger, so I will give anything ago to make her life so much better around the house thank you

  4. If you have an iPhone you might want to try “scaring away” monsters with a Monster Zap app. Parents not only control whether or not a monster is found (no random chance involved) but it also allows children to “zap” the monsters away with fun static electricity effects. There are over 1,000 funny monster faces that are displayed and the app gives children the feel that THEY are in control of the situation and they can conquer the monsters themselves….

  5. We had lots of problems with my daughter’s monster dreams and fear of the dark. Tried lots of things but ended up having most luck with the Little Children Big Dreams website. Have others used this? A Child Psychiatrist has written stories for children who are afraid of monsters or scared of the dark. You enter your child’s details to personalize their story, then just print it from the website. You also print off the parent guide and a certificate for your child (my daughter’s is still proudly displayed!). She loved that the story was about her and that she got to draw her own pictures. It was actually really good for us to sit together to talk about her story and her drawings by day, instead of battling about her monster fears by night which is what had been happening… Highly recommend it – http://www.littlechildrenbigdreams.com if you’re going through the same sort of thing.

  6. You could also check out monster-defense.com. We have a wonderful-smelling spray available now & a fun, illustrated children’s story coming out in Dec 2013 that tells the story of a little boy with a monster in his room, and how he overcame his fear of monsters. In researching online prior to writing the book, we read many articles from child & adolescent psychologists and parents about recommended methods for dealing with fear of monsters, and interpreted this into a fun, rhyming story which gives parents direction on how to help & gives kids the tools necessary to overcome their fear.

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