Monsters May Be Real

kids and televions

The ghosts under the bed. The monsters in the closet. The boogey-man climbing in your window.

What are you afraid of? Unlike when you were a child and it probably didn’t take a whole lot of stimulation for your runaway imagination, you may have very few real fears.

I can get really afraid when –  or, if (because this is so NOT my favorite movie genre) –  I watch a scary movie. But when I walk out of the theater, those feelings quickly disappear. As an adult, I have learned through experience that frightening feelings are like that. They come and go depending on the situation I am in. When I see something that isn’t real my mind can sort this out and I know without a doubt at all, I am not in real danger.

Children’s minds don’t work this way. In fact, young children, below the age of ten or so, have a very difficult time knowing the difference between fantasy and fiction and truly frightening things.  As adult s we may not be aware of how scary things are to kids. I’ve noticed this when arriving at our local theater and I see parents in line with their brood, purchasing tickets to  a movie I wouldn’t even want to see .  In the past when video stores were still the norm, I remember standing behind a parent in the check out line who had selected a video for their family that had content with very objectionable scenes,  disturbing violence and monster-like masks, knowing some little one was soon going to be having nightmares.

Parents it is our job to protect our children. Remember: they don’t process those dramatic movie scenes like you do! It is the parent’s job to realize what is appropriate for a child’s healthy emotional and mental growth.  Fear is a natural reaction to danger or even the anticipation of danger. Most children do not have the capacity to know the difference in fictional fear.  Why put them through needless worry and anxiety caused by fear? It is up to us parents, as the family leaders in charge to protect our children from danger, real or imaginary.

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