Night time terrors. The BoogeyMan. The doll eyes following your every movement. The haunted house, the dark, the monsters.
Being afraid goes hand in hand with being little. Take being afraid of the dark, for example. I have six kids, so it seems like we've been sleeping with night lights on in our house since Moses was a baby - in fact, I'm not sure I could even sleep in complete darkness any more - although it sure would be super nice to try, wouldn't it?
My kids, like most kids, have been afraid of the dark. They've also been afraid of other, more random things. Clowns, for instance. That apple doesn't fall far from the tree, though - both my husband and I don't like clowns. For me, it goes back to a long ago, late night reading by flashlight of a better-left-unnamed Stephen King book.One of my children reports that she pulled her Barbie DreamHouse in front of her closet every night - for several years - because of the movie Monsters, Inc. No matter what I say, do or show - it seems like there's nothing you can do to get rid of the childhood fears.
One of my friends bought a lightly scented room spray with a pump. She removed the label and created a duplicate, with the words "Monster Spray". She spritzed the room every night before her child went to bed, and told him that the lavender scent kept monsters away. Another friend allowed her child to sleep with a flashlight. The cost of batteries twice a month was a small one that ensured her son would sleep.
Ask your child why he's afraid of something. Chances are, he won't be able to tell you exactly why - and maybe you can reassure him and help him get over it. Don't ever try to minimize your child's fears. No matter how trivial or banal, to your child those fears are as big as the Empire State building.
How do you help your child manage his or her fears? How do you keep those fears from overwhelming your child, keep them from becoming much more than simple, childish concerns?