Vampires, Zombies, Ghouls and Ghosts…they are all monsters. Throughout Halloween we hang pictures of them, dress-up like them and watch movies starring them. It’s fun because we all know that monsters are not real.
The Fake Monsters
For some kids (and adults), though, monsters are real. They may be ghosts, or aliens or fears of spontaneous combustion, but they are real fears–real monsters. All three of those monsters were my fears as a kid–I barely slept in 4th grade, scared I’d wake up in flames. Even into 6th and 7th grade I was sure I’d been abducted by aliens and was deathly afraid of the dark. Even though logic told me these things were not possible, my overactive imagination would run wild with all of the things that would happen when the ghosts came, or the aliens took me, or when I started burning.
The Real Monsters
The real issue was, however, that these monsters were not only not real, they were not really the problem. The problem for me was simply not knowing and being able to nothing about it. I think that’s true for most kids and adults when they are afraid of something. It’s not necessarily the thing…it’s the not knowing and lack of control.
Overcoming the Monsters
The good news is that overcoming the monster of fear is possible. How? Facing the fears by talking about them. It’s true…speaking your fears weakens them. Moving forward despite them sheds light onto darkness through understanding. If you have kids that are afraid of something, ask them about it. Talk about their feelings and what they think they can do to stop being afraid. Work on strategies together.
Some kids may not want to talk about fears, but I encourage care-givers to try…maybe by sharing a personal story, or even reading a book about overcoming a fear. With discussion, support and strategies, a child can overcome a fear–I know, because I did.
When I was in high school I finally decided I was sick of being afraid of these non-existent things. I took control by facing my fears and talking about them, jokingly, but still talking. I’m now a huge fan of aliens…I’m looking forward first contact, I really hope they choose me :D. I’m not sure where I stand on ghosts, but even if they do exist, they’ve done nothing to me–and how cool if they were real and I could see one, right? And as far as the dark goes, I now find it peaceful. I will admit there are times when my mind is off and I start letting it go to places that make me doubt and I get a bit scared; but I’m always able to pull myself back to reality and turn the lights on for a second if necessary to reset. I do not however give my monsters power anymore–I am the one in control.
Monsters The Sequel
Even the most well-adjusted kids and adults will be afraid of something sometime. I’m not trying to sound like a doom bringer, but it’s a normal thing. Just remember to talk about what your afraid of with someone who loves and supports you and work on strategies to make it through. There are varying degrees of professionals out there to help you as well; from therapists, to coaches. The important thing is to face the fear.
When you face your fears, you find out the truth about monsters–when you look them in the eye, they lose their power.