Since our daughter was very young, I’ve always been careful anytime the subject of a “monster” came up, to casually say, “Of course, there are no such things as monsters in the real world.” Note: clearly there are monsters of the human variety, but that’s the subject for another post.
My intent in telling her monsters weren’t real, of course, was to reduce unnecessary fears about monsters under her bed. While I could claim this was a selfless act on my part to make her nights less scary… in truth it was probably more motivated by a desperate need for sleep.
Early conversations about Monsters were often prompted by a children’s book. Fairy tales can be damned scary! While calming her fears, I worried engendering this degree of rational thinking about imaginary creatures might also suppress some of the positive, creative uses of her imagination?
Fortunately that does not seem to be the case. I’m not a child psychologist, but it apears children have quite the talent for suspending disbelief when it benefits them. The perfect example is, of course, Santa Claus. Our daughter has a vested interest believing in the big guy and sleigh-full of toys.
At other times, though, our daughter will be very matter of fact about things. “Daddy, dragons don’t exist!”, she’ said recently shaking her head at how preposterous my suggestion I’d just seen one in the back yard was. Yet in the next breath she told me emphatically, “But fairies are real!”
So I guess telling her that imaginary creatures like scary monsters aren’t real hasn’t done any serious damage. I’m glad, as I would never want to squash her delightful imagination. In closing this post, let me share a quick exchange my daughter and I had the night before last:
- DD (on baby monitor) – “Daddy, there’s a monster in my closet!”
- Me (entering her room) – “But monsters aren’t real, Sweetheart.”
- DD (emphatically) – “No really. I think it’s a Heffalump, Daddy!”
- Me (stifling a grin) – “A Heffalump…?”
- DD (shrugging) – “Maybe it’s a Woozle?”
[important]Do your kids still believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy? If not, when did they stop? Please leave a comment, and be sure to share this post with your friends. Thanks for dropping by! ~Michael[/important]
Thanks, Mary Kathryn! 🙂
That’s pretty cute!
I gave up trying to convince my son that there aren’t any monsters in his closet or under his bed. Instead, I started using “Good Dream Spray”. I wrote about it here:
Tip # 2 For Being A Fun Dad: Always Have “Good Dream Spray”
I remember that spray. Super idea. My daughter has an LED flashlight in her dresser. The kind that turns off if you stop pressing the button (to save the battery). She’s pretty pragmatic. Mostly when she tells me she’s scared, she’s really looking for a few extra hugs. Always happy to provide that! 🙂
That’s pretty cute!
I gave up trying to convince my son that there aren’t any monsters in his closet or under his bed. Instead, I started using “Good Dream Spray”.
David busted Kevin putting money in his Tooth Fairy bag when he was in middle school! That evening we had a long conversation about the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus. We made him promise not to rob his children of these fictional characters. Children need something to believe in. He admitted that it will be hard to not tell them the truth. Molly is a sharp kid. Good luck!!
She and David are a lot alike. She uses words like hypothesis and evidence and theory… so we’ll see. 🙂 She asks for shows like Morgan Freeman’s “Through the Wormhole” and “Brain Games”. We’ve tied to get her interested in International House Hunter, to no avail. 😉 To be clear, she totally believes the Disney Princesses and Fairies are real… or at least chooses to suspend disbelief?
” Note: clearly there are monsters of the human variety, ” LOL
I told my kids when they first asked me if it was real I was like “nope” straight forward at a very young age. They asked about Santa,fairies etc so I told them the truth. I know I’m a childhood crusher but I like to be honest and straight forward and till this day that’s how we do it now that they are older the questions are very different. Lol. They ask me have you ever smoked weed? Or got drunk? And I don’t lie and explain to them that I made the mistakes so they don’t have to and I pray that works hahaha. 🙂
Hi Elly. I pretty much take the same approach on most things. As such I dread when she asks me if Santa or fairies are real. In truth, I know on some level she knows they are not, but enjoys living in that state of suspended disbelief. Sometimes we all could use a bit of that?
Mine has been afraid of the “long armed squid” thanks to the Octonauts. The only thing that seems to work if for me to go over the facts about the long armed squid and how they kind of have to stay in the water to live. He says, “oohhh yeaaahhhhh!” and then goes back to bed 🙂
It’s funny what will and won’t scare younger kids. Our daughter is cared of very little. I, on the other hand, am totally creeped out by a few of the kids shows.