As young children, my brother and I were terrified that monsters lived under our beds and in our closets. We were so afraid that we would not even let our arms or legs dangle over the edge of the mattress for fear of being eaten by a monster. When we had to get out of bed at night, we would dash as quickly and as far away from our beds as possible. When we got back into bed, we would jump from as far away as possible to avoid getting anywhere near the monsters.
Most parents, when faced with a child who is afraid of monsters, would tell the child that monsters do not exist. End of story. My mother, however, made a grave mistake. Instead of telling us that monsters do not exist, she told us that monsters could not live under our beds or in our closets because there was no room. We had so much stuff that a monster simply could not fit.
By telling me that monsters could not fit under my bed or in my closet, my mother inadvertently justified my fear. By not telling me that monsters did not exist, she confirmed my belief that monsters did, in fact, exist. To this day, I am still freaked out by the thought of closet monsters. I make sure my closet doors are closed tight before going to sleep to keep any monsters from getting out during the night. My mother, by the way, is also afraid of closet monsters.
To prevent the vicious cycle from continuing, my husband has forbidden me to discuss the issue of monsters with our children. He is worried that I might inadvertently confirm that monsters do exist for our children. Therefore, any concerns about monsters will be directed to Daddy.
Looking to scare your children into thinking that monsters exist? Just tell them that monsters cannot live in their rooms because there is no room. Otherwise, be very explicit. Tell your children that monsters do not exist. (Even if you think they do!)